SOTA Quarterly News May 2020

Well here we are for the May Quarterly News except that this quarter has been four months, since we decided that there are too many things happening over year-end, so we decided to realign to a Feb, May, Aug, Nov sequence. The only issue is that all of our regular reporters are out of action since of the lockdown. The part of the world where most SOTA activity is still taking place is where we so far have no volunteer regular contributors viz. North America (any one up for it). So what we do have is a awards report from Barry @GM4TOE who amazingly managed to rise out of lockdown gloom to make the report below, and commentary on Spain from Guru @EA2IF

Any how a few musings from me which you might want to skip over in case you get bored.

Early in January a component of our reflector profile, alerted us that an update was needed. I hesitated before committing the update but it nagged on so I did it. It completely failed as we were still on Version 2.3.8 while the Discourse core had moved on to 2.4.0 where the update was contemporary - there was no way to make the update work with version 2.3.8. Our reflector is not running on a SOTA managed server but is currently hosted so we cannot manage the Discourse core updates. The result was the loss of the category column (in the middle of the screen) and the category to which a topic belonged was displayed immediately under its title. Several of our readers do not like that form of display and can get slightly vociferous about that but at the same time surprisingly no one commented about the changes by posting on the reflector. Maybe readers just didn’t notice or else passively accepted it as a software update.

Anyhow with help, guidance and code from the component author who I contacted via Discourse, I was able to re-build what is effectively the previous component version and the category column came back. Hopefully that will continue to work for some time in the future.

Simon @G4TJC who looks after the “linkfy” extension that causes your summit references to automatically acquire a URL link, without you having to, waited for a bit until he was sure it was OK before updating that component, which I am sure you will appreciate. I never have been able to master regular expressions such as he has compiled to make this work

Next we have a quite a strange issue. It is clear that in the current situation of wide spread lockdown there are many more people browsing the internet and there are some finding this reflector. Several of these immediately sign up even though the sign-up screen clearly indicates that the reflector is open for anyone to read, and of course all sign-ups are reviewed. (All sign-ups are checked against relevant databases such as the FCC, the ACMA, the RSGB, Indotel, SSA, Bundesnetzagentur e.t.c.) However, clearly from their profiles in various databases and even from Google that it is unlikely that they do actually have any interest in SOTA. What we have therefore is that of the latest new sign-ups, once approved, almost 55% have not reappeared and read any posts. Why did they sign up?

Another anecdotal fact is that the most error prone sign-ups are from English speakers. Most others whose native language is not English are meticulous in completing the sign-up form. Thankfully thanks to Guru @EA2IF and Toru @JH0CJH we do have appropriate language prompts in the sign-up form.

Right that has me been waffling on for long enough now for Barry GM4TOE’s Awards Report.

SOTA Awards January – April 2020

This report covers award claims for the period January to April 2020.

My apologies for not publishing earlier, many things complicated my life but back to whatever is normality now!

I would like to highlight a number of key achievements with DJ5AV achieving the amazing total of 200k Chaser points and HB9BIN activating 1000 summits. Other really amazing levels were achieved in the period but I will let the records speak for themselves.

