Is this allowed

The rules don’t say how far the final ascent needs to be. If a person drives up to a peak, walks 40 feet away and about 2 feet in elevation…that’s within the rules. Nothing in the rules state how far one must ascend. Secondly in the vicinity of a motor vehicle is different for everyone. If you asked 40 people what that meant you would get 50 responses.

I totally understand the “spirit” of the rules…but the spirit of the rules are usually unenforceable so you have to go by te letter of the rules. Besides I thought these were guidelines and not rules.

No, they are rules.

The SOTA management team (in the person of Tom M1EYP) has already commented higher up this thread, he says “I have now watched all four videos, and not one of the situations shown is acceptable for SOTA”

So what was the power supply being used for all the gear in the tent then? I suppose that would determine the absolute status of that part of the operation. Yet the vehicle is within touching distance! There might not be hard evidence that no part of the station is supported by the vehicle in video 3 - but there certainly isn’t any hard evidence that the station is independent of the vehicle either.

However, what is clear is that these ops are not trying to pull a fast one and “cheat” at SOTA. They just assumed that doing any sort of radio from a summit with a reference would be SOTA. They hadn’t read the rules (which is always a good idea IMO).

The submitted Database logs show four hours of operation from two stations, so it does very much like non-SOTA qualifying, and the logs will need to be withdrawn.

There was a battery on the table in the tent in one shot, but nothing like enough to run an IC706 at 100W for that length of time.

I just went to the home page and clicked on the link that says “Guidelines for activators”. I couldn’t find one that says Rules for activators.

Secondly since it is guidelines it is arbitrary of any management team to chose to accept it as a legit activation or not on any activation. Does that mean they are right? No of course not…why…because they were not there.

I know many of you will disagree but until such times as actual distances are placed in the guidelines…such as having to be within 80 vertical feet of the of the peak…then within the vicinity of a vehicle is arbitrary.

The management team has to accept that the guidelines are being followed and no assumptions can be believed. That’s the way it should be but this is the internet and I don’t own this site so the management team can be king and arbitrary when they want to be.

I’m not complaining or knocking the management team…I am saying these are guidelines and not rules.

Guidelines are guidlines - rules are rules - Summits on the Air

Incidentally I have recategorised this.

It would also be nice if the videos were:
a. removed
b. re-titled so as to stress that these were not valid SOTA activations under the rules of the scheme.

We’ve seen these sort of things before and, as in the case here, it is mostly a misunderstanding and lack of rule reading by the participants.

Unfortunately any newcomers seeing these videos may just decide to copy the approach as it’s obviously the way it’s done :wink:

The same thing happens with the Flickr group where, e.g. T Jursky, regularly contributes photos showing huge antenna arrays and operating form a vehicle.

Whilst there is nothing wrong with his activity (as it is not SOTA), the fact that it’s “advertised” on the SOTA Flickr group, could leave others, unfamiliar with the rules, that it is acceptable and normal operating practice.

My $0.02 worth.


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Just to be clear about this, the General Rules say:
3.1 The Programme does not accept operation from a motor vehicle. The method of final access to the Summit must be non-motorised. Operations must not be in, or in the vicinity of a motor vehicle. No part of the station may be connected in any way to the motor vehicle. All equipment must be operated from a portable power source (batteries, solar cells, etc.) Operation is expressly forbidden using permanently installed power sources or fossil-fuel generators of any kind.


That would be a good summit for a mountain bike activation, at least they followed the rules and didn’t use generator.

There is another rule in 3.7.1, #5: “All equipment must be carried to the site by the Activator team.”

Unloading stuff from the car is not carrying it to the site. Operating position #3 does not seem to be connected to the vehicle, but the operator and the vehicle are clearly at the same site. All that equipment was carried to the site in a vehicle.


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I did the same thing on my first “try” at a SOTA activation… didn’t read the rules, video’d it… put it on youtube SOTA SCOTT MTN Activation - YouTube
But when I found out I didn’t follow the rules, I removed my logs, contacted those that logged me, and put up notes on the youtube video letting everyone know it didn’t count - check out 12:08 in the video for my note about it not being counted.


KC5CW – I remember your rookie mistake. You were very graceful about correcting it, and it clearly did not slow you down.


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The W6 Manual clearly states that the distance of final assent by foot is not a rule but a guideline so as not to preclude those of limited mobility from participating. So, unless this is an endeavor for the fit only and the handicapped are precluded then lets just focus on the operating from the vehicle, which is a clear violation of the rules. There are plenty of summits that a vehicle can’t not get close to.
Jeff, K6QCB

From my experience so far these kind of things are 99% genuine mistakes that come from misreading the rules rather than deliberate actions.

