the GM3VLB page

offering informal information on Amateur Radio operation from Scottish Islands
(specifically the SCOTIA, IOTA, WAB, WLH and CIsA programmes - and other schemes involving Scottish Islands)

Published by GM3VLB

NOTES / SUGGESTIONS / GUIDELINES FOR ACTIVATORS

(1) THE ACTIVATOR CERTIFICATE : (click here to view)
This certificate is designed to be similar to, yet at the same time be significantly different from, the Island Hunter Certificate.

(2) VISITORS :
Our general aim is to encourage amateur radio operation from Scottish Islands and we would extend a special welcome to visitors from out-with Scotland, especially to our European and DX friends. In the long-term, it would be our intention to try to help where possible by offering to lend or hire certain items of equipment to make /M or /P operation more manageable, especially to those arriving by air. Please don't hesitate to ask if you feel we might be able to help in some way.

(3) ISLAND CATEGORIES :
Our Scottish Islands can be divided broadly into two categories:
(a) Those with recognised public access; e.g. by road bridge or causeway, by air, or by passenger or car ferry - and for which there are normally no operating restrictions.
(b) Islands that are privately owned; either by individuals (UK-based or overseas), the islanders themselves, groups of individuals, wildlife protection bodies, the National Trust for Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Lighthouse Board, and other trusts. These islands will be highlighted in the list of qualifying islands (click here to view).

(4) PERMISSION TO LAND AND TO OPERATE :
No "Rules" can be laid down for activators wishing to visit any Scottish island. However, in order to maintain a good relationship with island owners or their representatives, we would recommend that all intending activators, whether participating in the SCOTIA programme or not, should observe one simple guideline:

IT IS A BASIC COURTESY FOR ANY ACTIVATOR WISHING TO OPERATE FROM ANY ISLAND IN CATEGORY (b) ABOVE, TO SEEK PERMISSION TO LAND AND TO OPERATE AND TO COMPLY WITH ANY SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS THAT THE OWNER(s), OR THEIR APPOINTED REPRESENTATIVE(s), MAY WISH TO IMPOSE.

It goes without saying that the bird nesting-season should be avoided, and that all rubbish should be brought back to the mainland and that great care should be taken with all naked flames.
Any activator wishing to have their QSL cards recognised for the purposes of the SCOTIA programme, whether participating in the Activator Award section of the programme or not, MUST obtain the permission outlined above.
This may either be granted directly by the owner(s), or by their officially delegated representative(s). Only in very rare circumstances would this be the boatman who might be used to "transport" you to the island. Note that the SCOTIA Awards Manager has currently operated from 201 different Scottish islands, and together with information from fellow activators, now has access to the greater majority of island owners. In cases of doubt, it is a very simple matter for a check to be carried out (as many of you will know he has done this in the past and will continue to do so in the future!).

(5) INSURANCE :
There have been cases where those carrying out activities on private land (not necessarily limited to amateur radio) have subsequently made a claim or tried to claim for damages from the owner(s) following an accident or material loss.
The SCOTIA programme organisers would like to remind intending visitors to Scottish Islands (be they activators or otherwise) that they, themselves, should be adequately insured. The SCOTIA programme organisers cannot be held responsible for any form of loss incurred.
Standard holiday-type insurance is, frequently, not adequate.
It is very useful to have Marine Band and GSM Cellular capability (in case of emergency) and to inform the Coastguard of your whereabouts, especially in the event of bad weather. The Coastguard are usually very helpful and understanding, and will often be happy to advise on severe weather.

(6) NUMBER OF CONTACTS :
For any island expedition to qualify, activators would normally be expected to make a minimum of 100 contacts, at least 50 of which must be with stations outside the UK and EIRE. If the required number is not obtained on the first visit, the number may be made up on a subsequent visit to the same island. (In exceptional circumstances, the Awards Manager may apply his discretion and reduce this requirement).
All members of an expedition (consisting of two or more operators) will qualify for individual, free, basic Activator Certificates - provided the team as a whole makes a minimum of 200 QSOs, with at least 100 of these made with stations outwith the UK and EIRE.

(7) LENGTH OF OPERATION :
We cannot be prescriptive. We can only suggest that short "hop on/hop off" operations which benefit only a few are to be discouraged and only lead to frustration for those not favoured by operating times or propagation. It is, however, recognised that overnight stays are much more complex and not within everyone's capabilities. Longer day-time operations should be considered as the next best alternative, but these are, of course, at the mercy of tides, boat transport, weather, availability of power and so on. Weekend operations will also tend to benefit a greater number of hunters.

(8) LIST OPERATION :
These too often degenerate into "3-way" assisted QSOs - in the extreme case, the "good contact" is often confirmed by the list-taker rather than the operators concerned.
Too often, the same stations appear at the top of the lists - sometimes even when they are not actually active at the time. Certain people might therefore be afforded special favours.

LIST OPERATION WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED FOR SCOTIA OPERATIONS
(see why)

A possible exception, and we appreciate that even this may be unacceptable to some, is where an activator, already operational on the island, requests that a list be taken, by a volunteer, on an adjacent frequency. The operator taking the list would eventually be asked, by the activator, to pass all or part of the list, in the order it was taken, and having done so would then play no further part in the procedure, unless further requests for additional lists are received.

(9) HUNTER AWARD CREDIT :
Each and every member of a team activating any island may claim credit for that island towards their SCOTIA Hunter Award, even though the overall operation may not qualify (through insufficient points) for the Activator Award.

 

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This web-site is the official site for the SCOTIA programme. It is to be in no way construed as the 'official' web-site for any other island award programme. The views and information presented here are those of GM3VLB. These views may not necessarily be those held by any other individuals or organisations. Please see the Legal Notice.
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VP8NJS