Since the dawn of SOTA, the Management Team have regularly held meetings to discuss the direction and general business of SOTA. Another meeting was recently held on March 17th, 2017. As the team has expanded globally, it’s become harder to do so physically, but this year we utilised videoconferencing software, and for the first time had global representation at the MT meeting.
We’ve prepared this summary to keep the SOTA community informed of what’s coming down the pipeline for SOTA in 2017.
G3WGV, G4ZFZ, MM0FMF, GM4TOE, G4TJC, G8ADD locally,
YO6PIB, M1EYP, N7UN, VK3ARR via video-conference.
The original MT structure was flat, with everyone doing a bit of everything. As we’ve grown, that structure has become a little unwieldy and it was decided to streamline the main functions of the MT into a number of groups, each responsible for their particular areas.
Summits Group: Led by Simon G4TJC, responsible for checking and surveying new associations, providing new AMs with lists of candidate summits that meet P150 criteria, verifying and pushing new changes into the SOTA Database.
IT Group: Led by Andrew VK3ARR, responsible for all infrastructure used to run SOTA: sota.org.uk, SOTA DB, RBNHole, SOTA Shop website, reflectors, etc, and how they interact with each other.
Publicity Group: Led by Tom M1EYP, responsible for all SOTA publicity, including Newsletter, media releases, etc.
Awards Group: Barry GM4TOE, responsible for management of all awards and merchandise.
In addition, each region will pick up a regional representative to handle local queries. This was being done informally already; for the Americas, it will be Elliott K6EL with Guy N7UN helping, and for Asia/Pacific, Andrew VK3ARR with Warren ZL2AJ helping. Europe and Africa will continue to be covered by the existing local MT members.
Each group will be making an announcement as to their priorities for the year and what the SOTA community can expect.
As announced by Barry in the last newsletter, a key decision was made to make PDF copies of awards free of charge, as SOTA gains little benefit financially from PDF awards once Paypal has taken its share.
Over the past year, the SOTA MT have started making a concerted effort to improve both hosting and management of SOTA servers to reduce the workload on the MT and improve the service to the SOTA community. The biggest example of this is the Discourse reflector, which is maintained from a software perspective by Discourse Hosting.
We will be examining other ways of streamlining the IT used to run SOTA. As part of this, the MT is seeking a Webmaster: see the reflector post regarding this if you are interested.
General Rules updates
A number of clarifications to the GRs were discussed that are in the process of being finalised for public consumption. These are largely based on discussions held by the SOTA community on the reflector, and in most cases we will be incorporating the amendments as suggested, or close to it.
A lot of discussion has been happening in the MT both before and during this meeting to discuss how we handle ARMs. ARMs were originally used to submit a new association but have long since stopped serving this purpose and are now a general repository of information on an Association. Maintaining and updating ARMs after an association update continues to be an issue, and even if most changes only involve summit changes, it can take a long time for the ARM to match the current association state.
A lot of this information is stored in the database already, so a decision was made to convert ARMs from being a static document generated by an AM, to being a dynamic document generated by software. To this end, over the next few months, we expect to begin the process of auto-generation. There’s a bit of backend work to go before this is a reality, but we anticipate this will save the MT a substantial amount of post-association-update work, and give consistent ARMs to the community.
SOTA once again has become a Super Sponsor of YOTA. The MT see SOTA’s participation in this program as essential to the future of amateur radio, by increasing participation of young people in the hobby. The MT recognises that YOTA is a primarily Region 1 activity, and welcomes suggestions on other ways SOTA may be able to encourage young people to get out into nature (preferably armed with a radio).
o/b/o SOTA MT