Winter Bonus Question

Hello - I just activated a couple peaks over the last few weeks and I noticed I did not have any bonus points in the log, even though I think they were both done in during the winter period. One was in the W1/EM region and the other W1/DI. When I looked at the associated guide it defined winter bonus as “1 December to 15 March inclusive”.

Im a pretty new SOTA guy so it might be i did something wrong with my logs. If anyone can point me in the right direction, I would appreciate it.

Greg / KC1RID


What does the database say for the summits in question?

1-point summits …

Greg , 1pt summits don’t have a Winter Bonus, only 2pts and bigger get a bonus.


Cool - thanks.


Great to see your SOTA activity here in Maine! Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions or want to coordinate summit-to-summit contacts, etc.

73 de Jonathan “JB”

Well, that statement got me scurrying for information from the SOTA database on whether or not it may be true, most especially since I was awarded my very first winter bonus points just a couple of days ago after activating a 1-pointer. Could the DB have made a mistake there?

Not to worry - the DB summit page for the summit in question has this to say on the matter:

Association: Germany (Alpine), Region: Mangfallgebirge
Latitude: 47.8272, Longitude: 11.74925
QTH Locator: JN57ut
Valid From: 1 Mar 2004
Valid To: 1 Jan 2025
Bonus Period: 3 points between 1 December and 31 March
CQ Zone: 14

Looks like my extra 3 points are safe, and I can go and (re)activate a few more 1-pointers around here for the bonuses. I’ve never interested myself in this question until a short while ago, hence my need to check.

Further research indicates that your statement is certainly true for Scottish summits, and also for W1/EM and W1/DI summits, but not everywhere. Good to know.

EDIT: just checked W0C/FR summits, where bonus points are awarded only to 4-pointers and above. So, awarding of bonus points is very dependent on where one activates.

Bonus points depend on the height of the summit. So, with different associations awarding different points for the same height, the bonus point threshold varies by association.

I think you mean bonus points depend on the (average) height of summits in an association. Otherwise your statement would have 10-pointers in an association getting more bonus points than lesser summits, and so on?


Another point for your information Greg
If the summit shows in the database that it should receive winter bonus points and you are not allocated them, it could be that you activated that same summit between Jan and Mar 2023 and the Winter Bonus for a summit is only applied once per calendar year (i.e. not season).
That of course, means that you can qualify a winter bonus summit on December 31st (UTC) and camp over to January 1st (UTC) and get the winter bonus for both years in one trip. (noting as before that you haven’t already got the “2023 Winter Bonus” for that particular summit).
At the same time qualifying before and after the year change gives the activator the “summit points” for the summit for 2023 and 2024. As Midnight UTC is mid-morning in Australia, this is a favourite time to activate in VK.

73 Ed.


There is something here that needs clearing up. The General Rules state in 3.11.1 Seasonal Bonus Option that “A winter bonus shall only apply to Expeditions to the higher Summits, a summer bonus will apply to all summits, and in all cases will be three points.” It seems likely that an error has crept in somewhere! Going to the ARM for DL we see that indeed the minimum height for the winter bonus is given as 800 metres, which is odd as the one point band is given as less than 1000m so only the higher one point summits get the winter bonus. In the adjacent OE Association the bonus kicks in at the six point band at 1400m, in HB the bonus kicks in at the four point band at 1500m, and the same goes for F. I suspect that there is a misprint in the DL ARM and the bonus should kick in at 1800m, but this will be looked into.


Hi Greg,
See ARM for W1 … Bonus is for 800 Meters or higher summits meaning that 2 point or higher summits qualify for the winter Bonus. Nice to see another ham active in SOTA! Let me know if you have any questions. Bob AC1Z, W1 SOTA Manager of AM, GM, HA, MV & NL regions.
See below:
"Association parameters 1
Summit operation criteria
Operation must be within 25 meters vertically of the summit
Band 1, score 1 point
< 800 m asl
Band 2, score 2 points

=800 m asl <900 m asl
Band 3, score 4 points
=900 m asl <1000 m asl
Band 4, score 6 points
=1000 m asl <1100 m. asl
Band 5, score 8 points
=1100 m asl <1200 m. asl
Band 6, score 10 points
=1200 m asl
Seasonal bonus
Yes, 3 points
Bonus rational
Winter period with highest probability of freezing temperatures, ice and snow
Min. height for bonus
800 m
Bonus period dates
1 December to 15 March inclusive

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Thanks for all the information - I really appreciate it. I am having fun hiking and playing with the radio so the points are just a nice excuse to try some new hikes. I live in downeast Maine so there are tons of peaks arounds, but they are all 1 pointers. I need to drive 3-4 hours to get to a 2+ point one, so that requires a bit more planning. I have a few trips already in mind!

