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Third Party SOTA points

In reply to W5SMD:

Here is the response that I got:

"The SOTA Management Team has been discussing this matter in detail. It raises lots of interesting questions about the relationship between licensing and award eligibility. Ultimately, we have decided to continue with the way the programme has operated for the last ten years.

This means that your own operations towards credit in the awards must be carried out within the limitations of your own amateur radio licence. We understand that guest operators are permitted in many countries, but these QSOs belong, technically, to the supervising station, not the guest operator.

For instance, my son Jimmy M3EYP is limited to 10 watts and operation within the UK. He is studying for the higher classes of licence in order that he can undertake SOTA activations in mainland Europe, and chase from home with higher power. He could of course do both things as a guest operator under my callsign (M1EYP), but those contacts would belong to me, not him. It actually forms a very positive motivation to move up through the licence classes."

So I think the main point is that you can use another callsign (with the holder’s permission), but you only get points if you are using frequencies or power that apply to your callsign.

The answer of the MT is not only in contradiction with the current rules but also has a devastating impact on the activators/chasers using the German training call (Ausbildungsrufzeichen) with prefix DN.
Every German radio amateur can apply for a special training call (DN) which is solely for allowing unlicensed persons or hams with insufficient license class for that specific band to qso legally. Of course this has to take place under the direct supervision of the ham holding the DN license.
Up to now I thought using the DN-call for SOTA is ok but Tom’s M1EYP following statement made me rethink this:

Sorry Mike, you are wrong. In order to claim credit to your own activator
record, you must be operating under your own supervision, ie using a
callsign that your licence allows you to use under your own authority.
Unfortunately this idea is shared by the MT.

I agree with Stewart G0LGS that this is NOT covered by the current wording of the SOTA rules and I strongly hope this will not be changed in any way. In my opinion there are good arguments for not changing the rules:

Currently rule 3.7.1.11 reads:
"Activator points accrue to the operator regardless of the callsign used. The operator must be entitled to use the callsign."
Changing rules to Tom’s M1EYP opinion would be a 180° turn! I do not think changing rules arbitrarily is a good idea.

Regarding SOTA I can see no difference between using a club call or a special event call or a training call. In every case the qso is legal which is important of course and the activator/chaser is entitled to use the call sign. So what’s the problem?

I absolutely agree with OH6FQI and G0LGS who state the positive aspects of the current interpretation of the rules.

In contrast I have not read any sensible arguments for changing the rules or the interpretation given by the MT.

In reply to G8ADD:

The point is that you cannot enter an activation into the database if you
don’t have a callsign, Stewart, and if you don’t have access to the database
then you are not actually taking part in SOTA …
Wrong! There are two possibilities to enter it into the database:

  1. One uses the DN call to log the activation. Of course the supervising ham coordinates who logs which QSOs to the database.
  2. A ham with a license class not permitting this special QSO is registered with his personal call. In this case he uses his own account but logs with the callsign used. This is allowed due to “Activator points accrue to the operator regardless of the callsign used.”

Actually the database contains already far more than 200 QSOs of DN-calls and there is not the slightest problem with it. Of course not, the database does not notice the difference between a club call and a training call.

In reply to M1EYP:

In each case of which I am
aware, those concerned have contacted the MT directly with the query,
and were given a definitive answer by reply. So hopefully there won’t
be any skeletons in the closet, although I do acknowledge your point
about retrospectivity.

I do not know the supervisors/operators of the following callsigns and whether they were in contact with the MT. But in Tom’s opinion they are definitely skeletons in the closet, as they are logged using the training call:
DN2AP, 38 activations
DN3UL, 23 activations
DN1FDX, 4 activations
DN1HBN, 1 activation
DN1MDG, 1 activation
DN5JA, 2 activations

Finally:
Please remember amateur radio will only persist if we manage to fascinate people by showing them as many facets of amateur radio as possible. And “pass greetings messages” will definitely not suffice for this purpose.

73 de Michael, DB7MM

In reply to DB7MM:

The answer of the MT is not only in contradiction with the current
rules

Is it? Rule 3.7.1 clause 1 states:

“The Activator must hold an appropriate transmitting licence.”

There may be ambiguities about what “appropriate” means, but simple logic suggests that if you hold no transmitting licence at all, you cannot be an activator.

I think this is unfortunate, and seems inconsistent with the spirit of clause 11. I don’t think that a supposed shortcoming of the database is a good argument against it; I cannot in any case see any inherent reason why somebody who does not have a personal callsign should not have a database account. We all know that the database user name and the activation callsign are two different things anyway.

I reckon that the SOTA programme would be enhanced, and not diminished, if

a) 3.7.1 clause 1 were simply deleted (clause 2 is surely sufficient to ensure that operations are legal)
and
b) there were a canonical way for an individual without a personal callsign to register in the database.

If an administration allows a legal means for newcomers to get started in SOTA by operating under supervision, we should welcome them with open arms. Strewing boulders in their path is not helpful, IMHO.

