SOTA W6/CD-020

SOTA (Summits On The Air).


What an amazing conception of recreational overload.  Why is SOTA such an intriguing activity?  What about SOTA draws so many in to it’s grasp?  I suppose the answer isn’t too difficult to find.  One must only break down the activity in to its primary components:

  1. Summiting a mountain.
  2. Radio Communications


The primal urge to conquer large manly mountainous peaks has a long history in human culture.  The earliest written account from the Roman empire in 121a.d., and even some remains of early peak seeking humanoids have been discovered in the Alps dating back 5,300 years.  So what is the big deal?  Why climb that mountain?  Perhaps the easiest explanation is to quote George Mallory; “because it’s there”.  In reality there are many different motivations for summiting mountains ranging from social interaction to exercise.  Every person who summits a mountain, no matter how big or small has their own unique combination of motivating factors.  No matter the reason for embarking on the quest to summit a peak, the ultimately rewarding sense of accomplishment waits at the top for all of us.

Now.. someone who is far more intelligent than this author decided just getting to the top wasn’t challenge enough.  Why not hoof some radio equipment, batteries, antennas, and other gear up there as well?

Radio Communications

The second piece of the puzzle.  After overcoming the personal challenge of reaching the summit, taking in the view of how far one has come, there is hardly time to enjoy the warm fuzzy accomplishment tingles before breaking out the radio gear.  Just like summiting a mountain, radio communications grasps us with its mystery.  The romantic act of manipulating electricity, wiggling electrons to send electromagnetic ripples bouncing off the atmosphere at the speed of light to unknown parts of the world.  I don’t know how anyone could possibly NOT be immediately crippled with curiosity when contemplating radio frequency communications.

Yet another challenge to overcome.  This challenge far less physical and much more mental.  Designing the antennas, picking the right equipment, analyzing the conditions, and making enough long distance contacts to activate the summit.

The combination of the two components is like some beautiful mind-blowing challenge milkshake.  The physical challenge, straining the muscles to reach the summit, followed by the mental challenge of radio communications.. the resulting euphoria of accomplishment would be reward enough, but like most timeless activities there are physical rewards as well!  Titles, trophies, and recognition.  It’s a sport for geeks and jocks alike, it combines two challenging practices in to one awesome adventure that can be enjoyed by both hardcore and casual SOTA participants.

The next summit awaits… Get out there!


  1. Uncle Ken says:

    Cool stuff Jason. Get to the Summit and then Radio! Sounds like “Hike & Holler”! Ken

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