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SSB SOTA spotting using CW and RBN


As an SSB (never quite got the hang of CW!) only operator, I’ve used a combination of cellular spotting (usually about 60% successful) and APRS spotting (typically handles most other situations). However, there are times when neither spotting method works and then I’m stuck calling CQ and that can be fruitless. Since my KX3 can store canned CW messages as a last resort spotting method can I transmit a canned messaged in CW band, allow RBN to spot and then convey additional information in the CW message or subsequent RBN SOTA alert regarding operating SSB on a given frequency? Once I hear the first SSB response, I switch to a SSB QSO, and get the first contact to kindly spot me on the SSB operating frequency and with the correct mode. Is it possible/permissible to do this, have you seen this done, or do you have ideas about the best way to do it? 73’s Gary K6YOA

Not-standard autospot procedure

Unfortunately Gary, you will simply get spotted on the cw freq in cw mode. RBNgate simply looks at the RBN spots and the only information they provide is callsign, freq, signal strength, cw speed, date, time, and spotter callsign.

Barry N1EU


I thought that was the case with RBN but wanted to check. Therefore the only way of proceeding forward with this idea then would be to include in the CW message something like, “K6YOA, K6YOA, CQ CQ SOTA, LISTENING 14.330MHZ SSB SSB FOR ANY CALL… OPERATING SPLIT PLS QSY 14.330MHZ.” Operate my radio split cross-mode and then once I hear first response on 14.330 operate SSB and ask contact to spot me at new freq/mode. As I mentioned this is just a thought for a last resort way of spotting in event cellular and APRS spotting does not work. Thoughts?


I tried a test from home once, called CW CQ on 14.347, RBN did not pick it up, I think the skimmers only listen for CW in the CW parts of the band. I did have a cross mode contact once, I was operating SSB and KG3W called me in CW.


How about learning CW?
73 de geert pa7zee



It’s been done in vk.

The place to put your QSY message may be in your Alert. If spotted on CW, qsy ssb.
Your alert probably has to be a CW alert, so you’ll need CW alert for RBN and an SSB alert specifying a likely frequency, or something like that.

Andrew vk1da


This is unworkable. That assumes you know in advance what the clear ssb QRG will be.

Try cw, you’ll like it :smile:

Barry N1EU


I’d love to be able to do CW :smile:. However, my brain does not seem to be responsive to picking it up so for the time being I need another back-up.

As Hal rightly points out a CW transmission does need to be in the CW portion of the band as most RBN skimmers only operate in this region. Andrew, you could certainly include the QSY instructions in the alert, the only problem is the comments don’t get displayed when RBN generates the spot. Therefore, someone who has not seen the alert would be confused. As Barry pointed out also not being able to know in advance a frequency that will be clear is a challenge.

In the meantime, I am talking with Andy, MM0FMF, about the possibility of supporting a spotting message generated by a SPOT GEN3 GPS tracker. I use it on SOTA activations as I’m typically hiking solo. I sent a test message yesterday for Andy to look at. Andy’s text spotting network does support a similar function for messages generated by the DeLorme inReach so let’s see what’s possible. As the text message from a SPOT GEN3 cannot be customized in the field the proposed message format would be:

W6/xx-xxx 14.335 SSB K6YOA Calling CQ CQ on this frequency plus/minus 5kHz.

This overcomes the problem of not being able to specify a precise frequency as I’m calling and so therefore I should be findable by a chaser, and the issue of not being able to customize the message when using the SPOT GEN3.