Even though the original post is very old, I would like to add something to ponder.
First, I am a SOTA newbie. With only one exception, all of my SOTA activations have been 2m VHF. I invested a great deal of time in the gear I would use, including testing several models of 2m radios for receiver front end rejection and overload resistance. I built several antennas, the most used being a foldable 2 element quad that fits into a small bag and a foldable 3 element yagi which has a boom that doubles as a hiking stick.
I discovered that the Radio Shack HT 202 and the Icom IC-2 had excellent front ends with very good sensitivity. I then acquired perfect examples of each, went through them on the bench and made sure they were 100%. I assembled a small fanny pack that contains everything needed including backup radio, 2 battery packs for the radios that use AA alkaline cells, extra batteries, pepper spray, snacks and water. It all lives in my work truck and is ready to deploy at a moment’s notice. The fanny pack is small and light, and easy to hike with in all conditions.
So, you might say I don’t just use a cheapie HT and give little thought or planning to activations. I put a great deal of thought and preparation into my 2m activations, and so far am having a LOT of fun! I have been first to activate a few summits, and have scheduled several more not-yet activated summits for this year. If I had to drag a backpack full of HF gear to some of these not yet activated summit sites, it would simply never happen.
So, it’s either 2m activation or no activation at all. Besides, I like 2m FM because I can actually hear what people are saying. My hearing is still very sensitive, but nerve damage from a stroke has almost eliminated my ability to copy CW anymore (I used to be a CW OP). That same nerve damage also makes SSB a tough copy for me. Same problem copying people on digital cellphones.
SOTA has something to offer just about everybody. For me, it is FM mode activations, and for simplicity’s sake, it means 2m FM activations. If SOTA offers you something more, that’s great! Why get all upset if what SOTA offers you and me are different?
Very best to you, and 73!