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Dud Alerts


#1

I went out /P this afternoon, specifically to work M6ADB/P at 1200 UTC (G/CE-003), 2E0XTL/P at 1300 UTC (GW/NW-070)and M6ADB/P at 1600 UTC (G/CE-001), all shown as 2m SSB Alerts at these times.

In the event, none of these showed up at the advertised times.

Please, chaps, if you are not going to be able to activate a summit at the time shown in the Alert, be kind enough to cancel the Alert before people set off with the purpose of working you.

And thanks, David, 2W0DAI/P ! At least, thanks to your activation of GW/NW-009, I didn’t go home completely empty-handed.
:slight_smile:

73,
Walt (G3NYY)


#2

In reply to G3NYY:

This is exactly why I no longer post alerts.


#3

In reply to G1INK:

Likewise! I stopped posting alerts when I came to realise just how difficult it is to stick to a pre-determined timetable.

73,
Walt (G3NYY)


#4

In reply to G3NYY:

i see M6ADB’s alerts have:

(sorry wrong day posted)

I seem to recall that was there a couple of days ago too, but as you say it is better to delete them or perhaps put ‘Soryy Cancelled’ as soon as it is known you are not going to make it.

Stewart G0LGS


#5

In reply to G1INK:
Apologies Walt for my lack of timing, I did warn that the time would be APPROXIMATE. I changed the start time (Via my dad on the telephone) of Great Orme to 12.45GMT at around 1200GMT I suppose you would have not seen this. I started calling at 1240ish but conditions were difficult on 2m SSB. I gave up at around 1310GMT and QSYed to 4metres for about 30 mins (conditions were much better on this band).

All I can do is apologise and have only had access to the internet all week for about 5 minutes from a relatives IPhone.

This morning all I did was change my Summit choice from NW-009 to NW-070, aching muscles being the main reason!

I will endeavour to be at places on time however sometimes un-foreseen circumstances mess it all up!

73

An Apologetic 2E0XTL


#6

In reply to G3NYY:

Hi Walt
I see the logic here but surely there must be an understanding from chasers and listeners that the times are approx or have to be cancelled for all sorts of reasons. Yes it can be annoying but thats the nature of SOTA surely…no show sometimes… tough, better luck next time!

If I see an alert say from Robin PKT and leave the beam pointing north then if he makes it on after some long walk I can call but with no alert we both miss a contact!

Personally I think not using alerts devalues SOTA. Maybe it matters less where there is alot more activity, where you are in the UK and frequent no shows are becoming annoying. Still think alerts are useful up here.
73
Robert
GM4GUF


#7

In reply to thread:

There is an old military maxim: no plan survives contact with the enemy. For SOTA we should reword it to: no plan survives contact with the open air. There are two ways of determining your summit time, Naismyth’s rule, and finding out how long other people took. Well, Naismyth’s rule is an approximation subject to a myriad factors from the weather to the state of your bowels, and other people will not cover ground the same way that you do. To cut to the chase, an alert time is at best an approximation, probably served with a side order of wishful thinking, and should always be taken with a pinch of salt!

There are some people that firmly believe that we should do away with Alerts and Spots…

73

Brian G8ADD


#8

In reply to GM4GUF:
Hi Robert,
I think most chasers, including myself, would agree with you that, alerts are very useful. Even an inaccurate alert is much better than none. It permits chasers to plan their day, instead of sitting around, probably on the wrong frequency, in hope rather than anticipation. A good example was John’s (YSS) activation today. I was not able to be around at the appointed hour, but I, at least, knew that there was a chance of a 160M SOTA qso which I was sorry to miss. Without an alert, sitting on 160M waiting for a SOTA contact is a good way of wasting your life!
Alerts please, they do help.

73,
Frank


#9

In reply to G3NYY:

I went out /P this afternoon, specifically to work M6ADB/P at 1200 UTC
(G/CE-003), 2E0XTL/P at 1300 UTC (GW/NW-070)and M6ADB/P at 1600 UTC
(G/CE-001), all shown as 2m SSB Alerts at these times.

Hi Walt

Sorry I missed you… I was QRV on G/CE-003 at 1130UTC (ahead of schedule, I know) and worked 145.475 FM until just after 1200 UTC (7 QSOs back-to-back)

I switched to 144.300 SSB but within minutes of changing (and having no replies) I got called by work (the perils of SOTAing when on call, I guess), and had to go QRT… and had no mobile coverage to cancel/update my alert.

