High fuel prices vs. Sota activations

Hello Sota friends, some have asked me why I activate fewer peaks than in the last few years.

The Ukraine war is bad enough. As is well known, fuel prices have become very expensive with it. To reach a summit I have to drive at least 60 km +… This greatly affects our family finances. I have 2 small children and am a normal earner. Nevertheless, I still try to activate summits from time to time. As it turns out. It’s just annoying as I’ve been home for 2 months now and would have plenty of time. Nevertheless, I try to be active as a chaser.

How are you with the high cost of living that we now have? How do you deal with it?

Best regards and good health 73 Michael

In German:

Hallo Sota Freunde mich haben schon einige gefragt, warum ich weniger Gipfel aktiviere wie in den letzten Jahren.

Der Ukrainekrieg ist schon schlimm genug. Mit ihm sind ja bekanntlich die Spritpreise sehr teuer geworden. Um einen Gipfel zu erreichen muss ich mindestens 60 km +… fahren. Dies wirkt sich sehr auf unsere Familienfinanzen aus. Ich habe 2 kleine Kinder und bin Normalverdiener. Nicht desto trozt versuche ich weiterhin gelegentlich Summits zu aktivieren. Wie es sich halt ergibt. Es ist nur ärgerlich, da ich jetzt 2 Monate zuhause bin und sehr viel Zeit hätte. Nichts desto trotz versuche ich aber als Chaser aktiv zu sein.

Wie geht es euch mit den hohen Lebenskosten die wir inzwischen haben? Wie geht Ihr damit um?

Beste Grüße und viel Gesundheit 73 Michael


Hi Michael.
What I try is to activate more than one summit per trip. But where I live it is quite complicated since I don’t have many summits that are very close to each other to activate them in a single hike. Another possibility is that you activate another summit on the route when you return home.
73 Takeo


Hi Michael, Like you, I have restricted my travels this year. I don’t see the point in wasting money and increasing pollution by driving a long distance to activate a new Unique peak. I have to drive 100km to 200km to reach new mountains that interest me. Instead, I have spent time on other hobbies and trying to fit in repeats of local hills. When I repeat a hill, I always to find a different route, or a different mode/band. That way it can still be really exciting and interesting.

The distant peaks will have to wait for the holidays.

73, Fraser MM0EFI


To be ghoulish, we’re all going to be dead a long time and I haven’t been working for the past 42 years (university and jobs) to stop working and live like a recluse. I am exceptionally lucky to be transitioning from full time work to part time work and that will enable me to absorb the increased cost of distant summits to a large degree. Not everyone else is so lucky especially if you have young kids and a mortgage still.

Also I have 3 summits that are within 60km round trip so I have enough local summits to keep the SOTA itch scratched if I don’t want to drive and suffer the cost. I’ve tested this by activating Scald Law GM/SS-125 9 times for only 1 set of points in the last 12months. It’s not got boring because I get the exercise, I get into some mountain scenery and best of all there are always chasers to make it worthwhile. I can still get S2S points.

You just have to adjust what you can do to what you can afford to do. I’ll activate whilst I can and if you can chase me Michael then we still get to enjoy SOTA and I can tell you that I don’t care how many times the same people chase me, every QSO makes me smile.


I’m with you on that Andy. My biggest problem since retiring, is that I haven’t as much free time as I had when I was working :laughing:

73 Victor GI4ONL


Yes, life has become more expensive.

I retired at the beginning of the year. I never had enough money to buy my own property. I was a single father. I live in rented accommodation and have little chance to influence the associated costs.
But when the son was out of the house, I put something aside every month for years and thus already lived with less income than I could have. This savings I can now get back monthly, so that the gap is not so large … and I can still maintain my usual standard of living.

But I still notice it.

Actually, I also had more plans now in retirement … especially travel! The planned big expensive (air)trips are now replaced by smaller ones. But maybe one more… and I’ll do that now, as long as I still can.

I no longer need to take care of my son. The trick will be to synchronize the end of my life with the end of my savings. :smile:

73 Armin


Another possibility is to do joint activations. This will reduce the costs and will be more fun…
But take care, the regular stop in the pub might eat up some of it… :wink:

73s Ingo


Hello everyone.
We are paying over $2 per litre for diesel now. Last week Hugh and I drove 440 km to get 3 summits from my car shed and back home. This week we are doing 1 summit that is 500 km round trip. The personnel expense is shared with Hugh and I, we take my vehicle then next time we take his. Whoever owns the vehicle puts the fuel in and pays for it usually $150 per tankful. But we try to fit as many summits in as possible per trip and if we do a single day trip it usually is a summit that takes all day to hike up etc. Tuesday summit is a 14 km hike so that’s a full day out for us old fellas and we just have to wear it. Yes it is a problem but we feel we still need to put in as hard as we can to get Hugh up to Old Goat which should be in 2024 all going well. That’s assuming we can still get around our list of about 46 summits per season which we do in the cooler months in vk5. Too hot and fire dangerous out during summer here, and with no winter bonus and low scoring summits it takes a while. [not complaining MT ] just saying. No snow you see but minus 3 and frost don’t count as too cold.
Its about 8,700 kms of driving to do the 46 summits on our list that’s roughly $1740 for fuel plus accoms about another $600 when we stay away overnight. For a couple old pensioners we do OK I recon keeping chasers amused in their warm radio shacks. Its the nature of the beast I am afraid what else would I rather do, mmmm can’t think really. Just got my third pair of hikers run in so gota wear them out too.
Take care out there.
vk5cz Ian …

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Luxury! It’s about $3.24AUD a litre in the UK for diesel. But we drive shorter distances.

