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, or contact, 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.
Lists of Registered summits
As of December 2013, over 58000 summits have been registered and been given point values in the SOTA program. These summits are to be found in the following countries or areas:
United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Greece, Hungary, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Poland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Sweden, Slovenia, Netherlands, Corsica, Macedonia, Luxembourg, Denmark, Malta, Romania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ukraine, Spain, Sardinia, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Estonia, and Lebanon.
Various Awards and Certificates are available to record achievements within the SOTA program:
- Certificates are available for gaining 100, 250, 500, 1000 points (Activators and Chasers);
- At 1,000 points Activators achieve Mountain Goat status and Chasers/SWLs are Shack Sloths;
- SOTA Uniques Awards - the SOTA Uniques is a count of the number of different summits in an activator's, chaser's or SWL's record;
- Mountain Explorer Award - the essence of the award is to recognise the activation and qualification of Summits in a number of different associations;
- Mountain Hunter Award - chaser should contact (or hear for the SWL award) at least 2 different summits in each of 5 associations using just VHF/UHF any mode.
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.