Not activating, that won’t ever be easy until every summit has mechanical access! No, I’m thinking about chasing, and posing a question to other chasers. Has Shack Sloth at 1000 points become too easy?
It took me four years to reach the magic 1000 points. This was partly due to the smaller number of Associations and activators in the early days of SOTA, and partly due to having to work for a living so that chasing could only take place in the evenings and weekends. Some full-time chasers did well from the start, there were two trophies issued in the second year of SOTA, and 12 were earned in the third year, but most of us had to toil for at least a few years to earn that glassware! Contrast this with the current situation: 98 chasers have already recorded more than a thousand points so far this year, in 2016 some 329 chasers recorded more than a thousand points. It is now quite possible for a determined chaser to earn his Shack Sloth trophy in a matter of weeks rather than years - and this trophy is supposed to be our premier award for achievements in chasing!
The question, then, is has the phenomenal growth of SOTA made Shack Sloth too easy to attain? I am proud of my piece of glass, it took time and effort to earn, but would I be as proud of it if it took only a couple of months to earn? I don’t know, would you?
As I see it, the actual achievement level that was 1000 points in the early days of SOTA now kicks in at about 10,000 points. We even have an informal name for it - super sloth. Would it be better nowadays for Shack Sloth to be just another certificate and the trophy to be awarded at 10,000 points, Super Sloth?
What do other Chasers think?
Im chaser and activator. I do not car abt points. But I understand you
Reaching the 1000 for the sloth is a great feeling and yes certainly easier to reach.
BUT way conditions going at moment its going to get harder to reach anything of level as bands get harder to work even 40m has become harder with down climb of the solar cycle plus on higher bands.
But its great we have more associations joining the growing list around the world and making some bigger challenges trying even to reach them even as a chaser and being lot of air time chasing took few months to get to me first 1k. But the first K is only the first step to bigger numbers.
But again people on higher scale of the numbers of chaser will also grow faster for them.
Also changes in PPSU’s and smaller lighter gear also helps people to do more Activating as with out it, it ain’t happening .So in case to blame, there are more activators than few years ago giving more scope to catch those summits on the air. Not got my trophy as yet as money not allow, must save harder.
I am fast approaching me 20k mark but it has slowed down big time since down climb in conditions and may take a while to collect me next 500 points or so to get there.
And still just as enjoyable as me first catch back in 2014.
75% of all SOTA chasers are still working their way towards 1000 points. There’s a trophy available at 10,000 chaser points. I see no justification in withdrawing the availability of a trophy at 1000 points, which, after all, does not HAVE to be claimed.
Rather than changing the points target maybe we need to change the criteria for gaining points to make it align better with activator points, for example by only counting the points for a summit once per year.
Perhaps Andy could run some queries on the database to see how that would affect things in recent years?
73, Colin G8TMV
(getting close to being a CW Sloth)
Then less people would chase you on a popular summit activation cos they already have it (potentially).
Would suck pretty bad for the SOTA DX king wouldn’t it…
You have a problem where you need more chasers than activators, especially now nearing the solar minimum. If you level the situation you loose chasers which means some unfortunate activators would fail to qualify.
The only reason I would activate a summit twice in a year is if it had particular good take off for working DX. Which there is no doubt some are better than others for.
That will include those who have dabbled and fallen by the wayside. However, basically I agree with you Tom. If you set the bar too high, then it could put potential chasers off and we need to maintain an on-going level of interest for those outside of SOTA to ensure there are new chasers to replace those that do stop chasing. From an activator’s point of view, the more chasers the better.
One point I would make is that while 1000 points may seem trivial, there are those (myself included) who have to work with high noise levels at the home QTH. This alone can make chasing difficult and for some 1000 points may be a long road indeed.