I am definitely up for some S2S coordination, but I am not sure how regular I will be over the winter. During nicer weather I try to do a peak a week.


Brian, you might also look into the DM/BM, DM/BW, DM/HE, DM/NS, DM/SA and DM/TH regions, where the bonus points start at 900 meters. You might also ask why it is that DM/BM has 73.8% of its’ summits in the 6, 8 and 10 points range, or why DM/BW has 88.1% of its’ summits in the 6, 8 and 10 points range, many of them with easy access - who came up with those very convenient fill-your-pockets-with-points ranges? In contrast, DL/BE has 18.6% of its’ summits having 6, 8 or 10 points, and DL/MF has 45.4% in the same range - “alpine” areas, mind!

If you did get the DL ARM to change, so that bonus points were to kick in at 1800m (where did you get that number from?) instead of the 900m as it is at present (look at the actual DATA Brian, which show the 900m cut-off, not some document), then that would leave DL/BE having just one summit out of 27 with bonus points, DL/CG with 3 out of 57, DL/EW with 5 out of 16, DL/MF with 7 out of 66 - again, “alpine” regions. And yet, good old G/NP would still have 25 out of 29, G/LD would still have 35 out of 55, G/SP would still have 8 from 16. Nothing like sticking it to those continentals, eh?

Looks like there’s plenty for you to do over the holidays Brian in order to prevent - shock, horror - 𝖕𝖊𝖔𝖕𝖑𝖊 𝖌𝖊𝖙𝖙𝖎𝖓𝖌 𝖙𝖔𝖔 𝖒𝖆𝖓𝖞 𝖕𝖔𝖎𝖓𝖙𝖘!! Assuming, of course, you can get all those AMs to agree with you…

Hi Rob,

the DB has implemented what the Associations have decided in terms of Bonus Period and Bonus Height. Based on their local knowledge. Documented in the Association Reference Manual. Same for the Bands for the Points.

So if you want to understand these thresholds and their history you can contact the AM (or a RM) and ask him for an explanation. You may ask for a change and he may balance your request (some democracy exists here) with the requests from others.

Hi Brian,
800m isn’t a typo, it is based on the fact that in the Alps during the Winter period due to cold and (often) snow there is extra effort needed by activators even for one-pointers. Based on the ‘high likelyhood for sub-zero temperatures’ in this period as described in the ARM. It hopefully motivates activators to offer points for chasers even in cold/snow. Other Associations may have decided other thresholds based on their local knowledge.

BTW, it was published in the reflector before, that activators with disabilities during bonus period once a year were able to earn these 3 Bonus Points on easy 1- or 2-Pointers which helped them over many, many years to achieve their goal in terms of points.

73 andy DL2DVE (RM of DL/MF)


Rob, one perceived problem at a time!

Since 800m seemed against the intentions of the GR I took into consideration that it could be a typo, the simplest typo would be omitting the “1”, supporting evidence was that 1800m was the start of the 8 point band. This is improbably high, but other alternatives needed a more improbable typo. 1800m was not advocated, it was a query.

But the GR, 3.12.4 states that the GR has precedence over the ARM in case of any conflict. It isn’t a matter of stopping people from getting too many points, Rob, let alone “sticking it to those continentals” so don’t be insulting - your own examples show otherwise - It is a matter of trying to insure that the provisions of the GR are applied in all cases because otherwise what is the point? Without adherence to the GR SOTA would be a program where anything goes.

Hi Andy. It appeared to be a typo or a mistake of some sort because (a) it went against the GR 3.11.1 which reserves the WB for the higher summits, and (b) it was out of step with the adjacent alpine Associations. I would have to dig into the Wx stats to see if DL is actually colder or snowier than adjacent regions in OE or HB, but it may just be that DL is a very early Association and the MT were less rigorous in those days, when things like summit lists and point bands suggested by AMs were much harder to check because the online data was much less plentiful…a problem that to this day is causing delays starting Associations in the Far East.

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Knock yourself out, Brian.

In much the same way as the G regions…

Personally, I’m wondering why SOTA has AMs/RMs at all if their decisions are to be questioned all the time. Why doesn’t the MT just take all that AM/RM work and and do it themselves? Cut out the middle-man? It’s your party after all…

In any case Brian, you’re surely going to have to update your SOTA website About page profile: Reflector Moderator, Wx Researcher, Summit Points Allocation Manager, …, the sky’s the limit.

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Is not reliable? I just find the summit on the map, click on the “More” button and then look at the point value at the top of the page. If there is a bonus for that peak it will show up as a “+N” and when you hover over it the valid date range will show.

Tut, Tut, Rob. The G regions are tied to an authoritative source which not only has the latest data but also initiates re-surveys. You’re getting a little tetchy, Rob, is the Xmas shopping getting you down? Take care, mate. :smiley:

Just telling it like it is, Brian. Have fun with your rules book.