Other SOTA sites: SOTAwatch | SOTA Home | Database | Video | Photos | Shop | Mapping | FAQs | Facebook | Contact SOTA

Do you fix your antenna to the summit cross?


Almost always I carry my telescopic pole to build the antenna. I like to fix it with Velcro straps.
When I’m on the summit looking for a place to build my antenna, my eyes will inevitably fall on the summit cross, if there is one …
But I use it only when I’m alone and expect no other hikers. I always think that other people feel disturbed by it.

I prefer to go a little way off and use a railing or the pole of a signpost, if there is something … and I use my headphones.

What do you think about it? Do you have any experiences?

73 Armin


Hi Armin,
I am of the same opinion. I avoid strapping the fishing pole to the holy cross and rather look for a fence post or suitable tree. I have on one or two occasions in the past used the cross as a support - but it didn’t feel right. I even carry a surveyors tripod to many summits now, as I know that I can use that to support the mast without needing to rely on other possibilities being there and I can then position the mast where it is best to deploy the antenna.

73 Ed.


I fully agree with Armin and Ed.
73 Martin

Hello Armin,

I agree with you. We schould not risk any arguing with other people on a mountain top where a cross is situated.We should avoid complaints of hikers . There are already some summits here in Austria, where landowners don’t want to see radio amateurs on their property.
In very rare occasions I use the guying steel ropes of the cross to fix the mast, but most of the time I find a smal bush or tree away from the cross or use my waking sticks as a mount. Other hikers often want to make a picture of themselves in the front of the cross. I wouldn’t like an antenna on my picture.
So my suggestion is: never use the cross as a support for your mast.

Peter, OE5AUL


I agree with you, Armin!
73, de Fabio, IK2LEY

I would not risk doing anything that might reasonably be expected to bring our hobby (and inter alia SOTA) into disrepute. So no, I would not use a summit cross to support an antenna.

In the UK this happens at trig points, so for the same reason I do not attach my pole to trig points unless I am fairly certain that no-one will be coming to the summit.

I totally agree with the opinions expressed in respect of attaching poles to crosses on summits.


That’s always a tricky one. I’ve used the trig point a few times on small, pointy, rocky summits where guying the pole is difficult and then found someone appears mid activation.

More often, I’ve had to abandon plans to go QRV on HF because there was nowhere suitable to erect a 20m-long EFHW without the risk of people walking into it.

I entirely agree regarding not using mountain summit crosses as aerial supports. We need to be empathetic to our surroundings and the feelings of others.

I very rarely use trig points either. On HF my link dipole for 60/40/30/20 is supported at the center feedpoint on a 6m fiber glass / carbon “slip over” pole supported by 3 nylon cords and secured with plastic tent pegs (or stones as appropriate). I endeavor to operate away from the summit to avoid any annoyance to others on the summit, usually gaining shelter on the lee side of the hill.

Within the rules the operator can be as much as 100ft below the summit. I suggest we use that allowance to advantage while creating harmony.

David G0EVV

I strongly support the idea of not using the summit crosses as antenna support, because it could well be seen as sacrilege by any other religious people around or when reading our activation reports and seeing the pictures.
On the other hand, I don’t really see a problem with attaching a fishing rod temporary to a trig point, as this is just a man made structure for cartographic purposes and no one are using such trig point for anything while we are activating with our antenna attached to it. In addition, I see this practice as a very good way to let people know about our ham radio and SOTA hobby. I personally do talk and explain what I’m going to do or what I’m doing whenever they show up in the summit while I’m there, as long as they don’t ask me questions while I’m transmitting morse code or speaking to the microphone, in which case I make a sign with my hands meanning that I can’t talk and I’ll explain them later.
Setting up away from the summit might be seen by others like we might be doing something obscure and suspicious.
I not only explain people what I’m doing, but I also offer them to listen through a spare pair of earbuds I always have connected in parallel with the ones I always use. Not everybody try them but some do and they enjoy and amaze with what they hear. I think that’s a great way to make publicity of our hobby and SOTA. No wonder why I’m a member of the Global Publicity Team… :wink:



The actual distance is 25 metres below the summit for a contour defining the AZ (activation zone). That is 82 feet, a smaller distance but should still make it possible to set up a station with the consideration for others requested in the Code of Conduct (3.7.3 in the GR).

1 Like

Apologies for my generalisation but the principle remains.

