Japan Activations 2024

A work trip to Japan allowed me some time to do some SOTA, and once again the radios were packed, batteries charged and summits researched. I’ve activated all the JA associations, so rather than chasing some associations, it was time for some uniques.

I started with Oodakesan, JA/TK-007 which was a summit I’d seen early on during the initial surveying of the JA association. It was close (relatively speaking) to Tokyo, 8 points, and looked a relative easy walk based on the topographic maps. It also has the added bonus of being a 007 summit which adds a frisson of excitement in case a new badge is unlocked.

It didn’t turn out to be as easy a walk as I was anticipating, because, although you can take a ropeway to the nearby Mitake shrine, you still lose a ton of height on the way out to Oodakesan, only to put it all on again primarily in the last main section. The final section is quite steep including some simple rock scrambles, and wasn’t helped by a tennis induced dodgy knee, but I made it, to some stunning views of Mt Fuji to the west

All up, I got 5 in the log, including a summit to summit with JK1FYU (on 70cm) and a CW contact back to VK4TJ (on 10m).

On submitting that log, I got the Connery badge, as well as noticing that my activation count was at 249 and my activator score just 6 points off 1100. Unfortunately, my knee was fine-ish, but I knew I couldn’t push it, so I wasn’t sure if I’d get another activation in. There was however Tsukubasan that I’d been to before, 6 points, and a ropeway almost entirely to the top. But 2024 I’d challenged myself to get a bunch more uniques in my life, so :shrug: what was I to do?

What I was able to do was to catch up with Toru JH0CJH again which was fantastic - it was not looking good before with our schedules but a dinner slot opened up. Toru also gifted me some nice Japan SOTA swag which will definitely be put to good use!

When Saturday came around, I’d discovered an interesting option. Much further from Tokyo, but public transportable the whole way, ropeway to the top with a 100m walk. That target was Harunafuji, JA/GM-080. It meant an earlyish start, Shinkansen to Takasaki, local train to Shibukawa and then buses to Inaho and then Harunako (Lake Haruna). A ropeway goes to the top, and you then walk up the stairs to the small shrine. I set up on the north western side out of the way, with my mast in my bag and lightly attached to a tree.

From the top of the ropeway, Mt Fuji is poking it’s head out of the haze, just!

As I headed off to the top, I spotted a wallet on the ground, which I returned to the ropeway station staff, and karma hit me immediately as I turned on to 28.470 SSB which was Peter @VK3ZPF alerted frequency and found him calling CQ and after 31 reports both ways, I opened my 250th activation with a S2S to VK on 10m. My phone was struggling to get reception so I simply moved to CW, let RBNHole do it’s thing, and about 30 minutes later I had 11 contacts in the log and decided to head back down. CW also allowed me to be relatively to not disturb others at the top, which is a little cramped.

Harunafuji and Lake Haruna

From the ropeway, it’s a 1.6km walk to Lake Haruna bus stop, where I took a bus back to Takasaki, Shinkansen back to Tokyo and then subway back to my hotel. A quick tour of Akihabara disappointed me as so much of what I have enjoyed there has closed since my last trip pre-COVID, but a quick Katsu curry dinner and my faith in the world was restored.

I’ll be back in November!

Andrew VK3ARR / JI1GBE


Great report Andrew @VK3ARR and fantastic to get you S2S on 10m for your 250th activation.
In total I made 16 JA QSOs on 10m that day, with two S2S.


Hi Andrew,
Oh You got to Mt Oodake on that week end. Congrat your success of another activation in JA. It was very nice that we met together in Ebisu Tokyo that was the very place we started up SOTA JA Association in 2014. Yes it was just decade ago. We always appreciate your effort to introduce SOTA in Japan. Now SOTA is very well known and spread over JA and manys are enjoyed on-air in weekend in JA summits. You are always warm welcome to JA. Hope to see you in August in Tokyo Ham Fair 2024.



Thanks for the report along with some interesting photographs.