Sota and environmental protection bonus

So far this year I have activated 45 times. Fortunately, there are many summits in my area. Nevertheless, every time I drove 40km up to 80km and drove the same distance back in the car. So a total of about 5000km. Fortunately, my Toyota Yaris Hybrid only consumes 4.5l per 100km and hardly emits nitrogen oxides.

But still my personal CO2 balance is not good. Therefore, I am considering whether I should not use public transport instead if possible.

With some summits (e.g. in the Harz with Wurmberg and Schalke) it is very convenient and I have done it several times. First by train and then by bus to the hiking parking lot. You can hardly go faster by car.

With many summits, however, it is very cumbersome and would take significantly more time.

That gave me the following idea. If an activator does not go to the starting point of his ascent with his own car, but with public transport or a bicycle, he receives a points bonus.

Perhaps this motivates some of us to leave their cars behind and contribute to environmental protection.

73 Chris


Hi Chris a good environmental consideration but what about regions that don’t have public transport to summits. There would be some sort of fuel / energy used no matter what mode of transport even a horse would have some emissions to make the trip.

Not really surprising as you have a Yaris. :rofl:


I agree with your sentiment, however I think this should be down to the individual concience of the activator. Travelling by public transport does mean that you can have a few beers along the way - that’s a good reward.

Incidentally, given the current situation, it is unclear how public transport might operate in the future.


:grinning: :+1:

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The points system for SOTA has been established for nearly two decades. Such a fundamental change would not be a good move I think. It would require a redesign of the database to allow the user to indicate zero use of personal car, and that would be open to abuse.

What if you drove the car to the local railway station and used public transport from there? What if you walked from home (as I have done to three summits myself) - a double bonus?

What if you got a lift with a joint activator? So two of you do the same journey, the same walk and the same activation. The driver gets no bonus, but the passenger gets the extra points. No doubt Jimmy @M0HGY will express strong support for this!

As Richard @G3CWI points out, travelling without use of your own personal car carries its own rewards:

  • better for the environment = better for your conscience
  • more opportunity to drink beer on the way home
  • cheaper and more reliable (note: this does not apply to UK activators)
  • more relaxing way to travel (note: this does not apply to UK activators)

There are also a huge number of participants still activating with little or no interest in the points anyway. Changing the points system is not an efficient or effective way to change mass behaviour. Leave the points out of it.


I see no reason to apply such a restrictive condition.


Hi Chris,

I completely agree with you. It would be more than desirable to perform an activation without any significant environmental impact.

A change in the SOTA rules would probably involve too much effort, as has already been said here. What remains is the motivation of each individual activator, as Tom wrote:

In the future I’ll consider public transport or bike for my activation planning.

73, Roman


SOTA is pollution if you don’t use public transport! We have burned thousands of kilometres through the tailepipe here with an increasingly bad conscience!
I therefore support the idea of a public transport/bicycle bonus.
After 20 years of SOTA, it really is time to adapt the database to modern conditions.
And abuse is not an argument: As we all know we can fake any activation.
I have learned here: SOTA is based on trust.
By the way: The database change is not too big, e.g.: If “PTB” (public traffic/bicycle) is in the comment: then it should be easy to add another (green) point.
So please add a green rule to the SOTA rules
73 Andreas

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I’m warming to this idea. In fact it has given me some further thoughts on how we can enhance the SOTA programme by rewarding activators for all good and considerate behaviour that isn’t directly related to climbing a listed summit or performing a minimum-qualifying amateur radio activation.

  1. A bonus point if the activator claims to have used public transport or bicycle to reach the summit, regardless of distance. (This could be fruitful for an activator living within walking distance of a summit, as we know some do - in such a case should there be a limit to the number of green bonus points per year that can be collected?)

Proposal 1) above is the one from Chris @DL1CR and Andreas @HB9HCI. Here are some more of mine below:

  1. A bonus point if the activator exchanges at least one friendly greeting (with a smile and eye contact) to another hiker.

  2. A bonus point if the activator unhurriedly explains his/her amateur radio station to any passer-by that approaches and asks. In order to qualify for the point, this discussion MUST include advice as to how the enquirer can get involved in amateur radio.

  3. A bonus point if the activator makes proper use of the activation zone and sets up well away from paths and popular summit features like trig points, cairns and topographs.

  4. A bonus point if the activator confirms when submitting the database entry, that no litter or other debris was left on the summit.

  5. A bonus point if the activator operates on at least 3 different bands AND on at least 3 different modes so as to give the maximum opportunity for the keenest chasers to get the QSO.

  6. A bonus point if the activator remembers to close all gates.

  7. A bonus point if the activator is a dog owner, and keeps the dog on a short leash, or the dog consistently walks at heel. 100 points deducted if evidence emerges that an activator’s dog is out of control and bothers other hill users, doubled to 200 points if this carnage takes place while on an extended so-called “training” lead.

  8. A bonus point if all items of applicable equipment were pre-charged at the activator’s home, AND the activator’s energy supplier can be shown to be 100% renewables.

