Is this allowed

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!



this certianly has openned a can of worms for sure
to the peak walks of distance are going to vary a lot as from where i was at weekend is a good 20 yard walk as peak is next to the car park BUT felt to park the car on oppisite side of the car to the summit away from the summit. Now some summits to car drive to the top of such as that one on the hill climb on guy martins porograme and that hill you need oxygen sorry mountion in this case. The brown hill listed in the DC UK area here is not so acessable from the road and a short walk of a good 1km is required.

so only thing i can say is park the car or wot ever motor u used far away as possble from the summit and station as there is no set distance long as your not connected to the car wot better way than to move the car away from the place of operations as for shelters you can take good on ya make use of it or even ones there.

Like the one comment not with in touching distance of said motor nah park it as far away as possbile as I learnt at weekend and for you first timers like me remember wot wind is doing a ground level of where you live compared to where the summit is can be and is far greater as I found out but on the sota site there is some good gear and advise and not to expense stuff you can buy to make life a little easier up the hill/mountion.

Lastly I will be operating from kitt hill a varies times BUT have noted can only activite as sota once a year personally other wise will be running portable form the car( but NOT CLASSED AS SOTA) more as SK37 for WAB.

Also made note of a gent who has been in contact with me asking if fancy doing joint venture my self on HF and himself on 2m as said to him made note and yes some time in 2015 will be back better set up

Mean while am a chasing them and hats off to the folks to the real high ones you have to climb or long walk too in not so good conditons that can change quickly i aways say take care up there

end of day lets enjoy
sorry for dribbling on so much :smile:


Hi all,
The General Rules take precedence over any association rule. The main problem with them is they aren’t read carefully and get misinterpreted.

I understand and have sympathy for the keen first time SOTA operators who take off for their first activation without bothering with reading the rules or checking to see what the more experienced do. (Do you read manuals for your new car/TV/computer?). A little brotherly advice is usually more than enough to correct any mistakes.

A BOTE calculations says I could be a mountain goat in 20 years using only drive to the top summits, maybe a bit quicker if the price of fuel doesn’t go too high and I were to get very serious about it.

I am presently a hiker or a “purist” and if I I drive to the top I do the walk out and back with all the gear and set up as far is reasonable from the car - 100 m is typical although sometimes it has been 20 m. When the activation is done and the pack repacked I return to the car.

In the foreseeable future after a few more birthdays I may need to just carry the gear from the car to the operating position, or later maybe push a trolley with the pack on it. Or have my carer do it for me.

SOTA has many fine features and one is that while awards can be claimed it isn’t a competition, so no winner with a gold cup, no stress about getting x points each day…

Lets enjoy the hikes and the portable operation and chasing from the shack.


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Not so. You can activate a summit for SOTA as many times as you want in a year. You only score your activator points once each year but subsequent activations are all perfectly valid. There is a slight complication related to the winter bonus but we dont need to go into that.

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Hi Karl,
Working HF on a SOTA summit is very rewarding AND very addictive. An early morning visit visit to Kitt Hill, will certainly find you some VK Chasers on the 20m band and in the afternoon, the higher frequencies will reward you with plenty of North American Chasers.

Have fun.

73 Mike


thanks for last two post folks
thats cool


Hi. Regarding the vehicle discussion - I think we must also use common sense (but not compromise, using “common sense” as an excuse to go shortcuts). Speaking for myself, I always climb my mountains for activation - and before participating SOTA as hiking since being 12 years old, I wouldn’t have come to an idea to drive up any hill.
However… SOTA participation gave me an opportunity to get to some great places, to which I would give normally less priority in my planning, and probably simply I wouldn’t go there. I also noticed that some of the popular hills simply have parking lots nearby their AZ’s, while leaving the car in unattended places somewhere below would be a risk. I believe the creators of the rules are trying to avoid killing the spirit of hiking/effort, getting in touch with the nature, trying to avoid “activation racing”, etc. So, each case perhaps would need to be decided separately …by the activator. Following the rules, but moral part of it is always to the activator.

There is another thing often discussed within SOTA-SP community - summits on the border, where one summit is counted in both countries’ associations. To activate “both”? Or activate one? The rules don’t forbid it, but some activators say - “I activate one summit, why should I score twice?”, some say “I activate both, this becomes attractive to chasers as well”. Honestly, I haven’t determined yet what is better - sometimes I activated both summits, sometimes just one.

That is my perception - and it is every activator’s internal code to apply whenever the rules don’t say something literally. Everyone here knows for yourself, whether you come together with the spirit or not, the rest is just semantics and drilling the rules, but when things become too complicated, it is better to step back and see the whole picture - what it is all about. Then no doubts what to do. No need to ask anyone else’s justification. That is my so-far life experience, not only in SOTA… :smile:

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I moved 40 posts to a new topic: Duplicate Summits

FYI - from the W1 Association reference manual:

Final ascent

3.7.1 Criteria for a valid Expedition Rule 3 reads as follows:
The method of final access to the Summit must be non - motorised. For the purposes of the W1 association, this rule is interpreted to require a non - motorised ascent of a minimum of 100 f t /33 m of vertical gain to the perimeter of the 75 ft/ 25m activation zone (as defined in SOTA’s General Rules) .

For example, to illustrate this rule, to have a valid activation of a summit with a peak at an elevation of 1,000 ft/ 330 m (with a 25 m activation zone stretching down to an elevation of 925 feet) an activator must start his non- motorised ascent from no higher then 825 feet of elevation . For this example, i t is permissible to arrive at the summit by car, park at the summit and then walk down to at least 825 feet elevation and back to the activation zone perimeter while carrying all activation equipment including power sources to validate the
operation. In any event, a hiker must hike up a vertical gain of 100 ft /33 m or more for an activation to be valid in the W1 association. No specific horizontal hike distance is required for an activation to be valid, and no minimum descent is required to validate an activation in the W1 association. Should a potential activator find
a SOTA summit in this manual where compliance with this rule appears impossible because of the peculiar topography of the summit, he should contact the Association Manager to explore whether an adjustment can be made to the summit in question.

I will temporarily close this topic as it has drifted from the original discussion and for archiving and future search and I will split it into two topics - the original and a new topic “Duplicate Summits” in the “Summit Info” category.

Well I tried that and it said it would work but it didn’t so I will leave it alone.

Well tried again and that worked. Please use the topic “Duplicate Summits” for all future posts about duplicate references.