Are we running out of activators? Are we running out of chasers? Is SOTA an “ex-parrot”? No, we are in the summer “lull” noted every year around this time. Activity boosts again in December, and again massively in January, and usually to a new record level.
However, the apparent summer lull is exacerbated by the natural progression of experienced activators into further areas of amateur radio. Be it CW, microwaves, PSK31 or even HF SSB, diversification is the name of the game. After all, the purpose of the licence is for “Self-training in wireless telegraphy”. However, this can leave an apparent void in those areas from where we started, such as 2m FM, especially in the depths of the annual summer lull.
So to supplement and back-up the great and innovative work of the existing activators, it is desirable to encourage newcomers to SOTA, who will naturally commence their activating careers on things like 2m FM and 2m SSB.
In order to stimulate some new entrants to SOTA, and fill the perceived “voice void”, Jimmy and I are currently engaged in a programme of delivering talks to clubs around the North West. Tonight, we did a 90 minute talk and presentation at Oldham ARC, which was well received by an audience of around 20, several of whom stated they would give SOTA a go.
We are now taking bookings for any more clubs in the area that wish to receive a talk and presentation. This includes a Powerpoint presentation, videos and audio, practical demonstrations, displays of walking and radio equipment, and a question-and-answer session.
So if you think we can promote SOTA at YOUR amateur radio club, please get in touch and let’s see what we can do.
Tom M1EYP & Jimmy M3EYP
In reply to M1EYP:
More power to your projector - you two! Great work!
SOTA-on! es 73
PS; Banner sent back to you on Wednesday. Let me know you got it ok?
Postman knocked on about an hour ago, and handed me the banner Jack - many thanks.
Here are some facts I’ve worked out. (School holidays are great. All the time in the world.)
2004 Total activations from all Countries = 3005
2005 ----------------do------------------ = 4342
2006 ----------------do------------------ = 5748
2007 ----------------do------------------ = 5261 (and its only August)
So I don’t think SOTA’s dying.
Careful Charlie. It will have to be the UK-only non-CW figures that are needed before anyone is convinced
I have to agree about the school holidays though. What a great job teaching is - especially in August. Think I’ll just nip into town for a sandwich and a coffee, then take a stroll up The Cloud…
In reply to M1EYP:
Careful Charlie. It will have to be the UK-only non-CW figures that
are needed before anyone is convinced.
Careful Tom, you are still blinkered, the fact is Charlie’s figures DO only reflect the growth in sota as new associations have joined over the years, your defensive quote above suggests that you already know this to be fact.
We are lucky that we have our UK regular activators to keep the boat afloat in the quieter summer months.
Charlie is right, sota is not dying, just expanding rapidly internationally.
I see that from the 2004 to 2007 that the number of activations has almost doubled, yet the numer of active countries has rather more than doubled.
It is impossible to determine mathematically what the UK trend is from the growth in overall activity set against the growth in number of associations. The only way to do it is to go into the Database and extract the actual numbers of activations that have taken place.
So to end the guesswork and conjecture, I have done this. But the data is open and available to anyone, so any further analysis anyone wishes to do can be done easily.
UK (G, GW, GM, GD, GI) activations:
2007: 2327 to date; expected end-of-year total by linear interpolation is 3725.
To coin a phrase, “Rumours of SOTA’s demise have been greatly exaggerated…”.
In reply to M1EYP:
Hi Tom, how or where in the database can I access these figures?
Use the filters. Go on ‘Activator Roll of Honour’, then individually select G, GI, GD, GW or GM, and then the year you want. Then click the ‘Show’ button. The number of activations for each participant is given in the first column - add 'em up!
In reply to M1EYP:
Thanks Tom, I’ll have a look when I finish my painting.
In reply to M1EYP:
2007: 2327 to date; expected end-of-year total by linear interpolation
The above figures show that there are more activations, but from the comments that have been posted, it is evident that the perceived (and possibly actual) reduction in activity is in the north west of England, specifically on 2m. Obviously this is being more than balanced out by HF activations.
The database can’t be used to extract activations where 2m is the primary activation band. It lumps together the bands and activations having just a single QSO on 2m will pass through the 2m filter. There is no actual way to use the database to confirm (or disprove) the reduction in 2m activity.
P.S. I’ll make a personal observation when I next get up into the NP’s since it was back in January when I was there and it will be interesting to make a comparison.
