A little bit of respect to activators (Part 1)

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.


Hi Jarek,

I can only agree with you. It happened to me very recently, when I could hardly hear @VK5PAS among the big guns but one of them said: “DM7KN listen, VK is calling you!”. All of a sudden: SILENCE… and Paul came through with s33/r41. :smiley: I was very grateful for the hint and that the others were standing by for a moment. :heart_eyes:

Acutally, this made my day! :sunglasses:

73 de Peter, DM7KN


That’s been my experience, too, Martin.

In the bigger world of ham radio operating I’ve always been impressed with DXpedition operators, big contest operators and the like who can handle a pile-up with grace, skill and aplomb. I’ve heard it said that we get the pile up we deserve and though I’m not sure I believe that exactly, there is some truth in it I think. I’ve always tried to follow the lead of those great operators that can really work a pileup.

One thing I have noticed is that the good ones all seem to have a smile in their voice. I know that sounds a little flaky, but it’s true. They sound like they are just flat out having a good time. These are they guys that made me think: gee that sounds like fun! I want to do that.

In my case it was Paul W6PNG that I first noticed on a SOTA summit having a really good time. I think I can blame Paul for getting me caught up in this racket :wink:

Anyway, If I find myself getting tense in a pile up, I try and step back and remember that I am doing what I want to do and have some fun doing it. … and smile.

Another country heard from


With regard to the suggestion that chasers drop their power, it is worth remembering that a drop in power from 100 watts to 10 watts will reduce the signal by 10dB, less than two S points. This might be a help but a powerful signal may be more due to a good antenna system and favourable propagation than high power!


We have had this topic many times! And our friend Guru has also addressed this many times.

Maybe it is necessary to bring it up again and again, because the SOTA group is growing - which is wonderful!

Basically, as an activator, I am not at all against stations with a lot of power, if they have a good operating technique. To this counts (no matter with which power) listen, listen, listen…
As an activator, I find it really helpful when people point out an S2S station to me. Sometimes I think I hear something and explicitly call out in cw … /P? Unfortunately, lately stations are calling in that have a “P” in their callsign… that’s not how it was meant.
If I am on the summit and know of QRP stations, then these are treated by me preferentially… as by the way also all stations of which I know that they do not have good antennas.

As a chaser I observe that it happens here as if there is something to win. Often I just listen for a while. I am always amazed when chasers call at the same time as the activator. Is that again lack of listening or the time delay in receiving with websdr? No idea!

If I as a chaser hear that /P stations or QRP stations call then I let my attempt be and simply listen… and rejoice with the participants, if a S2S succeeded. I believe, I made thereby still not one QSO less!

In all rule the activators work off all Chaser, which they can hear. (There are, of course, justified exceptional situations which must be respected). And does it not matter whether one is the 5th or 21st QSO as a chaser?

73 Armin


Very wise, Armin.:+1::clap:


true Martin, I think that to be a chasser, first you have to be a mountain goat


Some don’t like QRP or understand that Activator is King.

72 Chris M0RSF

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True, but if that was the case it would also work well on receive and they wouldn’t end up calling all over the activator, which happens far too often!


If in a pileup, and as an activator, I ask for s2s, portable or qrp stations only from time to time, it works sometimes, others not so well, because some ops just dont listen.

But in the in the overall it´s worth a try.

Paulo, CT2IWW


If you had to be a mountain goat before you could chase SOTA would never have started!:smile:

Its worth bearing in mind that just under 70% of activators are also chasers, so some of those unruly chasers may also be activators…