Challenge or competition?

If you give it a serious thought: Is SOTA more of a challenge than a competition or vice versa?

As for me SOTA is clearly a challenge. That is why I do not claim any points…

73, Alfred, OE5AKM


Whether it is a competition or a challenge the points that you earn are an indispensible measure of your progress, a quantified measure of progress, but trophies and certificates are optional.


SOTA is a challenge.

If it was a competition, I would be able to point at someone and say that they were the winner.

Also, this is at the top of the Database results page: “SOTA is not inherently a competitive activity, it’s about individual aspirations and working towards a goal at your own pace.”


Alfred it is your choice.
Everyone can decide …


When I became interested in the concept of SOTA, actually last year, I realized quite soon that it will take forever to to gain points by activating mountains that qualify here in Sweden. If you look at the number of activations done here in Sweden almost all of the summits are visited less then 10 times and majority of them have not seen any activation in last five years or so.
Looking at Europe where you almost can drive up all the way to a 10-pointer gives me a perspective and I envy people living in areas with high mountains close to where they live.
For me and my few activations I did last year in Sweden showed me how beautiful it is to come out in the woods and visit a summit even if it only gives me 2 points. So my goal is to activate what can be activated here in my country. I know there are summits in Lappland where the closest dirt road is 70 km away, how do you take on that challange with only 2 points (SM/NB-073) as a reward? If someone makes that trip and acitvates that particular summit he/ she needs almost two week of hiking plus a couple of days of travelling from Stockholm. In my opinion such a trip should be rewarded with a “SOTA Extra Ordinary Achivement” or let say 100 points.

If someone is interested in making a trip to Lappland/ Jämtland where 90% of the Summits are not activated, please drop me a line.

So Challange or Competition? For me it is the Challange not the Points, when I have been out on my summits the best reward is when a caller says “GM Jaan you are 599 GL” that makes the whole trip to a 2 pointer worth everything.

Regards, Jaan


Challenge for me too. I have not claimed points for many years. The points are entirely dispensible for me as I have reached my personal goals.

[edit: looks like I gave up point chasing in 2012 - I now focus solely on fun]


That’s the beautiful thing: Anyone can do it the way he wants!

I have been doing SOTA for half a year now and am still gaining experience.
For me, it is a challenge to myself to find time and again - to drive into the mountains - to make the mountains - to find a place for the antenna and the butt. And it’s a competition against myself because I’d like to crack the 1000 point limit. :goat: That’s why I first concentrate on the mountains with higher scores. Even if they are close by.

First the duty, then the freestyle.

For later I have some mountains in sight, which have not been activated. :wink:

73, Armin

Some interesting responses.

Its a bit of both for me. I certainly like the challenge of going for points. I’m going to Scotland later this month and one of the challenges is to mix good points with challenging/interesting mountains I would not normally visit because they have little or no ‘mountaineering’ interest… Another challenge is to do everyone activation with morse.

I’m not sure how much of this is competition. Certainly there’s no desire or ability! to compete against other individuals.

"90% not activated" Dammmmn! only have a ‘Foundation’ licence so I don’t think I can operate SOTA outside the UK!

Don’t despair! I think there is still 29 unactivated summits in Scotland!

Up to you to progress :wink:

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I think there’s about 9. But all of them are in the far north and all 1 pointers. And when i’ve gone through them on my maps, they are like Jaan says all rather plain and an awful long walk in most cases just to get to them.

However, I will/must need to activate one of them, even if for less effort & mileage I could get 10 pts. But its not about competition!!! except my internal one!!!
Dave Perry,
Robin Hood’s Bay.

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To me, SOTA is mainly neither challenge nor competition, but the perfect excuse for me to do two of the things I most enjoy, playing ham radio and mountain hiking.
Playing ham radio either as a chaser or an activator.
Mountain hiking together with planning and preparing routes, GPS tracks, coordinates, then navigating in the wild, also enjoying the beauty of nature in the mountaineous areas, getting fit, feeling strong and powerful, taking pictures, writing the activation reports in the Reflector giving me the chance to keep my English language skills alive and improving…
There are so many benefits I personally get from this SOTA activity…
It’s just great!
SOTA forever!
Long life SOTA!



Let me know, I’m willing to take you to one of the non-worked before summits here. And later I would like to go and visit yours.

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Its both better and worse than that! There are five 2-point summits still unactivated - but they are in the Outer Hebrides. It would take dedication…

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This. This a million, bazillion times.


It was reading about SOTA in the free RadCom the RSGB sent me in early 2017 that inspired me to get back into amateur radio after 30 years away. I like the points but it’s the thrill of being on the receiving end of a pile up that’s the buzz. It’s also a great excuse to experiment with aerials and other kit. Hopefully I’ll be doing an activation with 100% home-brewed kit later this year.


For me it’s a challenge. As I tell folks “SOTA got me off the trail and onto the peaks”. My own goals of minimizing re-activation of peaks I’ve already done b/c there’s just so many peaks out there calling our name. Also the challenge in continuing to make myself a better operator, and how that helps my in the Emcomm/SAR world.

For me its all about hiking with friends and playing radio - two of my favorite activities. The points are cool, but you can’t compare people from different associations because there are HUGE differences (as you pointed out) in difficulty level.

And let’s not forget the beer! Nothing like that post-hike pint in a pub with a hiking buddy. Or a nice cold one on a summit on a hot day =)

-Josh WU7H

Challenge. My radio operating is strictly confined to /P. So for me it is the only time I get to use my rig. My only HF activity has been on summits.
I get a buzz from collecting points. My goal is to get to 100 points and to get the Mountain Explorer level Bronze.

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