Even if there is no chance for an antenna at home you have several possibilities to be an active ham:
- Using the station of a friend,
- Become a member of a contest team,
- Assembling a remote station or
- Portable operations.
There are two different forms of portable operations.
- Operating from a fix QTH (Bungalow, Cottage, ...). You stay several days at the same QTH and there is electricity. So you can use more power.
- Operating from anywhere in free nature. Here you will stay for a short time only and you have to take the electric power with you. So there are natural limitations of the performance of your equipment.
Boundaries between both categories are floating.
There are several ham radio programs which enforce or request portable operations. I participate in some of them with more or less engagement.
IOTA is an award program for chasing radio contacts with qualifying islands. Chasing is attractive only if there are radio amateurs who operate from those islands where are no resident hams. So I operated from several scandinavian islands when I was there for a holiday trip.
You get award points for both activating and chasing listed WWFF-areas. Most of the nature reserves or nature parks are uninhabited. And opposite to islands you find areas with WWFF references everywhere in the world. The rules say strictly that the radio station must be inside the official boundaries of the activated area. So you have to look into maps or other documents quite often. Some times this is very interesting.
The castle award has also separate categories for activators and chasers. It is easy to see that most of the castles can activated by portable operations only. And much of them are museums or there are other reasons that you may not operate inside the castle. So the WCA rules say that the station can be in a maximum distance of 1 km to the castle itself.
A german version is COTA (Castles on the Air).
There are several programs which encourage the activation of lighthouses and lightships. I do not know them exactly. Like COTA a 1-km-rule exists here also. And I like to look for a lighthouse in my holidays and operate nearby. The reference numbers can be found at wlol.arlhs.com.
There are several programs in the category "summits". The Saxonian Mountain Challenge is one of the oldest (since 1982). The actual summit list shows a bit more than 180 summit in the state of Saxony. The Saxonian Mountain Challenge is an annual competition (1st jan to 31st dec). It is held on the VHF/UHF-bands from 145 MHz upwards and more than 99 per cent of the QSOs are in FM. There are no separate categories for activators and chaser. The points for QSOs from the summits and those for QSOs to the mountains are added. As well in 2015 as in 2016 I activated all of the summits. So I came into regions I never saw before.
Contacts made by remote stations are strictly prohibited now. That's why I will be not active in this competition further more.
The GMA started as a summit competition in 2012. The name then was German Mountain Award. Now it is a worldwide allround outdoor event. There are separate categories for activators and chasers. You find the all-time summit score, an annual one (GMA challenge), the triathlon score (points for at least three of the five categories summits, islands, lighthouses, WWFFs and castles) and the pentalon score for all five groups.
The GMA website is very attractive and contains a lot of information, but after your registration only. Without a log-in you will not see all of the data. There are smart tools to upload, download and manage your data. So it is fun to prepare an outdoor operation and to do the "paper work" after it. If the activated summit is inside a WWFF area you can forward your log-data to the WWFF log manager automatically with a few mouse clicks.
Those who like walking or like to be in free nature otherwise should assemble the right equipment and go out. You can find nice destinations everywhere in your surrounding. And after your first operation you will look for the next one. For sure!