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Seasonal Bonus


#1

After some thought I have to say that I’m not sure the seasonal bonus is a good idea. I know the final decision is down to the activator wether to venture out or not but the ‘dangling carrot’ of extra bonus points could sway the decision into that of going out in far from ideal conditions.
Phil OBK had a rough time of late as I did activating Fountains Fell back in January and thankfully on these occasions nobody came to any harm.

So what should take it’s place you may ask? How about scrapping the seasonal bonus in favour of being allowed to activate summits twice in a calender year? Say, either side of summer solistice or some other set date. As well as taking safety into consideration I’m sure that this would increase activations towards the back end of the year when activators have done all their ‘local’ summits and a reluctant to travel further afield due to cost or time. In my opinion and ideal time to start this would be 1st January 2011.

I am aware that any proposals to rule changes are swiftly rebuffed by the MT but in the interest of safety and indeed SOTA itself I ask that this idea or somethiing similar be taken into consideration and a result given in maybe a couple of weeks time.

73 Chris 2E0FSR


#2

In reply to 2E0FSR:

Perhaps we should start a new award: AWICWSTAPSOTA

Amateurs wrapped in cotton wool so they are perfectly safe on the air?

If you don’t feel safe then don’t go out. Some of us are not only equipped for the challenge but actively enjoy it.

Andy
MM0FMF


#3

In reply to 2E0FSR:

Hi Chris,
Few months ago, France suggested 3 or 4 activations a year.
But, unfortunately, SOTA rules are anchored as the Roc of Gibraltar.

73 Alain F6ENO (ex RM)


#4

In reply to 2E0FSR:

Not so, Chris, proposals to change rules are always discussed by the MT, sometimes extensively over a period of weeks. In fact your concerns about the winter bonus have been addressed by the MT a number of times over the years and each time the decision was taken to leave things as they are. Your proposal will be given due consideration.

In my personal opinion there is little evidence of people being seduced by a three point bonus into putting themselves at risk. People give the hills and the weather the respect due to them and are prepared to turn back if necessary: I myself left the summit of Place Fell last winter without activating as the summit conditions were unexpectedly fierce. Recent reports have spoken of activations being limited by or abandoned due to bad weather, proof of the responsible attitude of activators towards safety. Most winter bonus activations are of two-point summits, lower and less extreme in conditions than the higher summits, though still capable of delivering a salutary lesson to the ill-prepared. I would suggest a rule of thumb is that if you have trouble reaching a hill, you are likely to have an epic on it! Note that yesterdays events took place on a road, not a hill.

73

Brian G8ADD


#5

I completely agree with Carolyn’s and Brian’s points above.

Furthermore, activators can activate any hill as many times as they like each year, and the database will accept the logs submitted.

Tom M1EYP


#6

In reply to M1EYP:

Furthermore, activators can activate any hill as many times as they
like each year, and the database will accept the logs submitted.

This is true, and is welcomed by the Chasers who can collect points for the same summit once each day. However, the Activator can only claim points for one activation of a summit per year (plus bonus 3 points, if available). Therefore there is no incentive for Activators to go to any particular summit more than once in a calendar year.

It has always seemed to me that there should be some credit given to Activators in respect of the number of Chaser points they “give away”. At present, the “smash and grab” Activator who makes just the bare 4 contacts, then moves on, gets exactly the same credit as the guy who sits on the hill-top for a couple of hours and gives away points for 60 or 70 QSOs. The whole scheme, at present, seems to be geared towards encouraging the activation of the maximum number of different summits … not encouraging activators to work the pile-ups until every chaser has had the opportunity to collect the points.
This approach will certainly appeal to those whose main interest is in the mountaineering aspect, but not to the Activators who are primarily interested in the radio operating side of the game.

Just my two penny-worth …

73,
Walt (G3NYY)


#7

In reply to F6ENO:

What puzzles me personally about this suggestion of 3 or 4 activations per year is why anybody in France should have thought it necessary to make such a suggestion?

If you look at the summits lists for France, and if you exclude the Alps and Pyrenees regions (which are likely to appeal mostly to committed mountaineers) you will find that the remaining regions list 757 summits, of which only 273 have been activated. With so many summits that are as yet unactivated there can be little need for allowing more activations per year!

73

Brian G8ADD


#8

You would have to ask John G3WGV and Richard G3CWI, but I think that they deliberately did not include aspects that would encourage/reward activators for staying on a summit for a long time and/or making huge numbers of QSOs. Like with venturing out in winter conditions, activators can make the decision to do so if they wish, but it is above and beyond.

