March 22, 2016: Don Minkoff NK6A: Summits on the Air (SOTA)

Summits on the Air (SOTA) is one of the fastest growing special interests in amateur radio today. This group has an award scheme for radio amateurs and shortwave listeners that encourages portable operation in mountainous areas. SOTA has been carefully designed to make participation possible for everyone — this is not just for mountaineers! There are awards for activators (those who ascend to the summits) and chasers who either operate from home or a local hilltop. Unlike the activators who climb mountains and make radio contacts, the chaser does not require any special equipment or fitness to get started and in most cases your existing equipment will allow you to start earning points.

Don Minkoff NK6A was first licensed as a Novice in 1959 as WV6HYF. Don was drawn to chasing DX and contesting in the early 1980s but found that operating with 5W was also a fun challenge plus a quick route to winning certificates for contesting. The Heathkit HW8 was his entry into low power and portable operation in 1980. Taking a radio on camping vacations was as natural as packing a fishing rod in the Sierras or up in the Canadian Rockies. Smaller and lighter radios were built and taken on many hiking trips and even a cruise down the St. Lawrence Seaway. Don continues to be active in contesting and chasing DX but is drawn to the great outdoors, taking small, lightweight radios and antennas to mountain tops for Summits on the Air. The chance to be DX and operate in Europe plus climb a summit has resulted in a further addiction. Don will tell us how you too can become addicted to Summits on the Air.