Huh? What's Going On Here Then?
Welcome to SOTASTARS!
This is a side project of Chris, ZL4RA (Radio Runner on YouTube).
It's a goofy awards system that gives ham radio operators that run around in the mountains sweet little pixel badges for being badasses.
I spent my 2020/21 Christmas break by the beach writing this little tool. To begin with I just wanted a First Activation count for each Summits on the Air activator (which isn't available) but I knew I could figure it out based on the data provided.
The next thing I knew I was building an awards/badge platform for SOTA
This isn't an "officially endorsed product" - I just pull a whole boat load of SOTA data and process it to generate the statistics used to award the badges. I've been in talks with the SOTA Management Team about the project though and explained what I was doing. They didn't hit the roof so I guess that's a good start! :)
Now, I know what you're thinking.
Why would a strikingly handsome, shockingly intelligent, world class athlete such as myself spend all that time making something like this when you could be sitting on a beach drinking chai lattes and whatever else cool people do?
That's a great question, thank you for not asking it.
I love the outdoors, I love radio - naturally I love the SOTA program.
I want to see growth and engagement, and so I figured the strongest way to promote those goals was to gamify it.
I also wanted to build something which wasn't so "mountain goat" focused.
I know plenty of folks out there who don't have the ability to get out there and farm summit points, be that reason geographic, physical, age related or otherwise.
I wanted to award people for doing things they actually enjoyed doing, or could physically do.
Maybe you dig racking up big QSO counts, we've got badges for that.
Maybe you like multi-mode operations, we've got badges for that.
Maybe you only hit 1 point summits, we've got badges for that.
Love you UHF contacts? we've got badges for that.
Enjoy exploring other regions and associations? we've got badges for that too.
Are first activations are your thing? We've got that too.
You might not have the most summit points in the world, but you can be the local SSB, or CW, or VHF QSO count champ.
I've also tried to focus on small increments, so you'll get rewarded for your efforts often.
It could ultimately also be adapted for chasers, who are no less important, I just needed to focus on a smaller task initially!
New awards are being loaded into the system all the time.
And that's really it!
This is my gift to the activators of Summits on the Air given with no strings attached, in an attempt to get the world more engaged with their stunningly beautiful and precious outdoor environment, and promote amateur radio.
73 my friends and I'll catch you on the air!