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Activating and the Int.Grid Square activity


Hi all,

I just wanted to see what other activators and our chasers thought about this year’s new activity (International Grid Square) along with activating a summit. Personally, in the past I have uploaded all my contacts to LoTW, though I know many in SOTA do not. However, I’ve only ever changed the county I’m in and have not included the grid square. I’ve been pondering whether or not it would be too much a pain to include the (4-digit) grid square each time. Then again, I’m sure many summits are in areas with low populations that would be very desirable to chasers (and perhaps may even get a few new chasers involved in SOTA while looking for grid squares).

Just in case you’re wondering, the exchange of grid squares on air is not required, just the contact confirmed in LoTW.

Chasers, what are your thoughts? Have any other activators thought about doing this?

Just curious, thanks for the input!

73/72, Mike AC0PR


Aha, this is some ARRL idea for 2018. http://www.arrl.org/international-grid-chase-2018

The database has the Maidenhead locator / grid square listed for every summit.


I have been doing this for sometime when I upload my contacts to LoTW. It does require you to make a new station location if the gridsquare is different than your QTH. I always make a new station location for each summit and include the gridsquare.


Hi Mike,

I think it is a very good idea to include the grid square when uploading the QTH info to LotW. I’ve always done it, along with the county, for the few (20) summits I’ve been able to activate.

You made a good point that some of the summits may be in rarer grids so it may help to generate greater interest in SOTA for those pursuing the grid square award program. And this also reinforces the value of uploading activator QSOs to LotW, although it may be a bit of a pain, especially for those that do a lot of activating.

73 and Happy New Year to all!
Randy, ND0C


I was thinking the same, except the ARRL’s grid square chase only goes to the 4th. character - which covers a lot of area, so as well as a SOTA summit a grid square is likely to also contain several populated areas in most cases.
Of couse trips to less populated areas (such as DXPedition type trips) may also be targets for grid square chasers.

The fact that all SOTA summits have the maidenhead grid squre in the SOTA database of course means that chasers can easily get this information if they want to use the SOTA contact to claim a new grid square.

73 Ed.


Obviously our six character locators are going to be more than adequate for the ARRL, but I have wondered in the past if they are adequate for SOTA? I seem to remember that the microwave people prefer to work to eight characters (Andy, is that still true?) so perhaps that is what we should list.


There’s a nice description on Wikipedia. Something like JO01 identifies a “square” of 1° lat by 2° long and JO01AB gives a square 2.52.5’ lat by 5’ long. The error in distancegiven by a 6 figure reference like JO01AB is at most 12.5km. The problem on the higher bands like 122GHz is that 12.5km is a damn good distance to work so you’d like more accuracy. Hence the use of 8 figure locators like JO01AB55 which gives a square of 15’’ by 30’’ which should be1.25km.

For the ARRL event JO01 would be more than enough accuracy.


Well, that’s a nice clarification to have! Their rule page seemed to say the call sign and grid square were required, with the signal report being optional. Does the SOTA exchange supersede this?

I’ve been uploading my logs to LotW for a while now, with proper county and grid square. Yes, it’s a pain. I hate doing it. But I also like having all of my log “ducks in a row.”

73, Rex KE6MT


Yes, I saw the same thing, so I contacted the ARRL awards folks since there seemed to be a disparity between their “tips” (no grid required) and the rules page (exchange includes grid). They said all contacts count and the grid is not required for it to be valid.

As SOTA is an activity where the grid is not normally exchanged, it still counts and does not need to be modified, same as with many contests–a grid doesn’t have to be added to the on-air exchange to be used for the grid chase activity. It does, of course, have to be uploaded to LoTW with the proper grid included though.

73, Mike


Great! I’ll continue doing my uploads, then. My thoughts regarding chasers, are that the serious ones will keep an eye on SOTAWatch for grids they want. I’ll continue on they way I’ve been doing things, but I might put in a little bit of effort to see if I can activate a rare grid or three.

73, Rex


I do this as well as part of my workflow so I am happy to give some VE2 grids to chasers. :slight_smile:

73 and HNY,