General Rules, Section 3.7

Hello everyone.
I recently saw a SOTA activity carried out from the interior of a mountain refuge.
According to Section 3.7 of the General Rules. It should interpret a mountain refuge as a automobile.
Can anyone clarify this situation? is allowed?

Tks Dani EA5FV.

If the refuge is open and any one can use it then it is not a problem. If it was private, only open to some people then it would be outside the rules.

But it is a while since I looked at this part of the rules so I will have to check…

This is a difficult one, Dani. There are so many different ways of looking at it.

Nobody would deny an activator to use a tent or “bivvy bag” on a summit, and it is customary to take advantage of any shelter that the summit offers. I have seen activation photographs where the station has been set up on a picnic table outside a summit cafe which serves skiers, which is acceptable but a bit uncomfortable for a purist. If the photograph shows the mountain refuge in question then it looks to be a sunstantial and well maintained structure, and this may well be uncomfortable to a purist but is not against the rules.

I would offer the thought that this should only be against the rules if the structure has power available, otherwise it should be seen in the same light as a (very) substantial tent.

What do others think?


The use of mains power is not allowed. Having it available is not the same as using it so your argument is moot Brian on that point.

We allow people to use fire lookout towers etc. on summits including hanging antennas from them etc. As all can use the tower, so no one person gains an advantage. Same with this refuge, if all can use it then no one person gains an advantage.


Au contraire, Andy. This is my reasoning: If a mountain shelter has services then it is no longer a shed but a habitation. If we take a summit with houses on it, such as G/WB-021 Ruardene Hill, it would not be permissable to operate from inside one of those houses even if using battery power, it would no longer be within the spirit of SOTA. The importance of this is that some alpine (and other) summits have bunkhouses and other facilities such as cafes within the AZ - it might be possible for any visiting ham to operate with battery power from within these facilities but would it be in the spirit of SOTA?

By the way, I think you used the term “moot” to mean irrelevant. This is not just a modern inaccuracy but a total reversal of meaning - the anglo-saxon and medieval usage was of a meeting for debate or a court.

I don’t see see such restrictions in section 3.7. My explanation is that operating from any building is allowed as long as a portable power source is used.

73, Hans PB2T

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There are no such restrictions in section 3.7, Hans, the matter has not been considered until now. There is a catch-all clause at the bottom of the Code of Conduct ‘3.7.3, “The Golden Rule” is that all participants are required to operate in a manner that is in keeping with the spirit of the programme.’

The rules, as they stand, would permit operation from the hut. If it had mains power available, then it shouldn’t be used. Brian’s stance that the availability of mains power renders a hut unusable has some merit, but would require an update to the GR in order to action.


I agree that “moot” should be used to mean “debatable”, rather than “irrelevant”. I think like the word “anticipate”, which is used incorrectly as a synonym for “expect”, common usage is blurring the meaning of “moot”.

In this situation, it is debatable whether the spirit of SOTA is defined, or indeed definable. It is whatever each person wants it to be, or whatever the MT wants it to be. The meaning is moot.


Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

Whilst analysing a possible future association I noticed a rather posh hotel possibly within the AZ on the highest summit. So I envisaged activating with a handheld whilst enjoying room service (champaign) breakfast in bed! So not even if you turned the lights out and activated from under the sheets with a head torch? Bother!

As I recall my home town has a moot. Perhaps further north that would be a thing.

Storm shelters often generate that much noise on the MIC that they are more trouble then they are worth sometimes !

Here you go:

Er yeah, …

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As I said:


1historical An assembly held for debate, especially in Anglo-Saxon and medieval times.

1.1 A regular gathering of people having a common interest.

it also says

2 Having little or no practical relevance:
‘the whole matter is becoming increasingly moot’

which would mean your both right. But don’t get onto the differences with the word ‘set’. I believe (i may be wrong) it has the most meanings of any word in the dictionary.

I guess it’d be alright if you stood under a cold shower whilst operating :smile:

As an activator, I wouldn’t be offended to find that someone else had operated from within a building in the AZ (not mains powered, obviously).
It’s not as though this is a great loophole to be exploited. Very few summits - I suppose - would offer this sort of facility, so I’d just see it as part of the rich variety offered by the SOTA programme.


Returning to the subject: I do not think that we need to make any change to the General Rules. The “Spirit of SOTA” is a nebulous concept but I think we can all recognise what it means. SOTA can only run on trust. In the absense of more information we assume that in the case described by Dani the activator obtained nothing more than shelter from the refuge.

Yes, but you are getting confused between the adjective and the noun. MM0FMF was using it correctly as an adjective.

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Maybe the use of moot is now deprecated?


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The sentence structure was abiguous, in that position it could well be a noun!