Challenge or competition?

It does!
We were early enough to miss the midge but the rain was very wet and so were the rocks. Viki, M6BWA, activated a “first” - in the rain - and the next day the ground was so awful we gave up.
I hate to think how much it cost us (and have no intention of finding out) but it was a wonderful holiday - if that is the correct word.
Very highly recommended - and so are the places we stayed. PM if you would like details.


PS - The walks are not particularly long and certainly NOT uninteresting.

For me, sota is a challenge to reach a remote location in the wild as possible. And then with as little technology as possible to produce the widest possible wireless connections.

At the same time, I sometimes think of expeditions in the past where radio communications were the only contact with the homeland. This is certainly nostalgic, but gives me a sense of adventure. You certainly know the story of Arctic explorer Umberto Nobile and the lucky radio operator Nikolai Reinholdowitsch Schmidt:

Right now my friend Torsten, DL1TOD is in the Neumeyer Station in Antarctica and of course he has Whatsapp. Nevertheless, we were very happy when we were able to identify our call signs in CW with great effort.

73 Chris

To me, SOTA is mainly a challenge. I am very competitive by nature but I really don’t treat it too much as a competition, but the perfect excuse for me to do two of the things I most enjoy, mountain hiking and the outdoors, and portable amateur radio.

Mountain hiking together with planning and preparing routes, GPS tracks, coordinates, then navigating in the wild, driving on forest roads, also enjoying the beauty of nature in the mountaineous areas, getting fit, taking pictures, enjoying the outdoors, enjoying great fellowship with fellow activators, developing skills - orienteering, logistics (other than operating), and best of all hearing the dits and dahs of the chasers.…and even occasionally hearing a VK or ZL, or OK or OE or even an EA call are “icing on the cake”…

Cheers to SOTA

Ariel NY4G


“SOTA is not inherently a competitive activity, it’s about individual aspirations and working towards a goal at your own pace.”

That is why I ask the following question:

Would you still stick to SOTA if there were no summit points at all and only the number of activations would mark your progress?

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

1 Like

I think the question is a bad one. Of course the would still play radios on mountains, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it SOTA. That doesn’t impact my thoughts on points or otherwise, they are orthogonal

Why ask the question? You make it clear that you don’t claim points anyway, so points existing or not is irrelevant to your enjoyment of SOTA. In fact, the very fact you can do so while chasers can claim points shows that SOTA is a game you can play against your own challenges without impacting others enjoyment of it. A challenge, not a competition.

Points aren’t going to go away; the logistics of working out the equivalence of MG for someone who achieved it with points and someone who would hypothetically get it from activation counts is impossible and sure to raise problems.


I agree. It excludes people for whom neither case applies and yet who still take part (such as me).


Points were helpful to me when I started out, they allowed me to set goals and measure activity, or perhaps more importantly, inactivity! I wasn’t comparing myself with others. It’s rather like navigating up a new unique mountain, aiming for the next chosen landmark, and then the next. Not competing. I still enjoy collecting points on the journey.

Don’t over think it, just enjoy it however you choose :smile:

1 Like

Alfred - bear in mind that a vote for “would still take part” is not necessarily a vote for “would prefer it this way”.

Is this topic, and your poll, leading to a campaign for SOTA to change its structure, scoring and character? There would be very little support for that.


For me Sota is almost exclusively a challenge, a personal challenge. We set ourselves goals and then set about the challenge of fulfilling them. Along the way we have to plan our activities, to overcome the weather, the weight (in the rucksack), equipment failure and the hard physical work needed to undertake the activations. Let us not forget the shack sloth. Here there are still many challenges such as the need to pick out call signs buried in QRM and the need to be in the shack to meet the times of the activation.

I will admit that occasionally do look to see how I am performing on the roll of honour table but mainly I am focused on my own goals. In my case my first goal was to achieve my MG before the legs gave out. Now it is to achieve a MG on CW. (330 points to go). It matters little to me what others are doing. During the recent G/LD*** weekend I decided to see if I could improve my score of LD completes. From my vantage point on G/NP001 I added several to my score, thank you activators.

