From time to time the MT receives mail from SOTA participants about alleged rule-breaking by activators. Often this is in the form of “he wasn’t on the summit he claimed because the beam direction was wrong” or “he couldn’t have travelled from A to B in the time available”. Sometimes the evidence does seem very compelling.
Despite the attention this receives, the MT normally has a policy of not disqualifying such operations or removing them from the database. Why do we take this stance? We all undertake SOTA activities accepting a burden of trust from our peers and there is no way that we can verify that every activation is totally compliant with SOTA rules. Acting on this trust, we have to accept the word of each and every activator that they are indeed on the summit claimed, operating within the SOTA general rules, and complying with the terms of their licence/NoV.
Ultimately, if somebody decides to operate outside the rules of SOTA, it is only that one person who is directly affected. Any recognition for them based on achieving false goals will be totally meaningless.
So, what should honest participants do? The most important is NOT to make a big fuss on the Reflector. By all means inform the MT privately of your concerns, together with any supporting evidence, but please do not expect any immediate public action because we will consider very carefully what action to take.
Generally, we believe that the best way to deal with the problem is to ignore it. If you believe that any participant is not “following the rules”, then just follow your instinct and operate as you prefer within the SOTA guidelines. The answer is in the hands of the vast majority of totally trustworthy SOTA participants to keep the programme working well.
We all know Amateur radio is not immune from problems, but it is just a hobby and not a competition. Remember, don’t get stressed about it; just be satisfied with your own personal goals and achievements.
SOTA Management Team