Planning my first activation.

I am planing on activating my first summit (W7U/WA-004)on June 16th. I will be working 20m and 40m. I plan on being at the summit around 14:00 UTC.
I would love any tip or guidance I can get. I think that I have the basics covered through research, but it is always nice to get some extra pointers.


Hope your first activation goes well.
I see you have put an Alert on SW3 that’s a good start chasers can now look out for you.
Have the best antenna you can have and Spot when you arrive is all you can do.
I am in vk so it will be very early in the morning here and not likely to have propagation to try to work you so best of luck.
Ian vk5cz …

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That’s a 3,189m summit, nearly 10,500’ - so take a hat and sunscreen. :slight_smile:


Good call on the sunscreen. I would have forgotten it for sure. Thank you!

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Charge battery :slight_smile:
Put all the gear together.
Check that you have all the adapters from battery to radio and antenna are there.
Mast and guyropes / velcro straps and so on to mount the mast.
Then don’t take it out of the pack.

Place alert on SOTAwatch.
Test that your self spotting works (via internet, phone text message or APRS).


I would try your setup at the end of the garden or in a nearby park so you find out what you will forget without having such a long walk!



Not to mention equipment, paper and pen, weather protection, food,… … I always like to have 2 seat cushions with me. (for me and for the device) They do not weigh much and are folded in the backpack on the back.

Have lots of fun - watch out - SOTA can be addictive - Armin

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Use the search facility on here and search for “first activation” to see what has been written before about this in the past.


Welcome Robert!

We need more activators here in Utah. It’s awesome you are here!

Personal story, to add emphasis to what Joe said:

Just three days ago… it was my 2nd attempt at activating W7U/TO-025… antenna was set up… I was reaching into the pack for the rig… and it hit me… :man_facepalming: I had left my power cable at home on the test bench!!! <groan!> :man_facepalming:

Good luck! I’ll be watching for you!


Oh yeah! That’s so true!

Almost exactly one year ago I decided I would give SOTA a try. People gave me that same warning.

I’ve now done 46 activations. (49 total attempts… only three failures… that’s not too bad.)

This is tremendous fun!


Top advice! I forgot a bnc-pl259 adapter on my first activation a couple of weeks ago! :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

Best of luck with your first activation. Look forward to reading how you get on!

73 - Matthew M0JSB

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Hello Robert -
There’s nothing wrong with doing peaks that are “easy” and closer to home for your first few - even to chase SOTA from a local park. This gives you a chance to check out your radio equipment and personal kit (Sunscreen! Hat! Chair!). Maybe this summit: SOTLAS?
You could set a trend in W7U by writing some info on reaching the trailhead and other access issues on the SOTA summit pages: SOTA Summits.
(Six activations - no one’s written down how they got there!)
Enjoy! 73, Etienne-K7ATN


Pick relevant items to make a personal checklist from these groups (day trip only):

==== Before hitting the trail:

Test equipment at home, add name and phone number to all items, use checklist at home and again when arriving at trailhead, post SOTA alert, pre-hydrate, do final weather check, call home with location of trailhead and summit plus estimated times, place everything on hood/bonnet of truck while getting organized before the climb, lock truck.

==== At the top:

Safety first, don’t run out of sunlight, watch for approaching thunderheads, leave no trash or gear behind, show the simple courtesy of taking out other’s trash, announce your new freq when you QSY and when you QRT, consider returning to original freq right before going QRT, use all your tools to find your way back down to the trailhead.

==== Back at the truck:

Put everything on the hood while stowing gear, change into dry shirt, call home, drive safely, add tips/cautions to summit resource page in database.

==== What to take:

Checklist including alerted freq’s and peak reference, backpack, radios & mini-manuals, mic, headphones, keyer paddle and backup straight key, tuner/balun, transmission line, adapters (sma-bnc), antennas (hf-vhf), tripod-base, fish-rod/mounting spike & straps, counterpoise, fully charged batteries/power cable, clip leads, cordage, tent stakes, light hammer, fishline, 2 oz sinkers, slingshot, log book, 2 pencils, Swiss army knife, cigarette lighter, chapstick, light tarp, water bladder, food, headlamp, orange survival bag, pistol (where legal), bear spray/bell, whistle, signaling mirror, binoculars/camera, altimeter, thermometer, clock, GPS/map/compass, route plan, Bushnell Backtrack or similar, locator beacon, phone, APRS, mini-stool, spare truck key, copy of radio license in plastic envelope with money/papers, layered clothing/rain gear, hat, gloves, goggles/dark glasses, sunscreen, spare socks, trekking poles, snow gear, boot traction devices, towel, mini-dictaphone, first aid kit, toilet paper, bug repellent spray, flag.

Elliott, K6EL


Hello Robert

Tell us. How was your first activation … and which hints were useful?

73 Armin

I was unsuccessful in getting 4 QSOs, but I did enjoy the overall experience. I think the biggest place I can improve is spotting. I was unable to self spot at the summit. I know that spotting using APRS, believe that is something that I will be looking into a little more.

I found use in all the of the tips. A big thanks to everyone. I will be writing a new post detailing my experience with my first attempt at activating a summit.

It happens to all of us man. I second what K7ATN said: do some smaller, closer to home hills to get your groove down.

If you can get one QSO, ask him/her to spot for you on the website if you don’t have cell service.

Keep at it, it’s a heckuva lot of fun.