Idea for a New SOTA Activity, Thoughts?

I had an idea that I thought would be a great activity for SOTA. I’m still very new to the group but I want to contribute. “Fresh Blood Moves the Most Muscle!”

I know SOTA is not a contesting activity, but I was thinking of trying to start a SOTA activity day contest based around the concept of SOTA on un-activated peaks.

Some general contest “rules” I would propose:

Objective: SOTA activators around the world are to look for and activate peaks with an emphasis on activating summits that have not been activated prior, with SOTA chasers attempting to contact as many activators as possible.

Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6 and VHF/UHF bands legal in each area

for Activators: Honest RST, Summit Identifier, and power in watts (ex. 5W, 100W, 1500W)
for Chasers: Honest RST, State/Province/DX, and power in watts (ex. 5W, 100W, 1500W)

Entry Categories for Activators:

  1. First Activator - Must operate from a summit that has not been activated before, or was first activated no earlier than 7 days before the contest (in case someone activates your summit prior to the contest or to allow for scouting trips).
  2. First Activator QRP - Same as above but must operate with less than 5 watts (10 watts SSB???)
  3. Repeat Activator - An activator on a summit already activated by the 7 day deadline.
  4. Repeat Acitvator QRP - Same as above but must operate with less than 5 watts (10 watts SSB???)

Entry Categories for Chasers

  1. High Power - > 100 watts
  2. Low Power - 6-99 watts
  3. QRP - <5 watts

Scoring for Activators:
1 point for each contact
(Any bonus points for S2S? Might be unfair?)
1 multiplier for each unactivated summit activated (unfair? to encourage multiple new peaks to be activated and make up for travel time)

Scoring for Chasers:
2 points for each contact with First Activator
1 point for each contact with a Repeat Activator

General Rules:
24 hour contest time and date to be determined
All SOTA rules and guidelines apply for activators
Spotting is legal and encouraged
(Feel free to add)

Certificates for each association in each entry class

So let me know what your think. FOBB inspired me to design something that would be fun and get a lot of people out, all over the world, on the same day.



Hi Evan,
It’s nice that you’ve gone to the trouble of thinking this all through however I for one don’t think it should be part of SOTA. SOTA is intended not to be a contest against others, rather an award scheme where the things you are competing against are your own physical abilities, the weather, radio conditions, technical issues and “Murphy” (you know - if anything can go wrong, it will and it will at the worst possible time).

Now there’s nothing wrong with people taking part in a contest or activity day from a SOTA summit and hence as well as entering the contest, they can also claim points for SOTA. This happens from time to time, especially with VHF/UHF contests.

As you have said all SOTA rules need to apply which means for the contest contacts to count in SOTA (both from the activator and chaser side) those contest operators/SOTA activators have to take all their gear on at least the last part of the approach to the summit (or activation zone) without assistance of a motor vehicle and fossil fuelled generators are not allowed. So I can’t see there being many 1500W stations taking part (many countries outside of the US are not allowed to run 1500W in any case). Perhaps 50W and a lot of solar trickle-charged batteries is the highest power level, and getting those to last for 24 hours will be a challenge.

By the way, the accepted power ratings for QRP are up to 5w for CW and 10W for SSB (not sure about digital, AM, FM etc). So your “low-power” section needs to start at 5W for CW and 10W for SSB.

Being very pedantic - If I run exactly 100W I don’t fall into any of your categories. I Think you meant high power to be 100W and above, so the entry in the list needs to be >= 100W.

Lets see what everyone else thinks about this, but for me your idea is good as a parrallel activity “Contesting from Peaks” but I can’t see it being managed within the SOTA structure.

73 Ed DD5LP.


Bin it!


Hi Evan

Welcome aboard, and thanks for sharing your idea.

As you say, SOTA is not a contesting activity, and that is one of it’s defining features that attract people, including me!

Summits that have not yet been activated are generally either really difficult (or impossible) to access, or else in recently joined regions, in which case activators are working towards them. In both cases, incentive is not the problem, and a contest is not the solution.

I’m just one participant, I have no influence, and others may well have other opinions, but that’s my 3 cents worth.



