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SOTA and POTA

Last sunday i have made my first Pota attivation from a Park in Roma, nice activity only in SSB, 18 qso


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I participate in both SOTA and POTA, and I’ve noticed a little bit of animosity between the SOTA and POTA communities here and there. It’s very unfortunate, because I see no reason why they can’t coexist happily.

I think I will always be a bit partial to SOTA as there is more adventure behind it, but here’s why I’ve gotten involved in POTA more recently.

I live right in the center of the W4C association, which is one of the most active associations, and one of top associations in regard to the number of accessible summits. For that, I’m very fortunate. When I activate, I usually try to go to a summit I’ve never visited before, just to keep it interesting. Most of my activations are within a 1-2 hr drive. That being said, I work a regular 9-5 Mon-Fri kind of job. Sundays are usually full of church and other commitments, which mostly leaves Saturday as my free day to activate. Taking away my occasional Saturday obligations and poor weather days, this only leaves a few free Saturdays that I have all to myself. Even living so close to so many great summits; by the time you factor in a total of 2-4 hours worth of driving, 3-4 hours of hiking at a minimum, and a couple of hours activating; this takes most of the day, especially in the winter when daylight hours are at a minimum. This is fine, but I often have other things I would like to get done as well (yardwork, errands, antenna work for the home QTH, etc). So it becomes hard to dedicate an entire day to SOTA.

Flipping to POTA, there are several parks nearby within just a 20 minute drive. (Or even more if you want to go a little further). Pretty much all of these are a drive up, and because you don’t have the “once per year for points” requirement, you can activate the same park often. This may seem boring at the surface, but because some of these parks are very large (Blue Ridge Parkway, Pisgah National Forest, etc), you can activate from an entirely new spot each time; and still get the credit. For that, it feels like a whole totally brand new activation area. One time, I may activate from a certain overlook, another time from a picnic area, another time from a trailhead; the possibilities are virtually endless. All in all, this lets me spend 3-4 hours overall, rather than the whole day. It gives you all the adventure of exploring somewhere else, in a fraction of the time. And, if I really want to hike, I can still hike, but set up virtually anywhere as long as I am still on the park land.

I’m not at all turning my back on SOTA by doing POTA, and I will still do SOTA as time allows, but POTA affords me the opportunity to quench my thirst for portable operating, but still have time for other things too.

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A good number of W4G summits lie within one, two, or even THREE overlapping POTA references. Why not participate in both?

Another advantage for me is that I used to be in a 4th floor apartment. While going out on the 7 story parking deck and working VHF with the equivalent of a 25m antenna was AWESOME, HF left something to be desired due to S7+ noise. Without POTA having a park 5 minutes away, I don’t think I could have improved my operating and CW skills to the point they are today.

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When I started this thread I had the same concerns. Could there be a rivalry between Sota and Pota? Is it even inappropriate to report pota activations in the reflector?
I mean there’s no reason for it.
The special challenge of activating a distant summit with high prominence makes Sota special, which Pota doesn’t have. So no competitor.

73 Chris

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I SOTA when I can and POTA when I can’t and will gladly do both when possible. I combine activations with geocaching as well. I travel occasionally for work. Recent destinations were Kansas City, MO, Amarillo, TX and Salt Lake City, UT. Salt Lake is surrounded by wonderful summits that I can’t wait to explore further, but Amarillo and KC not so much. POTA is the only reasonable option. 4 of my last 5 POTA activations were on works trips: two in KC, one in NM while driving to Amarillo, and the most special one was activating SOTA at DM/BW-212 (Baiselberg) which is also within the Stromberg Nature Park, DA-0013. I love getting on the air, and POTA opens that opportunity when SOTA isn’t an option.

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Sounds an eminently sensible plan to me Brian.

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Just had a look and my home QTH is in a POTA! I know I’m not allowed to operate from private property so normal QSO’s from the warmth of the shack will not count, but it could be a suprisingly short journey reqired for an actication… Paul…
PS One of the reasons why I got involved again in radio and SOTA was an attempt to get fit …

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It still baffles me why anyone would try to put down another ham radio program (see references to animosity). At the end of the day, we’re all in the same hobby and just enjoy different niches. We should be thankful that there are enough “specialties” in ham radio so that everyone can find something they enjoy.

POTA is a godsend for some people who aren’t physically able to hike up to a summit. I know at least two dozen hams who have started participating in POTA but would not be able to hike to most of the summits we activate. It’s getting them out of the shack and into nature, meeting new people, and for a lot of them this has renewed their interest in operating. Personally, I don’t see a downside unless you consider use of the bands to be bad. :slight_smile:

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It’s different with WWFF… there you only need to be inside the area… (even in your home if it is in the area) … the only restriction: no qso over packet radio, relay links and echo link. (…at least according to the rules I found at DLFF)

73 Armin

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I started hiking in 2011 and lost over 100lbs. In 2019, I tested for my tech license to help with a SAR team. A week later, I learned about SOTA and that was all it took for me to get hooked on ham radio. :slight_smile:

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