Terrestrial Repeater Rule?

What is the real reason for not allowing repeater QSOs within SOTA? Repeaters and repeater networks (DSTAR, C4FM…) are getting more and more essential in modern amateur radio.

Is there any chance to get rid of this constricting “terrestrial repeater rule”? What is the position of the SOTA Management Team, if someone would set up some kind of “Repeater SOTA” outside of SOTA?

Was ist eigentlich der wirkliche Grund, warum SOTA Repeater-QSOs nicht anerkennt? Repeater und Repeater-Netzwerke (DSTAR, C4FM…)werden im modernen Amateur Radio immer wichtiger.

Gibt es irgendeine Chance, diese einengende “Terrestrische Repeater-Regel” loszuwerden? Was wäre die Position des SOTA Management Teams, wenn jemand eine Art von “Repeater-SOTA” außerhalb von SOTA auf die Beine stellen würde?

73, Alfred, OE5AKM

The whole idea of SOTA is to encourage direct point to point operation between operators. That is the whole challenge, construction of homebrew radios in some cases. Experimentation with different types of aerials, power sources etc.

The greater the distance attained the greater the challenge.

To just wander up to a summit with a handheld and make a few quick qso’s via a nearby repeater would be a waste of time.

What would be the point? May as well make phone calls on an iphone.

In any case at many of the summits I visit there is not any repeater access. (or even mobile phone access for that matter).

As for DSTAR and CFM have never heard of such.


Hi Alfred

SOTA has an element of encouraging self-reliance and, in common with most award programmes, does not count QSOs that have been relayed by terrestrial repeaters. This is not to say that QSOs via repeaters cannot be a valuable part of your activations. If you are activating using simple hand-held equipment, repeaters can be very useful for getting people to listen for you on a simplex channel. Bearing in mind that when activating you will be on a summit, direct QSOs are much easier than from less prominent locations.


The reason for the rule is quite simple. Rule requires contacts with four seperate stations to qualify the activation. If you use a repeater to contact four stations, what you have actually done is contact the repeater four times.

My personal opinion is that it would be anti-social to tie up the repeater for a period of time to get your contacts, denying other users access.

The MT do not object to “spin-off” organisations, there are already several of them, but be aware that there is a great deal of work in setting up a “Repeater SOTA” and the necessary infrastructure to support it.


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The answer is very simple.

If you speak to a station via a terrestrial repeater, you are not working the station … you are working the repeater. So it doesn’t count for SOTA credit.

Walt (G3NYY)


Good answer Walt.

Personal i don’t use the repeaters let alone know how to use one as really never bothered with them as they go against what i like to do. Am a point to point person riding the natures propagation paths of the F layers Es layers etc hence call me self a ionospheric Jockey/surfer and ride those paths of propagation. As this is applied to the Sota ruling of not using mad made repeater systems. We scale or a lot of people do the peaks of our natural planet and transmit off them and the rest of us chase them. Its a lovely part of the hobby i well enjoy and any one can bang out the 100 to 400 watts to reach them. But they use low wattage as i do to return makes it even more of a challenge.

So why make it easy with repeaters kinda defeats the object of the game does it not. Leave out repeaters and enjoy the challenge its that spirit that keeps it alive and me too. Imagine working via repeaters you prob could reach any sota any where in world especially via echo link. Hmmm conclusion BORRRRING and the challenge is lost.

That,s my conclusion


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Hi Alfred,

i have to agree with all others that commented on your suggestion. I like the challenge of making the four direct QSO’s on 2m … sometimes on weekdays it’s very hard to achieve that. I can remember some activations, standing on top of a mountaing in winter with temp. well below -10 degrees with just one QSO missing. I also had several activations where it was not possible to get 4 QSO’s in the log on 2m FM only!

For me personally a “Repeater-SOTA” would not be of interest! But maybe there are others who like of your idea …

73 Martin, OE5REO


Isn’t this also true for “non-terrestrial” repeaters (satellites) ?

No satellites are allowed. They’re allowed because it is more involved/difficult to have a contact than a terrestrial repeater.

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I think that should read:
“No, satellites are allowed. They’re allowed because it is more involved/difficult to have a contact than a terrestrial repeater.”


Nah… punctuation is for wimps. Anyway, it allows a much more fluid interpretation of the words when punctuation is scant.


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It could be argued that this is not an appropriate parameter for making a valid contact within SOTA. Just because the repeater is moving .does not alter the fact that this is an indirect contact method.

Gerald, this has been discussed ad infinitum. The rule is the same now as then. Terrestrial repeaters no, satellite repeaters yes. If you don’t like it then… well you know the rest.

So. Why so much punctuation? ::slight_smile:

This was discussed extensively at an MT meeting. It was decided to leave the rule as is, although as Gerald has seen, it is a contradiction of the reasoning that justifies the terrestrial repeater rule. The reason is as Andy says, satellite communications are difficult, particularly if you are trying to wrestle a handheld yagi against the wind that is an ever-present accompanyment on summits, a more difficult task than accessing a terrestrial repeater with an omnidirectional antenna! The MT did not wish to seem to discourage the spread of satellite communications, though if I’m not mistaken there are fewer birds flying than when SOTA started in 2002! However, this is not a rule that is fundamental to SOTA and could be subject to revision in the future.


There is certainly one less bird flying since yesterday. It flew straight into my windscreen when I was driving home from G/WB-021 yesterday.

Now I know what aircraft pilots mean by a “bird strike”. It hit the windscreen with such a whack, it’s surprising it didn’t shatter it!

Walt (G3NYY)

Yes, but I still have a right to raise the point.
.[quote=“G8ADD, post:15, topic:13156”]
This was discussed extensively at an MT meeting It was decided to leave the rule as is, although as Gerald has seen, it is a contradiction of the reasoning that justifies the terrestrial repeater rule
Thank you Brian. :slight_smile:

Did it make you twitch?:wink::smiley:


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Well, I did all the work (much work!) to bring SOTA to Austria in 2004 and became the first Association Manager OE. But soon I felt that excluding repeater QSOs is the wrong way. Today’s amateur radio does not only cover traditional point to point connections but is also open to internet technologies. Each and every one should be aware of this evolution: “Radio” is more than “Wireless”!

Come on, folks! You cannot argue away repeaters and repeater networks (DSTAR, DMR, C4FM…): So why not open up at least a special “Repeater Category” within SOTA?

By the way, if you start comparing the difficulties in working flying repeaters with those working terrestrial ones you should also compare Austria’s 10 points summits with those of, let’s say, Balearic Islands: Simply uncomparable, however, both are in SOTA :wink:

I personally do not even claim points for my SOTA activations. All I want is to vitalize our repeaters and to give modern amateur radio technologies a boost.

73, Alfred OE5AKM

Yes I can.

I’ve listened and they’re full of people talking mince. In the case of digital repeaters with a 2k4 voice bit rate, they’re full of people talking mince that sounds like the Aquaphibians from Stingray.