Two embroidered SOTA patches (not the lapel badges) arrived in the mail this week from SOTA HQ. They are the familiar SOTA logo, embroidered on a vivid red background with a black circular border. Nice quality, just as I expected from an organisation of this standing, and delivered in a hand-addressed envelope, revealing the presence of the dedicated people who make it all happen.
Other customers agree on the quality, judging by the glowing reviews on the sotabeams.co.uk site:
- Ian (G4WTF) writes ‘Quality product. Quality service. Enough said’
- Andrea (IK3ITV) says ‘A beautiful product made with great care and that is now proudly displayed on my jacket and my hat’
- John (G4YSS) – ‘They are of the highest quality and finely embroidered so as to show off the SOTA logo to advantage and they look durable. The colours are both vivid and accurately reproduced’.
My desire to be patched on activations came about from my chance meeting with another activator (VK3IL) half way up The Hump (VK3/VE-019). David was wearing a SOTA beanie. All of his gear, including his squid pole, was neatly packed away in his back-pack, so without the patch I would not have realised his affiliation or intentions. Afterwards, I decided to get a couple of patches for myself, one for a favourite summer bush-walking shirt, and a second either for a beanie or the pack. I am unlikely to do too many activations on snow-capped mountains so the pack will probably win out.
Luis (CT1DTE) alludes to why he wants to be badged in his Sotabeams review… ‘the patches to come fill a need when I go on my Outings of Sota and I film or photograph it, had nothing that identifies me, or even me relates to the activity you were doing’. So the presence of a SOTA patch acts like an ‘activity stamp’, signalling and reminding the viewer what was being done in this mess of coax and curly-cords in the bush.
Ordering one of these generic SOTA patches may not be the last time you buy such a thing from SOTA HQ. If you stick at SOTA activating or chasing long enough, if you are sufficiently dedicated that you one day achieve the immortal status of Mountain Goat (or Shack Sloth), you may trade in your generic patch for one that bears your honour. SOTA is an award program after all. From Sota-shop:
Highlighted with metallic gold thread, with either “Mountain Goat” or “Shack Sloth” embroidered on the lower edge. You have to qualify as Mountain Goat under SOTA awards rules to order the badges with this wording.
A fitting honour for those who invest so.
One last thing. My embroidered patches are not going to blow my weight budget. John (G4YSS) writes ‘I am almost fanatical about adding weight to any SOTA expedition but at just 3 grams each this factor can be ignored!!’. Thank goodness for that, and let the sewing begin.