SOTA has always had a way for unlicensed newcomers (or old-timers) to participate, and that is the SWL section. Furthermore, plans are in place to bring the SWL section into the Database alongside the chaser and activator sections, so unlicensed participants will indeed be able to have a Database account (that displays an SWL ident or a personal name, as opposed to a calsign).

SOTA is fully inclusive, in that it offers these three avenues for participation. And for those that wish to participate to a greater degree, then the entry route into amateur radio in most countries has never been more accessible IMHO.

SOTA’s tagline is “an award scheme for radio amateurs and shortwave listeners”, so there isn’t, and never has been any boulders strewn in paths of would-be participants.

Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1MAJ:

There isn’t a problem. The contacts are entered under the DNxxx call and the DNxxx account and points go to the DNxxx account. When this person gains a license with the permissions to use the power/mode/freq they used under the DNxxx call they delete the QSOs from the DNxxx account and enter them under their own account using the DNxxx call. They then get the points.

Thus the world’s Yin and Yang quotient remains balanced and the sky doesn’t fall in on us!

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to DB7MM:

In reply to G8ADD:

The point is that you cannot enter an activation into the
database if you
don’t have a callsign, Stewart, and if you don’t have access to
the database
then you are not actually taking part in SOTA …
Wrong! There are two possibilities to enter it into the database:

  1. One uses the DN call to log the activation. Of course the
    supervising ham coordinates who logs which QSOs to the database.
  2. A ham with a license class not permitting this special QSO is
    registered with his personal call. In this case he uses his own
    account but logs with the callsign used. This is allowed due to
    "Activator points accrue to the operator regardless of the
    callsign used."

I know nothing of the DN call, indeed this is the first I have heard of it, but in my opinion you can log the DN call into the database and claim the points as long as the mode used, power level and frequency used are within the terms of the DN licence. Your second point is also true, there is no contradiction with what I said as long as the contacts are in accordance with the terms of the licence.

The point about the interpretation offered by the MT is that an operator with a lower level licence can operate anybodies equipment and use another operators callsign, but the points earned are his only if that equipment and/or the host callsign are used on bands, modes and power levels appropriate to that lower level licence. To illustrate this, if an M6 accompanies a G3 on a hill, using say an FT-857D on 40 metres, the M6 can use the G3 call to operate, but he can only claim the points if he makes four contacts with the power held down to 10 watts or less, easily done with the FT-8x7 series and many others. If he operates at above 10 watts then his contacts can only score for the G3. This will hold for all administrations that regulate licence classes by power levels. Where administrations regulate by access to frequencies as in the USA then the lower level call can only claim the points if he operates on the frequency bands allocated to his licence class, contacts made outside these frequency bands can only be claimed by the upper level licensee. The purpose of this interpretation is to prevent lower level operators from gaining an unfair advantage over their fellows by tagging onto the coat tails of a higher level licensee.

73

Brian G8ADD

In reply to MM0FMF:

When this
person gains a license with the permissions to use the power/mode/freq
they used under the DNxxx call they delete the QSOs from the DNxxx
account and enter them under their own account using the DNxxx call.
They then get the points.

I suppose this works, though it isn’t really “right”, as the account under the DNxxx callsign would potentially be holding QSOs made by more than one person, and this isn’t really supposed to happen. It’s a bit clumsy to have to delete and re-enter the QSOs; it would be far more natural to enter them under a personal account (perhaps with a “temporary” account name) in the first place.

However a greater concern is that we seem to be hearing two different interpretations.

Andy says that the points can be claimed retrospectively when the person becomes licenced. Brian says that the person must be licenced at the time of the QSOs, citing a possible “unfair advantage” if somebody can operate outside the limitations of their personal licence (and by implication, lack of a personal licence).

Since SOTA is non-competitive, it’s not clear to me what “unfair advantage” there is. Different people have different constraints on what they can do for very many reasons; being able to use (say) a bit more power in exchange for being supervised seems to me to be a very minor matter. But that is beside the point: one of you says it’s OK, the other says it’s not.

I’m not sure whether either of you is intending to represent the MT formally, but your views seem to me to be not entirely consistent. I hope I haven’t misrepresented either of you; but if I have misunderstood then others probably have too.

In reply to M1EYP:

SOTA has always had a way for unlicensed newcomers (or old-timers) to
participate, and that is the SWL section.

True, but it’s not the same thing. It may well suit some people, but it isn’t really a path to encourage newcomers to activate.

It smacks a little of the attitude that you have to “serve your time” as an SWL for a few years before progressing to a licence. I know this has much to commend it: I did it and I suspect you did too. The experience was invaluable. But I think we have to move with the times and accept that it’s not the 21st century way things happen.

In reply to M1MAJ:

I think the area of confusion is the DN licence, I assumed that the DN license is issued to a person and that call will not be reissued until that person has moved on or until the period of issue runs out, whereas you are suggesting that it might be held by more than one person at a time. If held by one person for a period of time then Andy’s point is valid. I suggest we sort out what we are talking about before indulging in “he said” type discussions! Points referring particularly to one instance of licensing procedure should not be generalised from. This is how you have managed to totally miss the point about what I said. We are told that the DN is, whatever its limitations, a licence. Thus the holder is “licensed at the time of the QSOs” and there is no conflict.

