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Has it become too easy?


#42

Sure. I propose the following “higher order” chaser targets:

Mountain Hunter with a series of endorsements.
Chaser unique certificates with trophies at 1000 and 10000.

Loads to go at there after Shack Sloth - and guess what? It’s all already in place.

Re my “not much of an argument” I was just pointing out a huge majority of chaser participants (way more than voted ‘Leave’, elected Trump or will determine our next government next month) are still working their way towards the original Shack Sloth. They have been largely silent in this thread apart from the odd one who stated a preference to retain the awards structure. All the noise about changing the status of Shack Sloth has come from people who it doesn’t affect because they already achieved it years ago.


#43

I have several times had the same idea Brian has exposed.
My feel is that in the beginning of SOTA Shack Sloth trophy was created for chasers like Mountain Goat trophy was created for activators, but I see that being the equivalence in terms of difficulty to achieve possibly valid in the early times of SOTA, such equivalence has now become totally unbalanced, being Mountain Goat equally difficult, but being Shack Sloth much easier simply because there are currently many more activations per day than several years ago.
However, it’s true that selling Shack Sloth trophies is a good way for the SOTA scheme to get funds in order to pay the bills, so I think it’s good to have it as it is now.
Being the SS trophy at 1000 points, makes it look like a reachable target for all those starting on the SOTA chasing, while having it at 10,000 points only may discourage some beginners as they would see it a bit too hard and long in time to achieve. The lesser the applicants, the lesser the incomes.
In case anyone wants a highly prestiged trophy, it will always be possible to let people ask and pay for endorsements at 10 000, 50 000, 100 000 points,etc.

I find the Mountain Goat Trophy a too hard to achieve one and I’d suggest that an easier to achieve trophy be created at 100 points. 100 activator points seems to have a closer equivalence to 1000 chaser points in these days, given the high number of activations taking place currently.

This may boost many beginners to start activating and the scheme would get more incomes from all these new Trophy requesters at 100 activator points.

73,

Guru


#44

And why not, Tom? As I said above, it took me some years to achieve SS, now it can be done in several weeks, there are chasers with annual scores above 20,000 who can amass the SS score in six weeks. If we started a new trophy at the 10,000 point level there are currently 275 chasers who could claim it, and some who could achieve it in less than six months if they started from scratch again. These people are the ones needing new goals, so these are the ones making your so-called “noise”. What else would you expect?

Nobody is trying to “change the status of Shack Sloth” for the simple reason that it already changed a decade ago, from a prestigious and difficult to achieve award to something that is almost trivial to attain This is the reality that I am arguing from. Keep Shack Sloth as is, if you wish, but we need new targets to aspire to, I would suggest a trophy at 10,000 points and perhaps another one at 100,000 points - that might sound fantastic but there are already seven chasers that could claim it, and several more who could achieve it in the next year or so. These people are an elite by achievement, why not recognise it?


#45

I have no issue with that Brian, so long as they are additional to, and not replacing/changing the Shack Sloth award. I would have thought though, that the Chaser Uniques and Mountain Explorer award suites would have considerably much more to offer the post-Shack Sloth SOTA chasers than their ever increasing points totals. Those things are already in place too.


#46

The thing is that if you endeavour to work everything that you can hear, you will automatically get these other scores, and the beauty of it is that you don’t even need to think about it, the database looks after it all for you!:wink:


#47

It took me 13 years of work to achieve Shack Sloth. I discovered SOTA in 2004 and I have been active pretty constantly since that time. For me, Shack Sloth was a huge achievement.

This thread tastes of all the other threads trying to level the SOTA playing field. The SOTA playing field will never be level. In my case, I have never had a shack, so all my chasing has been done either during an activation, or more recently, using my SOTA equipment in a rented garden plot near to my house.

Achieving 1000 points still requires a lot of QSOs and as there are generally more chasers calling, it can still take up quite a lot of time to work just one activator. I’ve often spent up to, or sometimes longer than, an hour waiting to work an activator.

I think there’s a possibility to make chasing as hard or easy as you like, just like activating. Achieving Shack Sloth at 1000 points still requires dedication and operating skill, regardless of the time frame.

My ‘Shack’

Colin


#48

We have seen valid comments on how changing the current scheme could have unintended consequences for activators. Also how chasers have different challenges that make the level of difficulty different for them than others. Been a chaser or an activator is hugely different here in ZL compared to other parts of the world and much more challenging. I think 1k is still a good level for a first shack sloth award level and would not like to see it changed. I also think one should not focus too much on the points aspect of SOTA. To make and enjoy your own achievements and not worry too much about it all. 73 John ZL1BYZ


#49

An interesting question.

Just because increased activity levels now mean it is “easier” or “quicker” to achieve SS than it was 15 years ago, I do not think that means it is “too easy” overall.

The increased activity reflects the success of the programme, the increased interest in and awareness of SOTA generally.

I had seen only a rare reference to SOTA in QST until the last year. NPOTA in 2016 raised the profile of portable operations in the USA and now in May QST we have reviews of two SOTA-suitable radios both made in the USA, an article about a weekend camping/SOTA expedition and several other references to SOTA in an issue with the front cover reading “take it outside!” It’s a big change.

For a well equipped home station without local noise and qrm problems, in a part of the world where there are frequent activations workable under almost any band conditions, it is probably easy. But for the other 98% of operators, it is less easy and at the lower end of chaser conditions, still a long job.

Perception is everything. Newcomers to SOTA won’t even join in if the first significant trophy for a home operator appears to be beyond reasonable reach.

