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.

10 Responses to “On the Air – SOTA, POTA, BOTA, IOTA and now, COTA”

  • g0nmy:

    So who will be the first to activate Fort Knox?
    Special even callsign maybe KA5H or KG0LD or B4R

    I can hear the pile ups right now
    Maybe with a GOLD colored QSL Card? hee hee

  • Wayne k4wk:

    G0NMY, good idea to activate Fort Knox. We could call it Goldfinger on the Air!

  • Keith, WA0TJT:

    Another ‘OTA’ to visit and participate in would be SCOTA Scout Camps On The Air. You can find all the details at https://scota.us.


  • Newt N4EWT:

    Well done! I can point out that Cinderella has 2 castles in the USA, one in Anaheim, CA as well as the closer to us variant in Orlando, FL. The CA castle should be DX for us in GA!

  • Tom KB6NQW:

    Would the Magic Castle in Hollywood, California qualify for COTA? If so, I’ll run over there and set up a station.

  • Floyd K9SEX:

    How about Porta Potties on the Air!

  • Francky ON5QRP:

    In a few years , go in my grave.
    Please ” GOTA ” Grave on the air
    Thank you

  • ON4LDU:

    Now WCOTA, Water-Closed on the air.
    Everyone has a good one ! No need for paper-log !
    Please try it ASAP
    73s de Al

  • Bernie, VK4KX:

    I had this idea of activating “Öut Houses” as in toilets that are seperate from houses or a “Dunny”as we caloquially call them in VK.
    CQ DOTA, Dunnies on the air, or Out House on the air, quite unique I thought, the QSL card would be a photo of the Out house with the antenna set up next to it. A bit of fun I thought but some said it was a crapp idea, and could be a bit on the nose. They said the idea stinks, what do you say?


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