I later found out that I’d switched off my APRS beacon yesterday, so even my APRS updates (which documented my entire time on the hill) were’t transmitted :frowning:

Sorry peeps.

Andrew
M6ADB


#10

Let’s not be so harsh here. You place an alert. You leave your house. After that you are subject to all kinds of factors, that in my (long) experience can result in being +/- 2 hours from your alert time. In a multi-day multi-activation expedition, such as the G/DC and G/SC trip I did recently, you can even be +/- 1 or 2 days from the alerts. I didn’t hear anyone complaining then, and Andrew was much closer to his alerts than I was!

I must disagree with the suggestion that alerts should be removed if there is a doubt that you can “honour” them. I agree with Frank that some kind of alert is better than none at all - it gives you a flavour of what might be out there. There is also the danger that if people are watching these too closely and complaining when times are missed, then activators won’t alert at all, as Steve implies. This would be a bad thing.

A S2S contact when it takes place can be very inspiring, whether scheduled or random. It is often the uncertainty that makes the actuality so satisfying. Attendances at football matches would reduce drastically if supporters already knew what the score was going to be!

My alerts for GM next week are to be interpreted as a flavour of what I am hoping to achieve. Please take them with a pinch of salt, and use your skill and judgement as chasers, and common sense to try and get the most contacts you can with me. Schedules they are not!

73, Tom M1EYP


#11

In reply to M6ADB:

Sorry I missed you… I was QRV on G/CE-003 at 1130UTC (ahead of
schedule, I know) and worked 145.475 FM until just after 1200 UTC (7
QSOs back-to-back)

Hi Andrew!

No worries! I’m glad you successfully qualified G/CE-003 (my local summit).
I understand the difficulty in getting a reply on 2m SSB on Thursday. I called CQ continuously for 20 minutes on 144.300 before anyone answered! When I did, at last, get a reply it was GM3OXK in Dumfries!

I later found out that I’d switched off my APRS beacon yesterday, so
even my APRS updates (which documented my entire time on the hill)
were’t transmitted :frowning:

Yes, I think that contributed to the misunderstanding. You had indicated on the Alerts that your APRS would track your progress. When I looked for you on APRS.fi you were last shown as being on the M40 on Wednesday! Also, I was confused by your comment “Sorry, wrong day posted”. I was unsure whether you had posted a wrong day in a previous Alert and the latest Alert was a correction, or whether the current Alerts had been posted in error.

Never mind! You missed the rain, which started about 4 pm. Hope you enjoyed the day, Andrew, and I’ll look forward to catching you next time. I was glad to be your first S2S contact on your last outing to Walbury Hill.

73 and good SOTA-ing!

Walt (G3NYY)


#12

In reply to G3NYY:

No worries! I’m glad you successfully qualified G/CE-003 (my local summit).

I enjoyed the walk… some nice views :slight_smile:

Also, I was confused by your comment “Sorry,
wrong day posted”. I was unsure whether you had posted a wrong
day in a previous Alert and the latest Alert was a correction, or
whether the current Alerts had been posted in error.

I originally alerted with Wednesday entered as the date… but I fully accept that the comment wasn’t clear at anytime after Wednesday :frowning:

I’ll look forward to catching you next time.

Certainly… I will be heading that way again soon, and still have G/CE-001 to bag (and maybe one of the easterned WBs as a diversion)

Andrew
M6ADB


#13

In reply to G3NYY:

Hi Walt

Please, chaps, if you are not going to be able to activate a summit at
the time shown in the Alert, be kind enough to cancel the Alert before
people set off with the purpose of working you.

To activate, I’m often far from home, without Internet connexion.
So I put alerts (or spots) with my telephone, but I don’t know if it is possible to cancel or modify them if necessary.

73 Alain F6ENO


#14

In reply to F6ENO:

I have posting alerts by SMS working on my SMS server but I’ve not yet come up with a simple way of canceling or editing an alert via SMS. That’s why I’ve not released that facility to the users. The only way at present is to send a spot SMS saying the activation is canceled. Not perfect but better than no update at all.

Andy
MM0FMF


#15

In reply to MM0FMF:

Thank you Andy

This is a way, but it might overload alerts.
I’m not using SMS, but an older system (I don’t remember who did the job ?)

73 Alain F6ENO


#16

In reply to M1EYP:

Schedules they are not!

