On the Air – SOTA, POTA, BOTA, IOTA and now, COTA

The newest OTA I’ve discovered is the World Castles Award, or COTA – Castles on the Air. Not sure if COTA is official or not, but let’s call it that for now, since it rhymes so well with SOTA, POTA and BOTA. (IOTA is only a half-rhyme). You might think “We Americans don’t have any castles here; we were settled after the period of castle-building, so how is this relevant to me?” Well, you can think that if you want to, but you might be wrongish. True, we have no castles in North America (or do we? – see below), but we do have other structures that the wise men and women of WCA have recognized as eligible structures of note. Happy Dance! Here’s a new game we can play once we’re all worn out activating all the mountains in SOTA, parks in POTA, and beaches in BOTA. Here in the Southeast that I inhabit, there are scores of eligible structures. In my own tiny hometown of Decatur, GA, pop. 18,000, I find that we, too, have a castle called Oakhurst Castle. I need to find out what that is, and of course, activate it. Look for me on Dxsummit some day. Forts, even if not fortified, can qualify, such as Fort Jackson, SC, where I spent three happy months one summer and most if not all other military bases with “Fort” in their title. Also, historic forts like Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida qualifies but the towns of Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers and Fort Pierce where we can imagine forts once stood, are sadly excluded. However, don’t despair – you can still go to the beach in those towns and activate your suntan via BOTA! Mansions, or “Stately Homes,” also seem to qualify, such as the indisputably stately Biltmore House in Asheville (raise your hand if you’ve been there). The WCA styles it as “Biltmore Castle.” Scanning the list I see others in my haunts I can consider activating and some that raise questions such as one on Marco Island known only as “Unknown Castle.” But there is one I expected to see that has been overlooked – probably the only purpose-build Castle in the United States, and it’s certainly not unknown; of course I’m talking about Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom (raise your hand again if you’ve been there). If you are as hurt as I am at this (rather slight) slight, please join me in a letter-writing campaign to the WCA to help right this wrong. We’re Americans – we fought for our freedom, now we must fight for Cinderella’s honor! Signing off for now, de k4wk, www.hamdom.com. Thanks for listening; you’re in the log.
Wayne Robertson, K4WK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Georgia, USA.

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