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"SOTA Isn't Competitive"


#1

That’s what it says on the website, and it is often quoted with ironic intent. So how true is it?

Let us be clear about one thing: SOTA is exactly as competitive as IOTA or DXCC. Not more, not less. Yes, at the core of it is the enjoyment of the hills for the activators, but I doubt that many of them haven’t got their eyes cocked on the table to see if old Joe hasn’t stolen a march on them and moved ahead in the table. SOTA isn’t institutionally competitive in that there are no prizes for first, second and third places in the standings, no podiums, just the glory, and the knowledge that to maintain that glow of achievement you have to keep striving. There is no harm in that, it adds a bit of pep to your efforts, and if you want to do it in a more relaxed way for your own enjoyment, that’s cool, too. It’s only human nature to compete, after all the unofficial table for most contacts in an activation is no part of the original game plan, but it has come about spontaneously and there is room for it in SOTA, and other things, too. What I am trying to say is that it is up to every participant to decide for his or herself whether they are going to compete or coast, SOTA provides the tools for either, it isn’t up to the MT to say “Thou Shalt Not Compete” or “Thou Shall Strive Mightily To Your Utmost”, it is the choice that each participant confronts. And they can change, too, if they so wish, become more or less competitive. It’s all cool.

73

Brian G8ADD


#2

One of the entertaining and interesting characteristics to have evolved in SOTA is the desire to set personal targets, particularly those that are not part of the awards programme! This started for me back in 2003, when I was the first person to activate all 17 G/SP region summits. It was not a major achievement, and not recognised by the formal awards programme, but it was important to me at the time.

Another thread discusses certain activators’ progress towards 250 uniques. This is a certificate in the programme, but I well recall Richard G3CWI’s pursuit of 300 uniques - not a SOTA award!

Others have tried to activate in every region in an association, or to have activated the highest summit in each of the UK associations. Dave M0DFA gained Mountain Goat using only VHF, and then started again using his old G6 call on HF. Roy G4SSH chases using only CW mode, or at least only submits claims for QSOs in CW mode. He has 28000+ points - how many would he have if he included SSB or FM QSOs? Some of these are known to have taken place, but are of no interest to Roy in the pursuit of his own personal target.

Some people try to bag first activations of previously unactivated summits, while some try for the first S2S QSO into a newly formed association. None of these are specifically recognised by the SOTA awards programme, but such targets are no less enthusiastically pursued.

For a while, my own “silly personal” target was to have done more SOTA activations than anyone else in the world! Now it is to have recorded 1000+ SOTA activations. I already have the three trophies - SS, SS (SWL) and MG - but personal targets keep me going.

Maybe the strangest personal non-award target was that of my son Jimmy M3EYP to replicate my activator uniques record, even when (at the start) he had 160 uniques in four DXCCs to catch up with! But he should reach that target next year - and then he can concentrate on his MG!

There are loads of other possibilities - number of DXCCs worked in a single activation, number of QSOs (as Brian mentioned), furthest DX on a S2S contact etc etc.

Furthermore, you can use the Database filters to find your niche. I claim to be the World’s top activator on 15m CW in 2007… ;D

Tom M1EYP


#3

Brian, Tom, do you know a joke like that?

Knock, knock…

“Who’s there?”
“Banana”
“Banana, who?”

Knock, knock…

“Who’s there?”
“Banana”
“Banana, who?”

Knock, knock…

“Who is there?..”

(NO COMMENT)


#4

With the greatest respect the comment you make Brian comes over as a bit of propaganda on behalf of SOTA to justify a not so level playing field after recent comments made.

SOTA is competitive and will always be, you cannot avoid it. League tables are even published to help people along.

Just look at some of the reflector headings that show the competitive nature of SOTA

250+ Uniques
DD1LD-first Mountain Goat in German Alps!
Worldwide SOTA first!
First G completist?
What is the highest QSO total of single activation
24 In 24 Challenge 2009

So sorry Brian I am not buying into that…

… Orange.
Orange who?
Orange you glad I didn’t say banana ?


#5

In reply to 2E0KPO:

SOTA is competitive and will always be, you cannot avoid it.

I avoid it !!!


#6

I think it is competitive if you want it to be and approach it that way. It doesn’t have to be if you are non-competitive and join in on a non-competitive basis. On certain aspects of SOTA I find myself fiercely competitive, while in others I am very relaxed and just take personal enjoyment out of my participation.


#7

In reply to G3VQO:

No doubt Les, you avoid it having “Avg. points per Expedition” 0.68

But what about others?

