2015: year in review

As we start out on 2016 it’s time for a look back at the major events 2015.

On the MT itself we had said goodbye to Jim G0CQK and Jimmy M0HGY. Jim, our summits manager, has retired for the second time in his life, having recruited an excellent team to work on new associations and updates to existing ones. He can’t quite keep away and helps out still on some day to day admin of the reflector, approving new users etc. Jimmy was our documents manager and has relinquished this post as he no longer has sufficient free time to devote to doing the job. Jimmy did an excellent job getting the ARMs updated and into place.

We have welcomed 4 new members. We felt it was important to continue to expand outside of the UK and we were delighted to welcome Elliott K6EL who is resident in San Francisco, Andrew VK3ARR who lives in Geelong. It’s really good to continue to get a non-UK perspective on things. Also Simon G4TJC joined the summits team and was immediately put to work verifying association data and Jonathan GW2HFR is taking over from Jimmy.

I don’t think I have missed anyone and so here are the people involved.

Andrew VK3ARR - tbc
Andy MM0FMF - database + support software
Barry GM4TOE - awards & merchandise
Brian G8ADD - reflector moderator
Csaba YO6PIB - summits team
Elliot K6EL - tbc
Eric KU6J - summits team / support software
Jonathan GW2HFR - documents
John G3WGV - president
Jon G4ZFZ - webmaster + support software
Mark G0VOF - publicity
Peter ON4UP - summits team
Rob G0HRT - associations
Simon G4TJC - summits team
Tom M1EYP - publicity

The number of associations continues to expand with no end in sight. We have added the new associations this year: (association code, name, AM, start date, number of regions and number of summits)

R9U - Russia - Urals RA9WJV 1st Feb 2015 3 337
JA - Japan - Honshu JH0CJH 1st Jul 2015 34 3328
JA5 - Japan - Shikoku JH0CJH 1st Jul 2015 4 409
JA6 - Japan - Kyushu_Okinawa JH0CJH 1st Jul 2015 8 672
JA8 - Japan - Hokaido JH0CJH 1st Jul 2015 14 867
9V - Singapore 9V1HP 1st Aug 2015 1 1
FR - Reunion Island FR4PV 1st Aug 2015 1 19
E5 - Cook Islands E51AND 1st Sep 2015 2 7
9A - Croatia 9A6NDD 1st Nov 2015 5 506
ZL7 - Chatham Islands ZL2AJ 1st Nov 2015 1 8
ZL8 - Kermadoc ZL2AJ 1st Nov 2015 2 3
ZL9 - Sub-Antarctic Territories ZL2AJ 1st Nov 2015 4 21
LZ - Bulgaria LZ1YAG 1st Dec 2015 10 639
ZL1 - New Zealand - North Island ZL2AJ 1st Dec 2015 9 1252

We’re still grinding through the approx. 18000 summits that make up Alaska (and that’s not all of Alaska) and approx. 4000 for ZL South Island. On top of that the summits team have worked through numerous association updates. Italy is now being thoroughly evaluated and we shall include all P150 summits which will expand the size of the Italian association considerably. SOTA associations now stretch from 178.4 W to 178.5 E, and 52.62 S to 71.144N making us truly worldwide. It’s been pleasing to see expansion in Asia/Pacific. There have already been around 350 activations in Japan since July. We have a number of Central and Southern American associations in various stages of preparation.

Slowly but surely, all existing associations are being examined and brought into alignment with the SOTA General rules and duplicate references for borders are being removed. Border summits are mainly a problem for Europe. Many wars have been fought in Europe often over border disputes and it’s a pleasure to be able to say that so far all the AMs have been able to agree amongst themselves how allocate border summits between associations. Major updates have taken place in Austria this year as well as Germany. A major target for 2016 is to complete the Italian update so that all the P150 summits are listed and all the summit positions are accurately reported.

Interest continues apace for the awards. Currently there are 259 Mountain Goats and 6 people scored at least 1,000 activator points in 2015. Likewise there are 1,160 Shack Sloths, 360 people scored at least 1,000 chaser points in 2015. There are 240 Supersloths (>10,000 chaser points) and 6 Hypersloths (>100,000 chaser points). It wasn’t that long ago we were amazed when someone reached 10,000 chaser points!

Two members of the MT have moved house in the last 6 weeks. Barry GM4TOE has massively downsized and during this process the awards and merchandise shop has been suspended. As soon as Barry has reliable comms established we should see this facility return. Your patience in waiting to apply for awards etc. is appreciated.

The database had a period of gross instability during October. There’s still no good explanation for why performance “fell off a cliff” rather than degrading but the application of money has resolved the situation. We have moved to a significantly larger hosting package and this does seem to have restored performance. I would like to thank everyone who offered advice, support and help during this period. It’s bad enough having issues like this when it’s your job, when you do it for fun it becomes very stressful. The kind words I received were most welcome. I’d also like to acknowledge the anonymous benefactor (who wishes to remain that way) who paid for the upgrade costs for the database within 24hours of the announcement that we would be upgrading. Again it is really quite amazing that members of our community are very forthcoming with cash to help us provide the services.

Jon is working on replacing the old and outdated technology behind the SOTA website, SOTAwatch and Spotlite. He will be the first to tell you the current software a bit of a mish-mash and is hard to maintain as it is so old. The new website is nearly ready to go live and offers 2 advantages, one is it is all built with state of the art web technologies and two, it is much easier for any of the MT to administer compared to the old systems. We’re also getting a proper API this time which will make life easier for apps to interface with our websites. As usual, there is a continual flow of apps, websites and tools being developed to support SOTA such as spotters, loggers, conversion tools with support for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac and Linux. If you have made SOTA software available, make sure you tell Christophe ON6ZQ as he maintains a list of software and websites that support the program.

SOTA is not just the MT but also relies on significant support from association managers and their helpers to get updates and new associations running. If it wasn’t for these people and their local knowledge there wouldn’t be 920 regions and 77224 summits in the database.

Finally, a few of our SOTA community have become SK in 2015, please spend a moment to remember those no longer with us. The reflector should now show SK after the callsign of anyone who is now sadly silent key.

Wishing everyone a happy and successful 2016.

Andy, MM0FMF


Thanks Andy for the great read and update on what the team does to keep this great aspect of Amateur Radio going. Best of luck and keep safe everyone in 2016.
Ian vk5cz …

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Thanks for all the work with the new associations. I particularly look forward to the upcoming review of Italy, will give me something to do other than just eating while I’m in my wife’s home town :grinning:


Thanks Andy for the full overview of what is going on and thanks to all for their efforts in keeping SOTA running.

More to look forward to in 2016.

73’s, Nick

Thank you Andy for the update.

Big thank you to all MT for keeping SOTA running and moving forward.

HNY to SOTA MT and to all SOTA addicts.

73 de Pedro, CT1DBS/CU3HF

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