Is this allowed

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

1 Like

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.


1 Like

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.

1 Like

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:

1 Like

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.

So W1 precludes those with limited mobility from the satisfaction of activating even a single summit. If the activator operates from the activation zone on portable power away from the vehicle, is it that important that he hiked up 100 feet in vertical elevation on the few summits that have a road to the top. I know the radio signals I receive as a chaser don’t know the difference.
Is this intended to be a fun and enjoyable activity for the Ham Community as a whole or an exercise for the purists among us. Lets be reasonable about the few summits that can be driven to, it seems silly to hike down and back up, it’s not an Olympic Sport. Lets keep it fun and inclusive.
Jeff, K6QCB

Not really, because the W1 rule conflicts with the General Rules, so they are invalid. Even though it is labeled an interpretation, associations do not get to make their own interpretations of the rules separate from what they mean for all of SOTA.


I understand all of that Brian…what is NOT clear is what is “in the vicinity”. That’s is what is arbitrary. You may say 200+ feet and I say 20 feet. Both are correct according to the “guidelines”. And yes it is guidelines because there isn’t a set distance.

Secondly since the vicinity isn’t stated the management can get complaints from the SOTA police and one may be the buddy of a management team and the other someone willing to push the limits…how would we know the “guidelines” are being administered fairly. That’s the problem I see. The OP post a video and the other 3 videos do not show operation from a vehicle. Yet the management team without knowing anything more says it isn’t a SOTA based soley on the tent being NEAR a vehicle…which the guidelines clearly do not say.

Now unless we will now need to post videos of our activations to make sure we are doing it correctly so the SOTA police won’t have to call any activator out…I thought this was still on the honor system.

Why don’t we just follow the guidelines and not worry about what anyone else does.

Yes I will call them guidelines until I read the “guidelines for activators” is changed to “Rules for activators”.

Rules or Guidelines?

Rules or Guidelines?

Rules or Guidelines?

Hmm looks like we have lots of rules and the rules we have tell you how to apply the rules to the guidelines.

Section 3.7 of the General Rules is headed “Rules for Activators”. Vicinity is purposely left vague for the reasons given. I personally would interpret that to mean that the station should be set up at such a distance from the vehicle that it cannot be powered from the vehicle or the antenna be attached to the vehicle. A disabled person might set up closer to the car and this would be acceptable on the grounds of inclusivity as long as the rules are otherwise observed - no power from the car, no antenna support from the car, the operating position being outside the car. There are exceptional circumstances where even an able bodied person may set up close to the car - for instance we have a summit that can only be activated from a roadside lay-by within the AZ. In such a case activators are expected to keep themselves and the equipment as far from the car as the lay-by permits.

I have expressed no opinion about the activations in question, I have not had time to examine all the videos, so I left that to others, I would only say that where there is one activation that clearly breaks the SOTA rules then the others are bound to be questioned, this is human nature. If the videos don’t clearly show that the essential requirements are met then there will be a nagging doubt.