Some months ago, two MT members wondered where’s the fun in activating the same peak over and over. As I just now reached 1,000 activations, with 539 of them from Mt. Davidson locally, I note that the purpose was to escape serious noise. At home, my noise is S-8 at best. On the hill, my noise is S-1 at worst. There’s the motivation. The disadvantage is that weather cancels. Choice of equipment is nearly the same. On hills, I’ve run power from 300 milliwatts to one KW, into loops and wires, including a three element fixed wire beam. Once, my antenna was the cable of my headphones when I forgot the others. Does anyone else go up one hill often for that reason?
I’ve only been doing SOTA for about 2yrs. My local SOTA summit is G/SC-003 (1point) and I’m often up there as it’s about a 35min drive from my home. It’s only +325m but my home QTH is +20 so it’s a huge improvement. It’s not as spectacular as some of the summits pictured on the reflector. To the north is the Bristol Channel and beyond that is GW land. If I visit each one of the 12 summits in G/SC it earns me 16 points inc winter bonus. Consequently… I only have 53 activator points but I do have 340 s2s points and recently got my Shack Sloth. So… it’s fair to say I don’t do SOTA for the MG status. I do it because I enjoy it up there and the s2s’s. So much so, I’ve also now started going up there for the RSGB’s monthly 2m SSB contest and have worked as far as Spain, Germany, Netherlands in the 10w low power category.
Good question Elliott but sorry no I only visit 1 summit for two activations on New Years morning to activate there twice for the one visit before then after UTC calendar roll over.
I don’t really have any local summits and all the travelling involved I need to only visit different summits every trip away. Also I only do SOTA during cooler months due to the hot summers and fire ban seasons and permission to access summits on private property etc. I deal with my high noise levels at home for chasing most of the time and generally the activators are on CW so I can usually pull them out on the noise. My best antenna for receiving SOTA activators on most bands is my 80m inverted V dipole, then switch to the resonate antenna to transmit or return the call.
Ian vk5cz …
Hi Elliot, That is an outstanding record. Well done. Checking back my recent USA logs, I see you worked me twice from there and once from Vollomer Peak, at the time of my first activation of Steamboat Mountain, WY. Thanks for the QSO’s.
You mention QRM. Mount Davisdon looks like it would be a QRM nightmare!
I live in a village surrounded by hills and serviced by overhead electricity and phone lines. Even with 10w SSB I can cause QRM. All of my HF operating is portable. I’m just lucky enough to be surrounded by hills. . .so I use them all, although two of those - Pressendye and Craiglich are the Go To hills for the purposes you describe.
50 years ago my house was an Eastern Suburb. Now it’s close to the epicentre of Melbourne’s population. Nett result, no summit accessible without at least an hour’s drive these days, and it gets worse on the roads by the month.
Arthur’s Seat is an hour’s drive, mostly on a freeway and has a large grassed AZ plus some good views a short walk from the carpark. I use it for taking newcomers on an initial outing.
Most VK peaks with vehicle access (4 WD inc) have comms facilities with solar and often diesel power. They are now noisy even on HF. That’s life.
It’s always fun to get you in the log. Although I don’t activate my local summit as often as you do yours, I have been up it quite a few times. Mostly if local guys are on summit then I chase S2S.
My local hill is W1/NL-024 and the trailhead is walking distance from the house.
73 es Merry Christmas,
It used to puzzle me when people started activating the same summit repeatedly as I’m lucky enough to have plenty nearby that I could repeat so I could at least get points. Then I ended up doing a local (30-40min drive, mainly because of traffic) summit for a second time for no points. I decided then that it was better to go and repeat a summit for no points rather than do no summits for no points! This fits in with the changing circumstances of working part time. I only used to have Saturday or Sunday to activate and I did plenty of summits in average weather. Now I have 5 days a week to pick from I can make an effort and travel to activate new summits or summits I’ve only done once before if the weather looks to be good. If the weather’s not great I can go and do Scald Law. If I can’t be bothered with a 150mile round trip I can go and do Scald Law. And, working part time, if I’m bored then I can go and do Scald Law.
Scald Law for me is a decent workout and I can check my times to summit so I can maintain fitness. Also repeated activations means I can deploy the same antennas or try new ideas in real SOTA conditions. So the lack of points doesn’t matter as I’m at double goat. However, I’m near a significant milestone (500 uniques) so I think I need to polish off 10 new ones as fast as I can over the coming months. There’s a reason that the 10 nearest uniques to me are still uniques after 17 years of SOTA… awkward/no parking, electric fences, long way from roads, awful ground, seriously unpleasant farmers/landowners etc. a whole gamut of reasons that make you go elsewhere!
As SOTA (activating) is that happy marriage of hillwalking and portable radio sometimes I do it for a new or challenging hill walk, sometimes because I fancy escaping the RF-noisy shack for some low-noise, low-power radio – but usually it’s a bit of both.