With regard to your “minor matter” it seems to me that you have missed the point of what Tom said. By this interpretation a supervised QSO outwith the limitations of the supervised hams license is made by the supervisor for the purposes of the database. As simple as that, no spurious conflicts.

73

Brian G8ADD

In reply to M1MAJ:

It smacks a little of the attitude that you have to “serve your
time” as an SWL for a few years before progressing to a licence.
I know this has much to commend it: I did it and I suspect you did
too. The experience was invaluable. But I think we have to move with
the times and accept that it’s not the 21st century way things
happen.

I did, too - with the C&G RAE course taking up an academic year you had little choice but to spend months or even years listening to hams talking to each other. I must confess that the idea of anybody taking the trouble to study for a ham licence without ever having listened to hams talking on the air does rather mystify me, although I acknowledge that this might be possible in the USA where some public bodies get their employees to qualify for a ham licence for emcomm purposes, but that culture has not spread to this side of the pond. So, lighten my darkness, what is this molto misterioso 21st century approach where a person can get interested in becoming a ham without listening to hams on the air? :wink:

73

Brian G8ADD

In reply to G8ADD:

I think the area of confusion is the DN licence, I assumed that the DN
license is issued to a person

My understanding is that the DN callsign is issued to a person who already holds a licence, permitting them to supervise an indefinite number of otherwise unlicenced people to make QSOs using the DN callsign.

My reading of the existing rules is that a QSO made under one of these callsigns cannot be counted by anybody for points:

  • They cannot be counted by the person making the QSO, because they do not hold a licence - rule 3.7.1(1).

  • They cannot be counted by the licence holder, because they were not the person who made the QSO - rule 3.7.1(11). It is very clear in this rule that it refers to the “person” and not the “station”.

Perhaps you can square the circle by defining the “operator” to be the “supervisor”, but that doesn’t seem to be what others are saying, and certainly isn’t what the users of these callsigns seem to want.

In reply to G8ADD:

So, lighten my darkness, what is this molto misterioso 21st century
approach where a person can get interested in becoming a ham without
listening to hams on the air? :wink:

Well for starters, in the Cambridge University Wireless Society we recruit potential new amateurs from a stall at the freshers’ societies fair. Every year there are a few who express interest and get licenced very quickly (they’re inherently good at passing exams). It’s unlikely that they will be licenced before hearing any QSOs at all, but the point is that they haven’t spent a significant amount of time doing that.

Others have started from an interest in launching helium balloons into space.

I’m sure there are other examples.

In reply to M1MAJ:

Well for starters, in the Cambridge University Wireless Society we
recruit potential new amateurs from a stall at the freshers’ societies
fair. Every year there are a few who express interest and get licenced
very quickly (they’re inherently good at passing exams). It’s
unlikely that they will be licenced before hearing any QSOs at all,
but the point is that they haven’t spent a significant amount of time
doing that.

In a way I can see what you mean. Way back in the lower Jurassic when I was slowly toiling my way to my RAE I would have given - well, not my right arm, I needed it to play my clarinet, but quite a lot for a modern foundation licence, or even an American style novice licence. As for SWLing, it was fun listening in on the various activities, but the more structured form of SWLing was an invaluable exercise in the log keeping that was essential in those days but only needed now if you play seriously (SOTA, IOTA, DXCC etc etc!) Being a rather obsessive type I suppose that if I got interested today I would have spent every spare waking moment listening on the air, and that I cannot conceive of a modern aspirant not spending a lot of time listening probably tells more about me than it does about the current scene. Still, the SWL section is there for the serious listener. There won’t be huge numbers of them because the graduation time is so much shorter than it used to be!

73

Brian G8ADD

Here some clarification for the DN-call:
The DN-call is issued to the supervising operator, so literally he holds the license. On the other hand the supervising operator does not use it for his own QSOs as it is intended for the trainees only. The DN-call is not bound to a certain trainee but may be used for a unlimited number of trainees. Definitely the trainee is entitled to use the callsign.

In reply to M1MAJ:

If an administration allows a legal means for newcomers to get started
in SOTA by operating under supervision, we should welcome them with
open arms. Strewing boulders in their path is not helpful, IMHO.

This was my opinion up to now, too. But the MT seems to fear the fact of “gaining an unfair advantage” as G8ADD has put it in words. Probably I was not seeing SOTA as competitive as necessary.

In reply to G8ADD:

So, lighten my darkness, what is this molto misterioso 21st century approach
where a person can get interested in becoming a ham without listening to hams
on the air? :wink:
It is exactly the other way round: About 25 years ago amateur radio offered unique technical means (mobile communication/world wide communication). Today with all teenagers using mobile phones and internet telephony this technical means seem to be ordinary. So we have to put more effort in fascinating people of ham radio.

73 de Michael, DB7MM