Other SOTA sites: SOTAwatch | SOTA Home | Database | Video | Photos | Shop | Mapping | FAQs | Facebook | Contact SOTA

New General Rules


#1

On the basis that not much slips past the eagle-eyed SOTA enthusiasts, some of you may have already noticed that there is a new version of the General Rules on the website as of this morning. This contains a few changes, either to clarify areas identified as open to misinterpretation during the preceding year, or to ease the process of adding further SOTA Associations around the world.

So, what has changed, and why?

The permissible format of SOTA reference numbers has been changed. Out goes the option of “W-VA/BM-001”, which was rather unwieldy and was never used, and in comes a possible three-character prefix “EA8/GC-001”. This clarifies the options for potential new Association such as Liechtenstein (HB0) and the Canaries (EA8).

The wording of the rule about validity of QSOs from a summit has been amended to specifically allow QSOs across the boundary of the Activation Zone whilst on the same hill. Such activities are quite common in SOTA, especially on VHF, and this change merely clarifies that they are indeed within the rules.

The rules relating to activations of summits “shared” between two or more SOTA Associations have been clarified. It became clear during 2007 that the previous rule regarding different ascents was confusing and open to misinterpretation. The rule now allows activation of only one reference for a shared summit on any one day, and further defines that day as 00:01 until 23:59 UTC. This makes it possible for the database to automatically check for compliance, as all database records are in UTC.

The same definition of a day (00:01 until 23:59 UTC) has also been added to the rule regarding claiming of Chaser points. This may have implications for those of you who chase the “overnight-stay” activations which appear from time to time. However, its prime objective is to clarify the situation for chasing far-away summits where local time is significantly different from UTC. It was necessary to address this issue with the continued spread of SOTA around the world. Once again, it makes it possible for the database to correctly allocate Chaser points without the complications of checking local time.

The guideline for percentages of summits in each scoring band has been removed. Whilst its intentions were well-meaning, it was clearly impossible to enforce, especially in smaller Associations, or where additional summits are subsequently identified. The intent will be retained as part of the approval process for new Associations to ensure that a wide range of scoring opportunities exists.

There is now a specific provision to allow less than six scoring bands in an Association where the total number of summits, or the general topography, does not lend itself to more. This has already been done in the case of Belgium and the Isle of Man, but now the process is fully documented.

With the increase in the number of SOTA Associations, the MT felt it prudent to legislate for a situation where an Association Manager position becomes vacant for any reason. Rather than allow the Association to become moribund, the new rule allows the MT to take over whilst the process of appointing a new AM takes place.

Finally, there are some changes to the wording regarding prominence of a SOTA summit. These are not the result of the on-going review involving the MT and the various AMs, neither are they prejudging the outcome. This change was made solely to clarify the requirements for the benefit of applicant Associations. Once the full review of the related issues is complete, there may be further changes or clarifications.

The new General Rules became effective on 10th January 2008, although I’m sure that anybody who has inadvertently fallen foul of their retrospective application will not be judged harshly! They are also available in French at http://www.sota.org.uk/Downloads/Regles%20generales.pdf

73 de Les, G3VQO
obo SOTA Management Team


#2

In reply to G3VQO:
Many thanks for this Les and MT

Roger G4OWG


#3

In reply to G3VQO:

defines that day as 00:01 until 23:59 UTC

Well intentioned no doubt (the UTC bit), but quite simply WRONG as the definition of a day. If an interval begins at 00:01 and ends at 23:59 (seconds by implication being exactly zero in both cases) that is a period of 23 hours 58 minutes. This leaves 2 minutes unaccounted for. Even if we allow the end point to continue until 23:59:59.99999… that still leaves one minute unaccounted for, i.e. the minute that begins at 00:00:00 and lasts until 00:01:00.

There are international standards for this kind of thing. A UTC day begins at 00:00:00 and ends at 00:00:00 the following day (but of course the time when the clock READS 00:00 is not included at the end, since that is after the POINT in time 00:00:00).


#4

In reply to M1MAJ:

Well intentioned no doubt (the UTC bit), but quite simply WRONG as the
definition of a day.

It may not coincide with whatever definition of a day that you are familiar with, but it IS now the definition of a SOTA day!

The intention of this rule is to ensure that the database can decide into which day an activation or chase QSO actually falls for the purposes of point allocation. All times are held as hours and minutes (no seconds involved), so that 23:59 is clearly the “last” time in one day, and 00:01 is the “first” time on the following day, whereas 00:00 would be ambiguous.

No doubt somebody will try to achieve a SOTA QSO exactly on 00:00 now!! Well, good luck, but don’t then complain if the database does not give the result you might expect!

73 de Les, G3VQO


#5

In reply to G3VQO:

It may not coincide with whatever definition of a day that you are
familiar with, but it IS now the definition of a SOTA day!

Suit yourself. By all means ignore international standards, the conventions of the professional time measurement community, and the implementation of more or less every digital watch in existence.

whereas 00:00 would be ambiguous.

This is the fallacy, but if you don’t see it, nothing I can say will persuade you.

No doubt somebody will try to achieve a SOTA QSO exactly on 00:00
now!!

