Summits on the Air (SOTA)

On Saturday, June 18th as I was heading home from a workshop I presented in Portland, ME I heard a CQ from KB1RJD on the VHF National Calling Frequency (146.520) for Summits on the Air from Mount Washington in New Hampshire – over 100 miles away. I answered their call but they could not get the last letter of my call sign, so I could not log the QSO. After getting home I looked up more information on Summits on the Air.  Abby and I both love to hike and be outdoors and of course combining that with ham radio sounded like a lot of fun and didn’t seem to take any more equipment than what I already have – plus I had just purchased a new VHF/UHF 5 element, Elk Yagi.

Making SOTA contacts on Pack Monadnock on 2M with an Elk 5 element yagi!

Sunday morning, Abby (KC1FFX) and I headed up to Pack Monadnock (W1/HA-041). It wasn’t too far away and we thought it would be a great first try for an activation. If nothing else we would enjoy some beautiful weather on Father’s Day together! We jumped in the car with the ELK Yagi and a 5 watt HT on battery power. We also brought my IC-7100 and a buddipole. Let me tell you, we had a blast! We had so much fun on 2 meters with the handheld that we never got to setting up the buddipole.

Abby Pack Monadnock SOTA
The antenna got heavy trying to hand hold it so we found a stick that fit it almost perfectly!

It was a gorgeous weather and we made 12 contacts as far away as Plymouth, MA and Madison, NH! We really enjoyed the directional antenna and trying to “home” in on signals – we seemed to get better as the day went on.

We’re already looking forward to our next SOTA activation. When we got home we started looking at all the other mountains and hills in the area. There is a list of summits here.

Jamey Pack Monadnock SOTA
A gorgeous day and a lot of fun!

We would love to hear from others that have tried SOTA before or if anyone would like to team up and activate a summit!


Jamey KC1ENX

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4 thoughts on “Summits on the Air (SOTA)”

  1. Thank you, Fred. Our goal is to get up Mt. Washington at some point this summer. We were going to try it last weekend, but didn’t have really clear conditions to go up. Would you and Anita like to join us and plan a trip up?

  2. Jamey & Abby,

    Next stop: try HF from a summit. My Elmer, Rich, N4EX is an avid SOTA participant and he has hiked up peaks in several states. He uses an Elecraft KX1 or KX3 and a dipole for 20 & 40 meters. He is a CW man but don’t let that scare you, hi. Great way to practice your code.

    73 de Ed, K2TE

  3. If you do Mt. Washington you get a big jump in distance. I regularly got the repeater on my 2M mobile driving home from my office in Concord. There is also an opportunity for Cannon Mtn. Gondola ride to the top. Wildcat would also be an option with the gondola. Home brew antenna?

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