Sunday, April 12, 2009

SOTA Cheaters

There is a bit of discussion going on now among participants in my Wainwrights On The Air (WOTA) scheme. It seems that "chasers" - the participants who sit at home and contact the hill-top portables (activators) for points - are making several contacts with each portable using multiple calls - perhaps an older call of their own plus a couple of club calls they are allowed to use - thus enabling the activator to make the four contacts required for an activation to count just by contacting one station. This practise is apparently widespread among VHF activators taking part in Summits On The Air (SOTA) and so it has been carried over by default into WOTA.

Most people taking part in the discussion feel the ethics of the practise are dubious, but because it has become widely used, and because it reduces the chance that an activation made early in the morning or from a low hilltop with a poor VHF take-off fails to count for activator points, it is accepted. But I wonder if this is really what was intended by whoever made the SOTA rule that activators must make 4 contacts for the activation to count? If contacts with the same person using 4 different calls is acceptable, why not just change the rule to require one valid contact and be done with it?

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