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Random SOTA OPs Encounters

Curious how many ops have randomly run into other SOTA activators on summits?

My first time was a couple of years ago. I was on Megunticook W1/EM-001 and was suddenly approached by another ham, Chris @KG6CIH (Mountain Goat) who was activating a short way away. My CW was QRMing him and, realizing that I was on the same summit, he started looking around.

The second was last year on a little, out of the way summit Joe English Hill W1/MV-004. I was working through my contacts when Mary, @N1RKO suddenly appeared out of the woods.

These were pleasant surprises. I didn’t have to explain what I was doing, or have to answer the usual questions about aliens. We got to show off our set-ups in situ.

We have had several qsos since. #kismet

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It happened to me on GW/SW-033. Not one of the more popular or desirable summits in GW land. Hardly anyone was about, but as I was getting out of the car with my gear, a voice said, ‘that looks like the bag for the super antenna MP1’! Not what I was expecting to hear on such a quiet summit! It turned out to be Robert @M0RWX who was also about to do an activation. We had a pleasant chat and went our separate ways to activate, although we were in earshot of each other. I actually found it quite nice to have someone nearby doing the same thing as me! Particularly as I had a slightly creepy feeling about that summit! Couldn’t quite put my finger on why. It was a pleasure to meet you Robert!

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I once ran into 3 other SOTA ops when visiting the UK on Seat Sandal G/LD-022

Also ran into DL6AP when we both happened to be visiting W4 land (W4K/EC-001).

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I haven’t run into any SOTA activators, but I’m surprised I didn’t prior to getting involved myself. Several summits (or their surrounding area) in this state are destinations for for me in other pursuits (hunting, hiking, mountain biking, camping). In fact, at the beginning of the pandemic, I was looking for something to do at home and decided to dust off my radio gear. While doing some research, I stumbled upon @KB1HQS’ page and his write-up of the Blue Mtn activation. I quickly realized this was in the wildlife management area I frequently hunt (and was likely hunting the day he activated the summit). That was the hook that got me going in SOTA.

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There have been a few times I’ve unexpectedly run into other SOTA ops on summits.

A few years ago I was activating a summit in the San Gabriel Mountains (above Los Angeles), when Oleh KD7WPJ hiked up and introduced himself. The next year, as I was approaching the summit of El Toro W6/NC-376, I heard what sounded like CW. When I rounded the last bend, it was Oleh making contacts.

This past fall, KN6REU and I were in the parking lot for Coyote Peak, W6/NC-399. I noticed a guy who had an HT on his pack getting into his car. Later I found out it was AJ6X finishing his activation. After the hike up, as we approached the summit, there was another ham sitting on one of the benches. I went up to say hi. He recognized me, asked if I was Jeff, then introduced himself as KI6SYD. He was packing up, so he was able to chase us when he got back to his car.

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I met both Ian G(I)0AZB and Esther G(I)0AZA after just activating Burnhope Seat (G/NP-003). I was on the way down and had no obvious SOTA identifiers, but seeing someone on the same route I use, which doesn’t have a footpath when I have never seen anyone else there made me a bit curious. Said a quick hello, and Ian replied he was doing an activation… well I can’t think of any other way of activating a hill so the obvious callsign and sota reference followed. It was also really nice to meet Esther in the camper in the lay-by although she probably wondered who this stranger with the mad dog was … :slight_smile: . I also met Colin M0WCW - well he was parked in his camper as I activated Hoove - I parked next to him without really realising it - and I was his first chase - he is now an activator too… Paul

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In terms of unplanned encounters; I’ve met Rod (G4RQJ) and his wife twice! Whilst climbing South Barrule GD/GD-003 they were on their way down and gave me directions to a nice comfy spot to activate from. Also when we both activated Normanby Top G/TW-005 at the same time (it’s a big AZ!). I cheekily dropped down out of the AZ to get the chase, before driving over to say hello ‘properly’. I’ve also met Dave (M6GYU) on Gisborough Moor G/TW-003.

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That was a chance encounter indeed at GW/SW-003. As you mentioned, the place felt eery. I walked to the trigpoint and I noticed a wooden spoon and some other stuff hanging what seemed like a stocking hanging from the tree. Not far from that, there was a small clearing with a stone in the middle what appeared to have some sort of offering in the middle. It was small and could not see what it was; but by that time, it was time to return to the parking area and set up my station strapped to the gate post. Was good to meet you @M0JSB Till the next time (but almost certainly never at Wentwood as I am unlikely to visit this place ever again.


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In March 2020 I met Jens @HB9EKO on DM/BW-041. I had read his alert before I left home, so it was no surprise to find another activator at the top. After a nice conversation we set up with a safe distance and later, from our second summit, even managed an S2S-QSO :slight_smile:

In June 2020, while activating DM/BW-002, someone patted me on the shoulder:’ Are you DL3TU?’, he asked. It was Marcel, @DM3FAM, who apparently had read my alert. We had a friendly conversation and agreed to set up with some distance to avoid interference. Later, after I went QRT, I visited Marcel to take a look at his equipment and soon spotted an object which I immediately added to my SOTA check list. Not sure if there is a proper translation. We call it “Gipfel-Bier” (summit-beer?) :beers:

It seems that such meetings help building personal friendships among the activators. Since then we had countless S2S-QSOs. There are at least 20 dB gain for their call signs :wink:
Some time ago we started SOTA-BW, a platform for SOTA-enthusiasts in south west DL and neighbouring areas.

