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Callsign/P when in SOTA or not


In reply to W4DOW:

The main point of the thread wasn’t whether activators should use “/P” or not. (That was answered in the first reply. It’s optional these days. Soon as something’s optional, some folk will opt not to.) It was about spotters causing confusion by adding “/P” to callsigns when the activator concerned is not giving “/P” as part of his callsign.

Please post spots as accurately as possible. If the activator is not giving “/P” (or whatever) as part of his callsign, then please don’t add “/P” in the spot…

73, Rick M0LEP


In reply to M0LEP:

It was
about spotters causing confusion by adding “/P” to callsigns when the
activator concerned is not giving “/P” as part of his callsign.

Thank you.


In reply to EA2IF:

I gave it some thought a while back. And I decided to not do it at all. As others have mentioned, some QSL to callsign/P, and others QSL to callsign. If you are only worried about paper QSLs, then no problem.

BUT… if you use LoTW or E-QSL, it may make quite a difference.

I chose to not complicate it. I am KD5KC, and that is all.

Vy73 - Mike - KD5KC.
El Paso, Texas - DM61rt.
W5-SOTA Association Manager.


In reply to KD5KC:
Yes, Mike, that’s the easy way but it doesn’t solve the issue with LOTW and eQSL confirmations.
Your accounts on either LOTW or eQSL are associated to a QTH Locator.
If you want to be accurate, you’ll have to create a new account on each of both systems telling the operation dates and Locator for each single SOTA activation. In case you also upload your logs to QRZ and other similar systems, then the nightmare is huge and the administrative work becomes unmanageable, so you’ll surely loose either your mood for more SOTA activations or for eQSL/LOTW/etc. confirmations…
The later is the most likely to happen first…


In reply to EA2IF:

The simplest solution is not to QSL. I don’t QSL by card and I don’t QSL electronically. I’ve not been QSLing since the day I was licenced in 1990 and some 23yrs 9months later I still don’t regret deciding to not QSL.

I consider the anguish I have saved by not having chase to some DXpedition for a card, I consider the hassle saved by not having to find greenstamps or IRCs, I smile at the grief saved by not needing a plethora of accounts to get past restrictions in QSLing systems. It’s also saved a fair amount of expense.

Yes, not QSLing is the way to go.

Andy, MM0FMF
(sri no qsl ere)


In reply to MM0FMF:

Classic thread hijack going on here.


In reply to G1INK:

I think this has merged with the other thread from EA2IF.



In reply to MM0FMF:
I agree, Andy. I’m sure you are happier, :wink:
That’s why I feel like stopping electronic confirmations when I’m on /P activities, either SOTAs, short holidays or whatever short in time and little in number of QSOs.
I’d just upload the log for my base QTH activity.
May be neither this in the future…


Dear SOTA mates, with my best intention I’m going to revive this old thread.
On the following screenshot taken today you’ll see that neither N4QYI nor NM5S wrote their callsigns with /P neither in their ALERTS nor in N4QYI selfspot, nor when transmitting -RBN picked and KU6J spotted NM5S without /P- but, for some reason, our colleague W4DOW has spotted them both with /P although he wrote on this old thread he would stop doing it and so he did for some time. Why have you, Dow, started doing this again?
On the other hand, while WA2USA alerted himself with /P and he was transmitting so -RBN picked and KU6J spotted WA2USA/P- he’s been spotted by WX4ET without /P.

Dow’s posts have been removed from this old thread but I’ve been able to find this reply, where a key part of Dow’s post was quoted.

Dear Dow and all, spotting callsigns different to what the activators have alerted and are transmitting is just confusing.

Please, try to spot callsigns just as transmitted by the activators.

Thank you!

Best 73 de Guru - EA2IF


RBNGate spots the callsign actually heard by the skimmers (with or without the “/P” as the actual case may be). Although the skimmers do occasionally bust a callsign, it is highly unlikely that a skimmer would either append a “/P” when none was sent, or omit the “/P” entirely if it was sent.

Since October 2013, I’ve been maintaining a log of every spot ever posted to SOTAWatch, and that log can be imported into my local database for analysis. Here is some interesting data:

Since October 20, 2013 W4DOW has posted a total of 1,039 spots. Of those, 1,016 (97.8%) of his spots have included the “/P”. Of the 23 spots that Dow posted without the “/P”, 10 of them already had portable suffixes such as “/W1” which the activator likely sent, and for which appending a “/P” would be superflous. In one other instance he intended to include “/P” but had a typo in his spot (“VA2VL.P”). If we exclude his 10 spots with portable suffixes and add his typo spot to his /P total, it means that 1017/1029 = 98.8% of his spots are of the “/P” variety.

