Other SOTA sites: SOTAwatch | SOTA Home | Database | Video | Photos | Shop | Mapping | FAQs | Facebook | Contact SOTA

SOTA contest?

There has been some discussion about a SOTA contest on the SOTA Australia news group, but SOTA is international, so I am putting up a working concept here.

There are a range of contests around which are QRP, or incorporate SOTA in some way, but also SOTA is not just QRP. It was thought that having a contest that is built from the ground up SOTA would be of benefit. Some have also suggested the idea of sprints, etc, but a 24 hour contest would be best in order that everyone around the world who participates can have a full set of daily propogation opportunities. It also allows for strategies involving multiple summit activations.

Anyway, this is the conceptual rules:

1/ Objectives:  To provide an opportunity for SOTA chasers (potential shack sloths) and SOTA activators (potential mountain goats) to take part in a special SOTA activity day.  To encourage QRP operation at home and in the field.  To promote amateur radio.

2/ Date: TBD

3/ Sections:
-A: SOTA peak activator: At least one SOTA activation in the log, but not all QSOs need be activation QSOs.
-B: Chaser. No SOTA activations in the log.

4/ Sub sections:
(a) 8 consecutive hours
(b) 24 hours

5/ Scoring: Scoring contacts take place between a SOTA peak activator and any other station.  Non SOTA peak stations do not score for contacts between them.

A station may be contacted 
- once per HF or lower bands (<30MHZ), once per VHF or higher bands (>30MHZ)
- once per mode where CW, FM, other phone, and other modes are the all other modes (eg PSK, RTTY, ATV, etc)
- once per unique summit for that station and once as a chaser

For example a HF only station operating CW and SSB could be contacted twice per summit and twice as a chaser. A HF & VHF station operating CW and PSK could be contacted effectively four times per summit and four times as a chaser.

QSO value:
1 point per QSO
plus 1 point where the claiming station operated QRP
plus 1 point where the other station is QRP

6/ Contest exchange:  RST + SOTA summit code. QRP stations sign /Q or /QRP

eg. On CW G0XXX de VK3AAA/QRP ur 569 VK3/VC001
Or on Phone G0XXX VK3AFW QRP you are 5 by 6 from SOTA VK3/VC-001

Real signal reports are strongly encouraged.

7/ Bands: All non-WARC bands can be used for scoring.   Any contacts made on WARC bands (12/17/30m) are to be excluded from the contest log.

8/ All registered SOTA peaks anywhere in the world qualify for activation and scoring.

9/ A SOTA activator station can be worked again if the activator station is on a different SOTA peak, in addition to being worked once (as per rule 5) from a non-SOTA location.

10/ The following comprise multipliers
- Each unique SOTA summit activated by the entrant.
- Each unique SOTA summit chased by the entrant when not a SOTA activator.
- Each unique SOTA summit 2 summit pair. 
This provides that a summit may be used more than once as a multipler - once by activating it, once by chasing someone else on it (under SOTA rules the entrant must have yet to arrive on the summit or have left it), and potentially many times through summit 2 summit QSOs.

All multipliers are added together and then multiplied by the the QSO score to obtain the final score.

11/ Activators must abide by all SOTA activation rules.  For example a SOTA summit to SOTA summit scoring cannot occur on the same summit.  That is  contacts within the same summit activation zone do not qualify for a scoring contact. Activations must not be in the vicinity of a motor vehicle and summits must be accessed via non-motorised means.

In addition to the SOTA rules, a entrant station may not chase any SOTA contacts when they are themselves in a SOTA activation zone, but are unable to comply with SOTA rules as an activator - eg being next to a motor vehicle. 

12/ Participating stations may use the internet spotting and activity alert systems. 

13/ Logs to be submitted in Cabrillo format by email to: …………….
Paper log scans cannot be accepted.

I am not wanting to be the contest sponsor or manager, but am willing to write robot software to go through the logs. The idea for the manager would be to put all the logs in one folder and have the robot go and score them all.

As for potential dates: It’s a compromise between the North and the South. I think the winter should be avoided, ruling out June, July, August, December, January and February. In VK3, Jan and Feb should be avoided anyway due to very hot temperatures and fire risks. Early October through to late November are good here, presuming earlier there is also good in the Northern hemisphere.

April is also a good month, and also early May works here. I would imagine late April/early May works in the north.

Anyway, the idea is now out there. Thoughts?

73 de Wayne VK3WAM

In reply to VK3WAM:

Activity days when the chance of DX S2S contacts are greater? Yes please.

SOTA Contest? No thanks.


In reply to MM0FMF:

The MT have discussed SOTA contests in the past, and rejected the idea on the grounds that it could tempt contestors to stay longer than may be safe on a summit…spring and autumn (fall) weather can be unstable on high ground, I have experienced blizzard conditions on Scottish mountains even in June! Also, it does not sit well with the idea that SOTA is non-competitive.


Brian G8ADD

In reply to VK3WAM:
I don’t think its a good think to have a sota contest just have more sota weekends I think that would be better.


In reply to MM0FMF:
Please no SOTA contest. Activity weekends YES, but SOTA contest no !

Agree with encouraging more activity, disagree with SOTA Contest. SOTA is a chance to “get away” from contesting. I think SOTA is more about cooperating than contesting. No insult intended.


