I’m Doing My First SOTA Activation This Saturday

Greetings from NYS. I have had my tech license since last September and I have been trying to figure out what direction I want to go with radio. SOTA seems to check all the boxes for me. I’ll be hiking up Overlook Mountain -W2/GC-112 - in Woodstock, NY. I’ll be running my FT60 with a few antennas to see what works best for me. I have a Signal Stuff Signal Stick, Ed Fong DBJ-2 roll up j-pole and an Arrow II. I plan on spending a few hours at the peak (as long as the weather is on my side) and experimenting with those antennas. I’m pretty pumped about this.



Jeremy, a good plan for your first activation is to pack your bag with whatever you think you need, radio, antennas, cables, batteries, walking gear etc. and then go outside with the bag and pretend you are at the summit. Set up the station and make a list of everything you used to set up. Make a list of everything in your bag (not just radio stuff) that you didn’t use. You will probably have forgotten something and will have too much other stuff. This way you can ensure you have what you will need when you get to the real summit.

The list of things you didn’t use. Keep a tally of how many times you took stuff you didn’t use. Eventually you can use it to refine what is essential, what is desirable and what is dead weight.

Best of luck.


I’ll second everything Andy said.

Additionally, check out the mini video series @N1CLC created called “SOTA 360”

He Christian does a great job of covering many aspects of SOTA from planning to activation.


Good to have multiple antennas, to add to what Andy said, test them before you go. On my first ever activation a couple months ago, I had one fail in the back yard the night before. The Signal Stick is a great choice for SOTA. I have it on my 2nd HT on the shoulder strap of my pack, and it won’t break banging into branches and such on the hike. I leave that HT on during the hike for Wilderness Protocol, and I’ve manged an S2S because it was on while I was getting ready to leave the summit.


I was on that peak in April operating CW on 7, 10 and 14 mHz. The hike up is entirely on a gravel fire service road. The peak has a fire tower (closed due to pandemic, as you likely know) and a relatively large open area (80’ x 80’) opposite the cabin (which may be occupied by volunteers). There is constant foot traffic in the area so be prepared for plenty of questions (or strange looks) and be sure to mark any overhanging antenna wires or guys with flagging to avoid accidents. Have fun! 73! Mike, WB2FUV


Yeah I’m definitely pumped. I just hope the weather cooperates.


Jeremey, wish you all the best for that!

One very helpful video for me was this one, maybe you want to have a look:
Look on YouTube for “How to Undertake a SOTA Activation - Step by Step Guide” by M0JCQ

73 de Thomas DB4LL

Thanks for all of the support and tips! Unfortunately it looks like I’m going to have to postpone my first SOTA. They are now calling for a “tropical storm” in my area of NYS… Oh well. There’s always next weekend.