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SoCal Winter SOTAFest 2022


On Friday, January 14 through Sunday, January 16, amateur radio operators from around Southern California will be hiking up to the tops of California's greatest summits to make radio contacts with other operators locally and around the world. If you are new to ham radio, this is a perfect opportunity to get outdoors and practice your radio skills with a supportive and amazing group of people. SOTA (Summits on the Air) is an award scheme for radio amateurs that encourages portable operation in mountainous areas. You can find more information about SOTA on the SOTA website here. The SoCal SOTAFest event has three main goals (besides having lots of fun):

  1. Make summit-to-summit contacts with other radio operators and wrack up activator points for the group. Activators are those who summit a mountain to make radio contacts and earn SOTA points.
  2. Provide an opportunity for people new to SOTA to experience the thrill and adventure of hiking up to beautiful and remote destinations and making radio contact with others.
  3. Give "chasers" an opportunity to earn tons of chaser points. Chasers are those who seek to earn points by making contact with mountain activators.

If you are new to SOTA and would like to join someone on a hike to a summit to activate it, please join our group and post no our mailing list using hashtag #sotafest. Due to COVID-19, we ask that you consider safe practices like washing hands with soap or sanitizer if sharing gear or supplies.

You do not need to be in Southern California to participate in the event.


To sign up for the event please

create a record in this year's event database.


Sawtooth Canyon Campground Campout

Join SoCal SOTA for a camp-out in Lucerne Valley. We'll be at Sawtooth Canyon CampgroundSawtooth has 13 campsites: Four campsites are located near Boy Scout Wall, just north of the concrete pad, along with a vault toilet and kiosk. Three campsites are located on the other side of the canyon from Boy Scout Wall, these campsites are walk-in sites since they are 50 feet from the parking area. Sawtooth has a campground host-site just northeast of White Face Wall. There are shade Ramadas, 12 fire pits with grills, 12 barbeque grills, and 12 picnic tables. Sawtooth is a primitive campground area, primarily visited by visitors in tents as well as self contained recreational vehicles RV’s and travel trailers. Please RSVP in our event database so we know who's planning to come. There are numerous SOTA summits in the area including Goat Mountain, West Ord, the Stoddard range, and others. Tell stories at camp in the evening and activate during the day, racking up those S2S points. 


SOTA Summits Near Sawtooth

Map of local summits provided courtesy of Kevin (KN6FNY):

A couple notes, the blue lines are main dirt roads, purple are side roads that may or may not be 4x4, red is hiking.

  • W6/SD-010 (Ord Mountain) has a locked gate at the bottom, so youll hike the road to the summit.  There is an alternate approach that I found while researching.
  • W6/SD-018 (Rodman) is a drive up
  • W6/SD-013 (East Ord) from my research had a few different ways to get to the base that might require 4x4, some people parked further down.

Everything else are typical desert peaks that are mainly off trail.

Operating Frequencies and Modes

2m (VHF) Simplex Frequencies

2m FM frequencies are popular among operators using handheld transceivers.

  •  146.580 FM    Simplex Primary 2m FM Frequency
  •  146.450 FM    Simplex Alternate 1
  •  146.420 FM    Simplex Alternate 2
  •  147.510 FM    "Party Line" frequency to work with other activators. Please be courteous by allowing break-ins and sharing this frequency with others.

Since there will be multiple operators active during this event, please do not use the 2m National Calling Frequency 146.52 as an activation frequency. You may want to briefly announce on 146.52 that you will be activating a summit, but please switch to a simplex frequency to avoid congestion on 146.52. Thank you!


70 cm (UHF) FM Simplex Frequencies

The 70 cm FM frequencies will also be active due to the dualband handheld radios

  • 446.000 FM    Simplex Primary 70cm Frequency
  • 446.025 FM    Simplex Alternate 
  • FM DMR 441Mhz Talk Group 99 Color Code 01


23 cm FM Simplex Frequencies

The 23 cm FM frequency may see some use during the event

  •  1294.5  FM    Simplex Primary 23cm Frequency


Other VHF Frequencies

The following frequencies are less common than 2m and 70m frequencies.

  • 144.200 SSB   2m SSB Calling Frequency
  • 223.500 FM     Simplex Primary 1.25m Frequency
  • 50.125  SSB    6m SSB Calling Frequency
  • 52.525  FM     Simplex Primary 6m FM Frequency


HF Frequencies

High Frequency Bands 20m and 40m are the most popular bands for HF operating. Look for activity on these frequencies depending on conditions and QRM

  • 40m  
    • 7.032 CW 40m CW Frequency
    • 7.185 SSB 40m SSB Frequency
  • 30m
    • 10.110  CW   30m CW Frequency
  • 20m
    • 14.060  CW   20m CW Frequency
    • 14.345  SSB  20m SSB Frequency
  • 17m
    • 18.092  CW   17m CW Frequency
    • 18.158  SSB  17m SSB Frequency
  • 15m
    • 21.060  CW   15m CW Frequency
    • 21.330  SSB  15m SSB Frequency
  • 10m
    • 28.060  CW   10m CW Frequency
    • 28.350  SSB  10m SSB Frequency


Hiking is a fun activity, but like all hobbies you should prioritize your safety and the safety of others above all else. By participating in this event you hold SoCal SOTA harmless with respect to any and all injury, disability, death, or loss of damage to person or property, whether caused by negligence or otherwise.