The final accent and a SOTA contest

There has been much discussion recently on the VK SOTA yahoo group about two topics in particular. These discussions are good and promote a sense of self-management within the SOTA group.

One topic has been where one chooses to operate from and how does a car fit into this picture. To get an understanding of this issue one needs to first consider the written rules that govern the SOTA award. These rules have been crafted over the many years and, one presumes, have considered most of the scenarios that may arise. I don’t think there is anything particularly unique about Australian summits that wouldn’t occur elsewhere. Except of course the risk associated with certain marsupials such as kangaroos and wallabies. But I digress.
The SOTA rules are comprised of two documents. One is the general rules for SOTA, intended to provide global rules for the activity, and the other is the Association Reference Manual that addresses, in some detail, the local requirements.
Regarding how one can access a summit, and still qualify as an activation, the general rules cover this in section 3.7.1 – 3
“The method of final access to the Summit must be non-motorised. Operations must not be in, or in the vicinity of a motor vehicle. No part of the station may be connected in any way to the motor vehicle.”
The VK3 ARM address the issue in rule 2.3
“The Australia – Victoria (VK3) Association defines the SOTA Activation Zone as an
unbroken area within 25 vertical meters of the summit. The final ascent to the activation zone shall be made only by non-motorised means (walking, climbing, skiing, cycling, on horseback, etc).”
Combining these two rules I have arrived at the following practical application.
My interpretations:
Activation zone – an area enclosed by a line, contour if you wish, 25 m vertically below the absolute peak of the hill.
Final ascent – the journey one makes immediately before setting up a station and operating.
Non-motorised means – access by some method that does not involve a motor.So, one must enter the activation zone using a method that does not involve a motor. Pretty simple.
If you park your car within the activation zone you would need to take all your gear out of the car, walk, cycle, ski, out of the activation zone and then re-enter it.

I really don’t see too much room for variation in these rules.
What I need to ensure is that my operations going forward meet these criteria.
The second issue being discussed is the creation of a SOTA contest.
I like contests and I like SOTA but I am not too sure a SOTA contest is a good idea. While it will probably encourage more SOTA activity and promote the award to a wider audience, it may also create a lot of work for someone and some unreasonable expectations from others.
There are numerous boutique contests in VK and ZL that suffer from lack of organisational support.
Contests that are poorly publicised, have constantly changing rules, contest managers that crack it and walk away, email addresses that don’t work, email servers that crash and delete entries, dates that change year after year, web sites that are out of date, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
Given that the VK SOTA community currently numbers less than 50 I doubt there is sufficient logistic support for a contest that could have world wide appeal.
If limitted to VK only then it may be too small to survive. There is a limit to how long you can call “CQ contest” with no response. If publicised well and it goes world wide, is there enough support to manage it?
As an alternative I suggest a couple of sprints. Held over two X one hour periods on 40 m only. One on Saturday afternoon, one on Sunday morning. Only contacts made to or from VK SOTAs would be eligible.
I think this would achieve the aim of increasing publicity and participation but would keep the whole deal manageable for the numbers available to support it.


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