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RSGB Outlines “New” Islands on the Air (IOTA) Vision, Seeks Partnership


Changes are in store for the Radio Society of Great Britain’s popular Islands on the Air (IOTA) program, as the RSGB repositions itself to assume a less-direct role in the award program’s management and administration going forward. The “New IOTA” will embrace the program’s international scope and likely include some online means of confirming contacts and claiming contact credits. For the time being, however, everything will remain as it is. This past July, IOTA marked its 50th anniversary as “a premier DX program” under the guidance of the RSGB and IOTA Manager, Roger Balister, G3KMA. The program boasts some 2500 active island chasers and another 15,000 or so casual participants. In September the RSGB announced that it had asked IOTA management to enlist a group or organization from within the IOTA community to take the program into its next 50 years.

“The main focus will be on the development of online island credit submission (paperless QSLing) as a new feature of the programme,” Balister explained in a September 27 post on the IOTA website. “The plan is then for this group to run IOTA in partnership with the RSGB. In the meantime no immediate policy, management or personnel changes are planned.”

The RSGB announcement from President John Gould, G3WKL, said that a review of the program identified three primary issues. These include a heavy reliance on a few key people, the need to ensure modern, robust IT support that “will include online island credit submission akin to LoTW,” and a requirement for a friendlier, more accessible website.

“The review accepted without question that all island and participant databases should be preserved and that any changes should be backwards-compatible,” Gould’s announcement said. “In addition, it was important to seek ways to rejuvenate and ensure the sustainability of the program. This vision we loosely called ‘New IOTA.’”

Gould explained that the RSGB is seeking a “partnership rather than a top-down approach,” and that the RSGB Board has agreed that the IOTA team be invited to establish a group to develop and implement the “New IOTA” concept, with the RSGB providing seed money and “other appropriate support.”

“This approach acknowledges that the strength of the program lies with its national and international participants whom, we are assured, have the motivation, skills and enthusiasm to develop the program and to promote it to its full potential,” Gould continued. “This way forward has the full support of the IOTA team and has been welcomed by the wider IOTA community both at home and abroad. “

According to Gould’s announcement, research and study to develop a plan for the “New IOTA” will take place over the next 9 months.

“The Society and the program’s management believe that the resulting governance structure, management processes and IT framework will ensure the IOTA program is not only sustainable into the next years of the 21st century,” Gould’s announcement concluded, “but continues to grow and play the prominent role that it has done in Amateur Radio DXing and contest activity for the last 50 years.”





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