73, Roman

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Some SOTA enthusiasts just appear on summits unannounced without telling the activator there in advance who has alerted, that they were coming to meet them. I remember one instance in January 2009 when Geoff G6MZX turned up unexpectedly to say Hello when I was activating G/NP-028 Rombalds Moor.

73 Phil

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Thanks for the pics. Brought it all back! :sweat_smile: Yes, let’s hope the next time is in more pleasant surroundings!

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Bumped into Simon @G7WKX on Moel y Gamelin when we both decided to do the FMAC from the same spot, and @GW8OGI and @MW3NYR when I was coming down from Aran Fawddwy although they were just out for a walk and not activating.

Met a couple of OM in the car park for Firle Beacon with antennas on tripods everywhere trying to get an FT818 working. Asked if they’d listen out for me on 2m and they said they’d give me a shout, but never heard off them.

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C’ était en juillet 2012 :31/07 sur le parking du télésiège à St Jean Montclar,
je vois quelqu’ un avec une canne à pêche dans le sac à dos à qui j’ ai dit : vous êtes radio amateur ?
ç’ était Tof F5UBH et nous allions tous les deux faire le même Sota de 10 points : Dormillouse F/AM 284
ensuite nous nous sommes séparés car j’ ai fait une chute sur des rouleaux ( barrière anti animaux)
barrières Canadiennes !!!
et je suis tombé sur le nez…
Tof a continué et moi je suis rentré à la voiture après quelques soins et du repos.

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Oui, une canne à pêche dans le sac à dos sur une montagne, c’est belle et bien une bonne signe que l’autre personne est radio amateur!

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Twice I encountered another activator on a mountain. Both times it was HB9BIN, the then president of the Swiss association.

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My first encounter with SOTA friends was with Jürg @HB9BIN on Kandel DM/BW-009. That was in January 2017. I was brand new to SOTA and didn’t know who Jürg was at the time. I remember how calm and relaxed he was in the “Kandel pyramid” and was qrv there. He was not irritated by the many visitors. He was simply very experienced, which I only realised later. I then met Jürg again in September 2020. This time we talked a bit longer. That was on Schönberg DM/BW-105 during the SOTA Activity Day.

On the Hochfirst DM/BW-015, I had the pleasure of meeting Peter @DO4TE in July 2018. This was particularly interesting as I remember only working Peter on 2m during HAM RADIO in Friedrichshafen until then. Nice to have met you in person Peter @DO4TE.

It was also very nice to meet Armin @DL6GCA. He spontaneously visited me at Hohwildsberg DM/BW-766 (Hohwildsberg DM/BW-766) in November 2021. I was surprised and very pleased to meet you in person Armin @DL6GCA. Thank you for your visit. I’m pretty sure we haven’t met for the last time. DM/BW in the Black Forest in our home country.

In June 2020, I was allowed to meet Roman @DL3TU. This meeting resulted in a radio friendship that continues to this day. Together we created SOTA-BW, which is currently the hub for SOTA friends in the surrounding area and around the world! A beautiful community of radio friends. Roman has also indirectly moved me to be more in cw qrv. Thank you! To this day I try to be in cw qrv every time I activate a summit.

And yes. There’s nothing like a summit beer. Cheers. :beers:

I am sure I will have many more encounters and look forward to it. And I have been very happy about all the encounters so far.

vy 73 Marcel DM3FAM

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Was great surprise to meet a few activators randomly… one funny story was meeting an activator family member. I was activating Larch Mtn in Oregon W7O/WV-062, and someone said… “You’re doing SOTA aren’t you… my dad WA2USA does SOTA”

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I have on several occasions.
23 Nov. 2016 - Ran into Ron, NR3E (Then WC9G) and Liz who was not a ham at that time on W4C/WM-010 as I was exiting the summit and they were heading up.
19 June 2015 - While camping in Great Smoky Mtns NP, I headed up to W4C/ WM-055 on the spur of the moment as it was near me and ran into Dennis, WA2USA and Dave, AE9Q. After they departed, I gave them the fastest Complete they ever got on 2- meters.
23 May 2020, Ran into Mark, K7EEX on W4C/WM-003 but I had seen his alert for the summit earlier in the day and dropped in or rather UP to activate myself and meet Mark.

Dean ~ K2JB

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I had identical encounters with AAØBV on Vollmer and AB6D on Davidson. In each case, the other guy posted an alert with me already on top, occupying the only bench. Each time, I could not alert due to my chasing s2s exclusively. Each time, they arrived within minutes before my departure from the hill. Since I have activated those two peaks a total of 516 times, it’s a wonder it hasn’t happened more often.

Elliott, K6EL

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Thanks, Marcel for your kind words. Yes, I still remember us meeting there and that we had no promlems at all working on the same band. I also appreciate it very much that you supported some of my activations as a chaser when I was in the Black Forest area, by even firing up your HT during lunch break at work. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: :+1: I am looking forward to our next meeting(s), either in person or in a QSO. :grinning:

BTW: The Gehrenberg DM/BW-348 also seems to be a hot spot for personal meetings. I remember that I met Michael @DB7MM there and a group of OMs from the UK. On DM/BW-854 (Höchsten) it was a pleasure to watch Luc @ON7DQ performing CW QSOs. Right afterwards he completed the mountain by chasing me on 2 m FM while driving to the next location, very smart! :grinning:

I do hope that we will have those experiences in the future, e. g. on the occasion of the Ham Radio again.

With best personal regards, Peter DO4TE

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