Did you look for a local club?
That is always a good way to start.
It is an awesome hobby, but take it a bite at a time or it will turn out to be a huge elephant to eat all at once
If you have any background with electronics it all helps a lot, if tou don’t there is a new wonderful world opening up for you to explore.
Have fun and be safe out there.
Although I’ve been licensed for 35 years I’ve only just got back into the hobby so feel a bit of a beginner as far as SOTA is concerned. The key is the antenna. What QRP radio have you got? Which bands are you planning to activate?
You made a good choice of transceiver and the sotabeams bandspringer will stand you in good stead. Try 20m if you want to see how far 5 or even 2.5 watts will get you on a good day (and there is no consistency from one day to the next at the moment so don’t get disheartened if the bands are dead at times) or try 40m for a less formal band where you are more likely to chat to folks in the UK or Western Europe. I have also worked 80m but find that my sotabeams quadbander is less responsive on that band (probably due to a lack of height at the ends of the inverted-v).
Just enjoy yourself - no-one can tell you everything overnight so it is important to keep experimenting and keep getting up those hills!
Kind regards, Mark. M0NOM
p.s. if you can’t get up hills find when there are 40m/20m activations (or even 2m/70cm if line of sight) and chase wherever you can find a place to setup. If you have a mobile phone you can watch the spots and work the bands - you will be surprised how once you’ve found an activator somehow you manage to work them even with very weak signals. It’s just as valuable experience in a non-mountain top environment.
I am one of the early GM SOTA adopters.First Activation was in September 2002 - GM/CS-001. Checkout my QRZ.com page GM4COX for SOTA related details about myself. A great aspect within amateur radio.
And, as to someone showing you the ropes - Robin - GM7PKT would be a good choice. Based just south of Fort William he is very active (6,4,2M) and has activated a fair few summits over the years in CS, WS & NS. He will keep you on the ‘straight-and-narrow’
Looking forward our first QSO at my shack or S2S (Summit to Summit)?