Thoughts on mulitple activations in a single day

I am sure this is in the wrong category but I couldn’t find one that fits…sorry in advance.

I would like to get people’s thoughts about multiple summit activations in a single day.

I know that SOTA, like everything else in the world, means different things to different people. When I found out about SOTA and read the association documents etc, I never really viewed it as a competition or a way to get awards etc, even though we earn points for what we do. I also got the idea that activators needed to be considerate of the chasers etc.

I am looking through the activations, I see people who will routinely (not people vacationing in an area for a week or so) do multiple summits, and don’t spend much time on the peaks.

To me, even though I am relatively new, I stay up on that summit until I get (or try to get) every chaser that is trying to reach me.

The purpose of this post is not to judge anyone, but to get some insights from other people about their views of SOTA etc. Does it matter if you make contacts with all the chasers? Are you into getting the awards? Are the points more important than max contacts etc?


1 Like

G day Mike I like to work all the chasers who find me then search around for a Summit 2 Summit if others are out or make some contacts in what ever challenge in under way. Its a funny feeling when you activate during the working week and not many chasers are about and you begin to wonder if you will qualify the summit. As more and more have taken up the chase its a lot easier now to qualify a summit. I fell I need to give my regular faithful chasers a good chance to work me so they will always be on the other end. Probably the only down side with working the “world” during an activation is the requirement is only 4 contacts and the SOTA data base is recording all the extra calls and data for everyone’s activations. I guess they can handle it. We often have multiple activations here in vk if its an anniversary for a new association and new years morning seems to be a popular day in vk as we get to see the UTC roll over in our early morning and you can get two activations on the same summit on differing years. Good fun any how 73 de Ian vk5cz …

[quote=“N1IDN, post:1, topic:10629”]I couldn’t find one that fits[/quote]Perhaps the “Pre-planning” sub-category? Not that it makes much difference, mind…

[quote=“N1IDN, post:1, topic:10629”]activators needed to be considerate of the chasers etc.[/quote]Given the activators are the ones out on the summit, I’d put that the other way round. Sure, activators need chasers and vice versa, but the activators are the ones who’re exposed to the elements. If they want to spend as short a time as possible on the summit, or climb as many as possible in a day, that’s up to them. Many will do their best to work all the chasers they can. Some will want to cut and run to the next one as soon as they’ve got the points.

I’ve had activations where I’ve called for quite a while and still not managed to qualify the summit, so it cuts both ways. Chasers who’ll try to work any activator are a great help (usually). I have heard of chasers who won’t bother chasing a summit unless it’s worth lots of points to them, or they’ve never worked it before, or whatever. It takes all sorts…

73, Rick 5Z4/M0LEP (currently managing to chase about one activator in a hundred)…

Hello mike

It can get like that someday’s, but not often most will sit on freq till every one is covered in most cases. But now and again you have to remember when on these peaks the weather can change so fast its time to shut down and get off the Peak.

There is one activator that does leave chasers hanging I have noticed after spending short time on air. But on the other side of the scale there,s Tor the Norwegian activator. He sets up his little red tent fires up travels around the bands and different modes of CW and phone all day and even revisits bands already been on. Even the guys who did the Benelux tours tended to wait till one and all was worked what they could doing three summits a day.

But end of day its enjoyable and yes the points mass up as a chaser me self.

Enjoy but be warned when the bug bites, it won’t let go.


How is that strange? I don’t expect many chasers to sit all day at the radio or near the screen with spots. Of course I will return to previously activated bands an hour or so later to give those a chance just now at the radio or having returned from work or having skip to the summit only now.

@Mike: AFAIK much discussion was already had about incentive for chasers to make more QSO from one summit for the sake of chasers. Basic argument against was security - to not motivate them to stay unreasonably long. Argument is not shared by me as long as it is for power activators who estimate weather good enough to activate still a second or third summit with a then comparable low number of chasers getting a QSO.

A “bonus” for more than 30 (?) QSOs from a summit may not reward most VHF-activators but that may be justified by the fact that they mostly did carry less uphill than HF-activators - and at least in central EU (where on the other hand summit hopping is rather common) it does not seem to be a problem IMHO to make 30+ HF-QSOs in less than 3 hours. And to be honest - other than with very unfavourable condx it is possible to make them even in one hour or less.