I’d just combine SOTA with Pokemon Go!
Same concept. Walk to lots of different places, try and catch some rare Pokemon before they go QRT, sit watching Pokewatch, add lots of points to your index, get awards for points…

I’ve just walked 7 miles searching for the elusive Pikachu, without success, but at least I got 6 new ones and hatched 4 eggs :slight_smile:


Every so often we have a “SOTA Challenge” which tends to focus on a band or mode or some specific aspect. These have, in the past, run for a 6 or 12 month period. Scoring is based on the contacts you make and the different references you activate from. Another Challenge will come along at some point, and that might be the sort of focus you are looking for.

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There already are the SOTA Challenges as mentioned and from time to time activities such as the VK1 Winter SOTA QSO party as an example occur at intervals. (see this reflector).

There is enough to keep us amused.

Your proposal sure looks like it is modeled after a contest to me. To which I say a resounding No Way In H…

You are 100 miles closer to the big points end of the State than I am. Take advantage of that. Have fun with it the way the program has been designed. A favorite Amateur Radio activity, just exactly the way it is.

Glenn AB3TQ

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Morning from across the pond.

Been on here nearly two years and well enjoy.Sota as it is addictive for sure.
To the powers that be, PLEASE don;t turn into contest for they have already spoilt the IOTA weekend as heard over weekend.

Certainly sounds good planning on your behalf, and we have challenges such as the last one on 10m and 6m as then only had the 10m but did rather well on it as on only wire antennas 10w and SSB mode only.

Keep on enjoying the Sota scene.

karl M(K)3FEH

Evan, you can guess from the replies that contest style SOTA operations are general not well received. But it’s contesting within SOTA that people don’t want, many SOTA activators/chasers are also keen contesters. They just want to keep the 2 ideas separate. As my MT colleague Tom said, we have challenges that try to promote some kind of extra/different way of SOTA operation. We try to ensure that whilst challenges are competitve (ideally you competing against yourself) that they don’t turn into contesting as such. I don’t know what the next challenge will be but it will be designed to encompass all levels of ability and operating and also will be designed to consider the state of the bands if it is HF oriented.

Don’t be disheartened by a generally negative response to your suggestions. The MT look at all of these ideas people put forward either on here or in emails to us. We look at all of them with an open mind even though all the MT will openly admit they are not pro-contesting within SOTA. We do review all the suggestions simply because we know lurking in one of them will be the gem of an idea that can be built upon that we expect SOTA operators to enjoy and embrace.


The one annual event that does a great job of melding SOTA and contesting is the QRPTTF event in late April: QRP Home

73, Barry N1EU

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N3TWM, It is only fair to explain to you why I, as a member of the MT, am against contesting type activations.

I will pass over the fact that in many of the older Associations there are few or no unactivated summits,

One characteristic of contesting is the drive for quantity. The need for as many contacts as possible making it necessary to stay on a summit for as long as possible. Several of us in the MT have mountaineering experience that pre-dates SOTA - in some cases, sadly, considerably predating SOTA! We know from our own experience that mountain weather can change radically in a short time, on more than one occasion I have had a pleasant sunny stravaig on a high summit mutate in minutes to a fight for survival against a howling blizzard, taking all our skill and experience to extricate ourselves safely. On one occasion on GW/NW-007 on a calm sunny day I was thrown to the ground and rolled along it by a sudden gale, only a dilapidated fence stopped me from being rolled over the edge of a cliff, and I lay there watching pebbles a couple of inches in diameter being blown past my face. Then there are thunderstorms, any mountaineer will have a collection of anecdotes about how quickly a thunderstorm can brew up in mountain country! Such drastic and dangerous changes might be relatively uncommon but they can and do happen, and they make it unwise to spend too long on a summit. Now suppose a SOTA contester got caught out in freak conditions, a blizzard, a violent thunderstorm, resulting in his death, bearing in mind the known unpredictability of mountain weather how much criticism do you think that the MT would receive for encouraging the taking of risks? No, the MT encourages responsible and safe behaviour.

If people want to take risks and think they have the skill and experience to control those risks, the MT cannot stop them - nor should they try. Encouraging them, though, is a different matter!

Do you understand, now?


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