I disagree with your comment that there is no incentive for activators to go to any particular summit more than once in a calendar year. If that were the case, then why do you and me (for example) do just that? For me, it is because I enjoy the activity immensely. That is far greater reward than any points that may or may not be on offer.

Do these so-called “smash and grab” activators actually exist? Everyone I ever hear on the air answers all incoming calls. The only (rare) occasions when they move on with others still calling is because of other circumstances, such as inclement weather, and I would totally support their decision to do so.

This approach will certainly appeal to those whose main interest is in the mountaineering aspect, but not to the Activators who are primarily interested in the radio operating side of the game.

Well, the idea behind the programme was indeed to get radio amateurs out on the hills!

BTW, if you check out the January SOTA News by Roy G4SSH each year, you will see an annually updated table based on the numbers of QSOs racked up by leading activators in the programme. It’s only an “interest item” and not part of the awards scheme, but it does in some way recognise the activators who have contributed a great many chaser QSOs over the years.

Tom M1EYP


#9

In reply to G8ADD:

What puzzles me personally about this suggestion of 3 or 4 activations
per year is why anybody in France should have thought it necessary to
make such a suggestion?

Hi Brian!

Perhaps because some Activators, for domestic or health/fitness reasons, are only able to activate the “easier” summits, or those near to their homes. They may not be able to make the longer journeys necessary to activate “new” summits. Chasers are allowed to collect points for the same summit more than once a year, so why should Activators not be able to do so too?

73,
Walt (G3NYY)


#10

In reply to M1EYP:

Do these so-called “smash and grab” activators actually
exist? Everyone I ever hear on the air answers all incoming calls.
The only (rare) occasions when they move on with others still calling
is because of other circumstances, such as inclement weather, and I
would totally support their decision to do so.

I think you will find that they do, Tom … as you will discover if you spend some time examining the activation records in the database. There are quite a number who go to a summit with only a 2m FM handheld, with the express intention of working just the bare 4 contacts to qualify. In fact the majority of your own activations during 2006 resulted in just 4 or 5 QSOs per ascent!

As for the decision to “move on”, there was a very recent instance where a UK activator activated seven summits in one day. I put it to you that the decision to “move on” was not dictated by inclement weather or other circumstances, but rather by the prospect of collecting multiple lots of bonus points in one day. All perfectly legitimate and within the rules, of course, but it could be argued that the bonus scheme encourages people to attempt too much in a single day.
:slight_smile:

73,
Walt (G3NYY)


#11

I have many 4s in my own log Walt, but mainly towards the earlier years of the programme when reaching 4 could be quite a challenge, especially being a 2m FM op. That was all before I discovered that QSO-bonanza subworlds of 7.032MHz and UKACs.

I didn’t notice the recent UK 7-summit day activator myself, so cannot comment. In fact, I would suggest that the only person who can comment is that activator.

The bonus scheme does not enourage people to attempt “too much in a single day”. It encourages people to participate safely in SOTA between December and March (in the UK). The General Rules are perfectly clear on this.

Tom M1EYP


#12

In reply to G3NYY:

But only one French region, SO, has had all its summits activated - all three of them! Perhaps in France there isn’t the competition to activate unactivated summits that there was here before they were all polished off! (Before one of my Albannach friends comments, I’m referring to G and GW!)

Your question is easily answered, Walt. SOTA was deliberately set up to maximise the chances of activators qualifying a summit: in pre-SOTA days I often took an FT290R climbing with me and rarely made more than a couple of contacts - often none at all! SOTA has motivated hams to specially listen for and work portables. If Chasers could only score once a year for a summit, there is the possibility that after their first contact they would ignore later activators on that summit, preferring to concentrate on locating uniques to boost their scores. As a result, as the year progresses activators would find it harder and harder to get contacts and unqualified activations would become more frequent. In other words, the apparently unfair advantage given to chasers is actually designed to benefit activators! However, the rules as set up were also designed to minimise the footprint of SOTA on the hills: by making it necessary for an activator to activate a larger number of hills rather than activate just a few on many occasions per year, the potential annoyance to other hill users was reduced. Quite fortuitiously this led to the cult of the unique!

73

Brian G8ADD


#13

In reply to MM0FMF:

Perhaps we should start a new award: AWICWSTAPSOTA

Amateurs wrapped in cotton wool so they are perfectly safe on the air?

If you don’t feel safe then don’t go out. Some of us are not only
equipped for the challenge but actively enjoy it.

Perhaps some amongst us are keen to project a more macho image than others?
:wink:

73,
Walt (G3NYY)


#14

Chasers can collect points every day - this is to ensure that there will be interest in working the activators. That rule is designed with the benefit of the activator in mind, rather than the chaser.