But of course “activator is king” - and being ardent for goat or high ranking somewhat forces to do short activations on “expensive” summits. Nothing bad, but logically resulting in less QSOs than more leisurely done “DXpedition”-style single-summit activations to drain the bands as empty as possible.
Looking for shelter now :wink:

73 Chris DL8MBS

Not strange at all, Tor is one that I have dually noted whom sits around the bands all day from one summit weather depending of course. Being semi retired I do have a lot of air time mixing in with other things I get up too.

As for your station, I have not the pleasure of working you yet from a summit. Yet as you say, the activator runs the show for sure.


easy reason: look for our mode preferences :wink:
dit dit



SOTA consists of 2 “components”, hiking and radio. Both are equally important to me. Rather than logging 60 QSOs on a single summit I prefer to activate 4 summits in an afternoon and have 15 QSOs on each.

Unless bad WX forces me to quit, I work the pile-up to the end. My primary “pile-up control” variable is the choice of band(s): Depending on propagation and time, I begin on 15m or 20m because pile-ups are manageable on these bands.

73, Markus HB9BRJ

There might be many reasons to cut an activation short, weather, equipment failure, too many visitors to the summit, the need to make a rendezvous, clouds of biting insects (the Scottish midge can drive you to distraction when the wind drops!) and so on. I would say that very few activators close down after four contacts (“smash and grab” activations! :smile:) as a matter of policy but most of us might do it in difficult circumstances, such as at the first rumble of thunder.


And not forgetting that some activators are still interested in gaining awards!
To achieve my goal of MG will take me (at my current rate of progress) approx 6 to 8 years.
To activate anything worth over 1 point means a long drive and a fuel costs of about £50+ (to the closest summits).
To make the most of my time and money, I really need to fit in more than one summit to make the journey worthwhile. For that reason I’ll aim for 2 maybe 3 summits on a long trip.
I usually plan for 1 hour total time on the summit (wx permitting). With that I’ll typically set-up and strip down and still work 3 or 4 bands and 40 to 60 chasers.
Once I’ve achieved MG I’ll probably just do single activations again, however I’ll take longer walks and probably still only spend 1 hour on the top!
On the other hand, if I’m just interested in playing radio, I’ll go to one of my local summits and spend hours there if the wetaher is nice. For example I’ve activated G/CE-001, 22 times for a measly 4 activator points, so you can see points were not the aim of the game :wink:


1 Like

I don’t do a smash and grab but vividly remembering many years ago when I started SOTA it could take an hour or more to get your four contacts and on occasion had to give up after 3 QSO’s and sitting like a frozen snotter for 1½+ hours in the pouring rain and howling gale trying to get that ONE last contact. Did I complain? No, I went home and returned another day. SOTA is soooo easy nowadays.

73 Neil


Hi Mike,
One of the good things about SOTA is it only has some basic rules and the rest is the operator’s choice. It’s your call as to how long you tarry on the peak if you are the activator.

If you are a chaser having as many activations available over a weekend or even just one day is great. I like working new peaks and different associations. The points are the gravy. I often miss short activations because I am too slow getting to the shack - that’s the way of it sometimes.

When activating I have had as few as 2 contacts and more than 100 on one peak. I have to balance the time it takes to get there with the time I want to enjoy on the summit. I have been happy with an hour on a 1 point summit for 5 to 10 contacts many times.

I would like to have the strength to climb a peak at dawn spend half an hour on air and then go on to the next and the next until sunset, but that’s too hard for me. Some activations are squeezed in with strict time constraints so 15 minutes on air might be a luxury.

Weather can terminate an activation before it was intended. Sometimes a move to another peak will present better weather.

So the answer to your question is really the same as “How long is a piece of string?”

I hope you enjoy SOTA


1 Like

Add to that an obsession with Unique summits and getting Value For Money becomes a major factor in one’s considerations. After all, there are only so many times I can face that dreaded M6 motorway in a given year!

