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Activations but no Alerts.

Been reluctant to confront this topic for a while now for fear of toe stepping but I feel I have to say something. Myself and a few other Chasers have noticed over the last few months that some VK Activator do not bother to Alert there intentions to activate SOTA summits but just appear out of the blue in the Spot list when already on the summit. To start at the start of my day I always check SOTA Watch when I turn on my device to check if anyone is going out for the day. Seeing no Alerts I get on with the day and find out later I come across an activation that is under way or I have missed it altogether.
That said now I can only ask people to please take the time to Alert, it has benefits for both Activators and Chasers to score Award points in the program.
Ian vk5cz …


Hi Ian,

Sorry, but today was a very impromptu activation and I only decided to go whilst I was driving, precluding an alert. Usually I put in alerts



Hi Ian,

It is up to the activator, not the chasers whether or not they choose to alert their activations. Me and my dad Tom M1EYP do normally alert any planned activations, sometimes as late as the night before, however sometimes and mainly my dad also will plan a last minute activation and goes straight to the summit and spots himself on there without alerting, but normally does say on the spot he will be QRV in 10 minutes to give the chasers some notice. Sorry if this effects your days chasing, but the activator is king/queen and best advice would be to just monitor the spots rather than rely on alerts.

Jimmy M0HGY


The activator maybe “king/queen” but he/she is nothing without the plebs.
Ian vk5cz …


Hi Ian,
I too look at the alerts in the morning and if nothing interesting is seen then I do other things.
Placing an alert in VK at least is more than a courtesy IMO and should be the norm. If activators regularly disregard the chasers the QSO count will dwindle.

I pose the question: Is the activator a King, Queen, President or Dictator or just another amateur out to enjoy the hobby?



Hi Ian

You have raised a valid point.

I agree you are on a no winner with this post, however I also concur with the sense of frustration when you make the effort to alert and others (a small minority) don’t. I always post alerts as a way to encourage others to plan S2S QSOs.

Like you I have heard the excuses for not alerting. Alerting is about courtesy and good planning.

I wouldn’t tag Andrew VK3ARR as a person who doesn’t alert, far from it. There are one or two in VK who don’t alert, they are at best a small minority who work four and run.

73 Andrew VK1AD


I rarely alert. I self-spot when appropriate. I don’t want to be tied to any schedules and neither do I want want anyone to waste time waiting for me. Happy to take my chances on QSOs (actually that’s a big part of the fun for me).


Thanks Andrew for the support as you know I am more an Activator than chaser having done 256 activations so far and still not Mountain Goat but close.
It was an unfortunate coincidence Andrew happened to be on his summit today and I promise Him it was not He specifically I was referring to but the situation over all. Being VK5 region manager other people have mentioned the lack of Alerts to me as well. I would not be game to go out activating without letting as many of my faithful chasers know about it, for one the distance I travel for most Summits and the slog to the top the other and nobody know I was there is a factor for me. So I said what had to be said if it helps the program and chasers and activators gather points Its gota be good for SOTA .
Ian vk5cz …


Richard that might work in Europe where you have a large population of Chasers and people to spot you. Try that in VK6 and its a very different story.

One thing I learned when I started SOTA was from Andrew VK1NAM now VK1AD and how he went about getting his alerts up in time and also how he managed it in email groups here etc. Never self promotion but just a gentle reminder he would be out and always well in advance. Andrew has appeared in my logs on many occasions.

So in Europe you can get away with it, but its a bit more difficult with our limited number of chasers down here in VK. If I went back through my logs probably find 30-40 VK/ZL Chasers and probably only 10-15 of them appear in my logs on a regular basis. In Europe probably 100 + regular chasers at least.

So I totally agree with Ian, some days you look at alerts and no VK’s going out, then later you check the spots and heaps have been out and gone. Some maybe without qualifying the Summit.

So moral of the story if in VK Post an Alert. :slight_smile:


John VK6NU


I completely agree. What works in Eu is not necessarily the best methodology in an isolated continent with a sparce ham radio population.


When operators don’t alert it adds to the game. Certainly, I monitor the spots and hope there are notifications but if they’re not computer savvy, how can they post? Sometimes I’m not near the internet to check for alerts and spots.
It just adds to the fun when I catch that unannounced activation, knowing I WAS THERE to make the fourth contact.


The flip side is alerts with no activation. Bad weather? Angry YL? auto wreck? We don’t always know there’s a cancellation.
Then there are those who go and regularly cover 2 meter and this trip they don’t. Maybe it’s WINTER RULES and you don’t carry more equipment than the conditions allow so some equipment stays home. WINTER RULES specify SAFETY FIRST.
Part of the game, part of the game…just so long as no one gets hurt.


I have found that in VK4 it is essential to alert, because for one, I only have 3W to play with (Elecraft KX1 with internal AA batteries) and extremely low number of amateurs in this state, so unless I alert, chances are I will be going home with less than four contacts in my log. So I always alert. Another thing: most amateurs in VK4 seem to be non-CW, so my chances on CW only activations are even less at the best of times. And we aren’t in the ‘best of times’ at present. I agree that it’s also good practice at least, and a courtesy at best, for the chasers. I treat every contact as precious.


Always put up an alert when doing an activation and should I have to cancel for some reason try to let people know.

Putting up alerts lets chasers know so they can plan their day in advance.

73’s, Wal VK2WP


Maybe it was me that prompted the origional post? I alerted about 30 mins before my last activation on 25th April and didnt alert for the one before that, both in VK3/VS. Reason; I was negotiating what we ( travelling with others) were going to do etc and how the day was going for time. I was glad that I managed to fit in a few activations on my 7 day visit to VK3, I was also glad that I didnt peeve my wife off by putting an activation first, ahead of her.

So sorry, I alert when I can but some times I dont.

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I read Ian’s comment as a heartfelt plea of “I want to work every activator there is and if you don’t alert I’ll may miss you” rather than a complaint.

Activators need chasers and vice versa. It’s useful to all to alert a day or so before but it’s not always possible or your plans may change. It’s not mandatory but it does help chasers if you can .


I tend to agree with Ian, that said we should all be more responsible with our posting of his/her events
just my 2c
vince kd7tww

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Really? I have a local guy here. He alerted a day or two in advance, but then activated without any spot in the SOTA cluster. He only spotted “CQ SOTA” into the regular DX cluster. How you find this? :rofl:

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The problem with Alerts is trying to get to the summit on time ! Once you put the time in you feel duty bound to get there on time or to stay on the summit until the alert time has arrived. When you plan multiple summits on the same day it feels even worse !

These days I always put time approx in the comments.

73 de Andrew G4VFL


I do appreciate chasers, and I think we should extend every courtesy where possible. I think many activators (like myself) opting for the convenience of APRS has taken an inevitable toll on the number of alerts. However, I can only echo what other chasers have said: if you are off-grid backpacking for days at a time, there is no way to set up accurate alerts. I had to call blind on many activations last summer while out in the Austrian Alps. This summer I will be in Iceland, where the situation will be even worse. I can’t imagine going without an APRS HT to help with spotting.
73 de OE6FEG