A word of thanks

This a personal message to thank those many SOTA participants who have sent messages pledging their support for the Management Team in its continuing quest for the best future for SOTA. Encouragement is always welcome, especially in this time of siege, and the sheer scale of that support is extremely touching. There seems to be a widespread understanding of the many difficult issues facing us, and a realisation that, whatever the eventual outcome, there will be some disappointments as well as new opportunities. That is the very nature of life, and SOTA is no different. It is just impossible to please everybody at the same time, however much we would wish for that outcome.

For the majority of participants, SOTA is, quite rightly, all about activating, chasing and exchanging views on the Reflector. Spare a thought for all the “behind the scenes” activity by various MT members, undertaken in order to support the “front line”. There is constant development work in progress on SOTAwatch and the SOTA database, and that does not come “free” in terms of time and effort. There is also the regular task of updating the database with summit changes, as well as keeping the information up-to-date on the SOTA website. It is only when something goes wrong or is missed that anybody actually seems to notice, and how quickly is it sorted out then? Great credit to both Jon and Gary for their dedication on their self-imposed treadmills, all carried out in addition to full-time employment.

Meanwhile, Tom is also hard at work dealing with incoming questions and responding to general enquiries, as well as ensuring that short wave listeners are included in the SOTA family. No less importantly, Roger has the vital task of ensuring that SOTA does not overspend its budget, as well as ensuring that everybody gets the awards and certificates they have claimed. Without the huge amount of largely unsung effort that each of these guys contributes, the whole SOTA machine would rapidly grind to a standstill.

My own area of responsibility is “New Associations”. A glance at the Association Status page on the website will show an impressive list of enquiries. Some new Associations “come to life” quite easily, whilst others seem to constantly encounter setbacks that can cause disheartening delays. Yet other expressions of interest may never come to fruition, for a variety of reasons. All of them, however, require a vast amount of information, assistance and advice during their development, often with translation difficulties added for good measure.

In addition to our individual areas of work, there are constant exchanges between the members of the MT regarding the future direction and focus of SOTA, whether stemming from ideas within the team, or from suggestions from the wider SOTA world. This all takes significant time and effort. We are all involved in SOTA because we believe in it, but at times it seems that our very involvement prevents us from participating more actively as activators or chasers. I’m still waiting for an opportunity to make my first activation of 2008, and my recent chasing has been rather spasmodic too.

Once again, thank you for your support and encouragement – it means a lot to us.

73 de Les, G3VQO

In reply to G3VQO:

Many thanks for your words of explanation on the workings of the MT, Les. I am sure some of the members were not aware of all the tasks you perform so well.

However, I am perturbed regarding two points. The first is the ‘budget’. When participating in something like SOTA, it is most unusual for the financial burden to be born by the organisers and I, for one, would be happy to make a contribution and share the load. WAB are in a similar situation but charge an annual subscription, willingly given.
The second point is in regard to communication. To allow threads on the Reflector with only the occasional input from an MT member, especially in current times, is a recipe for disaster. It is rather like Parliament passing their various Bills, without prior knowledge or subsequent disbursement of information on their actions. Obviously the current MT is far too busy to conduct the PR requirements of the organisation. Therefore misunderstandings occur, inactivity is suggested and bad PR results. Surely you need another person to take on the information dissemination role, to be constantly active on the Reflector and to be a conduit for suggestions from the participants.

Thanks again for your words of explanation. I am not amongst the members who have emailled you but you may include me in the ranks of your supporters.

Best 73’s

In reply to G4CMQ:


Gerald suggested a PR person to act as a go between for MT/participants. We could then all pose our suggestions through the PR person and take the strain off MT.

MT rejected Gerald’s proposal.

I would also subscribe, but wouldn’t that make us members and not participants? I think that might also be rejected, but an interesting point.

73 Mike GW0DSP

In reply to G4CMQ:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts David.

The subject of some kind of PR person to act as a conduit between the MT and the participants pops up from time to time. Perhaps I’m slightly missing the point, but I cannot see how it would not actually improve communication. In spite of occasional accusations to the contrary, the MT is always aware of “hot subjects” on the Reflector, so there would be no advantage to using a PR person just to pass them on. At the other end of events, whenever there is anything of importance to announce, we have always endeavoured to reach the widest audience with the fullest information as soon as possible. The perceived “problem” is the bit in the middle!

Now, let me use a hypothetical example to illustrate the difficulties.

Let us imagine that somebody on the Reflector comes up with “a bright idea”. Soon a few others come along with varying degrees of support, or otherwise, whilst perhaps changing the concept slightly. So it continues. During the Reflector discussion, the MT will be having a parallel discussion on the proposal.

Many such “bright ideas” are fairly self-indulgent. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but invariably the concept has been thought through from only one side – that of the proposer. Human nature being what it is, that’s only to be expected. However, the MT is entrusted to administer SOTA for more than just one faction, and so must evaluate the potential adverse impact on everybody. Each member of the MT will come to the discussion with a “gut feeling”, but, after serious debate, we will find a mutually-agreed compromise view of the subject. So far the PR person could make no contribution as there has been nothing to announce!

