RMS cost increase

Since the cost of post has increased, how about decreasing the weight of mail? Our basic certificates come in one design/colour, and other programs with that set-up simply mail stickers to be applied at each level of improvement. One thought is to have several outlines where future stickers are to be affixed, but the better thought is to mail small rectangular self-adhesive strips to progressively add over the top of earlier totals…“250 points in the Chaser Section”, says the new strip, e.g. Could even be a coloured strip, such as gold. One could order a large number for stock on hand. The qualifying date would be wrong, you say? Matters not to me. As to others…eh, their problem.

Elliott, K6ILM

Be a Hero
Get Glass

In reply to K6ILM:

The postal cost increase for a certificate to the USA and Canada will be 28 pence taking postage to £2.38 ($3.80). I have already started to use reduced weight envelopes to bring the cost down but there is little I can do to reduce postal costs further.

A standard letter will cost less than a pound to send ($1.60) so Elliott’s suggestion would fit into that category; alternatively it would be equally possible to produce the certificate as a pdf file and email it for local printing with just a nominal charge for the effort involved.

I am very conscious of the cost of transporting awards around the World, and there will always be those who would like to receive a formally produced item, but is now the time to consider alternatives?

The charge made for awards goes towards the cost of running the programme (SOTAwatch, Database etc) so I would like to preserve some sort of income stream to ensure this can continue but I see no reason for inflating the P&L of the postal companies!

Your comments either here or direct to me (gm4toe “at” btconnect.com) please


Barry GM4TOE
SOTA Awards Manager

In reply to GM4TOE:

Hi Barry!

I would be just as happy with a downloadable certificate in .pdf format. This would cost nothing for delivery. Many other amateur radio organisations are now using this method. When printed out on glossy A4 paper, these certificates look just as good as those received through the post.

Perhaps the option of either type could be given, so that people who don’t mind paying for the postage could still receive a “formal” certificate.

Walt (G3NYY)

In reply to GM4TOE:
Hello All

If PDF was a format, I would actually claim my certificates! The only reason I have not is that I dont want to pay money for a certificate.

Would electronic be free (like the S2S award) or would a charitable donation (for databases etc) be needed?

Matt G8XYJ

In reply to G8XYJ:

There would be “some” cost to help pay for the hosting/bandwidth charges etc.

Simply for illustration, last month the traffic to the database comprised

7264 unique visitors who made 18154 visits. A total of 434750 pages were visited (average 20 pages/visit) and that comprised 9.15GB of data. That’s just traffic over the net from the webserver, I’m not sure just how much traffic we really generate between the webserver and the database engine server. Suffice to say it’s quite a bit :slight_smile:


A portion of the charge for a certificate goes towards the running of the SOTA programme. The Database and websites are made available free to all participants, but hosting, domains, servers etc are not provided free to us! So we need to raise the monies to fund the programme through certificate, trophy and T-shirt (etc) sales.

I would not want to pre-empt Barry as he is much more expert in such matters than I, but it would not surprise me to see the PDF awards - if they did indeed become an option - be available for around that same portion of the current charge that goes towards the cost of funding the SOTA programme.


In reply to M1EYP:

PDF is nice because as Walt says, if you have a decent printer you can make a good job of it yourself!! In addition multiple copies can then be printed so if you really feel like it you could have them scattered all around the house, Hi Hi!!! :slight_smile:

No qualms with the running costs, can see why a charge is made!! Happy to support it as I use it so often!! A bit like my regular repeaters!!

73 all

Matt G8XYJ - Feature wall in the house made entirely of SOTA certificates and S2S certificates!!! Laurence Lleweylln Bowen eat your heart out!

In reply to M1EYP:

A portion of the charge for a certificate goes towards the running of
the SOTA programme.

Whilst that would seem perfectly reasonable, it contradicts what is said on:


Specifically, there we read: ‘award certificates are sold “at cost”’. You might wish to change this statement if it isn’t actually true.

Thanks Martyn. I may have been wrong in saying that there is a nominal contribution to SOTA funds built into the cost of certificates, it may only come from shirts, badges etc. But otherwise that will need updating, so thanks for the heads up.


I think the pdf option is the way forward, most other organizations offering awards are offering them this way now.

I do think there should still be a fee to cover the costs this is only fair as the database and Spot are a great service offered to all. I personally know how much work is involved in administrating websites and on-line databases and it is time consuming to say the least.

There are organisations that offer awards for free like PSK and others that charge 10Euros or more just for the pdf version of their awards.

