What is more important? ....the hunt or the prey?

SOTA is important to me! I love amateur radio and being outside. Of course I could have both without SOTA. But the program just has its own appeal.

I recently hit 5000 activator points and by the end of this month I’ll have hit 500 activated uniques… and 500 completes will be hit soon too. On this occasion I looked at the awards. OK - the next step then would be to double what I’ve achieved now. That’s a really big step.

I have to admit that at first I was shocked…shocked by the distance of the next target. But then I had to grin at myself.

Weren’t my personal goals always the driving force? Goals that are not even reflected in the award system.
It actually started with activating all possible summits in the neighborhood… later within an hour’s drive. Then the radii were pushed further. Holidays has been checked for SOTA compatibility. At some point my goal was to have activated all summits in my state DM/BW.

Of course there’s the outside appeal… and eventually I’ll have all the HB9 Lowland Summits activated as well. This takes me to areas that I would otherwise hardly have come to. And that’s also a beautiful thing.

It won’t be long before Paul @DL6FBK will have reached his goal and activated all DM summits. (a goal I can’t even imagine achieving at the moment - but maybe in a few years?) Let’s see what his goal will be then.

There is always a goal. That’s the nice thing - the hunt goes on! Trophies are on the shelf and are soon ignored.

And there are no awards for reaching personal goals anyway.

73 Armin


The most important bit is being out there, doing it, and feeling good about it. Everything else is either a motivation or an excuse!


Sim & myself recently found ourselves in ZL1 with a week of leave booked after orevious plans fell through. We ended up in the Bay of Islands seeing how many islands we could paddle or packrafts to and activate.

Now - the special bit, the magical bit, was being out there on the water in such amazing scenery, and in theory we could have just gone for a paddle each day. But in reality we’d have ended up spending half an hour or so on the water on sunny days and none in the wind / rain. But with the motivation of activations in mind, and my ZL silver island award in sight (30 islands) we spent most of each day either out on the water, or on islands playing radio.

It ended up as the best trip in many years. And all thanks to that motivation to keep getting out there and try something different. And all the better for the company of a great community of hams


…times when the swiss lakes belong to me… :wink:

73 Armin


Looks tempting, though I think you might be a little bit faster in that than my packraft.

Mind you ZL1 midwinter’s day looks more tempting than HB


I love SOTA too!

I don’t have a home station, although I do have a dedicated 1.8mx1.8m shack in the garden. My local noise level is very high and also I’m next to a river right in the valley bottom, my height ASL is about 80m. When you consider that I’m sandwiched between NP and SP regions, you can see how I struggle to hear anybody down here! I do have a fairly decent take off to the west though, over Morecambe Bay, which means that I’ve worked east coast USA with QRP, despite the noise.

I’ve never had a home station in my 21 years as ham, so SOTA has been my primary activity, I was hooked as soon as I discovered the programme in 2004. I would dearly love to have a home station but it’s never happened, maybe it will in the future.

SOTA is a means to test my home (shed!) made creations and establish friendships all over the world. I may not meet many of my on air friends in real life, but I do consider them my friends. I have met many ‘real’ friends through SOTA too - meets like NARSA Blackpool and the RSGB Convention demonstrate that, I often lose my voice at those events from too much talking!

Now that I’m quite close, I am quite driven towards achieving double Mountain Goat, but I’m also enjoying the journey too. This year I’ve added a few unique activations to my score and I’m looking to add a few more.

One of my goals is to manage a home brew CW QSO with a US station, I’ve managed it on SSB but not with CW.

As I get older, I’ve started to really appreciate the beauty of the outdoors, I always did, but now I seem to pick out more detail and feel more emotional about being outside. When the weather is poor and I don’t feel motivated to go out, my mood takes a big dive, I’ve especially become aware of this in the last couple of years.

I’m lucky enough to work in a beautiful, rural, part of the world and on my delivery rounds, nothing perks my mood better than spotting the sea or wildlife. I’ve seen deer, partridge, snipe, curlew, weasels, stoats, hares, all kinds of creatures and it’s wonderful!

Long live SOTA, not for the score, but for the excuse to get out into our wonderful great outdoors!

Snipe as seen out of my work van window.

73, Colin


An interesting question! I would say that without the hunter there is no prey, without the prey there is no hunter. Before SOTA people took rigs up hills and people in the lowlands worked them, SOTA just gave structure to something that had been going on for many years, and this structure drew more people into this activity.

From a very early age I was fascinated by mountains, their shapes, the different coloured rocks, the patchwork of different types of vegetation. As a city boy I was entranced to see my first fox on a Welsh mountain - now, of course, I am more likely to see a fox in my own garden, not to mention badgers digging up flower beds, than I am in the mountains! Indeed, sitting quietly in my garden I can see more species of birds in a day than I am ever likely to do on a day out in the mountains, but I won’t hear the haunting call of the curlew in my garden, no clicking call of a stonechat, nor watch a flock of wheatears! SOTA for me wasn’t something to draw me into the mountains, it was something additional to do while I was there, but it added a little extra: before SOTA I rarely spent much time on a summit, just touch the cairn, take a drink and a few photos, then off to the next summit on the itenary. SOTA gave me a reason to sit and watch the mountain world, to see the clouds changing and their shadows move across the terrain. Despite the chatter of the radio the relative inaction let me get more immersed in the atmosphere of the summit, a priceless gift!


The question has been bothering me for a long time.

Every goal that I set myself could be achieved at some point. And then what. Set a higher goal?
It’s tiring and unfulfilling for me.

My goal is to enjoy every activation. Be it because it has led me into nature on beautiful places, or because it has brought me into contact with pleasant Sota friends or with curious hikers, or because I still find it fascinating to cover enormous distances with qrp.

73 Chris


Me too Chris. My goal is to enjoy everyday.

I wish I will never loose the fascination and magic that it’s possible to get in contact with somebody far away using a minimal energy sent with a silly wire towards the space.

73 Ignacio