During that same period, RBNGate posted 26,850 spots and only 17,504 of them (65.2%) included a “/P” designator. RBNGate only posts CW and digital mode spots, but if we assume that activators using one of the phone modes have an equivalent preference for using or not using “/P”, and that human spotters are reasonably accurate, we can see a stark contrast. In summary:

W4DOW - 98.8% of spots contain "/P"
Everyone else - 65.5% of spots contain “/P”


Eric KU6J

Free SOTA Spot Monitor Software + RBNGate FAQ:


While I have my SOTA Spot database open, here are some more statistics. As others have pointed out, U.S. amateurs are not required to add “/P” to their callsign when operating within the U.S. They have complete freedom of choice as to whether or not to use it. So, what do they choose?

To answer that question I looked only at spots of U.S. Summits, but excluded all spots by W4DOW and all spots of foreign amateurs who were activating in the U.S. and required (I think) to add a “/P” to the end of their callsign (e.g., W7/DL6AP/P). The remaining data set (a total of 30,573 spots) then contains only spots of U.S. activators who have a choice with regard to using “/P”. Here is how it breaks down:

No /P - 27,246 spots (89.1%)
With /P - 3,327 spots (10.1%)

Clearly, U.S. activators overwhelmingly prefer to NOT include a “/P” at the end of their callsigns. Just for the fun of it, I looked at spots of U.S. Summits posted by W4DOW (again excluding spots of foreign activators who have no choice with regard to “/P” usage). Here is how that breaks down:

No /P - 20 spots (2.6%)
With /P - 737 spots (97.4%)

Now you can see why I excluded his spots from the analysis above. :wink:


Eric KU6J

Free SOTA Spot Monitor Software + RBNGate FAQ:



One prefers to use /P when out and about and not at one’s licenced address or at another address to which we use A, Unless Mobile then its M.
This is what one was taught during one’s foundation licence course and its in our paper work too for the UK.

To me Sota is a totally fully portable station, not an alternative address or mobile. But end of day each to there own as spanning across the globe we are dealing with many different variations of licensing conditions and ones says when out portable you use the letter /P and Mobile /M etc. Now what one can not do at moment till fully licensed is reached is MM, Marine Mobile. Again what we were taught under our licensing conditions as a UK station.

But end of day, we have a blinding good system of alert here with modern technology at our disposal and when spotted by the activator them selves or by chaser we know what call sign to listen for and where etc.



I am an Old School amateur licensed in 1961
First of all, the FCC in the States no longer requires you to identify as to wheter you are at you license location, portable, or mobile. However, so long as you are portable in a location that is controlled by the FCC you are doing it correctly.
But years ago they did. Same as keeping a paper Log. Now days most dont know waht a Log is:
If a station is Not at his Home at the Address that is on his/her Amateur Radio License he/she is portable (something)
/p away from home using portable power ( Good for SOTA)
/m Mobile
/am in the air (plane)
/mm on a Boat
I even worked a /pB (portable Bike)
and there is a few more.
Being a old School Amateur I still respect the air ways and other Hams on the air and those that are in control
of the air ways we have the Privilege to use.
I now have 2483 Sota contacts in my SoTA Log for 13,363 Points and Nr. 1 chaser in W4V
If you check my SoTA log you will see ever contact I made has ((/P)) after the call.
The station was NOT at home where the address on his/her license but operating portable at a different
location using portable power.
Sorry for being OLD School and not being politically correct; I am not one to change tradition
that has been used on Amateur radio for over 70 years.
My Ex Call for 52 years was WA4HMX Been a CW operator Extra Class for 54 years (New Call for the ease of CW (W4DOW)
Dow L.Pierce


That is why the SMS spotter software gives the users the same freedom. There are 2 shorthand ways of expressing your own callsign to save on trying to use a mobile keyboard/touchscreen keyboard. One way using an exclamation mark ( ! ) will insert your callsign with an appended /P. The other using a dollar sign ( $ ) will insert your callsign alone. This way you get a shorthand character for your callsign and the choice of a /P or not. The choice is down to the user.


I appreciate your effort in giving us that freedom, Andy. Based on the spot statistics I think that 90% of U.S. activators would agree with me. I remember the first time I sent in a self-spot via your SMS system, back before you had implemented that capability: “KU6J/P ?!? Egads, noooooooo!!!” :smile:


Eric KU6J

Free SOTA Spot Monitor Software + RBNGate FAQ:


To resurrect this old topic …

There seems to be a recent change in the regulations in certain European countries when it comes to operating away from the home QTH.

I have recently heard callsigns being used like HB0/HB0AA and DL/DL9ZAG. Is this the new “stroke P”? It seems rather odd to prefix one’s usual callsign with the prefix of the same country! There is no such rule in the United Kingdom.

Walt (G3NYY)


Could be nothing more than daftness by the operator.


It probably doesn’t really matter. Regulation has been relaxed and lightened in most countries, so as long as it’s clear what you’re doing, the exact format is unlikely to matter - from a legal/regulatory standpoint.

In practical terms, doing the same as what most others do is beneficial.


Just for the sake of legal use of foreign stations in CT/CU/CT3…
They must sign CT7/callsign/p or CT8/callsign/p or CT9/callsign/p.

That’s a law requirement (although nobody will care, I suppose).

73 de Pedro, CT1DBS/CU3HF