Continuing the discussion which had reached the automatic cut-off at 100 posts.
VK3ARR wrote: “The only issue with anything that focuses on warc bands is that only the top level of license class in VK can then participate, which is not inclusive.”
The one thing that the MT cannot possibly guarantee is “inclusivity”. Right from the outset when SOTA was first begun the “B” licensees in the UK could not operate on HF. This changed later when the code test was eliminated. Today only the top tier of UK licenses can access 5 MHz. Some administrations won’t permit operation on 50MHz, some won’t permit operation on Top Band, and there are other odd exclusions around the world. If your license class or regulations won’t permit you to take part in a challenge that is regrettable but not a reason why the challenge should be scrapped.
I have enjoyed the flavours this year but have not taken part in them all.
7 days is not long enough if you need to build or acquire equipment for the challenge.
Perhaps make each challenge a month long, and then via the SOTA reflector organise activity days or weekends for each challenge to give a chance to work more contacts in the challenge.
I don’t believe we need a challenge every year, and suggest every 2 years would be OK.
I also do not like the idea of a challenge lasting a full year, as that would exclude many who either do not have equipment, or are not interested in that band / mode that has been chosen.
Previous to this year, the challenges have been…
12m (sorry, I don’t do HF)
10m/6m (Sorry, I don’t do HF)
So, for me, the variety of this year has been good.
"The problem with 60m is not only that some countries don’t have access to it, but that there are countries with large ham populations that do not have access to the “international band” or have access to just part of it, for instance the USA still only have five channels, one of which falls in the international band. I would suggest that a 60m flavour be delayed until the FCC see sense! "
You can see here what can I do in one USA 60m channel since 13 march 2020 :
I’ve generally avoided this discussion, which I doubt is ever going to get anywhere near concensus! Obviously people who took part actively in the Challenge enjoyed it and want more, whereas those who didn’t engage have issues with it.
It appears the way this is going is that for every possible proposal, a reason against it can be found, and therefore it probably won’t happen. Personally, I’d prefer a Challenge to not having one - but then I do engage in them and enjoy them. I liked the Flavours concept, but would have preferred each flavour to last the whole month rather than shoehorned into the first week. But I can understand the benefits of the way it was done too. I’d be quite happy with a year-long single focus Challenge too.
Somehow connecting the Challenge to the events - like the Trans-Atlantic S2S QSO Party or the VK-EU S2S QSO Party - has been mentioned. I don’t see the need for this myself as these events are very successful in their own right and really don’t need an extra layer to them.
I agree with Brian @g8add that scoring only the best day/activation out of several would be a negative move. One of the principles of the original 12m Challenge was that it was possible to gain “credit” for activator QSOs made on repeat summits within a year, and beyond MG - so I would guard against reversing this concept.
The full-time work issue is a red herring. People in retirement often say they’re the busiest they’ve ever been anyway! There will always be lots of other priorities in people’s lives, whatever their work status. I’ve worked full time throughout my 18 years in SOTA, sometimes clocking up 70-80 hour weeks in two jobs and raising a family. But done “quite a few” of activations in that time! In fact I must have done literally hundreds of activations either on the way to, or on the way home, from work.
Anyway, no work came in for today. So I’ve had a look at the data. I’ve collected all the data for logged chaser contacts each year of SOTA for each of the Flavours. I’ve fed these data into a regression website to produce a model, and a prediction for the 2020 figures, which I could then compare to actual.
Expected (2 s.f.)
*12m-10m-6m data doesn’t include December flavour which is yet to take place!
Perhaps this gives some indication of the impact of the Flavours on 2020 SOTA activity.
60m is a moving target, as more and more administrations permit its use (and some rescind their permits) it moves closer to being viable. With the huge ham population of Japan excluded along with some other countries active in SOTA, not to mention the channel limitations of the USA and Canada, I think it is currently too much of a mess to permit a viable challenge for SOTA. So you see that I am only against the inclusion of 60m at present, in the longer term I would be happy to exercise my own enthusiasm for the band in a challenge. Note, though, I am only one voice on the MT and there is a wide range of views there!
I believe 6m is included in nearly all modern HF radios, but not on VHF radios.?
I think I have only worked 6m once, using my IC-T81 quad band H/H
Perhaps success requires a little more than the standard rubber duck.
That has some merit, though a lot of extra work to extract that layer of information from the Database (for me). I prefer to look at the impact of the Flavour bands/modes over the whole year (including the non-Flavour dates) as the Flavours will have influenced operating outside of the Challenge dates.
I’ve done plenty of activations where I’ve been trying out a new antenna or practising on a certain mode ahead of a forthcoming Flavour, and others where I’ve chosen to activate on a band or mode because I’d enjoyed it so much during the Challenge week. The impact of the Flavours extends beyond 1st - 7th of each month.
Nice work with expected vs actual. So the Flavours Challenge increased activity for 17 m, Data, and 12-10-6 m. The other Flavours are positive, but probably not significant. 80-160 m is a 7% increase, so maybe significant. Data was 2X, the other +60%.
As for making a challenge accessible to all operators, of course it is is impossible to include every single person. But it is possible to avoid excluding large chunks of operators.
This is true. I only ever had one contact with the 6m rubber duck on my FT817. On the other hand I made a GW0GHF wire antenna and in my first sporadic E season with it and 5 watts of SSB I worked 34 countries. I think the band earned its soubriquet “the magic band” because of the way massive openings popped up out of nowhere like a rabbit out of a hat!
Think back to the start of the Flavours Challenge this year and speaking as a Chaser I want to thank all the Activators who have gone out specifically to activate a Flavour for the first week in every month. In a year when many of us with a station at home have been restricted to go out and do the things we have done for years due to the Pandemic, including SOTA activating, the Challenge has given me and others something each month to look forward to, as next months Challenge now approaches for using the 6m, 10m and 12m bands.
In my case the only new mode I flavoured is digital voice on the 2m band - however aside of doing something new, taking part in the Challenge most months as made me look for SOTA contacts on that specific mode or band and this has increased my level of interest and activity in SOTA generally for one week in every month throughout 2020.
So once again, thank you to the flavour activators and to the MT for supporting the initiative.