If there is ever a ZL association it will hardly be difficult, or even unusual. But even in the UK there have been “overnight” activations. In your terms, 00:00 lasts a whole minute - plenty of time for several QSOs.

Well, good luck, but don’t then complain if the database does
not give the result you might expect!

I would be extraordinarily surprised if the database did not give the right answer. Database servers tend to get this right even if people suffer from muddled thinking.


#6

The Database already copes perfectly with a QSO at 0000z. I know of at least one in there. I think the day should be defined as 0000 to 2359. Most (all?) amateurs don’t bother writing the seconds/milliseconds into their log times, so ‘2359’ covers everything from 23:59:00.000 to 23:59:59.999 (and further decimal places if you wish).

Time might be a continuous measure, but the time you write in your logbook is a discrete variable. I agree that it should be 0000 and not 0001 though.

Tom M1EYP


#7

In reply to M1EYP:

Quite astounding! A new set of General rules is issued which puts paid to the consideration of HuMPS or anything else other than the Marilyns we have at present as the defining standard for UK summits, will require a major re-write of many if not most ARMs, and we are arguing over a lost minute…

73 de Paul G4MD

PS thanks MT for grasping the nettle and introducing much needed clarity.


#8

In reply to G4MD:

In reply to M1EYP:

Quite astounding! A new set of General rules is issued which puts paid
to the consideration of HuMPS or anything else other than the Marilyns
we have at present as the defining standard for UK summits

I read Les’s penultimate paragraph as a clarification of the present meaning of 150m promenance and that this may or may not change as the result of further deliberations.

Roger G4OWG


#9

In reply to G4OWG:

I read it the same way as you do Roger.

73, Gerald


#10

That is indeed the case Roger. That issue, and a couple of others, require lengthy and detailed discussion and examination amongst the AMs. This is in progress.

Tom


#11

In reply to G4MD:

puts paid to the consideration of HuMPS

Not really. But we now know for sure that this would require a further change of the General Rules, and is not something that the Association Managers can do. I think it is excellent that this has now been made clear.

Much more fun to argue over minutiae…


#12

In reply to G4MD:

In reply to M1EYP:

Quite astounding! A new set of General rules is issued which puts paid
to the consideration of HuMPS or anything else other than the Marilyns
we have at present as the defining standard for UK summits

You must be reading a different message to me then as the one Les posted said these rules clarify what we have now and they may change when the discussions currently taking place are complete. Can you point to the bit that says Humps will not be introduced? I can’t see it and I want to make sure I don’t miss something as important as that?

Andy
MM0FMF


#13

In reply to M1MAJ:

Much more fun to argue over minutiae…

Yes indeed… now does the 25m rule for the activation zone refer to the top of my head, the position of microphone/key, the TX position or the height of the soles of my feet?

I only ask 'cos it’s such a large AZ on G/CE-005, I might be able to extend the scope of activations :slight_smile:

FWIW I read Les’ post as “the discussion continues” on HuMPS etc

73 (tongue in cheek) Marc G0AZS


#14

now does the 25m rule for the activation zone refer to the top of my head, the position of microphone/key, the TX position or the height of the soles of my feet?

Good question Marc. You can see how much the elements (and boots) have eroded off the surface of the likes of Black Hill G/SP-002 and The Cheviot G/SB-001 by how far the base of the trig point is now off the ground! I presume the spot heights of 582m and 815m respectively on OS maps refer to the base of the trig (original summit height) rather than the current situation which is probably about 1m lower in both cases.

So even though the soles of the feet would be the answer to your question in the majority of cases, even that is not conclusive!

Tom M1EYP


#15

In reply to M1EYP:
In the case of Black Hill , if you stand in the wrong place (off the paving) , the soles of your feet could be quite a bit below the surface :slight_smile:

Roger G4OWG


#16

And the top of your head if you are alone!


#17

In reply to MM0FMF:

That raised a storm!

You must be reading a different message to me then

I’m reading the General Rules v1.12 dated 10.01.08.

Forgive my blinkered approach, it probably comes from years of scrutinising contracts, but they are what governs SOTA and at present the minimum height for a valid summit above it’s col, for any association, is 150m. Which has the effects I describe.

Nothing about “subject to reflector messages from the MT” in there…

73 de Paul G4MD


#18

In reply to M1EYP:

So even though the soles of the feet would be the answer to your
question in the majority of cases, even that is not conclusive!

So if I lie down and face down the slope with my feet up the slope… hmmm


#19

In reply to G4MD:

Nothing about “subject to reflector messages from the MT” in there…

So what does this mean then ?

"Finally, there are some changes to the wording regarding prominence of a SOTA summit. These are not the result of the on-going review involving the MT and the various AMs, neither are they prejudging the outcome. This change was made solely to clarify the requirements for the benefit of applicant Associations. Once the full review of the related issues is complete, there may be further changes or clarifications. "

Andy
MM0FMF


#20

In reply to M1MAJ:
In RAF signals logs, at least in the '50, it was the norm to sign off watch at 23:59hrs and back on watch at 00:01hrs. No idea why, rumour had it that they were not allowed to own you 24 hours a day.
Rob
G4RQJ