I would also like to suggest having all awards looking different, with a bit more colour and different background picture…. Just my thoughts

Darius OK7OK

In reply to GM4TOE:

I disagree with the pdf option.

The Summits on the Air website is set up and maintained for free. (and its brilliant)

Its a round trip of 250 miles for me to activate in north Wales (about 25 litres of fuel)
I brought/built suitable radios and its batteries specifically for SOTA.
Maps are needed, and the electronic ones are great as well.
A compass is cheap but a gps isn’t.
Suitable clothing is required; the stuff for normal walking is not suitable.

It’s going to take me and a lot of other activators a considerable investment in time and money to reach our aims (Mountain goat, activate all of a particular area etc) so to be moaning about the cost of a certificate seems bonkers to me. And I sure need more motivation than a pdf file to climb a ten point summit.
Charge whatever is required to keep this excellent part of our hobby going I for one will be happy to pay.

Mike G0HIO

In reply to G3NYY:

Perhaps the option of either type could be given, so that people who
don’t mind paying for the postage could still receive a
"formal" certificate.


I think this is a good idea as it means that both Matt, G8XYJ and Mike, G0HIO (who appear to be at the two extremes) would have their preferred option and the rest of us could pick and choose according to the value we place on the individual certificate being requested.

More work for Barry, though.


In reply to M0JLA:

I too agree with Walt’s idea of having both offered to give a choice. On a personal level, I don’t mind paying the charge for a certificate to be produced and posted through, as I feel there is a certain something about receiving a nicely produced certificate by post rather than having a PDF sent through by E-mail. For me, certificates are few and far between, but each to their own though.
I guess the 100,250,500 & 1000 certificates are the priority milestones for me (and probably quite a few others)as well as the Mountain Hunter/Explorer awards, so maybe after reaching the 1000 (soon hopefully!), I’d be happy with PDF’s for further milestone achievements.


As the Awards Manager for the (much smaller than SOTA and localised on the English Lake District) Wainwrights On The Air (WOTA)Programme, I can comment here on how our system works.

A PDF certificate is available free of charge and every WOTA Award claimant receives one of these certificates automatically once a claim is confirmed. In addition some claimants choose to support the WOTA Programme by purchasing a professionally produced laser printed certificate on quality 200 gsm silk card. These are mailed out in the same way as the SOTA Certificates are. These certificates cost £5 each inclusive of the carded envelope and postage. If more than one certificate is claimed and ordered at the same time extra certificates cost £2 each. As with SOTA the small sums raised pay for the running of the WOTA Website ISP services.

So how popular is paying for certificates when they can be obtained free of charge?

Our programme has been running since 2009. I have issued exactly 50 Awards since we started, so it is quite small scale compared to SOTA.

But how popular is paying for certificates?

Out of the 50 certificates issued to activators and chasers. In 9 instances operators have chosen not to purchase a printed posted certificate and so have just used the free pdf which was sent. In the remaining 41 instances WOTA Claimants have opted to receive a printed certificate and support the scheme financially.

Best wishes

Phil G4OBK
WOTA Awards Manager & SOTA Chaser/Activator


In reply to M0JLA:
“More work for Barry, though.”

Not really a problem. I can trade the pdf production against writing envelopes!
I tend to batch produce certificates anyway so can just integrate this into my routine; it just means using a different “page” in Coreldraw which contains the background image then saving the certificate as a pdf.

I will introduce a pdf option at the same time as I update the postage rates (this week)and see how it goes - same price as the 10th Anniversary certificates.

Barry GM4TOE
SOTA Awards Manager

In reply to GM4TOE:

Will it be possible to put some sample downloadable Certificates on the website so that we can print them and compare them with our existing posted certificates and decide based on the results which way we want to go ???

73 de Ken G3XQE

In reply to GM4TOE
Hey Barry…How about introducing a PDF option for the glass trophies…yuk,yuk.

Elliott, K6ILM
Chaser Clown

In reply to K6ILM:

That’s not as silly as it seems. With the rapid advance in 3d printers you could “print” your trophy yourself as long as you don’t mind some form of acrylic resin rather than glass.


In reply to MM0FMF:
My thoughts exactly.

In reply to MM0FMF:
Gasp…just learned the cost of a 3D structure printer. For the same price, I can obtain a custom glass fireplace mantle, above which I can suspend a hologram of said trophy. As an added bonus, a twist of a knob increases the height to 30 cm. Now there’s a manly addition to the decor. Be the first on your block.

Elliott, K6ILM
Chaser Clown