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Chaser Location Restrictions?


#1

This topic has probably been discussed before, but I did a Google search and cannot find what I’m looking for.

Based on the General Rules, my understanding is that there are no restrictions on where a chaser and their radios can or must be, other than they cannot be inside a summit’s activation zone if the summit’s activator wishes to count a QSO with that chaser for credit. This means that I could:

  1. Chase from my vehicle while driving across the USA and on into Canada.
  2. Chase from any summit anywhere in the world.
  3. Fly to Europe with my KX3 and chase from there.
  4. On the way to Europe, drop my KX3 off at a friend’s house in New York and use it as a remote base to chase while I’m in Europe.
  5. Same as #4 but also use someone else’s remote receiver in Canada while chasing from Europe using my KX3 in New York.

All of the above assume compliance with any applicable radio regulation in the countries involved. The last two are obviously silly examples, but I’m just trying to cover all the bases. Is my understanding correct?

73,
Eric KU6J


#2

In reply to KU6J:

That seems an accurate summary Eric. However, there are some chasers/activators and I think some of my MT colleagues who don’t like the use of public remote receivers. i.e. generally available receivers accessed via the net as opposed to your own personal remote station that only you can use. TBH I can’t remember what the objections were and it was last discussed before I joined the MT probably in 2008 or thereabouts.

Andy
MM0FMF


#3

In reply to MM0FMF:

I seem to recall this being discussed. Personally I would not count a contact with an activator if I did not hear them with my own station, ie My own antennas / transceiver. There was an occasion were I worked an activator who could hear me, while I received him via a web based SDR as I was unable to hear him at my station. I made it clear that I would not be claiming that as a chaser contact, however the contact was valid for the activator.

As for using your own personal remote station only accessed by yourself, that is a different matter & I would not see a problem chasing in that way.

Thanks & 73,

Mark G0VOF


#4

In reply to MM0FMF:

TBH I can’t remember what the objections were
and it was last discussed before I joined the MT probably in 2008 or
thereabouts.

Thanks Andy! I’ve only been involved in SOTA for less than a year so I don’t know about the discussions back in that time period. There have been three revisions made to the General Rules since 2008, so since no restrictions were added, can I assume that the use or or non-use of remote bases or receivers is up to each chaser’s personal preferences and not actually prohibited?

73,

Eric KU6J


#5

In reply to KU6J:

The most accurate description is “it’s not prohibited at present”. There was mention that public remote receivers should be excluded next time the rules get updated. But it wasn’t felt important enough to update the rules there and then when there was discussion.

Andy
MM0FMF


#6

In reply to MM0FMF:

My opinion FWIW is that a public remote receiver is at least half a repeater and a private remote transceiver is indistinguishable from a repeater. Using them even though they were not envisaged when the rules were drawn up is gamesmanship in my opinion.

As they say in exam papers - discuss!

73

Brian G8ADD


#7

In reply to G8ADD:

Hi Brian,

It is a while since I last looked at the rules, but I know Repeater contacts are not valid but seem to recall the rules specified “Terrestrial Repeaters”, which indicates that Satellite contacts are fine. Am I remembering this correctly?

Thanks & 73,

Mark G0VOF


#8

In reply to G8ADD:

My opinion FWIW is that a public remote receiver is at least half a
repeater and a private remote transceiver is indistinguishable from a
repeater. Using them even though they were not envisaged when the
rules were drawn up is gamesmanship in my opinion.

As they say in exam papers - discuss!

OK Brian, here is my exam paper discussion:

A receiver of any form (public or not) is not the same as a repeater. Repeaters retransmit signals while receivers do not. Repeaters are licensed while receivers are not (except perhaps in North Korea). Antennas are also significant parts of repeaters. Is the use of antennas gamesmanship as well? :wink:

Remote transceivers (a.k.a. remote bases) are also not repeaters, at least according to the ARRL and our regulatory body in the US. See “Is a ‘remote base’ the same as a repeater?” here:

http://www.arrl.org/auxiliary-station-faq

I’m not trying to argue that these means of chasing should or should not be allowed in the rules, I’m just trying to understand what IS allowed in the rules. The DXCC rules and rules for various contests and other awards are clear on these matters and nothing is left as ambiguous. The lack of any similar rules in the SOTA General Rules suggested to me that all these means of chasing are actually allowed (the MT is much too organized, disciplined and intelligent to have simply overlooked this subject area). :slight_smile:

Do I now get high marks on my exam, especially considering the glowing compliment I included above? :wink:

73,

Eric KU6J


#9

In reply to KU6J:

"Do I now get high marks on my exam, especially considering the glowing compliment I included above? :wink: "

My intention was to explore attitudes rather than set an exam, Eric…though your bit of blarney was appreciated! Here is a bit more on my personal attitudes and comments on some of your points.

A remote receiver routes a signal from its location to the location of the user. It thus can offer advantages such as lower noise levels or more favourable propagation. The receive half of a repeater does the same thing. Hence my suggestion that a remote receiver is half a repeater. I appreciate the differences, I am looking at the intention rather than the actual technology.

TBH, the ARRL piece differentiating between repeaters and remote stations strikes me as being more in the nature of a word game than a useful guide. If you tick boxes between remote stations and repeaters, there is no difference other than a remote station is for the benefit of one person rather than a community. That a remote station might be legal has no bearing: repeaters are legal, too, but SOTA does not permit the use of them. Incidentally, I may be wrong, here, but I believe that when the rules of SOTA were devised remote stations were not legal in this country, and there were no remote receivers, either. The rules of any enterprise such as SOTA will always be playing catch-up!

Enough of my opinions, what do other people think?

