New German summits

In reply to G1INK:

I hope that some
kind person will incorporate the new summits into a kml file for
google earth so I can mark them on my maps.

I’ll be regenerating my KML file shortly, I hope. It should be a matter of just cranking the handle, but every time it seems that somebody has thought up yet another way of writing lat/long, and I have to do a little tweak to the Perl script.

I have uploaded a Google Earth .kml file to the Yahoo files area with all the DM/BW summits as of 1/1/2008 on it.

You might as well all have a good laugh because I think this could be the end of SOTA. The MT team need to get this under control very quickly.

The first thing that is required is to quickly suspend the DM changes before there are many activations and changes become difficult. They should then have an informed debate with activators and chasers and LISTEN.

Do you agree?

The filename is: DL BW 2008.kml and it is in the maps folder.

73 & HNY

The DM issue has been mixed up with Ian’s thread “More Summits in G-Land”. Although the issue are closely linked we have a very specific issue with the proliferation of DM summits. It is probably more appropriate to use this thread for that discussion.

Apologies for some duplication of my posts due to the move to this thread.

73 John GW4BVE

In reply to G0HIO: (different thread)

In reply to G7KXV:
I feel these public discussions are just damaging to SOTA and amateur



I disagree. There are some major issues here. The problem is that the MT are self elected and unaccountable. They have made a major error of judgement in making SOTA in DM and the UK so different. I wrote to John G3WGV pointing out that DL (as it was then) problem in the early days of German SOTA and nothing was done. The problem is now many times worse. My view is that the only way we can get any movement or consultation is to generate some publicity about the issues that SOTA is facing.

You are right that people have the option of not taking part and I am seriously considering taking that route.

73 John GW4BVE

I applaud the original SOTA MT for their innovation in setting up the scheme in the first place, a brilliant idea. However, does this mean that no aspects of the scheme should ever be changed ?

I have to agree with John that the MT made a ‘bad judgement call’ by not insisting on the same rules (re 150m drop) for all associations. Well none of us are perfect, so the question is what to do about it.

We can adopt the ‘stiff British upper lip’ attitude and grin and bear it, even though, to me, it is blatantly unfair, or we can look at change so that we all work to the same rules about 150m drop between summits for all Associations (i.e. all or none). Ian, on his thread, was not advocating a change in the rules because the ‘150m drop’ rule can currently be amended anyway by any Association Manager. While I respect this view Ian, I still think that we should all be working to the same rule on this one and in that respect I don’t think that you can divorce the DM/G issue.

If all Associations adopt the ‘150m drop rule’, the German Association will have to make some significant changes.

If we relax it, then some extra summits in England (and possibly elsewhere) could be introduced and as Ian says, the necessary data does exist and is freely available.

I do not subscribe to the view (Ian’s thread) that having these discussions is damaging to SOTA and amateur radio. Should we have a ‘gagging order’ on any discussion that might be contraversial, I think not. We will never all agree and we are all entitled to our opinions, but that does not mean that we should not discuss issues.

I do not subscribe to the view that any system is perfect and change should never be considered.

I do subscribe to the view that we should all work to the same rules.

As an aside, in one of the DM Regions, not all the qualifying summits have yet be identified, so more could be added. I know this because I did ask the relevant Association Manager why several summits in a particular area that I visit fairly often were not in the Association Manual for that Region,even though they meet the relevant criteria. It is quite possible that this is also true for other Regions and
that further increases in the number of qualifying summits will occur.

The DM Associations are working within the rules, and I have no issue with them over this. I do have an issue with this situation having been allowed to develop by the SOTA Management Team

Mike G4BLH

In reply to G4BLH:

Mike is correct in that the major problem, is that that the DM Association has chosen to ignore General Rule 3.5 1.

“The Association must have sufficient topology to enable meaningful Summits to be defined. The minimum height for a Summit is 150m above its surroundings. In the event that this guideline cannot be met, the Entity or Subdivision will unfortunately, be unable to participate in SOTA.”

