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
In reply to G3VQO:
“but it is just a hobby and not a competition.”
In which case take the points away
In reply to M0LMP:
name & shame them.
In reply to G3VQO:
Ultimately, if somebody decides to operate outside the rules of SOTA,
it is only that one person who is directly affected.
This is true up to a point, except that an honest chaser would not wish to claim points from a dishonest activation.
Generally, we believe that the best way to deal with the problem is to
I think that if an accusation were to me made against me, and the MT were unable to dismiss it out of hand, I would want to know so that I had the opportunity to present my side of it. Obviously this needs to be be done discreetly and there is probably no need to take it any further and come to a “verdict”. But it seems wrong in principle to listen to the accusation but not the defence.
In reply to G3VQO:
Generally, we believe that the best way to deal with the problem is to ignore it.
Would that be ignore them or ignore the issue,
If we know of someone who is cheating then its them selfs they are cheating. and putting sota in to a bad name, is sota going further down the pan ??
Ultimately, if somebody decides to operate outside the rules of SOTA, it is only that one person who is directly affected.
Well what happens to the chasers points does he loose them just like the activator, YES !.
I have heard many stations calling from SP-010 Winter Hill in the past, and before Sota came a live on hf, They used 145-fm, we could ask them where abouts they are on the summit, most stations would say Matchmoor Lane, which means they are transmitting from a car and, well and truly out side the activation area, so if you dont ask then you think they are at the top and not half way up sat in the warmth of their cars, As all activators know when we are at the top of summits they always (most)Take a photo or video for there history story. And showing friends and family, We just have to have a look at Flickr.com and see what everyone sat in their shacks may have never seen. Which some photos are great experiance, The rough tracks, The great Veiws, The station and many other things,
Just my two pennth worth,
In reply to G3VQO:
I also agree that 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 as stated and lets be honest, if not, as already mentioned, they are only cheating themselves. I further agree that in no way can the SOTA MT verify that every activation is totally compliant with SOTA rules and it would be unfair to expect them to do so.
I do not agree that the points system should be taken away due to the competitive side of the SOTA programme or indeed the ludicrous ‘name and shame’ type action as has been suggested, but if a complaint is made, the MT should carry out an investigation as best they can into the allegations with supporting evidence and if the allegations are proved beyond all reasonable doubt, then the activation should be made void.
A question I would raise however, with the MT, is one of evidence, would they rely on the Burden of Proof or on the Balance of Probability? Perhaps this is why the MT take the stance of, ‘Generally, we believe that the best way to deal with the problem is to ignore it’. I agree with this stance, to do otherwise is like walking into a minefield blindfolded!
I do however agree with M1MAJ that, if contacted by the MT, where an accusation were to me made against me and if the MT were unable to dismiss it out of hand, I would definately want to know, giving me the opportunity to present my side of it, to defend the allegation. When all said and done, this in my opinion also, that any allegation substatiated or not, requires to be carried out in a discreet manner. After all, on proving an allegation to be well founded, what is the possible punishment that can be levied by the MT, a total ban from the Reflector/SOTA WATCH/ALERTS or removal from the Activator Roll Of Honour? I’m sure the offender if caught out and case proven would simply hold his/her head in shame, knowing the MT are aware of the offence and never surface again on a summit.
It does seem wrong though in principle to listen to the accusation but not the defence of the person accused.
BTW… it’s was’nt me… not guilty you honour!!!
Just my two penneth worth…
In reply to M3EDX:
Ian I agree with most of what you say for sure, but and if I may quote you “I do not agree that the points system should be taken away due to the competitive side of the SOTA programme”
It has been said many many times and even in the first post of this thread by a member of the MT, SOTA is not a competetive scheme !!!
We have had the same problem in WAB in the past and like every one else it has to be taken on trust that the activation is valid unless proven otherwise.
We had an instance, not that I was on the air at the time that somebody was island hoping in Scotland in a helicopter. In the end it was proven that he was at home in Yorkshire. He has since been banned. If it is proven that the individuals in SOTA are cheating and it is proven then they should be banned.
73 Graham G4JZF
In reply to G4JZF:
I agree with the banning issue Graham. It would appear from the statement that the MT have not totally abandoned such action:
“Despite the attention this receives, the MT NORMALLY has a policy of not disqualifying such operations or removing them from the database.”
“GENERALLY, we believe that the best way to deal with the problem is to ignore it.”.
In reply to topic:
I don’t wish to rock the boat or anything but I thought SOTA was about personal achievement. The key word there is “personal”.
I know its not fair or nice or in the spirit if someone cheats but surely if YOU are happy with your conduct when obtaining the points, whether as an activator or chaser, then surely that is all that matters.
The only competition is with yourself, no-one else.
Enjoy the hobby and be safe.
In reply to M0LMP:
HNY to you.
I do take your point, however I disagree with you on this one, ‘It has been said many many times and even in the first post of this thread by a member of the MT, SOTA is not a competetive scheme !!!’
Of course it is a competitive scheme and would be ludicrous to say otherwise! However, in qualifying my statement, I explain by saying that the scheme can be and is competitive to the ‘individual’ while achieving his/her own personal goals whatever they be. It may be to some that they wish to activate all LD summits or acquire Mountain Goat/Shack Sloth status on a particular mode/band etc, etc, therefore surely the individual is being competitive in all aspects. This is the way I look at it and to remove the points system would remove for some, not all, that ‘individual’ competiveness so enjoyed and provided for through the SOTA programme.If SOTA no longer provided the points system for the individual activator/chaser to obtain, then I believe that the programme would suffer greatly in that although activators would contine to play radio in the hills although in lesser numbers, but, the chasers would hardly bother to turn on their radios in order to work the /P station.
Just my thoughts