SOTA Management activities 2014

The MT are finalising a number of actions for 2014 with some already underway. There are a few key announcements we’d like to make now and you can expect to see more announcements as we gather pace.

  1. There will be no new official challenge starting when the 2013-2014 12m Challenge finishes. There will be more official challenges in the future, we’re not abandoning challenges, just that we’d like a breather of 6 or 12months before we start the next one. The MT expect to be busy with the announcements we’re making and we doubt we’d have time to do a challenge justice if started straight away. Also we’d like to give people a chance to experience SOTA without the skewing effect 12m operation has. Although 12m has demonstrated itself to be an ideal band for SOTA during the sunspot maximum.

  2. There are number of loopholes and anomalies in the rules. When they were not being exploited it didn’t matter. But we have seen some activity which, whilst in compliance with the rules, is outside what we are trying to promote. We intend to close these loopholes and improve the language in the rules. We’d like to make some of the language simpler so that translation into other languages is easier.

  3. During SOTA’s 11 year life there has been a huge growth of GIS data and tools (Geographic Information Systems). As a result we’ve been able to analyse association summits and their properties in much greater detail than when these associations were created. We intend to delete all non-compliant summits (not P100/P150). At the same time analysis has shown some existing associations are only including a fraction of the valid summits. Early analysis shows typically there are many more summits to add than to delete.

  4. As SOTA grows we find that managing the program gets more challenging. The MT administer the program because we enjoy it. Similarly a lot of hard work is put by local association managers. We would like to establish a SOTA associates team to work closely with the MT and we plan to recruit these people during 2014.

Andy, MM0FMF

In reply to MM0FMF:
Nice Andy,

I hope “new trimming” of rules be, this time, to the “Associations” side of the scheme and not “kindly” forcing (for one more time) the “sub-divisions” ploy.

People in every country got involved and had promote our program under specific general rules and a specific program description (and the Associations term and role was there from the start).

So, while any new changes will don’t cancel this “Associations” scheme (based on mutual agreement of a document called General Rules) are highly welcomed and appreciated.

Me, as you know, I am big fan and supporter of the original SOTA scheme (it’s success is the proof of its value). As a manager I can verify that all these “minor” small changes you did all these years: a) only problems were and difficulties add to the Associations management b) Bit by bit took “authority” from Associations to favor of G MT . No one ever agree to a subdivisions scheme. Sorry.

So, we love SOTA, the way we know it and agree to participate with it. Please don’t cancel it.

Happy new SOTA year.

Panos, SV1COX

Happy New Year Panos.

If a SOTA summit is OK at P150*, then it will remain. If a current SOTA summit is non-compliant at P150 it will be removed. If a not-listed summit is discovered at P150, then it will be added.

*Some associations are P100.


In reply to MM0FMF:

To level the playing-field I would appreciate ONE and the same prominence all over the earth.
Why not compromise e.g. on P125m?

Heinz HB9BCB

In reply to HB9BCB:
Worms ready…!! Block ready…!! Neck ready…!!!.. wish it was all P100, save me a fortune in fuel.

Steve MW0BBU.

In reply to HB9BCB:

Much better to go back to the original 150 metres, which is close to 500 feet thus making a usefully memorable number in both sets of units. The only trouble with that, Heinz, is that going back to 150 metres or compromising on 125 metres would eliminate some Associations and decimate others. Much better to use the energy in getting the summit lists correct - I’m sure that even in HB9 there is a little tidying up to be done! :wink:


Brian G8ADD

In reply to G8ADD:

Going to P 150 would result in: no Summit in ON!

73 de Franz ON9CBQ

In reply to G8ADD:

In reply to HB9BCB:

The only trouble with that, Heinz, is that going back to 150
metres or compromising on 125 metres would eliminate some Associations
and decimate others.

I agree totally!

I worked very hard to get ALL of W5 right the first time, I worked even harder to split W5 into separate states 18 months later, and then a third time to bring Oklahoma from 57 summits at P-150m to 182 summits at P-100m. I have been pleased to see participation begin to grow in Oklahoma, I believe because there are now more summits. Once Oklahoma was established as P-100m in the USA, I was able to bring in Mississippi, which had NO summits at P-100m. After Oklahoma and Mississippi came on board at P-100m, several other states were able to join SOTA who otherwise would have been left out.

Going to P-150m across the board, or even reducing it to P-125m would be a poor move in my book. Parts of this thread smacks of both eliminating Mississippi and crippling Oklahoma. Not a good move in my opinion.

