Is an E-bike permitted for SOTA?

Hi all, few days ago a discussion arose in our italian QRP mountain club about the use of e-bikes to climb on a summit for an activation.
Is an e-bike admitted by SOTA rules to get on a summit?
Is it considered like a motor vehicle or not?
Thank you in advance for your opinions.

In the General Rules, 3.7.1 Criteria for a valid expedition, section 3 says “Operations must not be in, or in the close vicinity of, a motor vehicle. No part of the station may be connected with the motor vehicle. However, the use of a bike (non-motorised) or animals to enter the Activation Zone is permitted.” It seems clear from this that an e-bike is looked at in the same way as a motor cycle or automobile.


I agree with Brian, that’s how I would interpret the rules a motor vehicle whether Petrol, Diesel, Electric or cow poo powered is still a motor vehicle. However the rule is so worded that as long as you don’t operate from in or on your motor vehicle and you gain no support from it. There’s no reason you can’t use your e-mountainbike to get well into the Activation zone and then set up away from it, but it still be close enough that you’ll see if someone tries to steal it.

73 Ed.


E bike would be a great way to get to summits if you are allowed access to the trail or land with them. I have taken my Mountain Bike to a few summits but ended up hiking most of the way because the weight of my 10kg pack on my back made my vital parts and backside really more painful than walking. Some sort of pannier bag system fixed to the bike and not the person riding it would work well and you still have to put in a reasonable amount of effort to ride an E bike. I promised myself an E bike when I turn 70 in 4 years time if I last that long not sure how much SOTA I will be doing then.
Regards Ian vk5cz …

In what way would the effect of the rules be different if the sentence beginning “However” were omitted? The point that motor vehicles may be used to enter the activation zone was conceded long ago, so as I see it this sentence adds nothing but confusion.

Martyn M1MAJ

Way I see it. and a Good question begin with as times are changing since rules first set many years ago. Am awaiting someone to hang a antenna off a drone as yet. As done off kites in past why not a drone. Man that would take some amazing pictures of the area

No matter the transport getting up there as some are drive on,s or even cycle approachable, E bike or normal bike with a battery on it.

You should set up station as portable with Sep PPSU away from any vehicle as not connected to its power supply especially a cow of goat as liable to wander off on you.

But it seems we do all agree must be portable, not mobile portable as one can do both on Kitt hill but when Its Sota the motor is removed to another part of Kitt hill away from the Portable station.

Have been to Kitt hill as a mobile portable but dropped the Sota bit as not qualify as part of the car am in. But qualifiers as WAB, GFF and TP.

But some of you guys very adventurous in gaining some of these summits as seen of late as no access is there for motors or motor bikes etc at all not even a ski lift and requires some mountaineering skills for sure.


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I’m about the same age as you and have done a few 4- or 5-day bike tours in hilly countryside in recent years (6 hours a day in the saddle) and I would strongly recommend one or two pannier bags rather than have a heavy backpack on your back - not good for your posture.

I’m planning to do several SOTA activations in the New Year on my hybrid bike: I intend to put my SOTA-ready backpack in a large pannier bag and start carrying it on my back only when I have to switch to walking up to the summit.

73, Andy


Let’s be careful with words here. “Mobile” means moving. It does not imply use of a motor vehicle. This is true of normal English usage and is explicitly defined in the UK licence conditions.

For reasons I won’t go into now I conducted my early SOTA activations signing /M as pedestrian mobile. In licence terms it was entirely correct but caused some confusion. They were valid activations.



As an Old Pedant I have to ask, were you actually walking (moving) whilst doing the activations?

It makes me wonder, could I manage to do VHF/CW whilst pedestrian mobile? Would have to strap the Palm Pico paddles on my other arm, maybe. Anyone actually done this?

73, Andy


-If the antenna can move immediately with you, you’re /mobile
-If the antenna is a temporary set up and you cannot move immediately, you’re /portable
-If you’re at another radio amateurs house and you’re using their equipment that is permanent, then /Alternative

Never should you sign /QRP! That’s your own choice to run that power!!!

