SWOTA Activations & Referencing

DX adventurists may undertake a Shipwreck On The Air (SWOTA) activity either as a maritime mobile (MM) station or as a portable station working in the field.

They might also undertake SWOTA activity as a secondary activation.

One of the exciting virtues of SWOTA activity is that it aligns nicely with both the Islands On The Air (IOTA) and Lighthouse On The Air (LOTA) concepts due to links with the ocean and marine environment.

Many ships involved in shipwrecks, in fact, have come to grief on the shallow sand flats or outlying reef of islands-despite the presence of lighthouses, light beacons or lightships to facilitate safe passage.

Because of this, many IOTA and LOTA activities will unwittingly qualify as legitimate SWOTA activities, regardless of whether or not the SW reference number is identified in the callsign of the DXpedition station or on the QSL of the same activity.

To claim an SW reference number from the DA-RC Awards Manager, SWOTA Hunters must only provide proof that the DX station has satisfied the rules and regulations of SWOTA activity.

In many instances, DX stations will be happy to oblige SWOTA enthusiasts by providing the necessary proofs to satisfy this criterion.

It goes without saying, however, that showing a SW reference number and official DA-RC SWOTA logo on a QSL card will add considerable value to the existing activity and therefore result in a superior log for the DXpedition station.

For this reason, operators are encouraged to supplement IOTA and LOTA activities with SWOTA activity wherever the opportunity permits.

As is the case with Delta Radio’s Castles and Fortresses On The Air (COTA) program on 11m, shipwrecks around the world have been assigned a special reference number which enables a radio operator to readily identify a shipwreck for contact purposes.

This reference number is also used by radio operators to identify the shipwreck in DX adventure pursuits, as well as for SWOTA awards available in the DA-RC Awards Program.

In 11m communications respectively, SWOTA activities are recognisable by the prefix ‘SW’ which denotes shipwreck, followed by the designated reference number, attached to the normal club callsign.

In the case of a SWOTA activation of the Arakoon steamer paddle on South Bernard Island, for instance, the callsign would be 43DA/SW-077……where ‘SW’ denotes that the station is engaged in SWOTA and 077 is the reference number attributed to the Arakoon wreck.

Also adaptable to Ham activities, the SWOTA concept is recognisable by the Ham operator stating the SW prefix and reference number during CQ calls and showing the SWOTA logo on his QSL card.

Visual Sight & 1000m Rules

It is not advisable to set up a station on board a shipwreck structure that is above the sealine.

There are obvious hazards caused by decay of the hull and/or the wreck which would make such a prospect extremely unsafe.

An important consideration too is the preservation of the wreck and the damage human interaction might cause.

The same visual sight and/or 1000m rules used in Lighthouse On The Air (LOTA) and Castles and Fortresses On The Air (COTA) activities, therefore, can be applied by the DXpedition team or operator.

Longitude & Latitude Rule

Conversely, when a submerged wreck is deeper than a 1000m and therefore not in visual sight, then the 1000m or visual sight rules will be replaced by the Longitude and Latitude Rule.

This involves an anchored maritime mobile station working from a distance of no more than 1000m from the wreck’s known coordinates.

Any questions regarding SWOTA activity not answered by these program guidelines should be directed to the Program Coordinator via the link to DA-RC Headquarters.

A list of SW reference numbers is available upon request to any member wanting to undertake SWOTA or incorporate SWOTA into a primary activation.