I had a QSO with an operator on Mt. Umunhum (W6/CC-052) from Black Mountain (W6/NC-150). The other operator didn’t know about SOTA. We exchanged information.
The General Rules say that the chaser “must make a QSO with the Summit Expedition” (Section 3.8 #2). The rules for a valid expedition in 3.7.1 don’t require that the operators are aware of SOTA.
I did not verify that the operator was not in a car and I did not verify that they were in the AZ (though I think all of the public area on Mt. Um is in the AZ). So, I don’t think I could log it.
But hypothetically, if I’d asked and the operator said he was on a trail and next to the radar building, would that be a valid chase? Because I might find him and send e-mail to verify if the S2S was good.
In other news, I spent 40 minutes calling CQ, with self-spotting, and got zero chases on 20, one on 40, and one contact on 2m. But it was a lovely day on the mountain.
This was on Sunday, Feb 4. I was on the air from 12:20 to 1 PM local time with SSB. I saw spots for activations in W7O and W7W, both on 20 m, during that time. I could hear the chasers, but not the activators. Usually, those would be workable on 20 m.
I could hear the Noontime Net (http://www.noontimenet.org) on 40 and they said that propagation was terrible. They couldn’t hear me.
I forgot to beg for VHF chasers on the local repeater, which usually works.
Conditions were pretty dire on Sunday. I only had six successful chases. One was on 20 metres, but other activations on that band were inaudible, including operators that I have often worked in the past. 40 metres was very long, and I heard nobody who was less than about 300 miles away and distant activations were drowned in the babble of European stations that were two or three deep on every frequency. However I worked five activators on 60 metres. I guess that in sunspot minimum conditions it pays to be capable of working on as many bands as possible so that you can find one that is working well.
The activator is an activator if he or she meets the rules of sota, whether they are aware of them or not. If they are true /p by the sota rules then the chase (and thus the s2s) is valid. I worked a vhf contest station last month on a summit. Followed up with an email and discovered they were /m. No s2s claimed. Still a pleasant contact and counted for 1 on my activator log ( to help achieve the magic 4).
On a couple of occasions when activating I have made a random 2m contact with the other person being on a SOTA summit. After confirming that they met the requirements for a SOTA activation, I have convinced them to try an activation themselves and posted a spot to get them going.
This happens often on Pikes Peak, being a driveup summit, with tourists driving to the summit and playing ham radio. Usually, just asking what they are using for radio and antenna reveals whether they are SOTA-compliant.