I don’t usually make blanket statements like this. But any sort of heavy-handed “corrections” that appear to be detrimental might be grounds for taking the data I assembled and “doing our own thing” similar to the other off-shoots and SOTA look-alikes.

The idea is to build by inclusion, not separate by exclusion. This may be interesting.

I truly hope sane and wise minds prevail.

Vy73 - Mike - KD5KC.
W5-SOTA association manager.

In reply to MM0FMF:

I offer a suggestion for a future Challenge.

I recall seeing comments from the MT, that not every activator adds their logs to the database, some only log & enter the qualifying 1st four contacts etc. Presumably that also has some ‘skewing effect’ on SOTA, or at least on the completeness of the database. That might not be significant, or even relevant to anything, but presumably the MT would have reason(s) to prefer the database to be as complete as possible.

As an encouragement to submit all logs, how about the “Chaser’s Friend” Challenge? (Woefully inadequate name, I know, but OK as a working title.)

The Challenge would be to work as many chasers, and create as many point-scoring contacts, as possible.

There could be a first-past-the-post honour, being the number of chasers worked (ie 1pt per point-scoring contact) without regard for the points value of each contact. 10 contacts from a 6pt summit would be 10 Challenge points. If you worked the same 10 stations again after the UTC roll-over, you’ve just gathered another 10 Challenge points, even though you don’t acquire any Activator points.

Secondly, some form of weighted honour, derived from the points value of the summit. For example, number of chaser points created. 10 contacts from a 2pt summit would be 20 Challenge pts, and from a 6pt summit would be 60 Challenge pts.

Multiple activations of a summit within the same year would create Challenge points because Chaser points are created, even though there are no additional Activator points.

Thanks to the SOTA MT & also my local VK Association managers for your efforts. I am having a lot of fun & satisfaction from both chasing and activating.

Nicholas (/Nick/)

In reply to MM0FMF:

Re action point 3):
No execution date stated but it goes without saying that changing the rules of an on-going game would be suspect.
In my understanding the summits as of 01.06.2013 are implicitly agreed by the MT as an integral part of the 12m Challenge.
Changing these rules of the game could be seen as an attempt to provide somebody an advantage.

Heinz HB9BCB

In reply to HB9BCB:

Heinz if you know when summit lists in existing associations will be changing can you tell me? It will make my job much easier.


In reply to MM0FMF:

MT action point 3) reads like the MT would execute these P150/P100 measures in 2014 abruptly and autonomously.

Heinz HB9BCB

In reply to HB9BCB:

It is a truism that it is in the interest of all participants in SOTA that the summit lists should be accurate and complete. It is in the interests of every Association that their summit lists should include all the valid summits, giving activators the maximum choice of summits to activate. It is also in the interests of SOTA that invalid summits should be removed: there are far too many summits listed that have prominences smaller than the Association minimum and the MT would be failing in their duty to the participants in SOTA if they permitted invalid summits to continue to be listed.

Maintaining the summit lists is a duty of the AMs; where an AM finds listed summits to be invalid, or unlisted summits to be valid, the AM should prepare and submit to the MT an update to the ARM. Many AMs are happy to do this duty, but some few AMs have resisted any change to their summit list. It should not be necessary for members of the MT to spend valuable time doing maintainance work on Association summit lists when so much effort is going into bringing new Associations into being. If AMs are prepared to carry out their tasks then there is no need for any autonomous action from the MT. However, the MT is determined to keep the summit lists properly maintained and will consider taking autonomous action where it is forced on them by the inaction of AMs. Whether all the necessary maintainance can be achieved in 2014 remains to be seen, as the true scale of the task is only now becoming clear. For instance it has recently emerged that in one Association a cluster of ten listed summits has only one valid summit and some of the others appear to have no prominence whatsoever. This cannot be allowed to continue.


Brian G8ADD

In reply to HB9BCB:
Hi Heinz,
There is possibly a small misunderstanding here. I expect the MT will if it finds non-compliances notify the association manager and the peaks will after a short time be removed from the accredited list in the Assoc Manual and the SOTA data base. All prior activations however will stand.

Usually it is the Association that finds the anomalies and additions. The MT I’m sure would not set out to police the rules unless the Association manager is inactive in this role.

Take an Association rated at P100 as an example. Suppose that by using more accurate maps now available The AM finds some summits have a lower prominence than 100 m. He/she would advise the MT and then those summits would lose their accreditation on a stated date. Similarly if some summits previously not accredited are found to have prominence then they will be added.