In reply to VK3WAM:

As SOTA activations depend very much on the weather, and the summits are generally rather exposed due to their prominence, I do not believe that a SOTA contest (for which a date would have to be fixed) would be a good idea.

73, Jan-Martin

In reply to M0CEF:
I completly agree with Jan-Martin.
With SOTA we have a nice “game”. Let us keep it as it is!
If someone wants to do contests…there are a lot of possibilities.

73 de Franz ON9CBQ

In reply to ON9CBQ:

I agree with MM0FMF, PA9CW, KB3UYT and others: More activity yes, but no contests!
I abhor the idea of mixing mountain hiking with contests, these two do not fit together at all.

73 Heinz

In reply to OE5EEP:
hello SOTA friends,
I regard SOTA as a competition on its own.
If you want to do SOTA as a contest, announce your
SOTA activity within one of the fieldday contests
to G4SSH.
You will make a lot of contest QSOs with other /p
stations and even some SOTA goats if you work close

Cu on the SOTA
Mike, DJ5AV

In reply to VK3WAM:
When I have time, I really do enjoy a good contest (especially on CW and RTTY) and like others here I have participated in the IOTA contest from an island (other than the UK) on a couple of occasions.

However I do not think that SOTA should be hosting or promoting its own contest. I am also uncomfortable with the notion that a contest would mean that activators are encouraged to linger too long on a summit. It goes against the basic SOTA principle of enjoying oneself with a radio in the mountains but primarily remaining safe.

Wayne is absolutely right to want to promote SOTA more widely but I feel the International Activity Day concept is the preferred approach rather than a SOTA contest.

73 Marc G0AZS

Seems the general consensus is that a SOTA contest is a non-runner.

However, I find the thought of a SOTA HF Fun Day, very appealing. The VHF/UHF fun days seemed to be well received, perhaps an HF version would be worth a try?

That’s if it ever stops raining long enough, of course.

Just my 2¢ worth.

Mike 2E0YYY

In reply to MM0FMF:

In reply to VK3WAM:

Activity days when the chance of DX S2S contacts are greater? Yes

I couldn’t agree more. I suggest a ~2 hour designated time slot and designated frequency segments on such days to specifically encourage DX S2S on 20/17/15M. Perhaps one such day every other month or ???

Barry N1EU

In reply to N1EU:
Hi ,

I’m with the rest of you about the contest side of it .

I can’t help thinking though that when you start awarding points for something , everyone becomes a “little bit” competitive. Maybe if only with themselves and their own personal goals.

Catch you all on the next one



In reply to MW0UPH:
Seems like the contest plane will not just not fly, but won’t make it out to the runway.

73 de Wayne VK3WAM

In reply to N1EU:

I suggest a ~2 hour designated time slot

Takes me longer than that to set up my antennas :wink:

73 Mike

“Seems like the contest plane will not just not fly, but won’t make it out to the runway”.

Worse than that, Wayne. You can crank-up the ol’ tug and drag that hanger queen out to the run-up area, but no qualified pilot wants to even touch the master switch. So there she sits in the weeds, until the field manager puts her up for auction…maybe she will get snapped up by the Rio Grande QSO party or some such.

Elliott, K6ILM
owned a few
hanger queens

Well, just for the sake of a discussion that weren´t one without differing opinions: I would have no problem with a SOTA-based contest. Have a restricted op-time for summit-stations to minimize the pressure to stay as long as possible. No full time, no multi-op to escape all the exaggerations growing in biggun contesting - making it into a friendly competition day differing from an activity weekend and a WWDX-like turmoil.
And one observation from someone not hunting SOTA-points but really going out for the fun of it: I can´t share the notion that SOTA were only a “fun for the sake of fun”-activity. As everything with a scoring systems it creates the unevitable consequences of that… One and not the only thing that for me that is stranger than having a SOTA-contest is the maximizing of activator points per day i.e. with squeezing as many activations as possible in a day - with even more direct risks.
Minority position of a contester sometimes enjoying a summit.

In reply to 2E0YYY:

Takes me longer than that to set up my antennas :wink:

But if you were using your kite antenna you could set it up before you left and tow it along behind you as you assend. (Note If the kite is towing you up remember to complete the final assent unaided)

Peter G1FOA

In reply to DL8MBS:

It is unavoidable that the competitive spirit can creep into SOTA, SOTA is set up to be all things to all men, if you want to battle to the top of the league table you can, if you want to pursue private goals, you can, and if you just want to do it for pleasure without pressure, that too is no problem.

Despite my misgivings about over-extended summit stays, there are plenty of V/UHF contest stations that operate on summits for up to 24 hours, although they are usually on the lower summits and often drive-on summits at that, so it could be done safely. SOTA summits have a high prominence, there are relatively few of them that are drive on or have nearby carparks in the UK (it might be different in other countries) so there will be a significant hike to reach most of them, that makes timing difficult. Limiting summit time might be difficult to police. There are practical difficulties but nothing that cannot be overcome, other than there seems to be relatively little enthusiasm for the idea.

If somebody wants to organise a contest there is nothing to stop them from doing so, though I doubt that there would be much practical support from the MT - who anyway are fully extended in bringing new Associations on line so would have no time to spare for running a contest themselves.

That’s my personal take on the subject.


Brian G8ADD