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Alerts - limited value?


#1

I have noticed that SOTA activations these days rarely materialise at the “alert time”, or even close to it. I really wonder if there is any value in posting an alert when there is little likelihood of the activator coming on the air at the scheduled time.

Yet again, this morning, I monitored 2m for an activation which had been listed in the alerts table for a specific time. I gave up, having heard nothing, after 40 minutes. Subsequently, I saw the activation had been spotted almost one hour later than the “alert time” - so I had missed it … again! Very frustrating.

It is for this reason that I have given up posting alerts in advance of my own activations. I prefer to leave my arrival time on the summit totally flexible and just rely upon a spot, in real time, when I actually come on the air.

73,
Walt (G3NYY)


#2

In reply to G3NYY:

Hi Walt - this thread has come up many times in the past - the very reason I no longer post alerts. Some people confuse UTC or GMT woth local time, however in this case it would have made them an hour earlier. Maybe traffic delays & a longer walk than usual for a 1 pointer contributed to the delay.
73


#3

In reply to G1INK:

I no longer post alerts.

Hi Steve

Your memory is failing you; you posted an alert yesterday for The Roaches. Hope the knee is okay - and I can help you take more of Mike’s money.

73

Richard
G3CWI


#4

In reply to G1INK:

I agree with you, Steve. However, someone has emailed me to say they do value the ability to post alerts because it offers some reassurance in the event of an accident, as others will then have some idea where they are.

Another point of view, I suppose … but is anyone really going to send out a search party if an activator posts an alert then doesn’t show up at the appointed time? I have my doubts …

73,
Walt (G3NYY)


#5

From my point of view I find them useful, planning how to avoid shopping with the XYL is always accepted if I can show how many stations will be active Hi Hi.

An hour adrift either way, makes no odds,

73 Kevin
G0NUP


#6

In reply to G3NYY:

Yet again, this morning, I monitored 2m for an activation which had
been listed in the alerts table for a specific time. I gave up,
having heard nothing, after 40 minutes.

I don’t know if one of those was mine, but I wasted an 3/4 hour on G/CE-005 calling on 2m FM and SSB this morning, with nothing to show for it.

I probably should have known better alerting for 2m on Wendover given my previous record there, but ho-hum… 10W doesn’t seem to get far…

Even worse was that my portable HF antenna was showing HSWR on all bands, so I retired to the car to use the vehical whip, and I simply called CQ WFF (was answered first call) and logged 140 QSOs on 40m and 20m over the next two hours, despite the erratic conditions.

Sadly under SOTA rules, despite being about 15m from the trig-point, it was now not valid for SOTA…

But perhaps you are right… if Alerts are to be treated as gospel, then maybe I won’t bother in future…


#7

In reply to G3NYY:

but is anyone really going to send out a search party if an activator
posts an alert then doesn’t show up at the appointed time? I have my doubts …

I’ll think you’ll find there would be a number of worried people if, as a SOTA activator, you had a record of hitting your alert times and then you don’t show. I know when I was unable to activate a summit I had alerted and was also unable to advise why not a few people let me know they would have contacted mountain rescue etc. if I hadn’t posted something by that evening.

I don’t rely on it but it is reassuring to know people are aware of your plans. I make sure someone knows what my intentions are and possible routes and choices. I always let whoever know when I get back to the car. Though sometimes it can be 30-40mins after you get to the car and start driving before you get into mobile coverage zones!

Andy
MM0FMF


#8

In reply to G3NYY:

One dictionary definition of “Alert”

“A condition or period of heightened watchfulness or preparation for action”

I’m in favour of them, however people need to understand that they are often posted several hours in advance and often without any opportunity to edit them if circumstances change.

So, treat them in the spirit with which they were intended. Either be thankful and use them or ignore them.

Colin G8TMV


#9

In reply to G3NYY:

I found the F/AB-001 alert today very useful :slight_smile:

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL


#10

In reply to M6ADB:

I simply
called CQ WFF (was answered first call) and logged 140 QSOs on 40m and
20m over the next two hours, despite the erratic conditions.

Sadly under SOTA rules, despite being about 15m from the trig-point,
it was now not valid for SOTA…

Every cloud has a siver lining Andrew, at least you don’t have to log 140 QSOs into the database :wink:

73
Mike 2E0YYY


#11

In reply to MM0FMF:

I’ll think you’ll find there would be a number of worried people if, as a SOTA activator, you had a record of hitting your alert times and then you don’t show.

Well, what has happened on several occasions when I have been out on my own is that my mobile has rung. When I have answered, I have spoken to a relieved chaser at the other end. In one case, I was running just 30 minutes late. Several of the 2m SSB regulars have my number and keep tabs on my movements. I have also used my mobile to advise of a change of itinerary or an issue that has arisen, both via a chaser and direct via Spotlite.

In my experience, chasers certainly appreciate activators appearing at their alerted times. Indeed, only yesterday the issue of punctuality was mentioned while Paul G4MD and I were doing the round of St Sunday Crag - Fairfield - Seat Sandall and I received thanks from several chasers for us being on air pretty well spot on time. In return, I must applaud the helpfulness of chasers - when I asked for it to be reasonably quick, that’s what I got. It works both ways.

