Summits on the Air, http://www.sota.org.uk/ is a program that I have heard about over the years, but until now, thought was a Euro centric, VHF based program. Perhaps it started out that way, however, nothing could be further from the truth today. What I have discovered is a very vibrant community of adventurous hams engaging in a program that is not only fun, but easy to participate in. Much of the US has now been charted, so to speak, and the peaks that qualify are well documented. Check out the above link and follow the "Associations" tab. There you will likely find either your country, US Call area or your state. Texas for example is listed under W5T, Arizona is W7A, I think you see the logic. All qualifying peaks will be listed.
Some interesting aspects to the program,
- You can work a summit once each day for points. Summits are assigned points ranging from 1 to 10. The first award is achieved at the 1,000 point level. A lot you may think, but in a single weekend I worked 11 summits for a total of 60 points.
- You will need to create an account on the website to get registered for the award. By clicking on the "Database" tab you will discover that you can enter your QSO's and your score is maintained on line. There is no requirement for QSL cards!
- The website has a "SOTAwatch" tab which lists current spots and upcoming activations. This portion of the site if very helpful and there is a lot of activity
- In addition to the chaser awards, called the SOTA Sloth, there are awards for activators called the SOTA Goat. These are very nice glass trophies.
- Expeditions are well documented on YouTube if you want to check out how these operators activate the Summits. For the activator who enjoys camping, backpacking and ham radio, a SOTA activation is the perfect activity. Do a search on WG0AT on YouTube and you will find some very entertaining videos of SOTA activations.
I am in the process of putting my backpack together to do my first activation. Stay tuned.