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Sad News about the Rucksack radio tool Android App


About 50% of what you believe Andy… you know I always get half the story. :wink:

  1. Supporting zero income product becomes a chore.
  2. Decide to stop supporting product.
  3. Blame GDPR for withdrawal.
  4. ???
  5. Profit


I have used RRT since I started SOTA as a hobby, so I am sad to hear of this, and would like to thank Jörg DL1DLF for all the work he put into it.

Unless I have missed something, I would be interested to know what this means for current users of the app.




RRT is no longer functional.
The local summits section does not populate.
If the Spots section is enabled there is an application error and the only option is to end the application.



Yes, What a shame.
I must see what VK-Port-a-Log is like on my phone screen. I use it on a tablet for logging.


RRT does crash to a: Syntax Error: quote in unquoted cell Cannot parse text argument to “list from csv table” as a CSV-formatted table
This was due to “SPOTS” being enabled/checked in the RRT APP.

I terminated the RRT APP, blocked/disabled IP network access, relaunched the APP and no crash. This allowed me to disable/uncheck “SPOTS”. There was no crash even after IP network access was restored.
Recheck "SPOTS and the APP crashed within a minute. (so don’t do that) Fixed again as previously described.

RRT is still able to send Spots via both SMS as well as it’s SOTAwatch web interface. I just tested both at 0312z and 0316z respectively. These functions have been very useful to me. Hopefully they will continue to function.

Nearest “SUMMITS” obviously does not work, but no crash.


As I suspected, some of the data required by RRT comes from Joerg’s web server which he has now closed down to avoid the possible wrath of the new European Law.

Vale RRT.


Excellent advice Bruce - now reconfigured on my device. Like you, I find it very useful for self-spotting and I too hope the service can be maintained.

73, Gerald G4OIG


I had already deleted RRT from my mobile before I read the above posts.

Over the years I have also used Bogdan Lazanu’s (YO3SAW) SOTA Spotter available through Google’s Play Store. Various filters, spot warning tones, nearby summits etc. are available in the menu. My XYL Val uses it on summits also when searching for s2s for me so it is well proven. :slight_smile:

Just to make sure that all was well I sent a test spot earlier and everything is working so this will be my main spotter App from now on.

73 Allan GW4VPX


My point of view:

  • SOTAwatch is collecting personal data (call sign, location, probably IP address, some metrics for Analytics tracking etc) and users that send a spot should be made aware what data is being collected and how it’s being used (we show it on the website, we make it available to third parties/anyone, we use it to optimise our website, we store it indefinitely, this is how you can delete it). Since you need an account to send a spot, a notice with a checkbox when you sign up for the account is enough.
  • the RRT servers were handling personal data that was coming from SOTAwatch, so that needs to be mentioned in the RRT privacy policy (we get data from SOTAwatch and we show it to users of our app)
  • the RRT app was collecting personal data (call sign, GPS location, etc) and was using it (we send this data to SOTAwatch and it’s handled according to their privacy policy, we use this data to calculate the nearest summit and distance/heading, we don’t store data, opt out by not using the app)

After all (unless it secretly records extra details from your phone), all RRT does it send a spot. If you don’t want your details sent to other people, you shouldn’t send the spot. It hardly infringes on anyone’s rights to data protection and we can assume that users are blessed with enough reasoning to understand sending a spot will make their details available to anyone … because that’s what spotting means. No one will come after RRT for that (look how well other other laws about electronic data protection were enforced until now).


PS: the distance/heading to the summit was invaluable to me. Sad to see it doesn’t work anymore.


This is a great shame. I mostly use VKPort-a-log on the hill now. But RRT was still useful.

It boggles my mind why this simple tool could possibly fall foul of GDPR though. I am a DPO (Data Protection Officer) for group of Mountain Rescue teams in N. Wales.

GDPR is flatly not aimed at restricting this type of amateur radio related App activity.

The whole purpose of tools like RRT is to disseminate publically what people actually want to be public! It facilitates a hobby that BROADCASTS radio signals that anyone can listen into and that is intrinsic to the activity.

I see no legal reason to stop this.

I fear Jörg has had some poor advice if he has felt this is necessary.

At worst all this needs is some wording explaining what the tool does with the data (call it a privacy policy if you like). This just has to point out that Jörg is not dealing in the information or disseminating it beyond the obvious purpose of the application.

As Andy FMF has pointed out there may be other perfectly acceptable reasons for discontinuing the tool which of course Jörg could also be a reason to stop.

I have had enough UK Data Protection Law experience and GDPR training to provide a reasoned view.

Of course the German authorities may interpret the GDPR slightly differently - but I cannot see any reason for a major divergence.

To quote the UK ICO Blog

Much of the criticism about GDPR seems to have focused on the perceived burdens it will place on SMEs and smaller organisations. We have long recognised that SMEs may have limited time and resources for compliance and have acknowledged this in our regulatory approach. But many of these criticisms fail to recognise the flexibility that the key principles in the DPA and GDPR provide – they scale the task of compliance to the risk. Many of the principles reinforce tasks businesses will already to undertake in relation to record keeping – e.g. the principle on data minimisation.

The principles are essentially the same whether you are a small business or a multinational corporation. Many of the actions SMEs should take are practical and straight forward – our updated toolkit is a good starting point.