The DM Association has also chosen to ignore General Rule 3.11:

A scoring system relating to the height of the Summit ASL must be implemented unless this is clearly and demonstrably impractical (see below). Each Summit is worth a certain number of points, dependent upon its height ASL. Six height bands are defined, expressed in metres ASL and optionally in feet ASL, the values of which are determined on an Association basis. Height bands for an Association are determined by the Association Manager and must be shown in the Association Reference Manual. Points are awarded to both Activators and Chasers as follows:
Band 1 1 point
Band 2 2 points
Band 3 4 points
Band 4 6 points
Band 5 8 points
Band 6 10 points
The height banding must be constructed in such a way that it encourages operation from the highest peaks in the Association. Therefore, Band 6 should only apply to a small proportion, say 10%, of Summits. Conversely, a reasonable number of Summits must fall into Band 1 to encourage lower level participation. Again, as a guideline 10% of Summits is acceptable.

In DM/BW there are currently 840 summits and of those there are 243 10 point summits. That is nearly 35% of summits are 10 points !

Ignoring the rules and guidelines has produced a situation where a Mountain Goat is a much less of a challenge in DM/BW than in the rest of the associations in the SOTA community, in fact I would go as far as to say it has completely devalued the Mountain Goat Award. Similar reasoning could be applied to the devaluing of the Shack Sloth award to operators in that area.

Of course the the problem is that the SOTA Management Team have failed to manage the situation. This is not the end of the increase of summits in DM. I understand that there will be further increases in the future.

Please please say something. Even if you disagree, say something.

73 John GW4BVE

In reply to GW4BVE:
At last. The reasons behind the increase in the number of German summits is gradually coming to light. Not, as I requested in the other thread, as enlightenment from the MT, but from interested individuals who have had the interest to do some digging.

Since it appears that the DM association has ignored the basic priciples of SOTA scoring, then the MT MUST ACT. However, I fear that they will take their normal course of action : to sit on their hands, do nothing, and wait for the storm to blow over.

Regards, Dave, M0DFA

In reply to M0DFA:

Well Dave that depends. If the activators in the UK and elsewhere are content to have their efforts devalued then so be it. If they don’t comment then that is the way it will be.

73 John GW4BVE

In reply to M0DFA:

It is not that they have ignored the rules Dave, it is that this part of the rules in their Association Manual was allowed by the MT, namely the ‘catch all’ clause 3.


There are three criteria for the definition of a summit:
[1] The summit must be contained in the card TOP50 with a name.
[2] The summit must arise from its environment around for ca. 150m.
[3] If a summit according to [1] is a suitable destination, however, condition [2] not fulfilled, may still be included nevertheless into the summit list. The decision rests with the management team.

Clause 3 is the culprit (I think it means the Association Managment Team by the way, but who knows).

73 Mike G4BLH

In reply to G4BLH:

That have ignored the SOTA General Rules Mike. The ones you quoted are from their Association Reference Manual, which don’t comply with the SOTA General Rules. Their rules were accepted by the SOTA MT, which opened the floodgates.

73 John GW4BVE

In reply to GW4BVE:

John, thanks for this post, I had wondered before why so many of my German SOTA contacts were worth 10 points, now I know…and I’m not happy about it!

Two questions arise. Firstly, are the summits in the rarely heard Alpine area similarly debased, and secondly, if this debasement from the German association is acceptable to the MT, what on Earth were the failings of the Italian association that made them unacceptable to the MT - the mind positively boggles!


Brian G8ADD

No prizes for guessing why the German Association eventually split in to two groups to answer your question Brian.

Mike G4BLH

In reply to GW4BVE:

I commented in the other thread that to a large part what happens in DL doesn’t bother me terribly. However, I do have a huge degree of, for want of a better word, ‘sympathy’ with your argument John. Given time I can see that the apparent ease of that association compared to others could result in the scheme being devalued. I suppose that has already happened because I’ve found myself writing on a few occasions that I have got most of my activator points from a proper association where even 1000m summits are only worth 8 points.

I can cope with there being a huge number of summits and the fact there will be more to come. I can cope with the fact they don’t use a 150m relative height. But it is the sheer number of 10 point hills that seems wrong. Perhaps all that is needed is to ensure they have only 10% of the summits worth 10 points and that might fix things enough. Of course that does mean that every time new summits are added many other summits may change band. But that shouldn’t be a big problem as all the scoring is computerised.


In reply to G4BLH:

Mike, I didn’t realise that there had been a split, it seemed to me to be logical to seperate the alpine region with its mountaineers mountains from the remainder with its hillwalkers mountains, since it would be difficult to devise rules that fit both!


