S. O. T. A. in the U.S.A. 🇺🇲

Great report Fraser, I enjoyed every bit of it!

I have been in several places you describe in 1999, but there was no SOTA back then :frowning:

While in Fort Collins,CO, you should have visited the New Belgium Brewing Company

They make some great (imitation) Belgian Beers. Why great ? Because they bought away a Belgian brewmaster from one of our breweries, that’s why , hi.
So we got a tour of the brerwery with Flemish commentary, that was also great.

I see they now have expanded a lot since then, and they have a whole range of “sweet beers” (with fruit etc) … YUCK !
I guess it’s to please the American taste more …



We didn’t have time for a visit, however I did have time to drink plenty of their excellent beer!

Everywhere we went I asked for, and was usually given, local beers.


Sounds good Fred. That is definitely on the cards.

Many thanks for the super report Fraser and some brilliant photos. I hope this report will encourage a few more locals to get onto those drive-on summits, maybe for the Trans-Atlantic S2S events. It’s always exciting to work over to the western States. :grinning:

73, Gerald


Great write-up Fraser. I echo Fred KT5X, let us know and we will assemble the gang together for guides and meet-ups on the summits!
Tim - K5DEZ


Thanks for sharing Fraser. A USA SOTA trip is on my bucket list so I read with interest!


Brilliant report Fraser. Makes me want to visit the US again.

Sue and I had one of our best ever holidays in California in 2002.

I cimbed Mt. Whitney W6/SN-001 in a single day in 2002, way before I was licenced and before SOTA came to the area. I’d had some acclimatisation in Yosemite and camping high in Mammoth Lakes… but I still had a tough time with the altitude. 4000m+ takes a toll!


Again and again. I’ve been to Yosemitie twice, done some token climbing there and stood at the foot of El Cap. That was enough! The great thing about NA (and I include Canada in this) is that it has everything. Desert, mountains, canyons, grasslands, badlands, plains, forest…it had the lot. Little wonder retirees sell up, buy an RV and spend a decade traveling (sic).

The only downside is the limited menus in the restaurants - we were sick of steaks and burgers by the end of the first week, and when we were travelling and camping in Utah in 2013, we went to a supermarket in a small town where the only fresh produce they had was onions. We ate dried food for a few days as a result. And fried onions.


I used to put on 5kg every time work sent me to the US. Then lose it without trying (and despite the guinness) every time I returned to EI. In the end I started staying at Embassy Suites self catering & avoided restraunts completely!


Did a route to the top of Half Dome. Snake Dyke. Oh to be in my 30s again…

Descending the cable way on the other side was more scary than the rock climbing!

I remember thinking the same thing. The country is vast and has every type of scenery, especially if you include Alaska and Hawaii.


Awesome Summary Trip Report Fraser! Bravo !! You pretty much went to all the great spots in that part of the USA! It was a pleasure to chase you on Pikes Peak! Glad you and Mo had such an amazing time…!!



Thanks for Chasing Joe. Great to get you in my log again, and from your side of the Atlantic!

Yes, I think we did ok, despite never venturing beyond the Front Range. The Lonely Planet book of Western USA has served us well on three trips now.

1 Like

I always thought those handrails on Half Dome would make excellent lightning conductors. :zap::exploding_head:


Thanks for the great report and Info. I’m taking a week off after a conference in Phoenix mid October and renting a motorbike. The thought of SOTA appeals but I’m not sure I’ll be able to manage much, and obviously luggage space will be at a premium.

I need to get planning, one of the best recommended books sounds like an excellent companion. I have also found out that my phone won’t work!

How does the callsign prefix work, and is it enough to take cept documentation and license?

At the moment I’m looking at Airbnb but I could probably take camping gear.

Cheers Mark


Best to tag along with a local activator, using his/her equipment, Mark. Contact the AM. If you rent a scooter for use on a motorway, be defensive. Some American drivers act as if they don’t see you. There is a minimum horsepower required to go on motorways.

Only your license is needed. Put FCC region in front of your call: W7/MØNOM.

Elliott, K6EL


Mark, it took a bit of digging. Heres the page from the FCC website that describes how it works. There is a list of prefixes in there. Earlier I found a page with them listed neatly in a table, but I can’t seem to find it now.

I’m sure you’d have room in your bike luggage for a QRP radio, travel mast and a bit of wire!

We bought an AT&T SIM for $30 dollars. Should have worked but didn’t. A phone that takes an E-SIM (a virtual one) should be ok. My phone has two UK SIM’s; Tesco (0²) and Vodafone PAYG. The Vodafone turned out to be massively cheaper for data, so I used that when there was no wi-fi and turned the data off most of the time.


You always check the CEPT docs because they not only list the CEPT country members but also the non-members who follow the CEPT agreements on ham radio.

USA isn’t a member of CEPT but they do recognise CEPT licences, the doc not only shows the prefix to use for each state etc. but the US licence class your UK licence is equivalent to, US extra in your case.

Search for TR61-01 CEPT and you’ll get the PDF link. Print it and take it with you along with a printout of your UK licence. You need a copy of your licence with you to operate under CEPT provisions.


Thanks for the info Fraser.

I found a company in the UK that does USA SIMS/eSIMS: https://uk.simcorner.com/collections/usa-sim-card/products/usa-unlimited-4g-data-sim-card-tmobile

They were very helpful informing me that my phone won’t work in the USA, so it is definitely worth checking. I use a Redmi Note 10 Pro. It is time for an upgrade! I had read that they are moving over to calls-over-IP in the USA and that some phones don’t support that.

Regarding CEPT Agreement - OK I had everything in place already from previous trips, just hadn’t looked into the document for the USA state-specific callsigns, so thanks for the tip and I can see in that document exactly what I need. I think like you Fraser my plan would be to drop the /P suffix. I know POTA do that all the time, I wasn’t sure what SOTA activators use in the USA as a ‘standard’.

Cheers, Mark.


Thanks for the info. Great advice about contacting the AM - I’ve done that thanks.

I was thinking about tapping up Charlie “Red Summit RF” as a local activator, but if anyone out there is in the Phoenix/SoCal region please let me know and I’ll chat. I’ve not planned anything SOTA related because I the general plan has evolved massively since I first decided to hire a bike.

I’ve gone for a BMW R1250GS Adventure - exactly the same bike as I have here, as it happens with exactly the same luggage, so I can experiment with what to take to ensure I can carry it all. My plan is to completely avoid freeways, as everyone I have spoken to have said what a nightmare they are.

Regards, Mark


Charlie did contemplate about hooking up with me, however the distance was too great. I think he is in AZ.