Trophies Issued

Mountain Goat

DJ4MA Anna Meyer

DF5MA Andi Meyer

M1CJE Andrew Eastland

KR7RK Keith Schlottman

YO8SDE Florin Vestale

PA3FYG Hans Smit

K7MK James Cullum

N4HNH Douglas McAlexander

NK8Q Mark Schreiner

K9IR Paula Uscian

WU7H Josh Gibbs

Shack Sloth

G7LMF Graham Cowan

HB9DDZ Nick Zinsstag

EA5AT Fernando Requena

N4HNH Douglas McAlexander

G7OEM Tony Hulme

ND1J David Blubaugh

KB7XL Thomas Rees

WB7BWZ Robert Harris

N6MKW Michael Williams

Certificates Issued


HB9BIN Dr. Juerg Regli 10000 points

AC1Z Bob Daniels 2500 points

VK3PF Peter Freeman 2500 points

EA2BD Ignacio Cascante Diaz 1000 points

HB9HCI Andreas Heertsch 1000 points

K9PM Paul Mueller 1000 points

N4HNH Douglas McAlexander 1000 points

VK3PF Peter Freeman 1000 points

DL6CGA Armin Kreutner 1000 points

HB9GUX HaWe Grotemeyer 500 points

VE6AGR Ken Smith 500 points

HB9EKO Jens Nolte 500 points

K9PM Paul Mueller 500 points

IZ4VQS Alessandro Signorini 250 points

K9PM Paul Mueller 250 points

OK1NYD Pavel Novy 250 points

OE6LKG Karl Sackl 100 points

VA2EI Marc-Andre Gingras 100 points

N0DNF Bill Skerjanc 100 points

G7WKX Simon Davis-Crane 100 points

K9PM Paul Mueller 100 points

CS7AMX Berbardo Lucas 100 points

EI3ISB John Holland 100 points


DJ5AV Michael Oerter 200000 points

HB9BIN Dr. Juerg Regli 50000 points

VK3PF Peter Freeman 30000 points

DD5LP Ed Durrant 15000 points

DL3MBE Hans Scharfen 10000 points

K9PM Paul Mueller 5000 points

K9PM Paul Mueller 2500 points

K9PM Paul Mueller 1500 points

HB9GUX HaWe Grotemeyer 1000 points

K9PM Paul Mueller 1000 points

N4HNH Douglas McAlexander 1000 points

ND1J David Blubaugh 1000 points

KB7XL Thomas Rees 1000 points

VK4AAC Robert Janoska 1000 points

DL6CGA Armin Kreutner 1000 points

KF4BY Stan Nafziger 500 points

M0LEP Rick Hewett 500 points

K9PM Paul Mueller 500 points

W4NLT Andy Kubishen 500 points

K9PM Paul Mueller 250 points

IZ1UMJ Marco Giulini 250 points

G7WKX Simon Davis-Crane 250 points

ZS4CGR Christi Grobbelaar 250 points

KF7ZYF Joey Crow 100 points

K9PM Paul Mueller 100 points

DL2NAI Israel Schwierz 100 points

ZS4MG Marie Grobbelaar 100 points

WA6WV Sergio Fernandez 100 points

ZS6CHT Craig Tyler 100 points

Chaser Unique

HB9BIN Dr. Juerg Regli 5000 summits

VK3PF Peter Freeman 1000 summits

K9PM Paul Mueller 500 summits

K9PM Paul Mueller 250 summits

HB9GUX HaWe Grotemeyer 100 summits

K9PM Paul Mueller 100 summits

Activator Unique

HB9BIN Dr. Juerg Regli 1000 summits

JP3DGT Katsushige Oiji 100 summits

K9PM Paul Mueller 100 summits

Summit to Summit

HB9BIN Dr. Juerg Regli Turquoise

SP9MA Jarek Amethyst

JP3DGT Katsushige Oiji Gold

K9PM Paul Mueller Gold

HB9GUX HaWe Grotemeyer Silver

HB9EKO Jens Nolte Silver

K9PM Paul Mueller Silver

NK8Q Mark Schreiner Silver

K9IR Paula Uscian Silver

K9PM Paul Mueller Bronze

EI6FR Declan Craig Bronze

DJ5VY Werner Pohl Red

K9PM Paul Mueller Red

Mountain Explorer

KR7RK Keith Schlottman Platinum

HB9GUX HaWe Grotemeyer Bronze

VK5PAS Paul Simmonds Bronze

M0BLF Dominic Smith Business Class

DL4MFM Mario Fietz Tourist

Mountain Hunter

VK3PF Peter Freeman Platinum

HB9DDZ Nick Zinsstag Gold

Microwave Award

AA0BV Joe Olsen 200 km 23 cm

W6BJB Brad Butler 100 km 23 cm

SOTA Complete

VK3PF Peter Freeman 250 summits

First I must say a really big Thank You to all of you for the really generous level of donations made in the last few months. Starting this year I was starting to be concerned about continued funding for the SOTA IT facilities, however following an appeal to SOTA enthusiasts worldwide the funds are now at a level where we can certainly ensure continued access for these facilities throughout 2020 and almost certainly through 2021.