Don’t make the chase once a year per summit . I often activate out in our desert regions with my friend its a safety thing as well as we share expense of travel accommodation etc. Even now If you activate with another person on the same summit usually the one to go second has to work twice as hard to make a score. I mostly chase activators because it’s only fair as some of the activators I chase are the same people who chase me when I activate. I have 4000 odd chaser points and as Tom said some people never apply for the Sloth award. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
Ian vk5cz …
…and so does the 25% that are beyond 1000 points! But likewise, I agree with your general points Gerald. You have raised an important point that not everyone has the ideal shack / working conditions. This can be generalised to add that not everyone has the time / finances / lifestyle etc etc (select/delete as appropriate) to support such a rapid collection of chaser points.
Jonathan raises a crucial point as well in answer to Colin. I am certain there are hundreds of occasions on which I wouldn’t have even got to 4 contacts if chasers only got credit once per year.
I think we’re missing a vital point here. Just how many contacts from an activation are actual SOTA chasers? For example, on 28th January 2016, I worked 163 contacts on the 20m band from G/SP-013 Gun. I’ve just clicked on “show who chased me” and it showed just 28 Chasers logged the chase into the Database.
After all, there’s nothing like a pile-up to attract a pile-up.
I was just throwing out a suggestion, Jonathan may have a valid point, so how about “once per activator per summit per year”. If an activator is repeating a summit for the year he won’t get any points anyway and so it’s not so critical that he gets 4 contacts.
73, Colin G8TMV
Currently on 362 chaser points, not easy for me still working my way to a 1000 chaser points either from a summit or at home, tend to use 5w to start with then adjust as necessary up to 50w.
If people are finding it a bit too easy or less challanging they could always try lowering the power that is sufficient enough to make the contact.
Only got 10w as it is under me currant licence but i do OK out of it.
Take this morning LOADS activators on air around Europe just can’t hear most of them
Worked about 4 out of possible 20+ summits on air today so far.
Conditions far from kind at mo and liable to get worse till next cycle rises again
Sill in it got SP OK YO Sotas on air nowt heard yet caught the SV sota no problem yet further afield
Even the EA’s getting harder on 40m and yet on 20m hearing and working more of them on there.
End of day Long Live Karl
I think you misunderstand what Brian means. He isn’t talking about how easy or hard the award is but about whether it has become devalued over time.
73, Colin G8TMV
Why would we want to introduce measures that reduce or limit activity?
It only ever tends to be the >10^4 people that raise this question though, never the <10^3 people. Draw your own conclusions!
Something I suspect you and I have in common Mike is a lower-than-average proportion of “regular” SOTA chasers in our logs. I very much doubt that the nature of your activator log, nor indeed mine, are sufficiently representative when analysing the programme as a whole.
One should not try to fix something that works well without considering long and hard all consequences.
SOTA is an award system that is copied by others - that should tell us all something.
Most importantly SOTA is a challenge for those taking part whether chaser or activator - except perhaps in the challenges, you are not competing against other people, you are trying to get your totals better (be that chaser points, activator points, S2S points, uniques or whatever). To do that many of us have worked on both our equipment and operating skills.
I know SOTA has meant that I know that if needed in an emergency, I have a good base station and a “go-bag” that I know will work from any location I can get myself to. Without SOTA, I doubt if I would have that level of preparedness.
My opinion - leaves things as they are - what we have works and works very well!
P.S. I wouldn’t object to a new (additional) glass (or perhaps wooden for a change) trophy at 10,000 chaser points as I have just today reached that point!
First, please don’t SHOUT, it’s rude.
Second, did you even read the topic heading or Brian’s post? He asked a question and we are having a discussion about what might be a good answer.
73, Colin G8TMV
I read the post (of course). The capitals was a keyboard sticky key - now fixed (you’ll see the whole sentence wasn’t capitals).
I think my point (or at least opinion) is still valid - given that someone has already liked my text. We should be proud of the SOTA scheme and I for one would not remove anything from it - including the award at 1000 points - that is still a major achievement worthy of a special award, if the chaser wishes to take it up. (they don’t have to). As for your suggestion of making a summit only “loggable” for points once a year - as others have said, that would possibly detract from the number of chasers available when one goes to a summit and mid-week sometimes that can be a problem (especially on VHF).