Last summer my interest in ham radio had a bit of a resurgence. I have been licensed for years, but other than acquiring a good number of UHF & VHF radios, I did little with my ham license. A few months ago I stumbled across SOTA – Summits on the Air, a program aimed at those who enjoy hiking, peak bagging and radio. That did it for me, I was hooked. SOTA fits perfectly with my enthusiasm for outdoor adventures. I quickly attended a few presentations, met some extremely helpful and friendly fellow hams and then went about acquiring the equipment and knowledge to get going.
The big trick to amateur radio is that everyone assumes you come to the table with a certain amount of technical knowledge. That was the barrier for me. I have never owned a HF rig, nor did I know much of anything about antennas, QRP operations, propagation etc. I’m starting to get a handle on it now and am ready to get out there. I thought I’d use this space to share some of the lessons I learn along the way in the interest of making it a bit easier for the next SOTA newbie.