In reply to M1EYP:
Having checked your figures for my self Tom, I have to agree and I admit that I was wrong on the amount of UK activations, no doubt about it.
Not nit picking now, but Gerald has a point, it is in the North West that I think there is a reduction in 2m activity, but this should hopefully pick up when the summer draws to an end and we enter into autumn then winter bonus time.
Another factor is that our multiple activations of the Cloud and Hope mountain plus the fun evenings will have boosted the figures for this year, we must have over 100 activations between us just from those two summits.
No doubt about it, the overall statistics in the database cant be argued with,
I concede, you are 100% correct.
In reply to GW0DSP:
Just a couple of observations -
I wonder whether, given that the NW of England was the “birth-place” of SOTA UK, ops in that area have had the benefit of local activations using the easiest method - 2m FM with a simple antenna. Now there are two changes - firstly the desire to move away from home ground to activate new summits and secondly to explore new bands and modes. This is a natural progression.
The balance of operations may have been “upset” by a desire to match the EU stations. Taking a 2m FM handie up some of the European summits may work, but not as well as HF. In the move to HF CW operation, are not the UK activators just following the European trend?
I agree with Tom - SOTA is not dying, just changing and chasers need to adapt to benefit from what is on offer from the activators.
P.S. If proof were needed - this morning, 26 chaser points gained inside 22 minutes within a 4kHz slot in the 7MHz CW segment, all using 5 watts to a 40m horizontal loop. No effort required. No 2m UK activations posted, even if I could hear them anyway from here since few seem to beam this way - that’s not a moan by the way!
In reply to G4OIG:
There has been a lot of chat recently, on this thread and others, regarding the apparent lack of activity on SOTA. Apart from it being the holiday season and the time of year to do other things (decorating etc) there is a couple of very valid reasons for the lack of contact.
We are at the bottom of the sunspot cycle and it is summer - both of these have a serious affect on the propogation. I have seen numerous spots but have not even heard the stations. Not because they werent there but because the propogation was at a low. We have to accept that at this time of year there will always be a slump and certainly overall there will be lean times for a couple more years yet.
Set against consistent increases of about 600 activations per year in the UK, I would imagine that the figures for individual regions or individual bands would show a similar percentage increase. For there to have been a decrease in North West 2m activity, there would have to be an increase in other regions and/or to other bands at an even greater rate than the overall rate of increase. This is unlikely.
Unfortunately, this data is not so straightforward to extract from the Database. Gary G0HJQ could probably do it, but I’m sure he’s got better ways of spending his time! So we are limited to the anecdotal evidence.
Now if you were to ask me whether 2m SOTA in the North West is on the up or down this year compared to previous, I would refer to my own anecdotal evidence and say “up”. I have had several activations this year which have had a huge number of contacts (sometimes 70+) on 2m FM/SSB, and more summit-to-summits than you could imagine! My perception, from anecdotal evidence, is that 2m SOTA in the NW is increasing in line with the UK figure.
Saying that, the points from others just above are well made. SOTA really does lend itself to “Self-training in wireless telegraphy” with both (a) the clear rewards to be had in the programme for moving onto HF and/or CW and (b) the access to a large collection of experienced radio amateurs who will advise and help with aerials etc. People who used to do 2m have moved on in the hobby.
Anyway, going back to the original thread topic, does anyone want me to visit their radio club this Autumn, with the full SOTA talk and presentation?
OK, I’ve now had a go at some analysis for 2m FM SOTA in the NW of England.
This was far more difficult, and hence some statistical approximating techniques have been needed.
- Only activators that have done 10 or more activations in the year have been counted (otherwise I would have spent an age checking the activator logs of unfamiliar callsigns to see what area of the country they were active in for their 1 to 9 activations)
- Some NW 2m FM activations of non NW based amateurs will not be included
- Some non NW activations of NW based amateurs will be included
[points 2 and 3 will not effect the overall pattern - glances at the activator logs of NW based amateurs shows primarily NW activations]
- We don’t know the proportion of 2m FM used in the activation - just that it was used. Again, statistically, when 2m FM has been used, it is usually the primary band/mode for the activation.
OK, got through that? Here are the numbers (less than the total number of activations - see point 1):
2007: 753 to date (estimated end-of-year total by linear interpolation = 1201)
So we conclude that 2m FM in the NW is not growing as fast as other bands/modes. But it is still actually increasing. There is not a reduction!
Can I go to the gym now?