Is this allowed

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.

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.


Surley end of day some summits are easy reached by motor and some not there are NO mountion peaks here in Cornwall or Devon. But end of day it does clearly state the motor MUST not supply the electric to station or supply said stand for the antenna.

When I get around to doing Kitt hill will park the car well away and as for Brown willy hill that will be bit of a walk for sure.

Too me it will vary distance to sota station from how you got there before unloading said motor and walking. Lets not spoil this lovely part of the hobby I really enjoy and hopefully in 2015 will be better set up.

End of day we do not use car in operation of radio on sota only getting to or close to the summit is wot i have learnt from last weekend and the wind howls up there too :slight_smile:

You do realize, new to SOTA activators are going to read all parts of this well written document; and think it is actually the official MT position.

Finding very similar approach verbiage (only after the fact) in my own Association Manual had me questioning the validity of my own first activation. The good folks here on the Reflector cleared that up for me, and mysteriously the local ARM was suddenly completely revamped. I wonder if history might repeat itself?

And I did go straight to the original W1 ARM document itself before commenting. Here are two more pieces of that document I found quite interesting.

“Each state within the W1 association is split into separate regions which loosely follow the geographic or topographic features of mountain ranges within each state. SOTA management guidelines require that only contacts with stations outside a summit’s region count towards the four contact requirement for a valid activation for activator points.”


“USA W1 SOTA is an extension of a similar program already active in other countries.”

FYI - My focus here is the need to include the word “similar”. My thought is that it either is SOTA, or it is not. What is SOTA similar?

Since you felt comfortable posting part of this document on the Reflector, would you care to discuss the merits of these points? I would love to hear more about it.

Glenn - AB3TQ

Clearly these are just badly worded: QSOs with others within the same activation zone do not count towards the QSO total.

Same rules but a different set of regions and summits therefore similar, but similar could be omitted.

Brian (terse - its 0100 and I’m headed for my bed!)

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I’ve not seen the video’s (the link either doesn’t work here (USA) or been taken away)
However, I’ve (almost) fallen for the same thing, and certainly missed a good many opportunities for proper SOTA activations. The problem is that the various SOTA sites are overwhelming with information.
As the saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know, and this proved very true in my case.
A website should, IMHO never ever say anything like: click here if your’e new to this site.
I never click links like that because all too often you’re going to be lectured on items you’re not interested in.

What it needs, from the main page(s), is a so called ‘cheat sheet’ (not for cheating, but a quick reminder what to do, don’t do etc),
a 1 page total quick overview, (something like: so you want to do a new activation? Check here to make sure all’s in place)
And that should list the most important rules, show links to the summit database, and also mention the fact that you should submit logs straight away electronically (sounds logical? not if you’re used to the way things were done before the internet). Just 1 page, with enough info to start.

I don’t know if that would have helped those guys, but it certainly would help some of us.

my 2 pennies :smile:

Michael M0MPM

What like this:

or this

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