Massively off topic, so back onto it below

I think e-Bikes would be a great way to get up the SOTA summits, plus, you could remove the battery and then you could use thatto power your station?? However not sure if this is breaking the rules, it is part of the vehicle but is no longer attached to the vehicle!

Like the other say, I did some Bicycle activations last year and they’re alot of fun, panniers are a must and if you get a small 5m fishing pole that compacts to around 50cm then you can hang it off the main cross tube when cycling. I combined my efforts with Public Transport, Bike to Hill, activate, ride down from hill to nearest train station and get train back to home station. What was also fun was combining it with APRS and seeing what the coverage of my iGate was like with a limited APRS station on the bike.


Matt XYJ

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If I am walking around a summit doing SOTA on a handheld, I sign /P. If I am walking to a summit chatting/chasing on a handheld, I sign /M.

I agree with Martyn that the word “However” is superfluous and unhelpful. It could disappear in the next update of the GR.

Under UK and many other countries’ licence conditions, you can sign whatever you like (from the allowable choices, which DO NOT include /QRP) and feel is appropriate and be a valid SOTA activation - /P, /M or nothing at all. /P has become a helpful convention in SOTA, and similarly, I’d suggest that /M would be unhelpful to an activation, even if it was appropriate. Hence why even though there is some merit in Matt G8XYJ’s definitions, they are not ones I would personally adhere to.

Antenna supported by a drone fails on two counts in my mind - the connection to a motorised vehicle, and the prohibition of aeronautical mobile for amateur radio. To be fair to Karl, it is probably a long time now since his Foundation course. :wink:

With regards to the licence it states " The Radio Equipment may not be established or used in any Aircraft or
Airborne vehicle".
Where Radio Equipment is defined as transmitting and receiving apparatus.
As the transceiver is on the ground, I would think that using a drone to lift an antenna would be legal.
Otherwise, as a kite is an airborne vehicle, using a kite would be illegal in this sense.
As for it being outside Sota rules, I will let others argue that point !

73 Neil

I am not an E-Bike user, but as far as I know even with an E-Bike you have to push the padales, is does not drive you to the summit. So there is still an effort training your muscles.
I think we should not be splitting hairs.



Yeah, point conceded on the /AM. It’s an even longer time snce my own Full course. Use of motorised vehicle surely rules it out anyway for SOTA though.

E-bike - same as a car. Just don’t operate from it.

The question was whether it is permitted to use e-bikes to get to the summit - the answer is clearly YES!
This is just as much permitted as using a car to get to drive-on summits…

According to the rules It is apparently not allowed to sit on it during mobile operation or use its battery :rofl:

73, Sylvia


The rules do not say you cannot use the battery. If you disconnect it and remove it such that the vehicle can be removed from the AZ and your station is still working then the vehicle is not part of your station.

You’ll get a lot more “poundage” from your PA if you use an e_bike battery as most are 36V. :slight_smile:

I’ve realized I’ve done a stupid question only after I hit ENTER on my keyboard.
Obviously SOTA permits to climb up with an e-bike!
But my doubts have a reason.
As you know here in Italy there are other two programs similar to SOTA: Sotaitalia and MQC (Mountain QRP Club), and various activators often participate to SOTA and to MQC or Sotaitalia as well (that is to say that an activation is valid for two programs at the same time).
However there is a main difference: both IT programs require to climb up the summit on foots or by a normal bike for a travel time not less than 30 min.
Now the issue e-bike yes or not raised up a deep discussion; I realized too late that this in not applicable to SOTA activations.

Good activation to all !!

73 from Alex IZ0WRS


my very first activation i signed /M and it caused confusion for almost every QSO.

The trip I did was over six days on the bike pulling a BoB trailer but I did approach only one of the summits on my bike with my back pack on and soon woke up it was easier to walk. Left the BoB in the bushes on side of road then left my bike in another bush a bit later on, it was granny grind anyhow and hard to keep balance on the bike as well. HI. Must do another SOTA by bike now I am retired and getting some good cycling miles in the old legs again. Cheers Andy
Ian vk5cz …

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Wonder what happened to the poor old vk3 who rode his motor cycle to a summit a few years ago and just happened to sit his ft 817 on the bike seat and copped a barrage of criticism for doing so. I miss him