Mountaintop Portable Radio

Getting Started with Summits on the Air

There are five steps to getting started with Summits on the Air (SOTA). These steps assume you have a radio, charged battery, antenna, and license.

Step 0: Register for SOTAdata

Register for a SOTAdata account before leaving home. This will allow you to use the SOTAwatch spotting service and greatly increase your chances of making contacts.

Step 1: Pick a summit to Activate

The best website for finding valid SOTA summits is Sotl.as.

Step 2: Go to that summit

An Activator may travel to the summit however they wish. Some summits have easy hikes, some have hard hikes, some have difficult rock climbs, some you can even drive up. It is important to know that if you drive up a summit, your portable station must not be attached to your vehicle in any way! Move away from your car and set up your station.

Step 3: Spot and Activate

Once you are on the summit, or within the Activation Zone, post a spot on SOTAwatch with the summit code and your frequency and mode of operation. Start calling CQ! One QSO "Activates" the summit. Four QSOs are required for the SOTA points. Log QSOs with your preferred logging method. Be sure to log in UTC time or convert later. NOTE: Only Simplex QSOs count for SOTA

Step 4: Submit your log to SOTAdata

Login to SOTAdata and navigate to the Uploads page. You may upload your log in a variety of formats: CSV, ADIF, FLE text, or manually. If you find an error in your log after uploading, SOTAdata makes it easy to edit the individual QSO right on the website.

Step 5: Plan your next SOTA outing

A SOTA summit's points are only awarded to an operator once per calendar year. The same summit may be activated again by the same operator, but additional points won't accrue until the UTC New Year.