Well I think it was only a matter of when rather than if that I got involved with something like this. Summits On The Air, herein on known as SOTA follows in the well-travelled path, acronymically speaking, (wow! is that even a word?) the likes of JOTA (Jamboree when all the scounts, cubs & guides around the world get hteir radio badges) & IOTA (Islands - perhaps the most organised and supported of them all) and now there is WOTA (Wainwright) - WOTA is more localised in the Cumbria area after the great fell-walker himself - it involves activating hilltops.
SOTA involves activating or chasing the real big summits in the UK. Activators are the hardy souls who make the effort to climb the peaks lugging with them various bits of kit to activate summits for the chasers. The chasers are the ones who get the better deal from this - certainly the easier deal. My interest in this is fairly new. I have neither the physical attributes, or the intentions of activating any remote trig pillar on mountains, but quite like the idea of a more modest setup in the comfort of a car on local high ground.
I have however, taken a peripheral role in all things SOTA by purchasing the lightweight SOTA BEAM - SB270. SO called as it covers both 2m and 70cm on one small and very lightweight antenna. Indeed the whole kit incorporates a useful 7m portable mast and guying kit! - all attached to 6m of RG58 coax terminating in a BNC connector to add the requisite Yaesu FT817. All folding down into a package of approx 1.15m! Add a small 7A SLAB (Sealed Lead Acid Battery) - more acronyms hi - and you're good to go. Preferably with favourable weather and a little sporadic E! - The antenna is mountable either horizontal or vertical for either 2m or 70cm and as I said earlier, although I can;t see me activating many summits, it is an ideal lightweight throw-in-a-rucksack type kit - or in my case, throw in the boot!
Anyway at the time of scribbling, (March 2010) this is all new to me and it is still a bit cold to go charging into them their hills, so Durham's peaks will have to wait. Will add more to this as and when and also some links on the links page to see what all the fuss is about!