Thursday 22 October 2020



SOTA (Summits On The Air) is great fun if you are fit and active and happy/able to be on your own at weekends, but sometimes, you just can't be bothered with huge hill-climbs and maybe your partner/family wants to join you but won't agree to climbing your local Mount Everest.

That's where POTA (Parks On The Air) comes in. It's a worldwide activity and simply involves visiting one of the many designated parks (or areas of natural beauty) listed on the POTA database, finding one which is close enough to travel to and playing a bit of radio there. While you're doing that, your partner and maybe other family members can have fun doing other activities in the park. Everyone's happy!

Because some PARKs and AONBs can be accessed by vehicles, it's perfectly feasible to operate from your car, which gives you greater degrees of comfort and convenience - especially helpful in those bitter cold winter months. It also means that you can carry more gear with you and setup a bigger station than you would otherwise be able to.

Connecting a mast to the towbar

It can also mean that you can operate more bands simply because you can take more antennas with you instead of being limited to a single wire. You could even erect a small beam!

Where I live (between Lancashire and Gtr Manchester), there are a whole host of activation points including some stunningly beautiful areas such as the Forest Of Bowland, Arnside, Martin Mere, etc, etc. So not only can you get outdoors in the fresh air and play radio, but you could also throw in a bit of photography, sketching, painting or whatever else tickles your fancy.

To officially activate an area, you must log at least 10 QSO's which should be an absolute doddle! In fact, I'd be quite disappointed if that's all I managed in a day. But that low number means that you could, if you wanted, activate one area and then move on to another area not too far away.

The first step to joining in the POTA fun is to register. All this started in America, so you'll have to visit their website and sign up to create a new account. It's all free and perfectly secure. Just go to and click on DASHBOARD/LOGIN and then again on LOGIN.

Once you entered your details, you'll receive a verification email and away you go. The POTA website contains a database of all the activation sites in the world and it has filters for narrowing it down to your specific region.

Just like SOTA, there are rules regarding activating and chasing on the main website, so be sure to familiarise yourself with them. This may help too.

Have fun! 

73, Tom, M7MCQ.

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