I just did my first CW only activation this past summer on Squaw Mountain W0C/PR-082. And mostly just CW since. I am using a Yaesu 817ND, Palm Pico Paddles and a trapped end fed wire antenna held up with a Cabelas Crappie Rod. Only have 30 activations so far.
I find it easier to catch a call when a chaser sends DE before the call. After most stations call, I have to try to catch part of the call suffix, then send that with ?. If you were calling, I might send AP? Also some stations wait until the pileup is over and send their call in the clear.
If you have data on your phone during your activation, look for current spots on other summits. before calling CQ or spotting yourself, try other activators and send S2S. I am using the SOTA Spotter app on my phone.
I got tired of using my phone for the current time when logging contacts. I did not want to drop my phone into a hole in the rocks. I got a cheap digital watch to wear that makes it easy to log contact times. I get the cheap small clipboards for logging on and the paper logs are from a friend, Brad, WA6MM.
I am still getting frustrated at times and have to take a 30 second breather to clear my head. I do okay with call signs and RST reports and 73. When the QSO strays much from this, I get confused. You will have chasers send you name. You might hear GM JOSEPH, for good morning Joseph. You might get asked for your summit reference. Be ready to send that. Most chasers will already know your summit. A S2S calling station may not. Learn to listen for S2S in the pileup. I have written down S2S and then realized I was not writing a call sign, but that someone on another summit was calling. It is a thrill to respond with S2S?
Just realized Monday is a free day for National Parks. I might have to find a summit in Rocky Mountain National Park. Holidays and my retail business have kept me tied up lately.