Well… my initial feeling is to do nothing for now and review exactly what it all means when we have some idea when things return to “normality”. (For whatever normality will be in the future.)
First a reminder of the calendar:
January 1st-7th 2020: LF - 160m & 80m
February 1st-7th 2020: Datamodes
March 1st-7th 2020: Digital voice - C4FM / DSTAR / DMR / FreeDV
April 1st-7th 2020: LF - 160m & 80m
May 1st-7th 2020: Datamodes
June 1st-7th 2020: 12m, 10m & 6m
July 1st-7th 2020: 70cm
Aug 1st-7th 2020: 17m
Sept 1st-7th 2020: Datamodes
Oct 1st-7th 2020: Digital voice - C4FM / DSTAR / DMR / FreeDV
Nov 1st-7th 2020: LF - 160m & 80m
Dec 1st-7th 2020: 12m, 10m & 6m
The April (LF - 160m & 80m), May (Datamodes) and June (12m, 10m & 6m) flavours have already had a run and will come around again later in the year (November, September and December respectively), so hopefully those that miss out this time will be able to have a crack at them later. I realise it’s not ideal in respect of our seasonal planning north/south. I hope a good number of activators will be available by July for the unique (and personal favourite) flavour of 70 cm.
Hi Simon / MT
Andy’s point - doing nothing may encourage activators to go out and breach in country regulations, in some cases these are not very clear and may be interpreted in different ways. So the participants would risk the chance of being accused of it by others, or it would be a grey area, or whatever.
If restrictions are lifted, or part lifted in some areas of the world but not in others, it would give an unfair advantage to some in what is essentially a year long challenge. A few activators in particular have been taking the challenge very seriously looking at the scoring table.
Would it be worth considering freezing the scores as they stand now, and then resuming the challenge on April 1st 2021?
PS Suggesting a 2.5 hour drive to activate a summit as suggested by AA0BV which I just read, for the sake of Challenge points! One place I would avoid at all costs are motorway / highway service stations. One is likely to need a comfort break on a drive like that.
At all times we expect activators to behave in a way which will not bring SOTA into disrepute, above all else. The MT isn’t going to be interpreting every Covid-19 rule or guidance in every jurisdiction, of course. If AMs want to lead locally by voicing their interpretations then participants should take careful note and be thus guided.
It’s a global problem, so give or take some variance in lock-down dates I don’t imagine folk in one part of the world will “enjoy” a big advantage over any others.
The Challenge is just that. It is not a competition. I honestly do not believe anybody is going to risk anything for their Challenge score. I do understand that the lure of the hills is very strong, but I don’t think the clock ticking on the Challenge calendar adds significantly, even if in some other association they’re already out having fun. Just take the opportunity to work extra hard on perfecting your gear for the slots later in the year. And if this year’s Challenge really gets mucked up I’m sure there will be more opportunities in the future.
Two points arise from that quote. First of all, and most important, it is a challenge, not a contest. There can be no “unfair advantages” because the whole point is to encourage people to go out and use bands or modes that they would not normally use. Yes, there are tables and rankings, but an important point of those as I see it is so that we can evaluate the effectiveness and uptake of those underused bands and modes. For instance I have no DV capability, I will be watching the results to see if it makes any sense for me to change that.
Secondly, at this time we have no idea of how long the various lock-downs around the world are going to last for, but we can be sure that they will start and finish at different times around the world, and this is a world-wide challenge. A knee-jerk reaction is not going to be helpfull, we should wait and see, but meanwhile bear in mind that we intend that there should be a “flavours” challenge next year, too. If this years challenge ends up being screwed up by COVID-19, that will be a minor annoyance given the wider consequences.
I am aligned with my MT colleagues. It’s frustrating and annoying for sure. But we must prioritise keeping ourselves, and others, safe.
It is what it is.
Comments noted from the MT regarding the challenge. Thank you very much for clarification on where you all stand on this.
UK activators could get plenty of points if they feel it is safe for them to maintain social distancing by taking part in the 2 RSGB 80m Band Contests on 5th and 6th April.
The RSGB SSB RoLo contest takes place on Sunday 5th April from 1900 - 2030 UTC so a good chance of making contacts into EU from UK, especially towards the end of the session.
The RSGB CW CC Contest takes place on Monday 6th April from 1900 - 2030 UTC. Again good timings for possible contact from UK to EU, especially towards the end of the period when the path is likely to be in darkness.
One thing about the vast majority of summits and hillwalking in general is that once it gets to late afternoon and certainly in darkness, it is rare to see other walkers on hills and mountains if you are there on your own, so these contests may present a good opportunity for some activators to accrue points (and Chasers also) depending on particular in country government rulings prevailing at the time.
73 Phil G4OBK
It is worth noting Phil, that in support of the social distancing measures, RSGBCC has banned participation from /P or /A stations from now, indefinitely. So even if not submitting a contest entry, it would be inappropriate IMHO to be on a SOTA summit working down the contest stations.
This is serious. We’ve got to stay in.
Agree, sadly agree. I have been wishing for a SOTA opportunity, but it will have to be later rather than sooner. In the meantime I have been working on SKCC and WSJT.
On SKCC I try to get on the air early for potential 160 and 80 contacts.
On WSJT I have been listening for 6M FT8 and MSK144 opportunities. With my home station not much chance but I listen!
Very serious: 3 434 deaths in Spain so far…