We sometimes have instances when an activator plans to activate a summit but doesn’t know which one it will actually be. In other instances they plan to activate several summits but don’t know the order in which they will be activating them. In such cases, A special summit reference that means ‘To Be Determined’ would be handy for use in SOTAWatch alerts.
These situations are typically handled by an activator making an educated guess as to the summit references and placing them in their alerts. If the guess ends up being incorrect, chasers may end up logging the wrong reference and (for CW activators) RBNGate auto-spots the activator on the “wrong” summit. Confusion and spot clutter often ensues as many people post correction spots. If a ‘To Be Determined’ reference were used instead, chasers would know that they need to pay particular attention to the actual summit reference given over the air, and less confusion would ensue.
This weekend we have one other possible application in which a ‘To Be Determined’ reference could be useful:
Tim K6TW will be hiking around Death Valley where there likely won’t be any cell, Internet or APRS service. He plans to activate some summits but doesn’t know which ones or when he will activate them. If I were to also modify RBNGate to allow activators to extend their spotting windows when needed (e.g., to 48 hours instead of the standard 4 hours), a ‘To Be Determined’ alert would allow him to be spotted without confusion during any such activation:
I can think of three ways that a ‘To Be Determined’ summit reference could be implemented, but I don’t know the level of effort required for Andy (presumably) or if any of these are even feasible. Here they are in order of increasing desirability:
A single global summit reference such as “XX/XX-000”.
A summit reference that is available in each association such as “G/XX-000” and “W5N/XX-000”. This would help chasers to know the area of the world that the activator plans to be in.
A summit reference that is available in each region such as “W6/NS-000” and “W6/SD-000”. This would provide chasers with even better information as to the activator’s planned geographic location.
Of course none of these ‘To Be Determined’ references would be allowed in log entries. Or if allowing them in logs is easier to implement, then they wouldn’t be counted or scored when present.
None of these capabilities are essential or even important. This was just an idea that popped into my head so I thought I’d post it for consideration.