Summits on the Air

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The Summits on the Air logo

Summits On The Air (SOTA) is an amateur radio operating award program launched in Great-Britain in 2002, which is now known worldwide.[1] SOTA's aim is to encourage licensed amateur radio operators to operate temporarily from mountainous locations,[2] combining hiking and mountain climbing with operating their amateur radio station from the summits of hills and mountains.

Activating Monte Zuccone in Italy on 2-meter band
Activation of Roter Knopf on Shortwave, VHF and UHF

Those who set up a station on a summit (usually for a few minutes to a few hours) are known as activators,[3] and those who contact ("work") activators on summits are known as chasers.[4]

Points are awarded to the activator for operating from ("activating") a summit, and to each of the chasers contacting ("working") the activator. The higher the mountain is, the more points the activator and each chaser receive.

The rules[5] include that "the method of final access to the Summit must be non-motorised" and "all equipment must be operated from a portable power source (batteries, solar cells, etc). Operation is expressly forbidden using permanently installed power sources or fossil-fuel generators of any kind". This usually forces the activators to minimize the total weight of their equipment while still bringing adequate antennas and electrical power (usually batteries) to the summits.

A dedicated website, Sotawatch, shows real time information about the ongoing and planned SOTA activations ("spots" and "alerts"), and an independent project, the SOTA Mapping Project provides extensive information about the "SOTA summits" on

List of registered summits[edit]

As of March 2017, over 104,500 summits have been registered[6] in more than 100 associations.[7]

The official list of SOTA summits is published on "the SOTA database", and their location can be displayed on maps on


There are three groups of awards:[8] one for the activators, operating from the summits according to the SOTA rules,[9] one for the chasers (who contact the activators on the summits), and one for non-amateur radio operators doing shortwave listening.

The most recognized SOTA awards are "Mountain Goat" for activators who reach 1,000 points, and "Shack Sloth" for chasers who reach 1,000 points.[10]

The "Honour Rolls" are published on-line for activators, chasers and Short Wave Listeners.

Sources of Additional Information[edit]

Many websites provide information about this activity, as well as videos and photos. This online publication[11] can be a good introduction.

Several magazines for radio amateurs such as QST,[12] CQ magazine,[13] Funk Amateur,[14] PCARA,[15] RADCOM,[16] and Practical Wireless describe this activity regularly.

Several software packages have been specially developed to facilitate the participation of amateur radio operators in this program, in particular for the preparation of expeditions to the summits, on-site navigation, logs, information for other amateurs, etc.


External links[edit]