Quite right. Nevertheless, Caroline and I are reluctant to post alerts because the implied precision is far greater than the expected accuracy. It’s one reason that I started advertising plans using Twitter rather than posting alerts, because I can flavour the message with the degree of vagueness that seems appropriate. I’ve no idea whether anybody reads those witterings and finds them useful.

We would be far more likely to post alerts if we didn’t have to specify a time. It doesn’t matter how many times you say that the time is approximate, if we have to specify it then we will feel some pressure to meet it. Most of our activations are on unfamiliar territory, and the only rule that seems to apply to our time estimates is Hofstadter’s Law.

Would it be a big deal to allow alerts to have a time range? Those who were confident of their schedule could give a narrow window, those who were less so would give a wider one, and the chasers would have a much better idea what to expect in each case.


#17

In reply to M1MAJ:

Would it be a big deal to allow alerts to have a time range? Those who
were confident of their schedule could give a narrow window, those who
were less so would give a wider one, and the chasers would have a much
better idea what to expect in each case.

This might well require some work, however I don’t see why you couldn’t do as some do and put +/- 1 hr or 2 hrs or whatever in the notes. This would work straight away so you wouldn’t need to wait for a redesign,

73

Brian (Now QRT’d for a thunderstorm!)


#18

To all activators

As a relatively new chaser, I find the alerts invaluable.

They give me an idea of what to expect on a given day, but I appreciate that timings are approximate and an expedition may be cancelled at the last minute for a variety of reasons.

Please keep the alerts coming, even if the timings simply say “sometime on Monday”.

A big thank you to all who climb hills in all sorts of weathers to keep we sloths(aka chasers)happy.

Tony, G8BVJ


#19

I do as Brian suggests. I place a +/-time in the comment. Likewise if I’m chaining a few activations together I reference the fact the time will depend on the previous activation. I work on the principle that if I put 3hrs between activations but I’m an hour late, then the chasers are smart enough to add on an hour to the alerted time! :wink:

Over 180+ activations I’ve got much better at guestimating my ascent times and I’d like to think the number of times my start time has been outside the alert time and the stated variance is very, very small. I’ve always thought that regular chasers will learn who gives accurate alerts and who doesn’t and will adjust their chasing schedules on how likely they think the alerted time will be met.

The advantage of gaining a reputation for being reasonably reliable with alerts is that when you don’t appear, chasers will be aware that something maybe amiss. I know when I was unable to activate Glas Tulaichean due to stalking on that hill, the fact I didn’t show, even a few hours late, did cause a few chasers to be concerned about me. On that occasion I couldn’t get a mobile internet connection to update the alert but that is no longer a big problem with the additional spotting systems available. I don’t rely on chasers spotting if something maybe wrong with me but it’s nice to know that there is a bigger safety net than the arrangements I make myself.

So I’ll continue to alert the way I always have done and would always recommend people to alert if they are going to be on, even if they add the time is likely to be +/-3hours!

In reply to G8BVJ:

A big thank you to all who climb hills in all sorts of weathers to keep we
sloths(aka chasers)happy.

Am I the only person wanting a measure of ice and snow to return to the hills sooner rather than later?

Andy
MM0FMF


#20

In reply to G3NYY:

I went out /P this afternoon, specifically to work M6ADB/P at 1200 UTC
(G/CE-003), 2E0XTL/P at 1300 UTC (GW/NW-070)and M6ADB/P at 1600 UTC
(G/CE-001), all shown as 2m SSB Alerts at these times.

In the event, none of these showed up at the advertised times.

I’ve had this problem while activating - going up a hill specially for a S2S and then finding the other party has cried off due to blizzards, storms, traffic, illness or some such excuse.

The alert form clearly states that the times submitted are supposed to be ETAs and while I find I am generally pretty good at estimating my TOA there are occasionally times when I’ve realised that I have been over ambitious. Things are much more difficult when one has companions who may not be so enthusiastic about getting out of bed early/fitting in another summit before home etc.

Please, chaps, if you are not going to be able to activate a summit at
the time shown in the Alert, be kind enough to cancel the Alert before
people set off with the purpose of working you.

One problem I find is that the decision to cancel a summit is often taken back at the car, or on the descent to it, and thus in an area with no cell phone coverage. In hilly areas it is not unknown to have to drive up to 10 miles to have a good chance of getting a signal in a place one can safely park.

If one has the foresight to abandon a subsequent summit while at the top of an earlier one then the easiest thing to do is often to ask a regular to post a spot to that effect on the SOTAwatch site.

73

Rick M0RCP