I thought it might be of interest to summarise some statistics about Awards issued during 2023 and to take the opportunity to thank the SOTA community for their continued support.
SOTA is funded by the sale of Awards, branded merchandise and donations and this enables the Management Team to offer SOTA facilities to users at no direct cost. Awards are available as either a physical item or (in the case of certificates) as an emailed pdf file of the certificate.
This year the following numbers of Awards were purchased (and I have included the most significant levels claimed):
|12k and 5k
|250k and 200k
|Summit to Summit
|500km on 3cm plus one via QO-100
|Mountain Goat Trophy
|Shack Sloth Trophy
Every claim has to be cross checked with the database records and this has been significantly eased by the changes to the database presentation introduced during 2023. Unfortunately many claimants fail to check their records and this can add considerable extra work before the issue of an Award. Life would be so much easier if folk understood the meaning of “Qualification Date” and, where a particular variant is required (e.g. All CW), they did not rely on their paper records but used the database checking before claiming. Please!!!
During 2023 the supplier of the glass trophy blanks decided to discontinue the “Ice Block” that we have used for a number of years without bothering to tell me. This resulted in a hiatus in supply with the easiest optional item not being favoured by the community. The trophy variant we now supply is more expensive and is not the easiest to engrave but seems to meet with approval. I try to hold stock but there was a supply problem when the ones shipped to our supplier by air (rather than surface shipment) were delivered damaged; enough were salvaged to cover outstanding orders and I have enough stock for the foreseeable future.
Merchandise orders have diminished this year, probably a reflection of the current economic situation. Name badges seem to be very popular and I have introduced a couple of new colours, time will tell if these meet overall satisfaction. Flags continue to surprise me by their popularity but larger items like Polo and T shirts are very slow to sell – your support buying these would return me to favour with my XYL, she is very tolerant about the space taken by stock but draws the line now I am storing them under our spare bed!!!
I said earlier that sales of Awards and merchandise and donations help fund the SOTA infrastructure. The main expense is the provision of the Reflector, the database and the Spotting facility. Demand on processing power is increasing at an unbelievable extent and it looks as if we are going to have to invest in even more capacity during 2024. Currently the facilities cost in the region of £5000 per annum and that is all funded by the above sources of funds. The very generous donations we receive go a long way to helping and I must thank everybody who has contributed in this way – without your support the Management Team (all volunteers who give their time for free) could not provide these World leading facilities.
2024 offers another opportunity with the 10m Challenge with certificates available once the year is out. Please all take part, especially at it is one HF band where I am not plagued by RF fog, and I hope to work many of you from a summit or from my home QTH.
Thank you all for your participation and support in 2023 and may 2024 be a successful and healthy year for all of you and your families.
73 Barry GM4TOE
SOTA Awards Manager