Activators are encouraged to get out in the hills and mountains, and broaden their horizons by hiking in areas further afield. I am personally glad that I couldn’t have achieved MG purely on the three summits near my home. Walking and activating all around England, and in GW, GM and GI has been a joy.

Tom M1EYP


#15

In reply to G8ADD:

If Chasers could only score
once a year for a summit, there is the possibility that after their
first contact they would ignore later activators on that summit,
preferring to concentrate on locating uniques to boost their scores.
As a result, as the year progresses activators would find it harder
and harder to get contacts and unqualified activations would become
more frequent. In other words, the apparently unfair advantage given
to chasers is actually designed to benefit activators!

Yes, I can certainly follow the logic behind that argument, Brian, and I would not disagree. However, that merely justifies the decision to allow Chasers to collect summit points more than once; it does not answer the suggestion that Activators might be allowed to claim points more than once in a year for the same summit. We are not talking about every day; simply 2, 3 or 4 occasions in a single year.

Like Tom, I activate my local summit very frequently … I think it was about 17 times in 2009 … and I do it simply for the enjoyment of it. The fact that I give away points to Chasers on each occasion is a welcome bonus, which adds to the satisfaction.

73,
Walt (G3NYY)


#16

In reply to G3NYY:

Like Tom, I cannot comment on the 7 activations in a day event that you refer to, Walt, but I believe that there are occasions when it would be perfectly reasonable to curtail the number of contacts in a series of activations. As a single example, suppose I set out to do the Ennerdale Skyline from the Youth Hostel, a wonderful Fell-walk that unfortunately I last did in pre-SOTA days. Done clock-wise this would involve activating LD-012 High Stile, LD-005 Great Gable, LD-014 Kirkfell and LD-006 Pillar. It would also involve you in traversing Starling Dodd, Red Pike, High Crag, Hay Stacks, Brandreth, Green Gable, and possibly Steeple. A huge day out and you would need to limit your time on each SOTA summit or risk descending in the dark.

Actually as long as there are not overwhelming numbers of smash-and-grabs, I see no objection to them. Any chaser who complains because of not being one of the four contacts should remember that no fisherman goes out expecting to catch all the fish!

73

Brian G8ADD


#17

As is the norm some fair comments. Though I find the one regarding cotton wool a tad pathetic.

It never ceases to amaze me how some people use threads to try and ‘big themselves up’. I’m sure they’re really happy with their lives.

73 Chris 2E0FSR


#18

In reply to G8ADD:

Brian,

What puzzles me personally about this suggestion of 3 or 4 activations per year is why anybody in France should have thought it necessary to make such a suggestion?

I did this suggestion to MT when I was in charge of french association; this was asked to me by the majority of french activators.
As Walt says, we are talking about only one activation by 3 months. I was thinking that, when an activator has climbed for 3 or 4 hours (even more) to reach a summit, It could be fair to give him the points.
And don’t change anything to chasers! yes, they have to earn points for each QSO, so we (activators) will be sure to make contacts.
Now, you are true about the only 273 summits activated in french low region. But, have a look to Google Earth to see how the 757 summits, you are talking about, are located, and remember that France is a rather new association, with very few activators (may be less than 10 realy involved in SOTA, no more than 5 in winter).

Personally speaking, there is a dozen summits located rather near my QTH; I have to drive abt 200km to reach the Ardennes (where they are located); so, what will happen ? I will activate these one pointers, and then… nothing more. Nowadays, we cannot drive 200 or 300 km to reach a summit (and win 0 points). So I will stay on my local summit, only for my pleasure, to play the radio, nothing to see with SOTA award scheme.

Perhaps in France there isn’t the competition to activate unactivated summits that there was here before they were all polished off!

Yes, there is a kind of competition; we try to activate new ones, but, sure, all french summits will never be activated, it is not possible.

73 Alain F6ENO


#19

In reply to G3NYY:

As for the decision to “move on”, there was a very recent
instance where a UK activator activated seven summits in one day.

I didn’t spot that either Walt; who managed seven in a day? I think my best has only been around 5 in a day.

73

Richard
G3CWI

PS If you are looking at other people’s logs, you really are hooked!


#20

In reply to G3CWI:

I didn’t spot that either Walt; who managed seven in a day? I think my
best has only been around 5 in a day.

Hi Richard!

Check your mailbox.

PS If you are looking at other people’s logs, you really are hooked!

LOL! Well, actually I usually only look at other people’s logs to check that my Chaser QSOs with them have been correctly logged.

P.S. I have just returned from activating a summit this afternoon. I got 0 points for activating it, but gave the chasers 48 points. Very enjoyable, none the less!

73,
Walt (G3NYY)