Living so far from the summits, it would be no use whatsoever if we made a guess at what time we might be on the summits. I certainly learnt that the hard way back in 2006 when I was “learning the ropes”. Both Paul and I base our alerts on well considered itineraries which take into account travel times, ascent and descent times (based on a well tried and tested algorithm matched to our abilities), weather and seasonal factors. Adding in a bit of bunce by rounding times up certainly helps and we do not consider this to be a failing. It provides a bit of flexibility for those days when there is an absolute pile up, one of us ends up scratching about for contacts or something as simple as our legs don’t work as well as we expect them to!

While I sympathise with Walt’s original post, nothing in life is guaranteed and SOTA is no exception. Annoying it might be, but that’s just how it is.

73, Gerald G4OIG


#12

In reply to G3NYY:

I’ll take the hint and be silent in future.

C’mon Walt, we both know that won’t happen :slight_smile:

But back to the original point, Alerts are there to help chasers find the activators, and therefore help activators qualify summits.

For whatever reason, my alert didn’t result in any takers on 2m - I was QRV at the alerted time, just no-one heard me. As a result (and a defective antenna) I didn’t qualify the hill today :frowning:

But this means I have an excuse to go back :slight_smile:

Maybe I should email a few peeps my mobile number so we could have a 1.8GHz repeater QSO…


#13

In reply to G3NYY:

Guys, keep it friendly, or I shall start using the “Edit” button!

I rarely post an alert because I do most of my activating whilst on meets of the climbing club that I frequent, few of these huts have any mobile signal - one I was at recently could contact one service if you stood on the bedroom window ledge! However, as a chaser I take note of all except CW alerts and keep an ear cocked for them. As a superannuated mountaineer myself I know better than to expect precise timing, even rocks made slippery by a bit of drizzle will slow you down appreciably!

73

Brian G8ADD


#14

In reply to G3NYY:
I think alerts are still a good idea…and this is from someone with lousy timekeeping! I agree activators should try and stick to their timings, but that isn’t always possible…Maybe there should be a facility to say ‘approx’? (other than the comments bit)

As an aside, and I know it’s a while since I’ve activated anything, but try activating an SB summit, mid week, on 2m with no alert. You may just manage to qualify with FM, but probably no contacts on SSB!!

At least with an alert SOMEONE may be listening…

Rob (G1TPO)


#15

Hi Rob,

I activated all the G/SB SOTA last week except The Cheviot G/SB-001 which I activated when I did the Pennine Way back in 2006. I qualified all the G/SB summits I activated last week on 2m FM except Housedon Hill G/SB-010 where I had to do 40m SSB to qualify the summit. I did put alerts on SOTAwatch for which G/SB summits I would be activating on which day, but I do not stick to the days and times I alerted for each for the G/SB summits.

Jimmy M3EYP


#16

In reply to thread:

I’ve been thinking about it, and I reckon that except on the lowest hills worth a point or perhaps two, nobody should expect any sort of precision out of an alert time. Think about it, a guy activating a summit for the first time and knowing nothing more than can be gleaned from a 1:25000 map and perhaps a few brief comments on somebody else’s activation report, he has no better guide to give a summit time than Naismyths Rule, and that is pretty approximate as it takes no account of the WX, loose scree, deep heather or bracken and how much awkward summit rock you have to teeter over! Many a time I have had to hunker down and wait while a hailstorm rattles over, or poked my head over the skyline on a ridge and nearly had it blown off by an unsuspected strong wind, or found myself making very slow progress over verglassed rock, and this sort of thing can happen even on hills that you have walked many times. This unpredictability is part of the fun of hill walking, but it can play hob with timetables!

You have to accept that a hill walk can have a timetable that is even more approximate than a railway or bus!

73

Brian G8ADD


#17

In reply to G8ADD:

Think about it, a guy activating a summit for the first time and knowing nothing more than can be gleaned from a 1:25000 map and perhaps a few brief comments on somebody else’s activation report

Hmmm, can Paul and I, and also quite a few other Uniques activators, claim to be experts in not-knowing? :slight_smile:

Naismyths Rule… it takes no account of the WX, loose scree…

Oi, did you have one of those micro-cameras secreted on my backpack yesterday? The descents from Grasmoor to Rannerdale and from Fairfield down to the col before the “interesting” ascent of Seat Sandall certainly were more challenging than expected, but we kept to time. My ankles ache today. Bunce in an itinerary is a beautiful thing - no-one complains if you arrive early on a summit!

This unpredictability is part of the fun of hill walking, but it can play hob with timetables!

Hence why itineraries should take some account of the likely weather forecast. Then the so-called “specialists” go and let you down by getting it completely wrong.

73, Gerald G4OIG


#18

In reply to M3EYP:
Hi Jimmy…yes I listened out for you when I could, but work and a hectic weekend got in the way!!

So no joy


#19

In reply to G3NYY:

So speaks the experienced SOTA activator with six activations under
his belt this year.

Well if you had to travel 150 km to reach any summit you might only manage a few summits a year.

Colin


#20

In reply to G8TMV:

Guys, as the alert is for the information, the benefit of the chasers, the frequency of activations by anybody making a comment is an irrelevance, so this aspect of the thread stops here, it is not in keeping.

73

Brian G8ADD wearing his moderator titfer.