My name is Kevin Kleinfelter. I’m an amateur radio operator in the United States. I received my General Class license in 2012 and my Extra in 2015.
My radio chief interest is in SOTA. In short, I hike to the tops of mountains, set up a portable radio station, and make contact with other amateur radio operators around the world.
When one makes contact from a mountain, this is known as ‘activating’ the summit, and the people who do this are ‘activators.’ There are people who enjoy making contact with activators, and they’re known as ‘chasers.’ Activators and chasers do this in order to acquire points. The points have no value, they’re just a way to keep score. (Nobody cares about your score but you.)
If we have spoken via radio and I have asked you to “spot me,” it would be a big help to me if you would do so. When an activator is ‘spotted,’ it means that someone has posted the frequency where he is operating to a web site. Chasers watch this web site. Once I am spotted, a bunch of them will try to contact me. If I make 4 contacts, I’ll get my points. Otherwise, I’ll have to climb this hill another day and try again. To spot me, you’ll have to
- Go to http://sotawatch.org/ and register for an ID/password via the ‘register’ link. (It isn’t hard, and they won’t spam you – at least they haven’t spammed me.)
* Then you click on the “new spot” link and enter:
- My call sign – K4KPK
- My summit reference – that funky list of letters and digits I gave you which identify my hill
- The radio frequency I am operating on
- The mode I’m operating on. (e.g. SSB, AM, CW, etc.) * Then click the “Add Spot” button
I operate mostly in Georgia. Georgia has 14 summits which are 10-point summits (the highest number of points available for a summit). When a summit is activated for the first time, this is (cleverly) called a ‘first activation.’ I first-activated 7 of Georgia’s 14 summits. Other people got to the remaining 10-pointers before I did. I went on to activate the remaining seven 10-point summits in early 2013. I was the first activator collect the full set of all 14 of Georgia’s 10-point summits. In December of 2013, I completed my 50th activation. In September of 2014, I activated for the 100th time.
My favorite summit was Stratton Bald. My then-12-year-old son and I activated Stratton Bald on an overnight camping trip. This was my first summit. It was also my first QSO. I had planned this trip months in advance. Shortly before the trip, I received notice that the manufacturer would ship my radio to arrive a few days before our trip. I wasn’t going to cancel the trip, but I still wanted to play with my new toy. Then I read about SOTA. My son thought that the idea of first-activating Stratton Bald sounded pretty cool, so that’s what we did. We lucked out and I spoke with people in Germany, England and Canada, and I had a summit-to-summit contact with someone in Canada!