Do you need 4 qso for HF?

I am heading out this afternoon for my first activation, its going to be on HF. My question is do I need 4 QSO for activation or just one? I saw its 4 on VHF but could not find any info if its the same on HF and other bands? Any help is appreciated heading out shortly!

It could not be simpler, from the rules.


Got it, thank you.


Please check the time of your SOTA Alert for today. Alerts and spots are all in UTC time (GMT). Are you really planning your activation for 0800 UTC?

While it’s great to just jump into SOTA, and you should do this today, you should read through the SOTA Rules soon. In many ways it’s a game, played globally with thousands of players, and most of them play by the rules.

At a minimum you’ll want to learn what qualifies as a contact, what is the Activation Zone, where must the operator be on the peak, what kind of power source is required, can you use a vehicle and how, when do you get points for a particular summit, how many bands can you use, bonus points, special rules for each SOTA Association, etc.

There also are some prohibited modes of contact, like repeaters, and some allowed modes, like satellites.

There’s a fair bit to learn about the SOTA Database and logging, and those of us who do a lot of large activations have been through a learning curve - but logging a few contacts is easy!

There also are more opportunities for fun and challenges than you might realize at first:

  1. S2S contacts and special points
  2. SOTA Complete contacts
  3. Numerous awards and listings
  4. Special contests within SOTA

Have fun today ! Welcome to an amazing group of operators!




Dude, have a blast. That’s so awesome, welcome to SOTA! Post a write-up when you get back and let us know how it goes.

Call me a thickie but I don’t understand the first sentence: At least one QSO must be made from the Summit to qualify it as an activation.

In what sense is it a SOTA activation unless you qualify it [with 4 or more QSOs]? i.e. what is an unqualified activation?

One QSO is needed just to have something to enter it the database. No points earned but your callsign will be in the list.
Not really relevant usual SOTA operation conditions. For first activations it might be.

Is that useful?

I assume failing to qualify a summit [i.e. getting 1 to 3 QSOs] places no restriction on re-attempts. e.g. you could come back the next day or even the same day to try again.

You could still get a SOTA complete for the summit even without earning activation points.

Revisiting the summit and getting 4 or more QSO is of course the goal.
But especially for newcomers maybe activating only on VHF with a handheld might not give 4 QSO. But still the chance to document the activity. Does is hurt anyone else - no.

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Joe, you probably can tell that I’m not really into collecting points [though I always upload my activator logs so chasers can do so]. Is a SOTA Complete where you have activated a summit [whether or not you also qualify the summit] AND you have chased an activator on the same summit?

An unqualified activation is a hike. In the General Rules, I believe it is called an expedition.

The database counts all activations. It also collect points for activations that score points. You can have the first activation for a summit without scoring points.




Before I was bringing a HF rig I had troubles in some areas to get 4 QSO - or just barely got 4. But keeping track of your activities (not activations) is a good thing to recall. And of course also to confirm it for the chasers.

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Yes if you collect unique activations. Without looking I have about 450 unique summit activations. Two of those 450 or so gained me no points as I only had 3 QSOs on each summit.

Likewise completes. You need to have an activation logged (points or not) and a chase logged for the complete count.

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S2S QSOs, with S2S scoring credit could happen from an unqualified activation too.

I have an unqualified activation already this year. I only managed 3 QSOs when I activated Gun G/SP-013 before lockdown came in in early January. Sometime later in the year I will return, get the 4+ QSOs and get the point. But the fact is, I still made 3 activator QSOs on my previous visit, and they were with SOTA chasers. So the summit was definitely activated - and chased - and I logged my activation and QSOs accordingly. I just didn’t get the activator point. I will later in the year though.

Mind you, I thought that when I failed to qualify Wendover Woods G/CE-005 last year. I had loads of gigs in the diary that would see me travelling towards and into the Home Counties, and this would be the only remotely feasible summit to visit en route. Hence I was totally relaxed about not getting my 2020 activator point on the first of what would surely be several activations in 2020…

Little did I know…

In addition to the other examples, the Mountain Explorer awards also require only an activation, not a qualified activation, in order to qualify as activating that association (which is good, because I can claim 9V and W2 because of that, and when I get around to adding my log, VK5 on VHF too)

The simple answer to your question is that there is no difference in QSO requirements between various bands.

All bands have the same rules and bands are not relevant to that rule, so you can combine bands, for example 1 contact on 2m, 1 on 70cm and 2 on 10m.

Also modes can be mixed, so some can be ssb, some fm, some cw, some digital etc.

The 4 qsos must be with different (chaser) callsigns.

Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

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Now that I know all about completes, Andy, you throw in another term I see a lot on the reflector but don’t know - so what is a unique ?

P.S. Andy - I like your new logo

Tom, until I moved to Cumbria two years ago, G/CE-005 was my local summit [5 minutes drive then a pleasant 20 minutes walk up through the woods]. I wonder if your activation was on 2m during a working day. It could often be hard to get 4+ QSOs during working hours.

Each new summit you activate that you have’t activated before is a unique. There’s a uniques honour roll on the database.

Unique summit.

You should have a good explore of the menu items on the database and look at what the options on those pages show. It’s the best way of seeing what all the different parts of SOTA are.

Or to be a bit more forthcoming - I quote from the Awards section: It is purely the number of distinct summits activated or chased regardless of SOTA points

Well, although I’m not personally interested in awards [the hill walking and the technical aspects of operating a portable station in all kinds of terrain and weather are reward / award enough for me] I’m sure many will have been enlightened [as I was] to these aspects of SOTA summarized in this short thread and may well take them up as a result.