The sense of community in the Sota on Radio Rivista Magazine

In the May issue of the Radio Rivista the magazine of ARI Italian amateur radio association (circulated among more than 10 thousand members) an article of mine appeared which contains a reflection on the sense of community in the world of Sota and Pota, I am sharing a page and a part of the text of the 'item

73 And IW0HK

The sense of community in the Sota e Pota activity (traslated with Google)

I have been wanting to write this article for a long time, every time I found myself doing a Sota or Pota activation around the mountains or parks I felt like telling a particular aspect of this activity. Today I decided that that moment has arrived and I want to dedicate a reflection dedicated to the “community” that lives together with every amateur radio program. Personally I have always been a sui generis radio amateur, I have done many different activities without ever binding myself to a group or to a method that would allow me to create a stable network of contacts. There is of course the Ari section of the Castelli Romani and first the Ari Roma, and then a group of close friends, especially telegraphers, with whom we keep in touch via whatsApp but I’ve never had a series of stable contacts with whom to do business radio. Everything was born by chance: a QSO in the morning on 30 meters in CW or some contact using new digital methods such as VarAC or Ft-4. Then the passion for the Sota (Summit on the Air) program was born, which provides for the radio activity to be carried out rigorously in a laptop from the mountain top that was previously mapped and referenced. With Sota it was love at first sight, the union of two passions that suddenly found themselves together. For me, the mountain is the place where you can find everything: fatigue, the sense of research and an infinite journey, a group of dear friends with whom we go practically every weekend to the Apennine mountains to look for the peaks but above all to look for ourselves and the desire to stay and get lost in nature. And so in recent years I’ve found myself doing radio practically almost always in a laptop, from a peak with sun in the summer or lately also in winter with antenna and rtx that pair with the ice ax and crampons. The activated peaks are 110 with over 1900 QSOs made in different bands and modes but mainly cw and ssb. In the same way, about a year ago I discovered the Pota (Parks on the Air) program which sees the activation of parks as the main purpose using simple rules (10 QSOs are enough for an activation) and a beautiful site complete with clusters and databases. The result is that in recent months I have activated 36 parks around Rome or in Piedmont using a setup similar to that of Sota, only modifying the antennas since compared to the mountains here there is much more space in the parks. In recent years, therefore, I have found myself much more often with the radio on “around” than sitting in front of my radio station at home. But what has mainly changed hasn’t been the way I’ve done radio but rather the world around me. A world made up of contacts, of people that quickly became, for the first time, my radio community. In Sota since the first activations in cw I noticed a series of recurring calls appearing in the logs and then the fact that on the third or fourth activation many “chasers”, i.e. the hunters of peaks who operate from home, call me by name as if there we have known for a long time. The same happens in an even more direct way when the activation is in ssb, where by now almost everyone knows each other both between activators and chasers and even more when a “Summit two summit” contact takes place and therefore between two radio amateurs on top of two mountains Sota. The pileup in some cases is complex and non-trivial to manage but there is always a “quality of contact” that I have not found in any other amateur radio mode. The same happened with the Pota where even here it didn’t take much to be greeted and recognized by the world of park hunters and also by activators because here too there is the possibility of carrying out a “park to park” QSO or between two activations in time real. This sense of community is even stronger if you start frequenting other virtual meeting places. This is the case of the Reflector Sota ( a sort of forum that brings together all enthusiasts of this activity from all over the world. Here, for example, there are discussions relating to the “disappearance” of perhaps a few weeks of some chaser or hunter that one is used to finding in the pileups, only to then discover that he had a business trip and after a few days he would reappear active in ssb and cw . The general sensation, which I had never experienced with a microphone or a key in hand, is that of a real community that protects its members and applies rules of good living and quality of human contact even if it is a simple diploma amateur radio. The same community can naturally be found in a group of om in section but here the fact that it is so widespread and is completely “over the air” fills me with joy every time I log a “friend” from a summit or a park…


Lovely words Andrea, and I’m sure all of us on here agree with your sentiments.

73, Matthew M0JSB