Andre Saunders GM3VLB SOTA Island Award

Andre Saunders GM3VLB was active in many countries as GM3VLB, G3VLB, 5Z4KL (5Z5KL) from the 60s onwards. In later years he became very keen on IOTA activating Scottish Islands and went on with the IOSA (Islands of Scotland Award) and finally The Scotia award scheme run from his final home in Kelso, Scotland. If you search the internet you will find plenty of material about island operation and his antenna designs produced for just such purposes.

I first met Andre at one of the Scottish radio rallies where he had a stall selling his aerial designs. Both being primarily portable operators, we talked a lot about antenna designs. Not long after that Andre gave talks at my radio club where he and his wife Veronica went on to become members and regular attendees at our events.

Sadly what will happen to all of us one day happened to Andre in 2019 with his passing just before his 81st birthday. Sorting out Andre’s complicated estate has taken some time. Part of this was that he left a legacy to support and encourage radio operation on Scottish islands and it was to be administered by my radio club, The Lothians Radio Society. We (LRS) have spent time coming up with a proposal that meets the legal requirements of the legacy and that meets Andre’s desires.

The GM3VLB SOTA Islands Award will be awarded to the two top stations activating SOTA summits on Scottish islands. The prizes each year will be an engraved Scottish Quaich for the two winners each to keep.

  • Only valid SOTA activations from any SOTA summit in the GM/SI region qualify

  • The award is open to anyone world wide.

  • The first prize goes to the activator with largest number of scoring SOTA GM/SI activations in a calendar year.

  • The second prize goes to the activator with second largest number of scoring SOTA GM/SI activations in a calendar year.

  • All activations must be entered into the SOTA database. Award status will be reviewed by the second week of January the following year to give people a chance to update the Database.

  • In the event of a draw regarding number of summits activated, the number of QSOs, number of bands used, number of modes used will used to select first and second places.

  • The award will be administered by The Lothians Radio Society and their decision is final.

  • The award will run until the fund administered by The Lothians Radio Society has been spent. Details will be in LRS annual accounts.

We hope to start the 1st award period on January 1st 2022.

FYI: To ensure there is no conflict of interests, should any members of the LRS committee be in contention for a prize they will recuse themselves from the judging. Only publicly visible information from the SOTA database will be used. This will be noted in the LRS committee minutes and accounts.


A correction, the award will start 1st January 2022.


Thanks Andy, and everyone else involved - what a brilliant award. I’ll be in dock for a few months but what a wonderful encouragement to get fit and out again in some of my favourite places :slight_smile:

Will it be supported by a “league table” in the database?

73 Paul G4MD

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Have you considered including the summits which are on Scottish islands but not in the GM/SI region?

Martyn M1MAJ

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I have always wondered why GM/SS-279 on the island of Kerrera off Oban is in SS and not SI yet Scarba just a few miles South has GM/SI-087?



No plans as such but I can generate them now and then and paste them into a thread. It is not really a SOTA run award but one my radio club runs. It just happens I am on both committees. We (the club) decided we could run the award off the back of SOTA’s web services without needing any input from the SOTA MT. The MT were aware of the idea and are happy with it as they don’t need to do anything. That way no new SOTA software is needed and managing the award is made simple for the LRS people.

From the SOTA view point it should encourage more activity on the islands that are trivially reached by scheduled ferries and possibly encourage some activations of the islands were you need to arrange a private charter. To me, those activations are special. But it should be noted that apart from some of the remaining St. Kilda summits which require special permission to visit, suitable sea conditions to land and serious climbing skills, there are more summits on the islands reachable by scheduled ferry that have yet to be activated than islands needing a private boat. :wink:

Yes. They’re not going to be included as it complicates things.

You need to ask Alan Dawson who devised the Marilyns as to why he did that. It may be documented somewhere but I don’t recall seeing any reason why.


Also Ailsa Craig, GM/SS-246. Anyone know any others?

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GM/SS-265 on Bute.

I think there are just the three.



As it’s now 2022 (HNY everyone) this award scheme is now live.


Andy, I have two antennas that Andre designed they are the Islander and the smaller one is the Traveller I have used the antennas a few times on my SOTA activations and they work very well.
I did have the pleasure of meeting Andre when he came to York to see a relative? and I met up with him in my local club, I did work him on many of the Island that he did.
I think the GM3VLB Island Award is a good award I for one will be into it.

HNY everyone