SOTA is what we individually make it and that is what is so attractive to a wide range of people. May it always be so.

73, Gerald G4OIG

Thanks for the replies so far, many very good points were made but two stood out to me.

When I started doing SOTA I had radio as first priority and hiking as second. It did not occur to me that some folks have those reversed. Hike to a peak, activate it, pack up, continue to hike. The second point is travel and money. If you have to spend an hour or more getting somewhere and there are a couple of peaks that are close by, makes sense to activate them both while you are there? Another good point.


1 Like

Due to an interest in activating Unique summits, for me the current time to the parking spot for the first summit is currently around six hours - about 350 miles (I only have two summits within an hour anyway). It therefore makes sense in both time and economics to go out for a few days at a time and find overnight accommodation close to the summits. A typical outing will involve a very early start, a couple of summits on the first day, two or three more on the second and another one or two before setting out on the return journey. The middle day is the icing on the cake as more time can be spent out on the hills rather than in the car. A week provides even more “icing”. :smile:

Even with the luxury of staying close to the summits, time is a precious commodity, so activations are usually set at an hour, with quarter of an hour allowed for setting up and another quarter of an hour for dismantling and packing away the station. Occasionally band conditions and the number of chasers requires more time to be spent on air, sometimes less. I take it as it comes.

73, Gerald G4OIG

Four qsos then qrt? I did just that on Thursday from EA8/TF-002. The chaser behaviour was so poor on 20m cw that I decided that if they wanted the summit so badly, they could work Jimmy on ssb.

Well known and much respected chasers were sending their calls four or five times in succession without stopping to listen. Well known and much respected chasers were calling blind when they clearly couldn’t hear me.

In such situations don’t be surprised if the activator decides to call it a day after 4 contacts.

1 Like

I usually do just one activation for about an hour. I personally find the activations quite tiring!

73! Hal N6JZT

It takes me about 2 or 3 hours to get four contacts. I don’t think I can hike to another summit and do the same in the remaining time in the day, unless the other summit is close.

I’ve written something similar in another thread. This topic and that topic seem closely related.




Here are my excuses for multiple activations…I have a few…

I love to hike.

I love the outdoors. Nothing is more fun than getting lost in the woods.

I enjoy taking my 4x4 Jeep on difficult roads to difficult summits.

I love to operate Amateur Radio portable from summits (activated my first Arizona summit, Mt. Ord, at age 13 in 1965…way before SOTA was even thought of).

I can’t afford to go to the Spratly Islands, so a remote mountain top activation is the best DXpedition I can go on these days.

I am competitive, but really only with myself. I push myself to do as much as I can…as long as I can… longer hikes, difficult hikes, multiple summits, etc. I think that may be an age thing…I don’t want to admit I am getting older and slower.

I am cheap. I have run out of “unique” summits to activate close to my house, so now I have to drive 175 miles, plus or minus a bit, to find a new one. Activating Multiple summits drives the cost of gas down a bit.

On each summit I try to work everyone who is calling me. I usually run out of people to work on 20 and 40 meters in 30-45 minutes or so, so then I move on to the next summit.

Now…back to planning the next three summits for next Saturday!

C U from the hills!



1 Like

Hi Mike,

SOTA is many things to many people.

The last three years I have gone around five 2 point summits in G/WB and GW/MW in late February/early March, attracting 3 winter bonus points on each. I do this for two reasons, first to pick up the 25 points and second as an interesting physical and radio challenge. In order to get around them I have to streamline my contacts, but I do this by working bands that mean I will get the contacts I need, but I’m unlikely to get too many to keep me on a summit. I choose 2m FM for this. I then work every chaser who wants the summit, call CQ a few more times and go QRT. Off to the next one.

On other days I am in less of a hurry, so I will work more bands, but I’m still limited by the time my wife will spend on a summit sitting waiting for me.

Other people activate alone and sit on a summit for multiple hours going around bands and modes until they feel ready to descend.

Normally my only reason to cut off an activation before working everyone who is waiting is weather related. Most memorably when the summit I was on was struck by lightning… I went QRT pretty quick after that.