Once the MT has a unified view, for or against the suggestion, there must be further discussion of the potential impact elsewhere in SOTA. Perhaps the database will need modifying, with its attendant timescale implications. If there is a need to change, or clarify, the General Rules, the impact upon, and views of, the seventeen active Associations will need to be taken into account. All of this work, in between other SOTA activities and “real life”, will take time. There is still nothing that the PR person can do to speed the process. All they can say is “still no news”, hardly a rewarding job!

Eventually, the MT will come to a decision based on all of the factors identified, and with due regard to all opinions received (not just those publicly stated on the Reflector). Such a decision will then be communicated to everybody, usually with an announcement on the Reflector. At that point the PR person is redundant!

I strongly suspect that some people believe that, just because the MT are not constantly on the Reflector refuting or supporting every claim and counter-claim, no actual decisions are being made. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you still believe that the SOTA MT is too slow, I suggest you take a look at the current “processing delay” for DXCC claims. It’s around three months, and that’s just a simple award claim – no policy changes or awkward questions. I think that SOTA is actually doing quite well!

Remember, even in today’s mood of “instant gratification”, patience is still a virtue.

73 de Les, G3VQO




In reply to G4JZF:

Thank you for the correction Graham. You are of course correct and although I hold 5 books, starting at number C308, I was wrong in using WAB as an analogy.

I would however point out that Forum or Reflector posts totally in capital letters is considered to be ‘shouting’ and, as such, is regarded as ungentlemanly. I am sure this was not your intention.

Best 73’s

In reply to G4CMQ:

It’s obvious that Grahams message was accidentally in upper case. The i at the start of the second and third sentence shows that.


In reply to GW0DSP:

I apologise for my message being in upper case. I am at the moment working in uppercase
and forget sometimes.

73 Graham G4JZF

In reply to G3VQO:

Some new Associations “come to life” quite easily, whilst
others seem to constantly encounter setbacks that can cause
disheartening delays.

With your precious help, Corsica (TK) is now on the rails.

73 Alain F6ENO

Now that is sounding like a family holiday destination to me! I don’t know much about the place, but I presume, given its position in the Mediterranean that it is a holiday location with resorts etc? Sounds good to me. Come on Jimmy, get on with those Intermediate and Full licence courses!!!

73 and GL with the new association, Tom M1EYP

In reply to F6ENO:
Bravo Alain,

Corsica sounds wonderful… although the only things I know about the island are learned from reading “Asterix in Corsica” many years ago… very entertaining but maybe not so accurate as a picture of the place/people. hi :slight_smile:

Good luck… Marc GØAZS

In reply to M1EYP:

Corsica - that part of the Med is a wonderful place to operate from! I had two weeks in I5 near Cecina in 1994 and the radio on 2m was absolutely superb with contacts from all areas of I, through to 7X2 around to EA6 and beyond.

My current interest is the development of the SV Association. The 817 will most likely be packed for my next island visit, but the evenings will always be reserved for the local tavernas and the wonderfully friendly Greek people.

Pleasant thoughts on this grey wintry day!

73, Gerald

In reply to M1EYP:

Having spent a week in a luxury hotel near Porto Vecchio in the south of the island a few years ago, I can assure you that Corsica is an excellent holiday destination. It has so much to offer - arguably the best beaches in the entire Mediterranean (look up Palambaggio), old towns to explore, excellent wine (if you know where to look!), and an interesting local beer that is flavoured with chestnuts!

Of most interest to SOTA folk are the mountains. In summer, all but the highest are covered with maquis, a fragrant mixture of herbs and wild flowers that, it is claimed, can be smelt way out to sea. Some of the mountain roads are “interesting” though, with surprisingly poor surfaces, but overall it was a most enjoyable holiday. The daytime temperatures of around 38C helped, although not ideal for SOTAing!

73 de Les, G3VQO

SV to TK S2S sounds good. Brits abroad?

EA8 with an expression of interest as well. Try keeping G1INK away from there when that happens!

Now, what about power? Am I right in thinking that a SLAB would neither be allowed in the cabin, nor the hold of an aeroplane?


In reply to M1EYP:

You could be right Tom. I always take a large pack of NiMH’s and the charger with me abroad and have never had a problem with them in my hand luggage. I see that there are some new capacities available - 3800mAH - if the ads on eBay are to be believed. Even the more regular 2700mAH capacity is useful. Charging could be an issue as chargers usually take just 4.

73, Gerald

In reply to G4OIG:

Hi, Gerald.

If my experience with sub-C NiMH cells is anything to go by, I’d be wary of the higher capcity cells. When I capacity-checked my 4300 cells after a few activations, they came in the same as the 3300s. The only difference? They’re 50% more expensive.

Richard (unimpressed of Bishops Cleeve)

In reply to G4ERP:

Hi Richard,

Thanks for the warning. I bought some inexpensive 2500mAH AA NiMH’s off eBay and they have been really good and they hold their charge as well. Of course they have not been used for anything except the handhelds. I wouldn’t really want to be taking linears with me to somewhere like Corsica anyway as the intrusion of radio into a holiday in the Med would be bound to upset the other half. I would hope to get away with the 817 and a small beam though.

73, Gerald