Agreed Guru. It is just that on summits that are popular with walkers, for example in the Lake District (G/LD), people taking photographs of their friends at the trig is quite common. Indeed I have sometimes been asked to take photographs for individuals and groups. Having my pole in the photograph would have been somewhat embarassing. :frowning_face:

I don’t see it embarrasing but a perfect way to engrave in their memory what they found that day in that summit , i.e. a nice ham radio fellow who kindly explained that he was participating in the SOTA program by activating that summit and making contacts with other ham radio people all around the World. Isn’t it a nice thing to find one day and to tell to their family and friends about? It’s perfect publicity for SOTA.
In addition to this, I have several times thought about an idea I’ve never expressed here before but some of you might have previously considered: what about preparing and printing some sort of fliers with a basic short information about the SOTA program, both in English on the one side and in a second language on the other side (French, German, Italian, Spanish, etc…). Activators may have a few of them in their rucksack to be distributed to people they might meet in the summits feeling interested by what they see we are doing.
Any thoughts?

P.D. what I do is showing them the SOTA logo in my baseball hat and then telling them to search SOTA on Google.

Hallo Armin,

I fully agree with you, I never install my antenna on a cross. There are enough other ways to erect our aerials. Just taking a (more) little time by taking a look around the Summit !
A good exemple is quit near Lörrach, in GMA with the “Schafberg” (DA/BW-070) ; This path is part of the road of Saint Jacques de Compostela. It would be very bad to erect an antenna there ….

Given the religious nature of the holy crosses, I am also not happy that they often have a metal box containing a notepad and pencil attached to them so that hikers can “sign-in” at the cross. That, being a permanent defacing of the cross, I would see as a worse action than the temporary support of a mast as long as the mast doesn’t mark the cross in any way. As I said before, I avoid attaching my mast to the cross for support as I don’t think that is the correct thing to do.
On the two occasions that I did do it (around 5 years ago) I did not get any negative comments, rather interest in what I was doing - it sort of acted like a flag to attract the public!

73 Ed.

Ok, on the one hand, the summit cross can be considered as a religious symbol that is desecrated by an antenna.
But I see the summit cross as respect in front of the mountain itself.
It does not necessarily have to be a cross. It also came to be as a monument. I’m having a hard time fixing my antenna to it.

By the way, the book on the summit where you can sign up has the same reason: it gives respect to the mountain - therefore I have no problem that it is attached to the cross…

At a trig point, I would have fewer concerns. …It is in connection with the mountain, which is used for a technical purpose and no longer serves the homage of the mountain itself.

Still, if there is another attachment point, I will take it.

73 Armin

1 Like

On popular summits, I try to operate away from the trig point/cairn/other summit marker if practical unless there’s no protection from adverse weather elsewhere in the AZ.

In any case, I have found people friendly - including a farmer who raced up on his all-terrain vehicle initially to complain about my 10m pole and quad-band dipole on his land - once they understand what I’m doing there.

The exception was last week on G/LD-022 Seat Sandal early morning, alone on the summit. Suddenly a woman appeared. I was already sitting in a drystone windbreak out of the 3C icy wind and had a lot of my gear unpacked. She said she was local and an amateur photographer and wanted to take photos of the (lovely) views including where I was sitting (strange). I willingly volunteered to step away for a bit for her photos but she wanted all my stuff removed too. At this point, I politely declined saying I was already cold (true) and didn’t want to repack everything and move away from the summit.

She then said people who sit too long [duration undefined] at summits are called ‘summit hoggers’ - a term new to me. I hadn’t unpacked my radio gear yet. I asked for clarification in case I had misheard [it was very windy]. Did ‘summit hoggers’ refer to people who sit at the summit (“Yes of course!”) or someone who expects everyone else to vacate the summit so they can have it to themselves, e.g. for photos (“Oh no! Certainly not.”).

I activated the summit pretty quickly on 2m but abandoned my plans to do HF as she said she would return shortly. I asked her, didn’t everyone have an equal right to be at the summit, to sit, enjoy the view, eat lunch, warm up again, take photos? Isn’t “summit hogger” a derogatory term?

I guess the point of my [long] story is that – although she may be the one exception – I get the impression some summit visitors resent not having the place to themselves. Maybe it’s only a problem in tourist area like G/LD. A good reason to be as low profile as possible.

1 Like

Depends on whether it’s a popular summit. When I expect people on the summit, other than myself or my companions, I avoid using any marker on the summit because people usually want to take pictures there. Sometimes I do use the cross or a different summit marker when I know there’s not going to be anyone else on the summit.

The trig point question is less relevant in Bavaria as it is usually a stone of about 4 inches cube buried in the undergrowth and cannot be used to support a mast. I’m not sure if this is only in Bavaria or generally in Germany. I haven’t seen any Trig point structures similar to what I know of from Australia and the UK in Germany as yet. But if I did find such a structure, I would not be too worried about using it as a mast support as it is an industrial construction used for surveying rather than a religious structure.

73 Ed.