Islands on the air

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The Islands on the Air logo

Islands On The Air (IOTA) is an award program for radio amateurs interested in making contacts with stations located on islands worldwide. The program was launched in 1964 and since then has become one of the most popular award programs in amateur radio.

IOTA is managed by Islands On The Air (IOTA) Ltd. for the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) who provide an introductory page to the program on their website.[1]


In 1964 a British short wave listener (SWL), Geoff Watts[2] started an activity programme based on contacting island groups around the world. He realized that the numbers of individual islands worldwide was far too large to manage, so he brought them together into manageable groups of islands, forming the backbone of the award program as it stands today. Geoff managed the IOTA lists and records until 1985 when he handed over to the RSGB.

The IOTA award scheme was then run and hosted by the RSGB, until September 2017 when the management of the scheme was taken over by Islands On The Air (IOTA) Ltd., a non-profit company based in the UK. A new website for the scheme, Islands On The Air ( also established in that month, replaced the earlier site hosted by the RSGB.


The IOTA website keeps track of awards and scores achieved in its annual listings [3] and includes among others:

  • an Honour Roll
  • annual listings
  • UHF/VHF listings
  • club listings
  • SWL listings.


The programme is very popular, with many activations of islands per year. An annual IOTA Contest, organized by the RSGB, is held once per year in the last full week of July - contest rules can be found at

IOTA Directory[edit]

As well as managing the list online, the RSGB and IOTA publish a directory[4] in book form, updated each year. The directory contains the complete, official listing of IOTA islands, and also features information and advice for island hunters, award applicants and DXpeditioners. A color section features reports of several IOTA operations conducted in remote locations around the world in the past year.

Supplementary information[edit]

With so many islands and groups of islands in all continents, it can be difficult to keep track of where they are, or where the latest activations are taking place around the world. So, mapping of IOTA islands and groups can be very helpful in gaining an extra perspective on the programme.

Working in partnership with IOTA, the iotamaps website [5] provides mapping resources for the IOTA community, and is a sibling of the SOTA Mapping Project ( site which provides similar services to the amateur radio Summits On The Air (SOTA) community.

Iotamaps provides dynamic mapping of all island groups worldwide and provides a regularly-updated IOTA/DX cluster to give the user up-to-date information of the latest IOTA activations as they are reported real-time. Drill-down to individual islands and their positions is also featured.

Various other mapping and listing resources for IOTA can be found at:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Introduction to IOTA, a brief summary". Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  2. ^ "Geoff Watts tribute" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  3. ^ "Programme Information". Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  4. ^ "IOTA Directory". Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  5. ^ "IOTA Mapping Project". Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  6. ^ "DX Resources:IOTA". Retrieved 2016-03-08.

External links[edit]