Last month the SP95 E10 was reaching up to 2€ in France, now with the help of government is down to 1.69€, 1.79€ for diesel :wink:
You have to go in France to do some activation’s :crazy_face:
73, Éric


End of October/Start of November is when I hope to get down to Southern France again.

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(Southern Germany Jet prices in late June)

Thanks for the info Eric. It was 10p (UK £) per litre cheaper in Germany compared to Britain at the time, in late June for Friedrichshafen. I will be buying some E10 in France on 16 September near the FL/NO-141 Boulogne area. As I have a plug in hybrid that will drive for around 65 Km on electric it will be interesting to see if I can plug it in at the Gite we are going to in Brittany to recharge it and save some €uros! I will be taking a long mains extension, but we will have to see if the mains plug is capable of supplying the necessary power for around 6 hours! I think the owner has a limit on the amount of electricity one can use per day on average. I must look at the contract (Gites de France).

73 Phil


Oh you have a long way to go with that malarky young man…

What I’ve done this year, is hardly new behaviour for me. But the cost of living issue and fuel prices have focused my mind on such behaviour.

Essentially, I never travel for ONLY a SOTA activation - unless it’s one of my 3 local summits that are within 15km of my home QTH.

I activate a summit on the way to work. (I work as a professional musician so get around the country quite a lot, and my fuel expenses are always covered as part of the formula for the fees).

I activate a summit on the way to a football match. (I support Macclesfield FC and go to away matches if I’m not gigging - most away grounds in our league are in the G/SP region).

I activate summits if I’m on a family holiday. Family holidays these days tend to be in GM or GW, so once based at the accommodation, there’s typically plenty of available summits very nearby).

In all three situations, the fuel expense is already there for a specific reason, and I’m hardly adding to it (or air pollution) by including a SOTA activation.

That’s my take on it anyway. I also tend to agree with Andy that I want to enjoy my life and my free time. Therefore, a few “sensible adjustments” as outlined above, but no major change of lifestyle or habit. And like I said, this kind of was how I was doing things for some time anyway!


We have the same fuel prices here as in the US (more or less), so right now US$1.05 per liter, and that is still doable. But I have a rule that if the summit is within 30 km range I take my 125cc scooter, unless the route is really motorcycle unfriendly. The cost to run a scooter is 1/3 of a car, so we (wife, son and me) hardly drive anymore.

As for general living expenses: we hardly eat out, eat less meat at home and I eat less overall. We also hardly buy drinks, but instead I get damaged fruit from the farmers market for a bargain and make my own juice. Because of all these small savings I had enough money to buy a new phone when mine started acting up, so a win-win.


An unpopular but true statement is SOTA is not about climbing and hiking but about driving a car. Here in the US Southwest, distances can be daunting to a peak and often end with more than a few miles of bouncy on rough roads. So it comes with the territory. Many have purchased specialized vehicles for the activity whose cost puts the actual radio gear cost to shame. Usually that SOTA vehicle has a far higher fuel cost than a car used for grocery shopping.

If its the exercise you are proud of, well, leaving and returning directly from my house on a bicycle looks a heck of a lot greener. The actual dollar cost of the gasoline to Mother Earth is irrelevant of course. Its gone and burned regardless. Cost per gallon doesnt matter.

We are all consumers and part of this overall earth warming consumption going forward. Lets not kid ourselves with something like SOTA being a “low impact green activity”. Whenever one of my activities starts to seem about as opposite green as can be imagined, I always turn to the false justification that “its better than owning an airplane or better than owning a sailboat etc”, a false feel good justification.

Facing the reality of the activity and then going forward is important to our conscience.

All this said, its a great part of the hobby and gets you to great places, Guilt be damned.



I’ve been getting the bus for some single summit activations rather than driving. It’s £5.70 to go anywhere in GW, although it was £0 on the long distance buses pre-covid.
I wouldn’t want to do it every time because its slow (e.g. 3 hours each way to get to GW/NW-001), and for some summits there’s no reasonable public transport option.

Another option is drive somewhere, stay over and do multiple activations in an area over a few days. Cost and availability of accomodation is an issue though, particularly at this time of year.

Despite doing less activating at the moment, I’m not sitting inside at home doing nothing…


I bought a small dual sport motorcycle about 5 years ago and use it frequently for SOTA. It gets ~70MPG (3.36 l/100km). I recently got an eBike which allows the use of a Prius for the highway section, and the eBike does the long forest road sections to get to trailheads.

I’m blessed to live in an area with lots of summits that are not too far away, but we still end up driving long distances to get to new summits.

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I know what you mean Cap, but that is like saying work wasn’t about driving boats and teaching crews, but rather about flying and driving (even more than SOTA). SOTA is not about driving for me, the driving is just a nescessary evil to enable me to do SOTA.


In Germany petrol costs a few cents more than in France, but in Autumn prices are expected to reach 2,50 Euro again.

For some areas e.g. Palatinate, public transport will take up to 3h while with a car it will take only.1h… so up to 6h in trains and busses for an activation is not a nice option.


As a retiree/pensioner living on a fixed income during inflationary times, I have adjusted by eliminating or cutting back on discretionary items that contributed little or nothing to my overall well-being. When I retired in 2010, my wife and I sold our home and almost everything we owned and chose to lead a mobile lifestyle. We’re now living in our third RV/caravan since then. We also lived for 2 years in Portugal where the cost of living was very reasonable for us. When we returned to the US in September 2021, we decided to return to the RV/caravan lifestyle as it suits our personalities very well. We move our tiny home with the weather a few times per year and locate it in areas where there are many SOTA summits.

After 7 years involvement with SOTA, I’ve seen how much it has contributed to my overall physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. As a result, I easily self-justify the associated expenses of a high ground clearance vehicle, fuel, hiking gear, radios, accessories and all the upkeep required. I look at it as medicine for my soul.

73 de K9PM Paul