It is not the size of the organisation that’s relevant so much as the risk that particular businesses and types of data processing pose. Those handling particularly sensitive data, or processing personal data in potentially intrusive ways, for example.

I’ve bolded some parts of the statements above.

RRT (and similar tools) could be construed as handling personal data. But it’s not particularly private data (call signs are widely shared) and the whole purpose of using the tool is to make the information public about where operators are and what frequency/mode they are using. So it definitely falls into the “low risk” category.

On a related subject…

Don’t get me started on all the Opt In emails… 90% of them are not required. Just a small number of them are from companies that have to make clear now that they are passing on your data. Most of the small players, like your friendly small retailer that just maintains a list that you long ago opted into, don’t have to do anything to tell you about it. They should offer unsubscribe options in any future message (but to be honest they should have done that anyway) and include a link to the Privacy Policy. At worst they need to update their privacy policy and make it available - but don’t send a flippin email about it!

That’s not to say I don’t treat this very seriously, there is much good practice to be invoked around internal controls on data handling (much of which should have been happening anyway under the existing UK Data Protection Act 1984 and 1998), but all this public emailing nonsense is by and large completely ridiculous.


I can confirm RRT is no longer operable today. I’ll be trying SOTA Spotter out by YO3SAW. I’ve had it on my phone for a good while but never used it until now. My version is 1.2.253

Shame RRT had to be taken down… simple but good. It was perfect for the job.

73 Phil


That’s the version I have Phil which I think is the latest one. I have the App on auto-updates…nothing updated recently.


Serious question here.

Why are people using an app to drive spots to a webpage?
Or what is wrong with the webpage that mobile users do not want to use it?

I haven’t used any of these apps and I have not seen the need for them yet so I am missing something.

I write some of the software and run some of the services you use for SOTA and my day job involves working with Tier 1 semiconductor companies on mobile comms hardware. Many of you will have phones that have chips in them I have helped to get designed, tested and produced. (I am a small member of a BIG team). Day by day I am working at the sharp end of the industry and I have been using Android since 2012. In that time I have installed 3 apps. APRSdroid, Oruxmaps & DroidSPOT. Strangely, most of my colleagues doing similar tasks don’t have billions of apps installed either.

I use the “New spot” on SOTAwatch to spot if I have good coverage via the web browser built in the phone. Sometimes I use DroidSPOT and sometimes type the spot direct if there is poor data coverage. Sometimes I use my satellite spotter which is controlled by the web browser in the phone.

So for people to be genuinely upset an app is no longer working makes me wonder what I’m missing.


When I first started developing SOTA Spotter, I thought the most useful feature would be the filtering and notifications (for incoming spots), but it would seem that people use it more to send spots than to see incoming spots. I too would be interested in what others respond.


The apps have a proper mobile optimised interface and do more than the website (think location-based services).


Features I liked:

  • The spot form sends a correctly formed SMS with very little fuss. Last callsign, freq/mode, comments already filled in. Nearest summit ref populated.
  • Distance and direction to nearest summit.
  • Filtering of spots by band and for VHF, distance.
  • Audio alert when a spot matches your filter.


I too have uninstalled RRT, and installed SOTA Spotter, which I will be using in the future.

Being able to see other spots as they occur I find very useful.

I also occasionally just send a formatted text message to spot myself.

I find either of the above methods easier to use on a small phone screen, rather that the new spot feature on the sotawatch web page.




I was expecting that to be a big factor as my phone does muck about with the SOTAwatch spot fields when I’m working it.

OK. I fail to see the value (that’s me primarily) because I will have researched the summit in advance… paths, route, access restrictions, hazards etc. I use primarily a paper map with GPS to confirm my map based navigation. Sometime I use a phone GPS (like next week).

Certainly ensuring a mobile optimised spot page for the new SOTAwatch will be a good thing but I expect Jon and Andrew will have that on the list already.


Yep, Andy: I suppose that you are an engineer and not a marketer, hi. And all enjoy a comfortable life: I’ve just compared it, and with 5 taps on my iPhone I’m ready to enter my activation spot details for today’s summit on SOTA Goat. 5 taps with using a browser to open the SOTAwatch website brings me to the the homepage - not yet logged in, need for a binocular, summit not yet selected! Not yet cosidered the entering of a web address without a bookmark in my preferred browser. And I’m even not miffed about the fact that the soundy alerting of SOTA Goat doesn’t work properly here. Daily life can be that much unfair!

This is a bit white and black. The website solution has its advantages and is certainly a simple and hopefully robust way when the nice apps fail for some reason. There is also a trend in our digitizing world to make entry points via lovely apps using flexible APIs easier, so pure website entry via browser forms won’t gain back popularity probably when you can have it fancier and are willing to offer that to developers and to stand back with the basic functionality of a browser.

The fast SOTAwatch website is best for me at home or in the office, on the big screen. But I don’t have time to do SOTA in the office, and it is not on a summit unfortunately, either. So keep you all doing your good work for the SOTA community – thanks to all involved. To have several ways is a good thing when out on the summits.

Vy 73 de Markus, HB9DIZ

PS: Why doesn’t anybody compliment the reflector software? I simply enjoy it.