Informing the MT first allows us to contact the people involved, explain their errors and allows them to delete logs and inform chasers. I think that is preferable to something more public.

All that aside, it looks a lovely summit to activate.


[quote=“N1EU, post:23, topic:9662”]hiking up mountains[/quote]I guess some “mountains” are flatter than others. None of the summits in my local SOTA Region are particularly mountainous. Some of them even have car parks inside the activation area, and one of them has part of a town inside its activation area. :wink:

Uh oh. I reread the rules and I notice, “Operations must not be in, or in the vicinity of a motor vehicle.” I never noticed that before. Taken literally, this would disqualify almost all activations from Brasstown Bald, in north Georgia. There is a shuttle bus that runs up to the summit every 15 minutes or so.

I’ve always interpreted this as meaning that the operation should not involve a vehicle and, if you drive up, you have to haul everything you will use to operate out of the activation zone and then back into the zone, if it is a “drive up” summit. No fair making your car/truck part of your operating.

On the other hand, if you cannot be near any motor vehicle, when the shuttle bus drives by you just lost your activation. Or maybe you just have to forfeit that contact. Except that the shuttle bus parks at the top of the hill for 5-10 minutes, so you have to forfeit all of those contacts…

Oh, and no activating a summit if there’s an abandoned car near the top. That can’t be right.

And I’ve seen activations where the ski patrol came by on a snowmobile or a snow cat groomed the slope. Those would appear to violate the vicinity of a motor vehicle, depending on your interpretation of vicinity.

Clearly the ‘activation’ isn’t, but I could sure do with a little clarification around “vicinity.” I might have to withdraw some of my activations, because I’ve definitely made QSOs when there was a vehicle in the zone.
kevin / K4KPK

Just applying common sense here, it is referring to “a” vehicle that could possibly or has assisted you in your activation. Not to something that simply passes by !

The vicinity part has to be stated cos sometimes a car park or otherwise is within the activation zone. That is not to say it has assisted you greatly, it is within the nature of that zone. Most people would have done it the same way. However if someone explicitly uses a vehicle to go to a activation zone from lets say a public road, then this would be considered cheating as it would be giving that particular activator(s) an unfair advantage over everybody else. This is, from my POV the reason the rule exists.

There are plenty of summits in GW/NW that you can drive up, and I have in other circumstances. But apart from not complying with the program, the sense of achievement is drastically reduced.

The active part of SOTA does not lend well to the disabled or physically unfit, it never will. But chasing does at least give people a chance of taking part.


The “reductio ad absurdum” can be a useful exercise, but it is better to put such queries directly to the MT. The “vehicle” referred to is yours or a companions. In a case where the only publicly accessible ground on a summit is a car park, you are expected to set up in another part of the parking area, even if it is adjacent to (but not using) somebody else’s car. Vicinity is left open to reasonable interpretation for the simple reason that if the rules are too prescriptive then the inclusiveness of SOTA will be reduced. If there are a relatively few easy access summits, this will benefit people with reduced mobility who will still be able to enjoy the experience of operating from a high place. We are even prepared to make an exception for people who need mobility scooters and the like to get about, as long as they dismount and set up a station separate to the vehicle. Such summits will not be plentiful, and they will be counterbalanced by the summits that need long hikes or even rock climbs to access.

You are expected to operate within the spirit of SOTA, where you have physical limitations, the spirit of SOTA means that you do what you can.

Note that a new and hopefully clearer version of the rules is in preparation so it is pointless to get too analytical about the present version, which has served us well for many years.

Brian G8ADD

Our rules in Australia state the we have to operate within 25m (vertical) of the summit. SO for example if the peak is 500m we must operate between 475-500m & walk into that zone carrying all our gear. You could park the car at 450m height & carry all your gear into the activation zone that might entail a walk of 20m or 300m or more depending on the steepness of the terrain.

David VK5NQP

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There is nothing in the GR about having to walk into the AZ. Where the available parking is within the AZ some purists hike out of the AZ and back to set up, but this is not required in the GR. Indeed, we have summits in the UK where the size of the AZ is measured in square miles and the AZ contains towns. All that is necessary to be within the rules is to remove your gear from the car and carry it a reasonable distance to a suitable operating position where it will not cause problems for other summit visitors. Easy access summits are very much in the minority worldwide, as I said above, they are useful to let the less mobile operators get a taste of SOTA, but I imagine that nobody is going to achieve Mountain Goat status on easy access summits!