73

Brian G8ADD


#10

In reply to G0VOF:

It is a while since I last looked at the rules, but I know Repeater
contacts are not valid but seem to recall the rules specified
"Terrestrial Repeaters", which indicates that Satellite contacts are
fine. Am I remembering this correctly?

Quite correct, Mark, though this is something that will be examined since to some of us it appears to be an anomaly.

73

Brian G8ADD


#11

In reply to G8ADD:

Hi Brain,

An anomaly maybe, but there is certainly more of a challenge activating via satellite then via terrestrial repeater, certainly as most that pass here are already already full of signals before I can use them & long after they have passed.

While a simple Satellite ground station can consist of a dual band handheld & small handheld beam, the challenge of activating via satellite should in my opinion separate them from the easy option of using a terrestrial repeater. To compare a QSO via a fixed, easy to access ground repeater with a QSO via a fast moving, low power, & doppler shifting satellite is not a fair comparison IMHO. If an activator wants an easy life then CW on 40m or 30m is pretty much guaranteed to work, whereas a satellite QSO has so much stacked against it to start with.

In addition, operation via satellite is far more technically challenging than a simple FM repeater contact, or indeed any other from of contact you can think of, with the possible exception of EME or MS. Satellites do not “make it easier” for an activator, in fact they make it much more of a challenge.

FWIW In my opinion I would rather keep things as they are, with terrestrial repeater contacts not valid for points, & Satellite contacts treated as if they were via any other propagation mode. VHF/UHF Contacts via aircraft reflection are de rigeur & aircraft are not “natural”.

I am sensing Deja Vu now, so I’m sure this has been discussed before, but that’s my two penneth anyway :slight_smile:

Thanks & 73,

Mark G0VOF


#12

In reply to G0VOF:

I happen to agree with you Mark. Activating by the bent-pipe FM satellites is anything but simple. Especially when you consider how much “ooomph” some fixed stations use to ensure they win the uplink battle. In comparison HF or terrestrial contacts are much easier.

Andy
MM0FMF


#13

In reply to G8ADD:

I have always believed that the spirit of SOTA is that each contact should be directly between an activator (whose entire station is within the activation zone) and a chaser (whose station should be directly, locally, controlled by him) without any other equipment being involved in any way.

This would mean that repeaters, satellites and remote stations would not be allowed, although if someone had enough goats to carry an EME station and it’s batteries up a summit then those contacts would be allowed since no other equipment is in use between the activator and the chaser.

Colin G8TMV


#14

In reply to MM0FMF:

Does that mean APRS contacts via NO-44 or the ISS would be valid for SOTA?

That would be a nice challenge from a summit:)

73,
Colin
M0XSD.


#15

In reply to G0VOF:

“contacts are not valid but seem to recall the rules specified
"Terrestrial Repeaters”, which indicates that Satellite contacts are
fine. Am I remembering this correctly?"

Yes this is correct. This was discussed at the beginning of SOTA, to allow satellite contacts but not through terrestrial repeaters (unless the rules have changed since).

In 2006 GW0VMW and myself tried for a SOTA contact with the ISS during a special cross band VHF/UHF weekend. Unfortunately nothing was heard from the summit but driving home during the last pass of the weekend of the ISS they appeared and I managed to work them from my car.

73
Roger MW0IDX


#16

Please continue to allow satellite contacts; they really are harder than simplex. As for remote bases, remember that some hams live in antenna restricted areas, or are on the road, or are handicapped - remote is the only way they can get on the air.


#17

In reply to MM0FMF:

In reply to KU6J:

That seems an accurate summary Eric. However, there are some
chasers/activators and I think some of my MT colleagues who don’t like
the use of public remote receivers.

Given that the technology is relatively new and the original rules were drawn up over 10 years ago when remotely controlled stations were very rare, I doubt if they were considered. My personal view is the use of public remote controlled systems should not be allowed, however I am less certain about private systems.

Incidentally I recall reading some questions about repeaters and satellites somewhere else. The original rules disallowed the use of terrestrial repeaters but allowed the use of satellites - mainly because we thought anyone mad enough to use satellites on a summit deserved some reward for their [probably considerable] efforts. I would tend to apply the same reasoning to balloon-borne repeaters - but others may disagree.

73

Richard G3CWI
SOTA Co-founder
http://www.sotabeams.co.uk


#18

In reply to KD9KC:

Mike, I think you provided the best argument yet against remote controlled equipment! Such equipment could be anywhere, you could probably site one in every continent and gain the highest level SOTA awards with little expenditure of skill and effort by comparison with conventional stations, thus making a complete mockery of the award scheme!

73

Brian G8ADD


#19

In reply to G8ADD:

I think the propagation mode for an internet assisted QSO is “INTERNET” and not “F2”, “SAT” or “RPT” for example. Internet is a public network. It is different to the case that you connect to your radio with a local ethernet cable. I would distinguish the two cases based on whether the QSO was done with help of a public network (most likely the internet) or with a local setup.

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL


#20

In reply to G8ADD:

making a complete mockery of

How? It’s not a competition against others but a personal achievement. If you don’t think remote stations are not OK then you don’t use them. If someone else uses every technological mean at their disposal then is their achievement better or worse than someone who had only used simple DC receivers and compromise antennas. They are different, that is all.

I could have easily arranged to “chase” Africa when I was in Madeira. All I had to was put a 2m handy outside the AZ and the 817 inside, separated by a metre or so. Stand inside the AZ call CQ and hear CQ on handy outside AZ, step out side AZ, pickup handy reply using my other full call and hear signal on 817 inside AZ, put handy down and walk back inside AZ and reply. Repeat farcical exchange until all details exchanged. Perfectly legit. Would that be a mockery of the award?

Andy
MM0FMF