I’m starting to get concerned about the current state of SOTA. Sure, the levels of activity are probably unprecedented, despite the poor conditions of late, but I’m talking about the attitude of some of the more vociferous participants.
Since the new year my on-air SOTA activities, both as chaser and activator, have been somewhat curtailed as I spent much of my time assisting with the birth of first SOTA-France, and then, more recently, SOTA-Belgium. I naively believed that the more Associations, and thus summits available, the happier everybody would be. Alas, it seems that I was mistaken.
The comments seen on the SOTA reflector are sometimes rather aggressive, but I took it all as a bit of fun. No longer can I take this view. There have been some really unpleasant remarks made about a recent series of activations. The more polite have suggested that the activator was selfish, whilst the worst cast considerable doubt on his honesty. To me this is not an acceptable way to behave in what is just a hobby after all. The SOTA rules are clear in many respects, but open to interpretation in others. What one person may see as entirely within the rules, another may deem totally unacceptable. That is not the real point. Anybody who actually breaks a rule is ultimately only cheating themselves because, as we are constantly reminded, SOTA is a non-competitive activity.
Unless we wish SOTA to fragment, or even fail, we must accept that our personal vision of SOTA does not always coincide with everybody else’s. So, I suggest that we stop making accusations of foul play and selfishness and remember a few facts.
- No activator has an obligation to work any band, any mode, or any station that they choose not to.
- No activator has an obligation to post an alert on SOTAwatch.
- No activator has an obligation to actually use any or all of the pre-notified bands and modes if circumstances dictate.
- No chaser has the obligation to spot a SOTA station if he/she chooses not to do so.
- No chaser has the obligation to relay, to the activator, messages that are posted on SOTAwatch requesting band/mode changes, etc.
Perhaps some of you may have other suggestions to add to this list. Please let’s act like adults and just enjoy this aspect of amateur radio, otherwise I can foresee some folks choosing to vote with their feet if they don’t like the atmosphere.
73 de Les, G3VQO