In VK3 we have one summit that was originally assigned an incorrect height. Using the correct height it is now not P150 compliant so soon it will lose its accreditation. For the moment it is still on the accredited list. Some additional peaks have been found so although we will lose one or two peaks we have a small overall gain. Our association manager initiated the action and has passed the info to the MT.


In reply to G8ADD and VK3AFW:

Nothing to add, I understand and think so too.
All agreed measures ensuring fair play in every respect are greatly appreciated.

Heinz HB9BCB

In reply to HB9BCB:
In the very early days of SOTA there was quite some misunderstanding about prominence. There are two similar words in English, the adjective prominent and the noun prominence. Although these are derived from the same root, their meanings can be widely different depending on the context. The adjective prominent means:

  1. jutting or projecting outwards
  2. standing out from its surroundings; noticeable
  3. widely known; eminent

The prominence of a mountain as used for SOTA often refered to as Topographic Prominence has a very specific meaning. Topographic prominence - Wikipedia

It would appear that in the early days some people establishing associations thought that SOTA was about prominent features, so we can find summits that have been listed as SOTA summits just because they were projecting out over a valley below. Behind them the ground continues further up hill so these features have absolutely no topographic prominence at all. The net effect is that in some cases you can walk continously down hill and activate two, three or more summits without any re-ascent in between.

SOTA was developed with the expectation that an activator would need to descend and re-ascend a minimum of 150m between qualifying summits, although in some associations with few qualifying summits that requirement can be reduced to 100m. All recent associations have been developed using these criteria. Fortunately there is a world wide group of people including university professors, who have a interest in topographic prominence and members this group develop lists of summmit prominences and we have been able to use these widely.
[Some References: PEAKLIST - Prominence of Mountains of the World
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Yahoo | Mail, Weather, Search, Politics, News, Finance, Sports & Videos]

Now that we have much better GIS data available along with the work of the prominence groups, what we are planning to do, is to work with early associations to de-activate those summits that were wrongly included and which do not have the required promience or even have zero prominence and to include the many more summits with qualifying prominence. We believe that there are more to include than to de-activate.
73 Jim G0CQK

In reply to G0CQK:

Thanks for that excellent explanation Jim. As the person responsible for realising that the concept of prominence might be useful for SOTA I was surprised to learn something new. It had never occurred to me that people might confuse prominence with something being prominent - but now you mention it I can see just how easily that might happen!

You live and learn.

73 Richard G3CWI

In reply to G0CQK:
Thank you for that explanation JIm.

Could i just say that I applaude the work and time that must go into establishing prominence and the quality of the association manuals that are produced for users. This ongoing debate prompted me to look back to when I activated two Austrian summits in Vorarlberg in 2009. They were close together, maybe less than 2 Km apart with a deep gorge between them. However the ridge around them gave them virtually no prominence between them and I recall the walk from one to the other took me less than 30 minutes.

I just checked the OE association manual and found that the second summit I activated was deleted on the 31/03/2011, this being only right.

The two summits were:

OE/VB-454 Hintere Niedere (Still counts for SOTA)
OE/VB-476 Vordere Niedere (Now deleted).

Strictly speaking I should have brought this obvious lack of prominence to the attention of the association manager at the time - however I didn’t. I’m now wondering how many other summits were deleted from the OE asscoiation in that March 2011 update? It slipped my attention at the time.

73 Phil G4OBK

In reply to VK3ANL:
Hi Nick,

I can see exactly what you are getting at with your idea of awards for numbers of chasers worked. It is an interesting and thought provoking idea.

However, there is a possible safety downside to this in that it may encourage people to linger on summits with possible consequences in bad weather or failing light. This happens to a certain extent now with the need to get 4 contacts to qualify an activation for points, but I think 4 is a sensible compromise between making it too easy to qualify vs very difficult to manage on some hills with VHF only.

If people are encouraged to stay to get 10, 20 or more contacts then they may get caught out by weather or darkness or even succumb to mountain hypothermia (exposure).

(with my Mountain Rescue hat on - a bit)

In reply to M1EYP:

Happy New Year Panos.

If a SOTA summit is OK at P150*, then it will remain. If a current
SOTA summit is non-compliant at P150 it will be removed. If a
not-listed summit is discovered at P150, then it will be added.

*Some associations are P100.


Thanks for the wishes Tom, but perhaps wrong reply? I didn’t mention anything about P1XX or something ??? What was that about? What do you mean?

73, Panos, SV1COX