Summits on the Air

SOTA is the organisation promoting the activation and chasing of amateur radio contacts, based around the series of Marilyn's. A Marilyn is a mountain or hill in the United Kingdom, Ireland or Isle of Man with a relative height of at least 150 metres (492 ft), regardless of absolute height or other merit. The name was coined as a punning contrast to the designation Munro, used of a Scottish mountain with a height of more than 3,000 feet (914.4 m), which is homophonous with (Marilyn) Monroe.

There are 2,009 Marilyns identified: 1,216 in Scotland, 455 in Ireland (of which 66 are in Northern Ireland), 176 in England, 157 in Wales, 5 on the Isle of Man. The list of Marilyns in Britain was compiled by Alan Dawson in his book The Relative Hills of Britain.

The SOTA organisation now extends across the world with 53 Associations.

Source : Wikipedia

I started activating in 2004, using a SOTA Beam at first, then using my home-made SOTA Dipole on 20m. On lower summits, I use my Tonna 2m 9-ele. The Radio equipment used is usually my Yaesu FT-857, or occationally my VX-2E.

Summit Reports from some SOTA Activations.

 Summit 1 - G/DC-003 Kit Hill

My First Activation, so I thought I would keep it simple, so off to Kit Hill with My SOTA Beam, SOTA Pole and Yaesu VX-2E. WX was Cold @ 6.0 C, with a strong wind blowing !! First Site was nice and calm behind a hedge, Nice Stone Seat, and Ideal Pole Guying Ground .. Pity about the Repeater Noise from the Police and Other's strapped to the Mast over the Hedge !!! Just the 1 QSO from that Site, I then moved around the corner, where the wind was howling !!, but the interference was far less, and up popped the 4 other QSO's !!! Although Cold, SOTA Operation is for me !! Enjoyed it thoroughly and will be out again as soon as I get a weekend off from Standby for work.


Summit 2 - G/DC-005 Christ Cross

Just as the website say's, there's nothing really remarkable about this Marilyn ... Hill with another Radio mast. Yet again the Interference was quite noticeable, but the worst thing was the lack of 2m Activity ... I struggled for the 4 contacts, but did get 2 stations interested in the SOTA Awards !!! WX was yet again cold !! @ 2.0 C, but no wind - Just Snow !! Next Summit is the DC-001 High Willhays. Need the points + Seasonal Bonus !!


Summit 3- G/DC-001 High Willhays

Worth all 7 points gained on this one. Suppose it is my own fault if I want to carry that 18ah Battery with me !!! For once, no Repeater masts and a good Clear Signal. Got 7 Contacts, and could have had more, but the Weather started to close in, so Apologies for any of you who were awaiting to speak to me ... It was a good call in the end, as it started to rain heavily just as we left the Reservoir Car park ... WX was Dry, Overcast with occasional Sunny Spells .. @ 11.0 .C, out of the wind. First outing for the Yaesu FT-857, and it performed excellently. HF Testing didn't go so well .. not at all actually ... Back to the drawing board and the garden - I had another Idea when driving home ...


Summit 4- G/SC-001 Dunkery Beacon

First summit of the Summer !!! Now the Clocks have changed anyway !! Brilliant Sunshine, Warm, and No Rain - Something's wrong here. I ascended to Dunkery Beacon with the now normal Heavy Rucksack. Wind was a little strong at the top, but I guyed up the SOTA Pole / Beam and got my contacts. Due to the wind, I didn't put up the HF, however The new design works, as I used it on the moor on the way home ... Just have to cut it to length, then I don't have to carry the tuner with me !!

I have subsequently re-activated this summit a number of times, it' s one of my favorites which is still quite close to home.


Summit 5- G/SC-011 Hardown Hill

Decided to do this summit in the Morning, activated it in the afternoon. Easily accessible summit, however Parking isn't very easy. Ascended the hill, but had to find a place out of the interference from the now obligatory Mobile Comms mast present on most summit's. Good Sunny day @ 12.C - Light Breeze. Loads of wildlife present too ... if you don't mind being bitten by them !!!


Summit 6- G/SC-005 Selworthy Beacon

This one is'nt too difficult to do, as there is plenty of flat ground, and good set-up points near the trig point. Had a go with 2m SSB today, just in case the propogation was good so to speak to the SOTA-Fest Op's in Yorkshire ... Nearly got there with a contact in Lincolnshire !!! Another point in the bag, with a Summit to Summit Contact thrown in. Left early to complete SC-006, but could'nt find anywhere to park near the footpath ... The One that got away !!! Again did'nt get the HF kit out, Waiting for that SGC-211 Tuner then I can hit the HF Bands !!


Summit 7- G/WB-001 Black Mountain

The ascent is quite steep for the first 250 Yds, but then it levels out to Offas Dyke, where the path has been recently replaced. A good steady walk, but activation area is rather sparse. Activated with the FT-857 on 2m SSB – 7w into the SOTA Beam. 10 Contacts, 5 on SSB, 5 on FM!!! Thanks to the “Chaser Network”!!! for the first 5 contacts!! WX was light cloud, 20 oC with sunny spells. Stayed dry for ascent, activation and decent!!


Summit 8- G/WB-010 The Wrekin

Rather a contrast to the previous day, with it raining all the way up to the top. Ascent is steep all the way up, No level paths here!! Much harder ascent than the previous day, and for 1 point!! Rain stopped when we got to the top, for long enough to get the VX-2E out of the rucksack!! Made the 5 contacts, with the handi – Why did I lug the 857 and Battery up the hill??? 7 points in one week, what’s wrong with me !!! I’ve surely got too much time on my hands !!!


Summit 9- G/WB-005 Long Mynd / Pole Bank

Off to find Pole Bank. With some dodgy navigation to start with, the GPS came out and off we set. Lots of people around the top, so decided to setup further down the path. WX was OK between the showers, my notebook shows the scars of rain on ink !!! Heard MW0YLS in Mid-Wales, and got the contacts - Job done.


Summit 10- G/WB-004 Titterstone Clee Hill

Arrived at this rather strange site, that looks more like a Quarry or a Bond movie !! Ascended the "hill" and saw all the Military Golfballs !! Did'nt think it would go down well to get a Yagi out in this company !! Sat on the ridge side with the VX-2E, and the contacts came flying in. Cheers to 2E1GKY for perservering due to me running 0.75 of a watt !!


Summit 11- G/LD-003 Helvelyn

Now that's what I call a mountain !!! 5 Hours it took me to get to this one !!! Had a bit of a fright, when I could'nt raise anyone for 10 mins !!! But then i was using the Handie !!! 7 Contacts in the Bag, and 10 points earnt getting there !!!


Summit 12- G/LD-047 Loughrigg Fell

Not a straight forward 1 pointer, but got the contacts on 2m SSB. 4 Contacts, and a quick decent, so I could go back to Devon !!