Summits on the Air
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Summits On The Air (SOTA) is an amateur radio operating award program. Its aim is to encourage operation from mountainous locations. Licensed amateur radio operators combine mountain climbing with operating their radios from the summits of hills and mountains.
Those who set up a station on a summit are known as activators and those who work summit stations are known as chasers. Similarly, there are two types of award that can be received: One for the activator of the summit and one for the chaser (the operator in contact with the summit).
Points are awarded for operating from a summit or for working a station on a summit. The higher the mountain is, the more points the operator receives.
As of February 2013, summits in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Greece, Hungary, Switzerland, South Africa, France, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Poland, callsign areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 (only West Virginia) and 0 of the USA, Liechtenstein, Norway, Sweden, Slovenia, Netherlands, Lebanon, Corsica, Macedonia, callsign areas VE1, VE2, VE6 and VE7 of Canada, Falkland Islands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Malta, Romania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ukraine, South Korea, Spain, Sardinia, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Estonia, and the VK1, VK3, VK5 and VK9 callsign areas of Australia have been given point values in the SOTA program.
The Summits on the Air amateur radio award programme was the idea of John Linford, G3WGV. Although he had the idea many years ago, it was not until he ran across the European Adventure Radio website run by Richard Newstead, G3CWI, that he put the idea down on paper. Much of the award was discussed and dissected on the internet before it was launched on 2 March 2002. England and Wales launched first, soon to be followed by the Isle of Man and Scotland.
As of July 2013, SOTA has 82 active groups across the world.