I have this idea of having a library of SOTA trip plans on the metaphorical shelf. When I think, “Hey! I could do a summit this weekend,” I’d like to reach up to the shelf, pull one out, and take off. I might even color code them green/yellow/red for easy/medium/hard, and store them on the shelf in last-activated order from left to right. So if I’m in the mood for a medium adventure, I’d pull out the left-most yellow, and get a medium summit that I haven’t done recently.

But I’m paperless to the extent possible. So I’ll do something electronic. And I’m analytically minded, so I’ll over-think it.

I have three types of info: Static, Public-dynamic, and Private-dynamic.

  • Static information includes checklists and reference material. Static information is tied to me at my current skill level. It changes very slowly, but it does sometimes change.
  • Public-dynamic information includes things like driving directions to the trailhead. This information is tied to the trip, and it is information that anyone making this trip from my neighborhood would need. I call it ‘dynamic’ because the info is different for this trip than it was for that trip.
  • Private-dynamic information is stuff that applies to the intersection of me and this trip. It is stuff that only I will need for this trip. Things like the crib notes I’ll use to go on-the-air on this summit, including my alert, my CQ call text (which I like to use to get me past the getting-started jitters).

I’ll store content:

  • Static content in Circus Ponies Notebook.
    • It does checklists the way I like.
    • If I publish it, I’ll do File/Export-as-website from Notebook.
  • Public-dynamic content in .mou (Markdown) files.
    • After my activation, I’ll paste this into a ‘SOTA Guide: xxx/yy-000, Summit_name, State_name’ story on my blog (or update my existing story, if it is a re-activation).
    • (In addition to publishing/updating the Public-dynamic content, I’ll also publish a ‘SOTA Activation Report: xxx/yy-000 - Summit Name, State_name’ activation report, which is my commentary. The activation report will include a link to the corresponding guide.
  • Private-dynamic content in Pages/Numbers (OS X office suite). This has to go into an office suite because I want a textual document which contains a dynamically calculated table. One of the pieces of my Private-dynamic content is a timeline, and I want to be able to update the on-the-air time and have it calculate when I have to get up in the morning and when I’ll get home afterward.

SOTA Trip Packet

(Numbers are collating guide.)

  • Dynamic Sections
    • Timeline [pvt-dyn] (1.1)
    • Drive Guide [Pub-dyn] (1.2)
      • Turn-by-turn Directions
      • Duration
      • Food:
        • McDonalds
        • Dinner
      • On the way home (scouting)
    • Trail Guide [Pub-dyn] (1.3)
      • Navigation instructions
      • GPS track or waypoints
      • Duration
    • Summit Guide [Pub-dyn] (1.4)
      • Hang antenna?
      • Guy a mast?
      • Cell coverage
    • OTA Notes [Pvt-dyn] (2.1)
      • Alert
      • SMS spot
      • The “call” script
    • Prior Trips [Special: Public, not-carried] (not printed)
      • Date I Last Attempted
      • Date I Last Activated
      • Did I First-activate?
      • Commentary
    • Plan-B Candidate List [Pub-dyn] (1.5)
  • Static Sections
    • Checklist: Concept Through Depart Car (3.1)
    • Checklist: At Site Through Return to Car (3.2)
    • Checklist: Afterward At Home (3.3)
    • Reference: Q-codes (3.4)
    • Reference: Frequency List (3.5)
    • Packing List (4.1, not carried)
    • Reference: Kit contents (4.2, not-carried)


  • print the static
  • pick a date
  • pick a summit
  • plan the drive [if new summit]
  • plan the hike [if new summit]
  • populate doc with picked. (Template if new, update old doc if old.)
  • print dyn-pub dyn-pvt, Google Map, log page