According to my Excel SOTA planning spreadsheet I have almost 50 SOTA summits within an hour’s drive from home (although many are via narrow winding lanes) and I like to walk most of them every year. Four of them are only 15-25 minutes’ drive away and I walk them countless number of times every year with or without radio but always with a dog or two.
I never tire of walking these local SOTA summits so I’ll take the radio gear if I have the extra time and the weather is alright. I don’t care about points so for me there’s every reason to repeat summits.
Congratulations on choosing one of the best places to live in England when you came up (I think) from down south. You are right next to the lovely Lake District, my home county of Lancashire as also close - and you can be in Scotland or Wales for SOTA much faster than I can by road.
A good decision that you and the family made when you moved to the south Lakes, what is some years ago now!
While I work towards Mountain Goat activation points are my priority. But there comes a point in the year where I have done all the local summits and can’t always get further afield. I have to do SOTA once a week so have to go somewhere. So I end up repeating my most local summits. Chasing S2S and DX, plus trying new antennas, makes it all worth while. I set myself a target for 2023 of 1000 S2S points on CW and I managed to easily beat that. Next year I shall try to do the same and also try to work lots of DX, especially on 10m. Also, if my wife needs the car, I can walk to G/NP-028 from home so I’ve done that 12 times this year. G/NP-032 is a short drive away and I’ve done that 8 times this year. Obviously I can’t compete with @M1EYP when it comes to how many times I’ve activated one summit.
I also moved up from down Sarf. Although licensed I wasn’t doing amateur radio then and it was before SOTA was invented so it was good luck that I ended up within walking distance of one summit and within an easy drive of many more.
Where I live in Columbus, Ohio, I am a minimum of 4 hours away from ‘Good SOTA.’ and by ‘Good SOTA’ I mean 1) great, scenic hikes and 2) lots of points! I do have a 2 pointer an hour away from home with good trails and dog friendly. I can drop the kids off at school, drive down, hike in, activate, and get home before I need to pick them up. Doggo gets to be happy. I get to hike, be outside, play radio. Wish I could get points every time I went out, but that’s just not gonna happen, and that’s okay.
Hi Eliot, I assumed you were more interested in chasing S2S. But the QRM at home sounds bad. I’m lucky to live where I have no QRM. But recently, I decided to start repeating Pass Benchmark, W7Y/TT-122. It’s close to home and has pretty easy access. And, right now, there are not many peaks around here that are accessible or that I can get points for (not enough snow to ski up them). So I decided I’m just going to activate W7Y/TT-122 whenever I need a SOTA fix and don’t have time or energy to activate anything else. Even without the points, it’s still a thrill to activate.
Maybe after a 100 more QSOs, I’ll have your W6/NC-423 ref memorized
Because I pay no attention to points earned, I go to the same few summits quite a lot. For the low noise, just to get out, just for the fun of it etc.
We all do SOTA for our various own reasons, I go mainly for the fun factor and to me that means leaving all the point tallying out.
I fully ‘get’ the repeated summit thing. But having set myself the goal of getting at least my 2nd MG on uniques-only, sadly find I have prohibited myself from participating. So when I just want to get out close to home tend to repeat-activate POTA parks instead. The ten parks on ten bands award there gives some incentive to satisfy my goal-orientated personality disorder, but even for me it’s increasingly tempting to just get out and play radio with no points or scores to be had.
When we added the ZL POTA parks, we agreed that the ~35,000 conservation parks in ZL would be a bit excessive, we decided a defined limit was needed on what qualified. I pushed for all conservation land over 1000ha in size, which is what was accepted. In hindsight that lacked foresight, as if we’d made that 800ha, I could walk out of my gate, cross the highway, and be in Flat Top Hill Conservation Area (815.27ha) - which would be a POTA park.
Which is why I fully understand the repeat activators. If that park were in the POTA scheme I’d be there most weekend evenings - trying out new ideas, seeking rare intercontinental park-to-parks, or just ‘playing radio’.
There are quite a few POTA parks near me and I even appear to live in one: G-0271 Arnside and Silverdale National Landscape which I presume corresponds to the boundaries of one of the UK’s designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) of the same name.
POTA rules say you have to operate on publicly-accessible land. So, I would have to carry my rig from the shack about 15m to the road. Not that I would bother. Apart from the risk of being run over by a car on our narrow village road, the RFI from the overhead power & broadband cables on telegraph poles there is even worse than in the shack.
I’ve not participated in the POTA scheme yet but there are plenty of SOTA summits near me that are in POTA parks so a chance to kill two birds with one stone. I’m hoping the weather and wind will be kind to me soon so I can take my kite-borne 40m EFHW and FT857 to do some non-QRP SSB for a change.