  9. A bonus point if the activator confirms to have drank EXACTLY that amount of water taken out on the expedition, with the final sip taking place in the last ten minutes of the descent. Points deducted if the water runs out more than ten minutes before the end of the descent, as dehydration is a potentially serious condition that can place avoidable strain on the emergency services. Points deducted if water supplies remain after the expedition, as this is deemed to be waste, and therefore unenvironmental.

All the above are examples of sensible and considerate conduct while out on an expedition. So if we’re going to reward one, let’s reward them all.


Once upon a time Trolls were merely a figment of imagination and something to frighten the kids with when trying to get them to sleep :joy:


As the sale of fossil fuelled vehicles ends quiet soon along with the fact I expect to retire soon, it looks to me that I should buy a V12 engined car now whilst I can. None of them are cheap to run so I should do this whilst still working.

I’ve owned V8s, V6s, I6 and plenty of I4s but I’ve never owned a V12. In fact it’s 36 years since I last drove a V12, a Jaguar XJS 5.3L. A vehicle that was turbine smooth but had the amazing ability to turn lots of cash into not many miles travelled. 12mpg if driven gently (23.5L/100km). Being an early 80s Jaguar it used to breakdown after every 3rd or 4th refill. The only thing I’ve driven that had a more prodigious thirst for fuel was an Aston Martin DBS V8 Vantage which turned huge amounts of cash into lots of noise and not many miles driven. I drove one from Leicester to Liverpool in a “spirited manner” and achieved 4-5mpg (62L/100km). I filled it in Coventry and it needed more just outside of Liverpool and that’s with a 113L fuel tank! It cost so much you hit the single transaction credit limit and had to go and pay then return and put more fuel in and pay again. Luckily it wasn’t my money that was being used.

So I think now is the time to sell my 2.5L I4 diesel pickup and replace it with BMW E31 850CSi 5.6L V12 before we have drive everywhere in Johnny Cabs or some other Brave New World kind of controlled environment.


Oh dear, here we go again! I’ll cut out the virtue signalling and look at the downsides of public transport.

  1. Public transport is inflexible. It runs to (or after!) a timetable, a limited number of journeys a day - in more remote places a limited number of journeys a week.

  2. Public transport runs for the benefit of people so it runs where people want to go, if it serves uninhabited or nearly uninhabited areas it does so more or less by accident. Guess where most SOTA summits are!

  3. Public transport is slow. Yes, trains are fast(ish) but see 2), they run on a limited network and will only rarely serve access points for summits, if you have changed modes say by using a train and a bus then you can add waiting times and the bus also follows 2) and will be slow because of frequent stops.

  4. Public transport is expensive. It is actually cheaper to fly from Birmingham to Glasgow than it is to travel by train. Incidentally if you travel into the Scottish highlands by train from Glasgow then you have to walk to a different railway station and then wait and wait. I’ve done it!

  5. The deal breaker - who wants to travel in a coach or carriage full of strangers in a pandemic?


If only it were possible to speed up the rollout of electrical vehicles in Europe by building a new Tesla factory right at the heart of the EU; right outside Berlin, for instance.
73 de OE6FEG

If I spent that much on a car I’d like the panels to be fitted so the gaps between them were consistent. Most Teslas look like they were assembled by Stevie Wonder and The Blind Boys of Alabama :wink:


As luck would have it, the average environmentalist is oblivious to such contradictions:


All of my activations so far have been achieved by either reaching the start of the walk by bicycle, or by walking entirely from home.

This has sometimes involved a couple of days walking to reach the summit, or perhaps 10 to 12 hours of cycling and walking to achieve only a few points.

At present I have 39 activations and 222 points over a six month period.

SOTA is a personal challenge, and each individual is likely to set their own variation…some may opt to do all activations with an HT on VHF, while for others the challenge is to lug a satellite dish to a summit operate as many bands as possible on each summit.

Each to their own!

I would suggest that the scoring remain as it is, focussed on the core elements of the challenge. Individual participants are then welcome to set their own additional challenge…but can keep track of that themselves.



I agree - but our responsibility for nature is not an individual issue, but a social one. Therefore I would like to advocate that there is an incentive to behave in an environmentally friendly way.

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The scoring system is broken. There seems to be no relation to score versus altitude or altitude gain. It varies in drastic ways across the U.S. If you are opening up the scoring algorithms may I suggest you make it consistent world wide. Regarding environmental considerations, I have estimated my cost of fuel per point is about $5.00, or about 3/4 of a gallon (4.2 Euros/2.9 liters) . Not a good carbon score. I live in a region with 900 m to 1200 m peaks within very close range. These are all 1 or 2 point peaks. Many of them I ride a bike to, and ascend. A significant reduction in SOTA fuel usage could be achieved if one could do the same peaks multiple times / year. I would suggest 12 times per year as it lines up pretty well with the motion of the Earth and Sun.

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This is the best way to reduce fuel consumption! 1 summit per week and then no :joy:points!!!So the big activators will stop running every day from summit to summit.From the other side SOTA will loose interest for people who feel proud of running the race. But let’s have their own opinion first!