Summits on the Air
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Summits On The Air (SOTA) is an amateur radio operating award program launched in Great-Britain in 2002, which is now known worldwide. SOTA's aim is to encourage licensed amateur radio operators to operate temporarily from mountainous locations, combining hiking and mountain climbing with operating their amateur radio station from the summits of hills and mountains.
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 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 www.sotamaps.org.
List of registered summits
There are three groups of awards: one for the activators, operating from the summits according to the SOTA rules, 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.
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