We should also not forget our licence privileges. Many Sota activators operate on bands on which contesting is banned. Because we are primarily focusing on challenges we are permitted on 60m and the WARC bands. If Sota were re-classified as competition this privilege would automatically be withdrawn. Sota activators are encouraged to give out and receive meaningful signal reports. These are important in understanding if all is well in the equipment field. In my case a poor report has on several occasions identified a technical problem such as the mast falling down! In Contesting this is not the case the response “You are 59, please repeat call and serial number” does nothing to help us in assessing our performance.

In summary, although there are many Sota challenges, we strive to achieve our goals, competition I believe, is a small distractor. If it ain’t broke, dont fix it!

David G0EVV


for me SOTA is all about nature, hiking, s2s-contacts, chatting with ham radio friends … after a long time in the SOTA community points are not so important as they used to be in the beginning!

for me personally reaching the first 1000 points were a huge motivation to go out there and activate different summits, i visited summits in my neighborhood that i have not even heard of before … and i’m sure a lot of other sota activatiors felt the same way at the beginning of their SOTA carreer. if i have the choice of activating 3-4 (almost) drive-on 10 pointers or a 2 pointer with 3 hours of walking i would definately go for the second option.

i think almost everybody knows that the summit point system does not show the “real” effort we put into reaching and activating a summit! but the points system we have right now is a fundamental part of the programme and it would be a big mistake to cancel or change it. if you choose not to claim and count your activator points … it is your personal decision. but if you look at the huge majority of activators and chasers entering every QSO to the database (including me) the system as it is right now seems to be working just fine.

73 martin, oe5reo


I fully agree with Martin! Nice summary of my SOTA motivation, nothing more to add.

Heinz, OE5EEP

1 Like

Many interesting statements, indeed!

But there is still a burning question: What is the benefit of adding together complex altitude points over simply counting activations to mark one’s progress?

Is the first method more objective? - No!
Is it more reliable? - No!
Is it more valid? - No!

Furthermore, the poll above suggests that people do not leave SOTA if their progress is indicated only by a growing number of activations.

So why keep the far more complex altitude points any longer? Is there a really good reason for that?

Well, I know it’s hard to change a running system! :wink:

73, Alfred, OE5AKM

Because you are not reducing complexity, just shifting it elsewhere

A typical November discussion?


Am in contest with me self.

But more of a challenge to do better via improving the station I have from early days of a Trio 120V and a G5RV with the 10w licence to the more better station with two good antennas i use now. More bands into VHF and UHF and better antennas on there. The FT450 and FT857D moving on from the old Trio 120V. And the improvement of the licence increasing station Power to 50w.

Next stage of the challenge get the triple stage tower sorted out and the MM3 HF beam up and better side the the Vhf /Uhf with upgraded Coax etc. And one day do me Full licence Likes the sound of M5FEH :wink:


28K :slight_smile:

As I suspected, you are attempting to use the result of the vote to a different question to justify a way forward that nobody wants. If nothing else, that is at least topical.

Why not simply ask the question “Do you want to retain the existing points system, or change to ranking by number of activations?” I am certain you would not get the result you’d hope for - which is probably why you asked a different question.

If ranking was by pure number of activations, my own world ranking would rocket from #82 to #2 - but no thank you, the points system works perfectly well for me.


Hey Alfred

First of all, you have to define what - for SOTA - a mountain is. Then the mountain is rated - because every mountain is unique . OK - you could still more differentiate:
Distance and altitude that must be traversed on foot … if you need a chainsaw or a machete to get to the summit … alpine mountaineering equipment and experiences are necessary … and so on…
No matter.
The rules are set and more demanding (for example) compared to GMA. That’s why I personally only do SOTA.
Anyone can of course be active without any database entry … or he invents a new game and finds players …
Just do it :wink:

73 Armin

1 Like

The question is if we would do SOTA without the points and the answer is 9% wouldn’t. That means without the points, about 1 in 10 people that have invested in equipment and built emotional attachment to the program would give it up. This is a negative fact about the change, proven by your poll.

Is there any proven significant positive about your proposed change that outweighs that negative plus all the disruption and risk associated with a major change in a program that has been running successfully for 17 years ?


Just seen this question which I am not answering. What about Chasers and Completers, i.e. those of us who Chase and Activate?

73 Phil

Is SOTA a challenge? a competition?

I don’t know and I don’t care. The only thing I know and do care is that SOTA is FUN !!!