You and me both, Gerald! I have at least S8 noise on the lower bands and S6-7 on 20 metres, plus I only chase on SSB which is a bit of a handicap with so much activity now confined to CW, but for all that I still have averaged over 1800 points per year over the last five years! Add to this that ten years ago in the last sunspot minimum the overall noise level was lower but there were many more plasma TVs about!
Well yes, Karl, but it has happened before, hasn't it? The last sunspot minimum was unusually prolonged but SOTA continued and indeed expanded rapidly - what is happening at present is that we are still adapting to the changing conditions, there are several years of minimum to come and we need to change our operating methods to adapt.
I suspect that when the blueprint for SOTA was drawn, nobody could have anticipated the present level of activity. Activating is just as challenging as it has always been and that will not change, but today there are many more activators, so there is more activity, so chasers have more targets - and chasing can continue during the hours of darkness when the local activators are safe in their beds (except for one or two adventurous souls!) Just look at the figures - there have been 248 spots in the last 24 hours, yet in the first years of SOTA 25 spots in 24 hours would have seemed like remarkably high activity!
All I have done is pose a question about at what points level our premier award should become available to those who want it. I am not suggesting any organic change to SOTA, I would be happy to let 1000 points continue to be known as Shack Sloth perhaps celebrated with a more ornate and colourful certificate, all I am suggesting is that the trophy should be available for a higher score to give it as much prestige as it carried in the early days. I mean, how much prestige would be carried by the DXCC honour role if it could be earned in a couple of months? I would like to see the earning of the trophy to carry more respect and admiration than is currently the case.