Knock, knock…


#8

In reply to M1EYP:

The current scoring system can’t even adequate represent the activation effort in the Alps (I mean even on the local level). Bob highlighted this dilemma several times…

Knock, knock…


#9

In reply to 2E0KPO:

But the point is that you don’t have to buy into it! I’m not sure you even understood it, at that! For every person claiming an achievement or jockeying for position near the top of a table, there may be ten just plodding along enjoying themselves in the many various ways that SOTA provides. Are you claiming that these people coasting along enjoying themselves are competitive? That would be absurd! Make no mistake about it, the majority of participants have no thought of competing, and those who are tackling SOTA in a competitive spirit have no right to claim that because they themselves are competing, SOTA is therefore competitive. SOTA offers the opportunity to be competitive if a participant so wishes, but that is as far as it goes…exactly the same as DXCC or IOTA.

You mention level playing fields, which in itself is a superb irony in a pursuit that utilises the least level countryside that we have, but that is the obsession of those who are seriously competitive - do you realise that there are people who want to scrap the scoring system and league tables completely? Mind you, I am not against the idea of a single universal scoring system, myself, even though nobody has come up with a satisfactory one yet! Such a system must cover summits between 150 metres and 8,000 metres without trivialising the lower summits which are the main fare of the majority, a bit of a tall order, perhaps.

No, SOTA isn’t competitive, but some people are more competitive than others. SOTA provides opportunities for both the intensively competitive and the relaxed participants, that is its strength.

73

Brian G8ADD


#10

In reply to DD1LD:

Knock, knock…

Who’s there?

Death watch beetle, knock, knock…

73

Brian G8ADD


#11

In reply to G8ADD:

Mind you, I am not against the idea of a single universal scoring system, >myself, even though nobody has come up with a satisfactory one yet! Such a >system must cover summits between 150 metres and 8,000 metres without >trivialising the lower summits which are the main fare of the majority, a bit >of a tall order, perhaps.

Now it’s better Brian. Would we try to create a new/alternative one?


#12

In reply to G8ADD:

Brian,

SOTA is these days competitive by design. If I activate I >>have to<< enter QSOs in the database and >>have to<< collect points or the chasers won’t get any.

I can’t prevent the scoring nor the ranking of myself.

May I suggest - for serious consideration by MT - to change the database and rules in a way that when activating I have a choice to collect points or not, please?

This would be be similar to HAM contest where I may choose to participate to give out some points but not enter into competition (i.e. submit a log for scoring).

Thanks

Gerd.


#13

In reply to DD1LD:

I’ve tried several times, myself, but every attempt finishes up either too complex or too unwieldy, but that is no reason to give up, is it?

73

Brian G8ADD


#14

In reply to G8ADD:

No, SOTA isn’t competitive, but some people are more competitive than
others. SOTA provides opportunities for both the intensively competitive
and the relaxed participants, that is its strength.

good point Brian, but even the fact that quite obviously a certain number of people are unhappy with the scoring system at present would provoke my thoughts. Or must we interprete your - excuse me - harping on fixed positions as an expression of “if you don’t like my playground feel free to play somewhere else”?

73 Bernhard DL4CW


#15

In reply to DF9TS:
No, Gerd, you don’t HAVE to enter your QSOs into the database, and the lack of a star doesn’t mean that the Chasers won’t score their points.

73

Brian G8ADD


#16

It would be wrong now, in my opinion, to abandon the existing scoring system. Lots of people do like it, and much of the history of SOTA participation (MG awards etc) has been created by it.

However, there is no reason why an agreed alternative scoring system cannot run in parallel, maybe for an initial trial period. That could then give rise to a new suite of awards for “World SOTA”.

It would first need input and discussion from all the association managers on the SOTAEMG reflector http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sotaemg in order to come up with an agreed system for any new method of scoring. It would need great patience, because it is unlikely that our Database manager Gary G0HJQ would have much time to implement an additional scoring system immediately, because of his current workload.

I suggest all SOTA AMs get on the SOTAEMG reflector and get talking.

Tom M1EYP


#17

In reply to M1EYP:

bingo!


#18

In reply to DL4CW:

As I pointed out, there are people unhappy with the scoring system and would like to see it done away with completely. The MT have to maintain SOTA in a form that benefits the maximum number of people, there will always be people who want change, often they are pulling in opposite directions which then suggests that no change is necessary, but the MT always listen to well-reasoned suggestions. If the MT seems reluctant to make changes, it is because they have to be absolutely certain that they do not do harm whilst trying to do good.

The MT will not rebuild the playground if the new model puts more people at a disadvantage than there are people that benefit from the changes.

73

Brian G8ADD


#19

In reply to G8ADD:

But if you leave to many potholes in the playground people will move to another playground! :slight_smile:


#20

In reply to G8ADD:

Tom, Brian, a parallel running scoring system as a pilot project could be a great step forward! Anyway we could tune the new system so long as necessary…

I know it will require a huge amount of patience and a lot of long discussions. But let’s try to do our best!

Knock, knock…

“Who’s there?”
“Banana”
“Banana, who?”
“Banana”
“Yes, Banana, what do you want?”
“May I come in please?”
“Hm…”

(to be continued)