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

Introducing the new SCOTIA programme

The SCOTtish Island Award - the name Scotia goes back to the 11th century (a bit before radio hams!) and was given by our ancestors (the Irish!) to the south-western part of what is now Scotland, where they settled. We are all more familiar of course with Nova Scotia and perhaps the Scotia Sea and Scotia Ridge in Antarctica.

However, this is a relatively new amateur radio award for Scottish island hunters and activators. Within the context of the award, we have used the term "hunter" to include Short Wave Listeners or SWLs as well as those seeking to make 2-way amateur radio contacts or QSOs.

Back in 2002, André, GM3VLB, (many old-timers will know him better as 5Z4KL) somewhat reluctantly gave in to pressure from various sources and agreed to be the "front-man". Not only had he, at the time, activated 158 separate islands, but as the former Awards Manager of a national radio society, the holder of some of the earliest IOTA awards dating back to the late 60s/early 70s, the first recipient of the top Islands of Scotland Award, "Eilean Mhor" activator award, more recently, the winner of the coveted Russian Robinson Cup as the top island activator in the world during the Millennium year, André was surely well-qualified to oversee such an award programme.

Some may say there are already too many such awards. True, there ARE many island award programmes. However, the cost of the certificates and/or trophies (and some programmes have a never-ending number of these) is sometimes prohibitive, not only for younger members of the hobby, but also in many countries where the per-capita income expressed in $U.S. or IRCs is a fraction of what others may enjoy elsewhere. Many individual amateurs are to be congratulated for bearing the cost of many directories, certificates, trophies and other awards on behalf of our less fortunate fellow amateurs. To reduce cost further, it was decided to have no "Directory" - all information is on this web-site, and can be downloaded free of charge as required.

We will not lay claim to this being a "challenging" award programme - one would have to define exactly what "challenging" means - we will state though that it is our aim to make the certificate more accessible to a greater number of Scottish island hunters (especially out-with Europe). This will be achieved by creating a fairer "handicap" points scoring system, as well as by creating a "bonus points system". There are TWO distinct award certificates, one for Hunters/SWLs, and one for Activators, each with upgrade stickers (as for DXCC).

All QSOs or Short Wave Listener reports or island activations after the 1st of January 1996 may be submitted for award points. These may then be subject to further scrutiny at the discretion of the Awards Committee. QSL cards are required but should not be submitted at any point - see the relevant application forms for details of the independent certification process.

Whilst recognising the need to keep any such programme 'alive', when many participants may have almost "worked them all", we do not feel the way to achieve this is by "adding more islands" which are then knocked off in rapid succession, in a very short time by what we would call "minimalist" operations, i.e. short, mid-week operations to give Honor Roll-type points to the favoured few at the top (many probably retired, and using high-power stations). We feel it is better to encourage entry at the bottom, i.e. youngsters or newcomers who can "see the target" and feel that they too can achieve a top award in a reasonable time, and not be forever left behind by the repeated addition of 'new islands'. There will be no annual "Honor Roll" type of listing, nor 'cut-off' dates for updated submissions of points. If (and when) we are able to provide details of a more challenging award (for those who have attained the SCOTIA "Tartan 100 Certificate"), we will publish this on the web-site. In the meantime we will continue to show lists of all successful applicants (see the links at the end of this page).
(One possibility that was considered was to combine the 'number of islands' with the 'number of points', for example 32 islands with a points total of 127 would give a 'score' of 159. However, the idea that was finally adopted was to assign each island an 'achievability' score (low for easy, high for those less likely to be worked) and to calculate individual's scores on that basis).

We have enough rules and regulations in our daily lives without introducing any more through our hobby. We recognise of course that a certain minimum number of conditions must be satisfied to meet the requirements of the award. We hope all participants will strive to uphold the credibility and integrity of the award. QSOs/SWL reports for any activity known to have taken place without any required authorisation will NOT be recognised. It is easier to cheat, to try to circumvent conditions etc, but those who do, are only cheating themselves and sooner or later, if found out, will be publicly exposed.

SCOTIA Hunter Awards Issued
 DX Stations (outside Europe) European Stations (W.A.E.) UK / EIRE Stations

SCOTIA Activator and SWL Awards Issued

 All Activators Short-Wave Listeners
Home Page
Index Page
Our Aims
Award Details
Islands Available
 Awards Available
Activators Guide
Hunters Points
Activators Points
Hunters Form
Activators Form
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.
We are happy to receive any criticism, comments, or notice of errata - Webmaster : VP8NJS