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Using hack green - with WebSDR poll


Well in that case, I’m out of SOTA until the use of Web SDRs is excluded from the programme.

Another thing … Think of it from the activator’s point of view. If all the chasers she works are listening via Hack Green, then she is just working ONE station over and over again. I.e. the Web SDR. So she should not be able to claim points for each of the individual stations “worked”. Her signal has not been received by them.

Walt (G3NYY)


I think that, pending any decision by the MT, anybody chasing via WebSDR on receive should at least declare this to the activator, so that he/she has the option to keep going to get another “real” chase logged if that is felt necessary.


I have not expressed a position on this matter yet because I don’t see it an easy thing.

This is the comment I most agree with from all being said here up to now.

But I want to say a few things here:
Personally I don’t compete with anybody, although I admit it’s cool and rewarding when one sees the own callsing high in the scores table after having devoted time and efforts to SOTA chasing and/or activating.
The use of several different websdr gives an advantage to their users over those not using them. This advantageous situation of the websdr users should be made evident to all of us and the websdr users should let us know it by adding something to their callsigns like the suffix /sdr@DL to let us know an sdr based in Germany is being used for instance or preffixing their own callsigns with the websdr callsign, should it have one (which I don’t know because I’ve never ever tried one).
One other option (but totally impossible to control and police) could be restricting the use of sdr to those located within the territory of our own SOTA association, but this will put many potential users off as I’m sure there are several associations with no sdr stations at all. Restricting to sdr in the own country is unfair, as the USA is a huge territory with probably dozens or even hundreds of sdr stations, while other tiny european countries like ON or LX, for instance might not have any. Then it would come the question of whether the political country or the DXCC entity. A neverending discussion for sure but I wouldn’t recommend this at all due to the impossibility of controlling it.
Given that SOTA is neither competitive nor a contest, the use of sdr is up to anyone, as it indeed is right now. However, allowing this uneven playing field makes impossible the possibility of celebrating fair play challenges.
The use of a remote station for RX/TX is, in my opinion a completely different story as long as it remains a single station. Using more stations put the user in advantage over the rest. If I finally set up my own remote station with RX/TX in the village QTH while still keeping the capability to RX/TX with a limited station in the city appartment, would it give me any advantage over the rest? I don’t think so because both QTHs are just 18Km appart and the antenna in the apartment is far worst than those in the village QTH.
However, what if someone owns 2 RX/TX capable stations in well separated QTHs, for instance, one in EA8 and the other one in OE and the operator can use any of them at any time because one is remotedly controlled from his base QTH shack and the other one is in the very shack. This would definitely give this operator an advantage over the others. Imagine that same case with one station in the state of WA and the other in FL, or one in Southern CA and the other in NH and as SOTA expands around the world, another one in ZL, another one in ZS, one more in CX…
Well, there’s a lot to look at but let’s keep in mind that the main purpose of our hobby is having fun.
As Brian said, let’s continue discussing, but let’s try to be openminded, inclusive rather than exclusive, but also fair rather than unfair.



P.D. I’ve come across this highly recommendable reading.


It is off topic, but a brief reply is in order. The MT has discussed future challenges and some are in the pipeline. Right now is not a good time with SOTA rapidly expanding and work taking place on updating our facilities.

We have to consider potential take-up when deciding on a challenge. It is no good having a challenge that will require a lot of work before people can participate, even if it does sound good and will get publicity. A successful challenge should require relatively little preparatory work or acquisition of new skills on the part of participants, and it should be capable of delivering results commensurate with the effort of taking part. It should also have a titillating newness about it that will attract people into taking part.


So, for a quick dose of perspective: This thread started with “Is this allowed”, has meandered through many variations of “I wouldn’t do it, but not sure if it’s allowed or not”, an occasional outburst in Arabic (hi Andy!), a few statements about repeaters, webSDRs not being repeaters, even-if-they-are-not-repeaters-I-still-wouldn’t-use-them, they-are-repeaters-dont-be-silly, no-you-stop, you-started-it, did-not, did-too, DID-NOT, DID-too-too-too, did-not-not-not, DID-TOO-TIMES-TEN, right-that’s-it, before finishing with a few suggestions about challenges, and maybe making SDR users have to brand themselves when chasing just in case the activator might get infected.

Has anyone, in all this, tried to characterise how many people actually use WebSDRs? Is it just possible that the biggest thread to occur since the discussion about big threads is about something that doesn’t occur with any real regularity to warrant much thought?


That information would be useful - how do you get it?

With so many of these machines listed I am sure that they do get used, otherwise what is the point? OTOH the same can be said for repeaters and around here they are pretty quiet!