Brian G8ADD

In reply to All:

Whilst I dont generally disagree with anything thats been said here, I do wonder what set of rules could have been formulated that would encompass all situations.

Originally sota was set up with the UK in mind and using the marilyn list. This has the 150 drop rule that clearly define the set of summits that can be activated. As sota progressed other associations came online with their different geography. Somehow the rules had to be bent to fit.

Somewhere along the line the bending turned into a big kink. As John pointed out before, I think the banding rule should be enforced better. You take your maximum height, and your minimum and divide up the summits by height banding, this could be round to nearest 50m. 10% in the bottom, 10% in the top etc etc.
This is what happened in Scotland,England and Wales (all have differing points for same height). IOM is an exception but due to the small number of summits this can be excused.

It shouldnt matter if you can drive there, it would all be based on the simple banding rules.

One question that would need and answer is the splitting of the Apline and Lowland regions. SHould that have been done? Not sure. There wouldnt have been many 10 pointers in the lowlands if that were the case. Would that have caused a problem with the promoting of SOTA? Maybe thats why it was split.

On a seperate note, the Italian non-association had some wierd winter bonus rules which didnt have a bonus between 2 defined dates, but one which was based on what the weather was like at the time. IT wasnt rigid enough.

My thoughts


I have uploaded another Google Earth file to the SOTA Yahoo Group. This file contains all the DM summits and not just the DM/BW summits as the previous file.

It is in the MAPS folder and is called DM 2008.kml

The DM/BW file is still there if you want to examine a smaller area. The file is obviously smaller

These files will be removed when Martyn M1MAJ does his next update as they will then be redundant.

73 John GW4BVE

In reply to GW4BVE:

These files will be removed when Martyn M1MAJ does his next update as
they will then be redundant.

The list that I pull from Jon’s copy of the database still doesn’t have SW-041, but I’ve done an interim update which has the other changes.

In reply to G7ADF:
“One question that would need and answer is the splitting of the Apline and Lowland regions. SHould that have been done? Not sure. There wouldnt have been many 10 pointers in the lowlands if that were the case. Would that have caused a problem with the promoting of SOTA? Maybe thats why it was split”

Ian, I find it difficult to see how alpine peaks and SOTA go together, anyway.

Many of you must know this already but for those that don’t I will point out that many alpine peaks are lethal during the day with stonefall and avalanches, they are climbed over two days with an ascent to a safe bivouac within reach of the summit the first day and then the push to the summit starting on the second day while it is still dark. The objective is to arrive at the top at sunrise, take a few photos and then get the heck out of there before the ice cementing the rubble together starts to melt and the mountain starts to take pot shots at you. This doesn’t leave much time for an activation, and there won’t be many chasers around at that time, either! By the way, “lethal” is not hyperbole in the above, for example the guy who taught me the techniques of Scottish winter climbing was killed on the Eiger by stonefall during the filming of “The Eiger Sanction”.

I think that where this problem arises the individual associations should solve it for themselves. All I know is that as a chaser I put a value on the alpine points above their mere numerical rating!


Brian G8ADD

PS originally posted during the changeover and this got stuck in limbo!

In reply to GW4BVE:

That have ignored the SOTA General Rules Mike. The ones you quoted
are from their Association Reference Manual, which don’t comply with
the SOTA General Rules. Their rules were accepted by the SOTA MT,
which opened the floodgates.

Hi John

General Rule 3.5 says:

…The minimum height for a Summit is 150m above its surroundings…

General Rule 3.12.14 says:

…The General Rules have precedence over the Association Reference Manual in case of any conflict…

As far as I am aware there is no provision in the General Rules for any of them to be waived, and the “topology exception” has not been invoked.

I would thus contend that in fact the DM ARM is critically flawed and thus invalid, and unless the MT amend the General Rules (which presumably they are at will to do, they are charged by the Rules themselves with “Maintaining” them…) they do not have the option of “accepting” the DM ARM.

73 de Paul G4MD

In reply to GW4BVE:
Hi John,

I think Paul’s (G4MD) assessment is spot on and for what it’s worth, I think the rules should be implemented (or reviewed?).

73 Ian G7KXV