Beaches On The Air (BOTA)

There has been a rapid increase in “OTA” award schemes over the last couple of years. OTA is “On The Air”. The commonality is that the schemes promote amateur radio operators to set up and make contacts on amateur radio frequencies from sites which fit the theme of the award scheme in question.

One well-known scheme is SOTA – Summits On The Air. Readers will be aware that this is an award scheme which has been a significant part of the hobby for me, having participated from the first few weeks of the introduction of SOTA into Victoria (VK3) in February 2012. SOTA began in the UK in March 2002.

A very early scheme is Islands On The Air – IOTA, established in 1964.

Probably the first award scheme which stimulated me to participate was the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award, an award sponsored by Amateur Radio Victoria. I did not “jump in, boots and all”. I simply started working stations that were operating in Victorian National Parks. I activated some Parks when it suited me. I became a little more serious about activating Parks during 2012, when I travelled to Mildura for the WIA Annual General Meeting in May. I planned a trip which would allow me to activate several National Parks in the western half of Victoria, with a planned three days in Mildura. That trip also saw my first activations for SOTA, when I activated some SOTA summits which were located in National Parks.

This pattern of activating sites which are part of at least one award scheme has become a feature of my portable operations. I will often activate sites which comply with the rules for more than one scheme.

My SOTA and KRMNPA activities fitted well with the WWFF award scheme and so I started activating and chasing WWFF Parks.

BOTA is a scheme of which I have been aware for some time. There has been a recent push to promote the scheme in Australia. I see the scheme as another participation opportunity which fits well with Parks activations.

I have slowly been adding activations into the BOTA scheme, mostly from sites which comply with the BOTA rules that I have activated as Parks activations. I plan to go back through my Parks activations to check which activities comply with BOTA. I will add those activations to my BOTA activations on the BOTA website. I can only add activations which occurred since the start of 2018.

On a recent trip, I activated four Parks from sites which complied with the BOTA rules and therefore also qualified as BOTA activations.

BOTA does not require Activators to upload a log, but does require an activation to be registered. The activation becomes validated within the scheme when Chasers add their contact to the activation. Registration is free. Once Chasers confirm their contacts, they become eligible for awards within the scheme, so Chasers can download a certificate from the BOTA website by looking at their Profile page under the “Courses” tab. Activators can earn points when Chasers confirm their contacts with the activation, and in turn the Activator will qualify for Activator awards. The first Activator certificate is the “Leader 10 Award”, which needs 10 chasers to confirm each activation, with 10 Beach activations.

This leads me to a request:
If you have Hunted me in a VKFF Park which also qualifies as a BOTA activation, can you please also register your contact on the BOTA site as a Chaser? Doing so will help me qualify for Activator awards for BOTA!

BOTA Activations to date

Shack Bay – Bunurong Marine National Park VKFF-0945

23 May 2021, 30 November 2019

Cutlers Beach – Wonthaggi Heathlands Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2235

23 May 2021, 30 November 2019, 11 March 2018

Rennison Bight – Churchill Island Marine National Park VKFF-0947

23 May 2021

Bass River Mouth – Reef Island and Bass River Mouth Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2181

23 May 2021, 28 April 2018

Point Impossible – Breamlea Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2276

18 October 2020

Venus Bay No 3 Beach – Cape Liptrap Coastal Park VKFF-0745

2 August 2019

Foster Beach – Corner Inlet Marine and Coastal Park VKFF-1768

8 June 2019

Ricardo Beach – Cape Conran Coastal Park VKFF-0744

29 May 2019

Shallow Inlet Sandy Point – Shallow Inlet Coastal and Marine Park VKFF-0749

18 May 2019

Below is my first BOTA certificate, the Chaser 10 Award.

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