The current global pandemic has had a significant impact on SOTA operation with some countries stopping SOTA activations completely with their government lockdowns and severely restricting activity elsewhere in the World. This has, of course, had an impact on Award claims but the situation will improve and, hopefully, we all can get out onto the hills once again.

Just before the lockdown happened in the UK I had placed several orders to replace merchandise that was running low. Unfortunately many of these orders are severely delayed by the closure of businesses here so I will be unable to supply certain items once stock is depleted to zero. In addition I had intended to introduce some new branded merchandise, that too will have to wait until suppliers are, once again, back in business.

The recent increase in postal costs galvanised me into re-introducing the pdf versions of the Award certificates. They are charged at the same price as the printed version but are not subject to the expensive postal cost for a Large Letter from the UK. Several people have already taken advantage of this facility and I hope this will continue. Certain countries have very unreliable postal services so this will enable you to receive your certificate by email rather than regular mail (I recently had a certificate returned as undeliverable and checked the posting date: February 2019, it had taken a whole year to not get to the planned recipient!!!)

Stay safe on the hills – once you are able to get out!


Barry GM4TOE

SOTA Awards Manager

Guru @EA2IF comments on when might we see some activations in Spain.

Spain’s Government President announced on Tuesday, April 28th the plan for easing the lockdown conditions and restrictions in place.There will be 5 different phases to be applied independently to our administrative divisions called provinces or to the individual islands.

Phases are 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4.

All Spain will enter Phase 0 on May 4th, with the exception of a few islands with no Covid-19 cases, EA8 isles of La Graciosa, La Gomera and El Hierro, as well as EA6 isle of Formentera will start directly Phase 1 which allows small business to open, from May 4th.

In Phase 0 we will be allowed to exercise individually which could include walking or cycling. However there will be conditions which will limit this activity:

1- Time frame:
People living in larger municipalities can do individual sport once a day either between 6h and 10h in the morning or between 20h and 23h in the evening (local). These time slots don’t apply to people living in municipalities with population under 5000 inhabitants who will be allowed to exercise at any time of the day.

2- Range of movements: movements will only be allowed within the municipality of residence, being this condition applicable to all people, no matter the size of the town or municipality where they inhabit.

With these conditions, I still see some chances for SOTA activations in EA during this Phase 0, as for example, we will be able to go cycling to a mountain base and hike to the top on foot or cycling, and carry out a SOTA activation, as long as we don’t leave the territory of our home municipality.

Only in Phase 2 will we be allowed to drive our car within the limits of our home province or isle of residency for things like going to a distant SOTA for an activation.

With this good news, we should be seeing SOTA activations in EA from May 4th onwards, carried out by those activators living at a walking or cycling distance of a SOTA summit located within the municipality of residency.

For any one interested, comprehensive details of the plan can be found at

So that is that for this quarter but please regard this in the current climate as a do-it-yourself news. Please feel free to add anything from the past 4 months to this news that you wish to share to the SOTA community and if you do manage to contribute, why not decide to become a regular contributor and let me know. In expectation that by the beginning of August we may actually have enough activity to report, be safe everyone. Watch this space!
73 Jim G0CQK.


A new chapter will open on Monday, May 11th in many regions of Spain regarding the lockdown conditions, which will allow SOTA activations within the province or isle of residence.
The following map shows the provinces or specific areas inside certain provinces starting Phase 1 on Monday, 11th of May.
The isle of Formentera in EA6 and the isles of La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa in EA8, which were at Phase 1 since last May 4th, will still remain at Phase 1.

For a perfect understanding of which are the EA SOTA regions, see this map:

People having their residence in areas at Phase 1, will be allowed to drive their car as far as they remain always within the province or isle of residence and practise individual sports like mountaneering between 6h and 23h (local).

Starting Monday next week (May 11th), we shall expect activations from EA.
Following the key sentences in the BOE taking me to the conclusion that SOTA activations will be permitted in zones at Phase-1: