A little bit of respect to activators (Part 1)

Yesterday I did two activities, I contacted several summits but others I couldn’t because my signal was under the big guns.
I would ask the chassers, comfortable in their shack, to collaborate and help the mountain goats to perform qso S2S.
TNX & 73 José


Hi Jose,

I completely agree with you, but I think it’s a waste of time.
When I can I signal to the activator that there is another activator who calls him, others do it too but this is not a general rule.
It is good to remember :+1:

73, Éric


A great sentiment! Some chasers do let the activator know that other Summits are trying to get them, but this is not always the case. I always prioritise other Activators, knowing they could be freezing to death! With 5-10 watts it is hard to compete sometimes. I always try to work everyone that I can hear, so ask for a little patience.




If I hear a weaker signal while activating, I will try and take the weaker over the stronger and also s2s over the chasers, for the same reason M7BIA mentioned.
Work through a pile up one call sign at a time. Its not always possible to get to all, but I do try.


I think there’s a good argument for chasers to moderate their TX power, which will also help improve the chances for S2S stations to be heard.

The activator is usually in a quieter RF environment than the chaser, so if you can hear the activator then they will almost certainly be able to hear you.

I do most of my chasing using 10-20w and very rarely go above that. Certainly I don’t remember ever using more than 50w.



Agreed. As I only use 10w or less when chasing, I often have patiently to await big guns to move on to the next on the list before making a SOTA contact. Sadly,WX conditions for activators often mean they can’t hang around on a summit that long! I’ve been an activator in that position, too. However, humans were given two ears and one mouth and chasers using them in that 2:1 ratio could assist activators trying hard to work weak S2S or QRP signals.


W/I sometimes drew attention to a station being called by someone else who was getting no answer. Perhaps weaker or slightly off tune etc.,

At sea we used QRZ , for example GKB DE GXRH QRZ GBTT on 8375khz K

QRZ = “You are being called by…on …(freq).”

Unfortunately I doubt of course it would work for most hams as not many know more than a few Q codes.


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It would help if all activators adopted a practice of asking for S2S callers, then other QRP, then other chasers, and rigidly enforced the selective calls. Don’t give in and work the loud station “to get rid of him”, there are dozens more like that one. Priority to S2S and QRP. If all activators do that, some of the loud bullies will eventually understand.


First priority, for me, is getting the requisite four. After that I could be pickier, but if I get a CW pile-up I’m usually struggling to pull one call out of it, especially if they’re all zero-beat. I do try to listen out for “/P” and “S2S”, but don’t usually specifically ask only for S2S calls. Once a call fragment’s extracted it’s a matter of thinning down the callers. I find some callers are better than others at not calling when their call doesn’t match the partial I just sent… :confused:

On the flip side, if I can get spots on a summit I may go hunting S2S on my band of chioce before I pick a frequency to run on (especially for subsequent bands rather than the one I start on), and then may return to chasing S2S after dealing with the pile-up if time allows.

I understand your reasoning, but you do realise that by allowing the big guns to win the battle so easily, you are training them to do it all the time. They want to be your next contact and don’t like stepping aside for others. But there may well be other activators out there wanting an S2S, so if you allow the big guns to win everytime, they won’t make it if you run out of time, battery or weather. And of course, you won’t get the s2s either.

Doing the same thing and expecting different results because people “should” behave differently, is not usually productive.

Try asking for S2S first. having a few callers is much easier than having 20 or more….


73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2DA


SOTA to me as a chaser is about making the most with the least.
As a chaser I try to use my (tr)uSDX less than 5 watts to make the contact.
Don’t see the point of running 1kw.
Most activators are excellent operators and their effort is much appreciated.


Those type of chasers always the DX ones on higher bands for me, usually long path my afternoon. Them ones know who they are. Stomp all over the caller I am trying to work then they give me 599 when I do work them. If I was 599 they would or should know I am talking to someone else wouldn’t they. A couple times I did not log them any how because they did not wait around to hear my report or even have a proper exchange Just their own callsign usually twice ur 599 not even a kiss my back side.
Well done the good operators with good skills.
Ian vk5cz …


Certainly I listen for “summit-to-summit” but other than that I give my most dedicated chasers priority and usually can pick the familiar voices out of the pile.

On SSB I try and let people know that I am hearing multiple stations and try to acknowledge as many partial calls as I can when answering one and ask them to standby.

Other than that, if people are impatient and can’t wait a few minutes, I can’t worry about that. It usually took me a while to get up there, I would expect chasers to be patient.=

Another country hear from,


Here is my point of view as an ssb-only-activator … most of the sota chasers are very good operators and make it easy for activators to handle the pile-up. I appreciate every single person calling me and like to work them all.

Like most of the activators I also listen out for S2S stations and work them first, because I know that on the summit weather can be bad, time is limited and it is hard to get through the pile-up. With some chasers I often have the impression they spend hours in their shack every day but they cannot wait another one or two minutes until it is their turn to work the activator.

On my activation yesterday I experienced something that made me a bit angry for a couple of minutes:

I spotted myself on 40m and within one minute the pile-up started. Probably 5 to 10 stations called me at the same time, heard also several S2S’s calling. When I worked the second S2S I asked the activator a question that got answered by someone else with a S9+ signal on the frequency (at home I realized it was the wrong answer he gave me). O.K. … that’s not a big deal!

Right after that I heard another S2S calling in. His signal was rather weak, but enogh to make a QSO. So I called that S2S and as soon as he started giving me his call, report and reference that “big gun” station again took over and told the S2S to go ahead (he could probably not hear the other station). I could only copy half of the information … so again I called the S2S and asked all others to stand-by. Once again the “big gun” told the other station to go ahead … with the result that we needed a third try to exchange all the required information.

What I want to say is that activators do not need any kind of “moderation” or “translation” by others (unless they ask for it). It is fully the activators decision how the pile-up is handled.

Here is my personal wish-list to all chasers:

  • listen
  • only call if you can hear the activator
  • wait until the activator has finished the previous QSO
  • give your full callsign and only once
  • if you hear a S2S or DX calling please tell the activator

Such events like the one I told you about can really spoil the party at the activator side. Luckily yesterday I was in the middle of our National Park Kalkalpen here in OE5, the beauty of the landscape made me quickly forget the anger.

73 Martin, OE5REO


I don’t need to tell you that Sota is a challenge. Of course I’m not really happy about the big guns when calling S2S, especially in CW.

But my joy is all the greater when I am heard. Be it because I call at the right second, my antenna works well or I’m just lucky.

Happy Sota!
73 Chris


It seems to be in the nature of those forums that the same topics pop up from time to time. I am relatively new to SOTA but can say that the explanation given by GURU helped me to understand how we should operate.

I took a screenshot of the sketch, printed it and pinned it to the wall close to my computer at home where I process logs and read in the reflector. I think it is a good reminder. :wink:

73 de Peter, DM7KN


We miss you Guru!


We sure do Chris. Great photo of Guru.

cheers: Geoff vk3sq


Hi Eric,
It is absolutely not waste of time.
It is very important support from chaser if after completing own QSO says to activator “S2S is calling you”.
So simply …
Unfortunately it comes very very seldom :frowning:

Similar situation is to say “VK is calling you” or “ZL is calling you” :wink:

Of course it is not a rule - help is never a rule, help is a wish :wink:

73, Jarek


I don’t do a lot of activating, but I can say I’ve been lucky - and delighted - enough to have had chasers on several occasions inform me that a S2S station was calling. It really makes my day when that happens, although sometimes I can unfortunately not hear the S2S station (under the skip maybe?), but at least the effort has been made on both sides. Kudos and thanks to those helpful stations.