I have lost more chased contacts than I log because I have failed to complete a 2 way contact. I have only recently heard of hack green when Allan explained where it was etc. My own personal view is that using my equipment that I set up myself to send and receive reports is what Radio experimenting is about. I agree 100% with G0RQL Don.

May I suggest opening a SWL account for failed 2 way contacts that you have still heard and log them as SWL instead. As for me…I will continue to support Activators who make Sota possible for me to take part in. I will plod on and try and improve my antenna system along the way.

73’ Don GW0PLP


Andrew is right. We can in no way call ourselves engineers if our argument is not based on collected data!

So here is a poll. Please choose one of the following (I suppose in principle you could log SWL and 2-way but as there only only 94 SWL logs it’s for sure not common).

  • I never use WebSDR (or similar)
  • I use WebSDR but I don’t log anything
  • I use WebSDR and log as SWL
  • I use WebSDR to complete 2-way QSOs which I log

0 voters


Well, use of remote receivers is not prohibited at the moment, so there would be no shame for anyone posting here to say that they have used one, and to add any comments.

IF they make chasing easy peasey AND chasers are motivated by the concept of easy peasey THEN there will be droves of chasers using them…

EDIT: OK, much better proposal from Simon in the post above. I confess that I am using the Internet to register my vote :smile:


I spent all my working life in laboratories - the nearest I came to being an engineer was singing the “Engineers Song”! :wink:


Won’t that equally upset people who believe that SWL means you have heard the activator with your own equipment?

Perhaps this isn’t an issue in practice because so few people enter SWL logs, but the problem of principle is exactly the same.



I live in a small cul de sac on the South coast, I have a postage stamp garden, and only have a short end fed wire up around 25ft, in the current conditions, I am struggling to hear activators, on CW I am sending reports most days of 329, 336 or 339, In my opinion true reports on what I am receiving, surely that gives a better indication of conditions, and performance of stations than 599 all the time through Hack green or similar ?


Voters on the poll are still fairly low low in number. I’ll let this run for a couple of days longer.

So let’s have your vote!

If you don’t know about WebSDR you can find the list of nodes here:



Hmm, option 2 is a mystery to me. Why make a contact using a WebSDR and not log it, but then accept that the activator can count it as one of his or her contacts? Dual standards?

Personally, if anyone does choose to work me via a WebSDR when I am on a summit, I would ask that they let me know and I won’t count it towards my tally of contacts. If they have set up their own remote station, then that is totally fine by me. In such cases, the Internet just provides long mic and speaker leads.

I wholly understand the issue of noise at the home QTH as I suffer greatly myself with most bands running with a noise level between S7 and S9 in a 2.4kHz bandwidth. Even CW contacts are becoming increasingly difficult to make. I can see there will come a time when my only chases will be when I am on a summit or I have specifically gone out portable to work an activator, as indeed I have done in the past.

73, Gerald G4OIG


I use Hack Green to listen only, as a back up, usually to see if it’s worth persisting with listening on the radio. I do not attempt a QSO unless I have heard someone through the rig. Simon can attest to this when we struggle to make contact between home and a summit! I also listen on HG when I don’t have access to the shack, just out of interest. HG is very much secondary to me turning the dial to see what I can really hear. In fact, much less than that as I will try other bands first unless I’m chasing a spot. Earlier today, for example, I could only hear two stations on 40m for real - a quick listen on HG confirmed that the band was pretty rubbish and it wasn’t me (or the neighbours)! :smiley:

Completely agree that using personal remote equipment should be perfectly valid.

73 Helen M0TMD


If it is a case where the chaser is using a remote receiver but his own transmitter then I see no problem with the activator counting the contact. The signal heard by the activator will be direct, just the same as if the chaser was using a transceiver at his QTH.


It was not the mechanics of the contact I was questioning Brian, but the ethics. A contact is a two-way communication and if it is not considered appropriate (i.e. valid for logging as a contact) one way round, then surely it is the same for the other. I don’t see why a chaser would make a contact using a WebSDR, not consider it valid for logging, but then be happy to accept the activator counts it as valid and logs it as such. It doesn’t make sense.

Then again, I was born north of the River Trent. :wink:


Well I was born well south of it and still agree with you.


It makes perfect sense. They are keeping the own-station RX and other-station RX logs separate.

Which is what you get whether the RX is in front of someone or located far away.


Well I missed an option really.

What I was thinking of with “I use WebSDR but I don’t log anything” was using it more casually, like Helen describes - not actually taking part in a QSO. Using it to make a QSO (which presumably the activator logs normally, if not declared) but then not logging it yourself would be a 5th option.