There’s no denying that in ham radio elevation helps! What better way to get more elevation than going up a mountain?
Summits on the Air combines hiking and ham radio into one activity: the goal is to hike to the top of a peak, set up, and make contacts. If you make at least four QSOs then that qualifies as an “activation” of the peak. The “activator” (that’s you) gets points – the higher the peak is the more points you get.
If hiking up mountains is not your cup of tea, then consider being a “chaser” instead. Chasers are the ones who make contact with the person on the peak, and chasers get the same points as the activators. SOTA really is a team sport, in a way.
This program is active worldwide, and it is common for a group of chasers to be on alert, waiting for the activator to get set up on top of a rare or never-before-activated peak. Once you get set up and start transmitting you better be able to work a pileup, because in Alaska you’re going to have one!
Similar to Parks on the Air, in SOTA you can use contacts on any legal band or mode. The Alaska VHF up Group encourages combined HF-VHF operating. A good strategy up here is to set up during the Saturday SSB net. You can get your four contacts during the net to ensure the activation succeeds. Then you QSY to HF and work chasers outside Alaska. It’s the best of both worlds!
Members of the club are active with Summits on the Air here in Alaska, both as chasers and activators. Contact us if you’re interested in learning more.