As an example from VK, I’ve only just crested 9000 chaser points, after 5 years of chasing in VK. My home station is basic but I do have the advantage of not being in a suburban environment. Many others in noisy suburban locations can hear sota activators only if signals are strong.

So in my view, the answer is, yes it may be easy for a small fraction of the participants. That’s not enough reason to doubt the appropriateness of the current award and trophy levels. I would support the MT in retaining those levels.

73 Andrew VK1DA VK2UH


#50

Also, remember that some countries are new to SOTA and any change will disadvantage us. Especially as in the case of ZL we are a long distance from the majority of activators.


#51

You need decent QTH for SOTA chasing with outdoor antenna and not too much city noise. Here in Boston New England it can be a challenge to hear the QRP activators from Europe. You know that the frequency is correct but nothing can be heard on the band yet somebody not too far away is working the same station.

73, Jaakko AC1BB/OH7BF


#52

I do not think the trophy should be removed at 1000 chaser points, although for some people it is an easy achievement, for others it is not. For me it took just over 3 years to achieve shack sloth since I got my amateur radio licence and that was because most of my chasing was done summit to summit as some of that time, we did not have a radio shack at home and since getting a radio shack, I don’t really do a lot of SOTA chasing as I cannot hear most HF SOTA stations as our HF aerial is an end fed long wire and on VHF, we can only really hear the local SOTA stations with occasionally some at further distance when VHF conditions are good. I now have over 3000 chaser points, so a long way off super sloth at 10000. Although that would be a nice achievement, I am a long way off it and not really too bothered about aiming for it, I already have my shack sloth trophy.

I know that a very good friend of mine also would be very proud if he ever achieved the shack sloth trophy. He has been licensed since 2011 and in that time has only got 104 chaser points (maybe more I as think he has chaser contacts which he hasn’t logged onto the database yet). He can only ever can on the radio occasionally due to college commitments, but I know that if he ever got shack sloth in the future, he would be well happy!

Jimmy M0HGY


#53

With more activators on the continent than in the UK often, it’s actually harder for a chaser in Southern Germany to bag the activators than one in the UK, as many are simply too close for the propagation happening on the bands they use. I’m sure everybody’s conditions are different. Some with restricted aerials, others with propagation related issues for some of the high scoring summits, others with limited time to get on the air. This brings me back to the point that (as I see it) the SOTA scheme is challenging the individual themselves and where some individuals may manage 1000 chaser points in less than a year, for others it will still take perhaps 3 or 4 years (or even longer).

Ed.


#54

Thank You, that’s great news Barry. Your point about unwieldy drop down lists is very reasonable.

Ed.


#55

I’m relatively new to SOTA having started chasing in 2015, HF is difficult from my QTH due to noise & so I’ve chosen to chase my sloth award using VHF contacts only, I have to work hard to find the time to get in the shack in order to chase as I’m sure many others who work full time & also have to juggle other family commitments around their interests do, also to complicate things further radio is not my only hobby.

I think 1k points using only VHF is a good target for me personally, It has taken me just over 20 months of sometimes frustratingly challenging contacts to reach 590 points, I anticipate another couple of years of doing the same before I get my ice block, I would urge caution to the management team when considering removing awards when people have already invested heavily in reaching them, & importantly still have some way to go on their journey, if you move the goal posts after the game has started the danger is many will simply stop playing.

Neil.


#56

I work 12 hour shifts days & nights 52/7 and have limited time for the Radio. But I have found Sota thanks to GW4VPX who introduced me to it and I enjoy listening for the Activators who brave the elements and I’m more than happy to call & work them when I’m around. I am unable activate myself because I have a small disability. It takes all my energy to drag myself out of bed at 04:45 to get ready for work so I take part as a Chaser and enjoy doing so. If the rules to chasing were to change I would proberly go back to my old interests on radio and put the effort into that instead.

Don GW0PLP


#57

Spot on & I 2nd that.


#58

I think one thing needs to be made clear. It was me that started this thread, not the MT. If you read through the thread you will see MT members joining in the discussion along with other participants, there is no MT initiative, just me exploring other people’s ideas on the topic. I think it is safe to say that if the consensus is to retain Shack Sloth at 1000 points then it is unlikely to change. The important point that I have tried to make is that chasing doesn’t stop at 1000 points, the leading chaser is nearing 150,000 points, and in my opinion there should be landmarks beyond 1000 points which should be celebrated by new and prestigious awards.


#59

I can see a need to offer something in order to maintain the interest for those long time SOTA chasers with higher scores, but perhaps awards are then the wrong offering once SS is reached.

As you mention the “leading” chaser is currently nearing 150,000 points, it appears that once SS is reached folks are turning their attention to the scores of others, would it not be better to then offer a “leader board” instead, perhaps open only to those who have already obtained the SS award, then simply maintain a running score board, it would mean SS can still be a challenge to those already involved with it & yet becomes more competitive for those sticking with chasing once SS has been achieved.

Neil


#60

I’m not sure what you mean, Neil. The database has a complete scoreboard for those interested in such things:
http://www.sotadata.org.uk/chaserresults.aspx and you can select to be displayed any association, regional groups of associations, or all associations. The first column in the table is the position of the chaser either locally, regionally or world-wide depending on what you have selected. There are similar tables for activators. Thus any participant can either ignore such matters or become competitive!


#61

Hi Brian

Thanks for the link, I had not realised there were already such things available, Ive only ever added my chaser or activation points via the database, I have not really explored all its avenues, only really looked at my current tally of points to be honest.

No further input at this time, but can see that there may be a need to offer those who have been doing it for years an ongoing goal to maintain their interest, just not sure what that should be.

Cheers
Neil