Activators appearing on APRS automatically

Hello all!

Today I sent a test sms-spot (I was not on the summit) and found out a bit later that my call appeared on like this:


This seems to be a new service by @ON6ZQ to make all the activators appear on APRS. Generally I think it’s a good idea but what about the activators that use APRS by themselves? E.g. @OE9TKH today on a summit looked like this on APRS:


So maybe it’s possible to exclude all the activators that send out APRS beacons? What do the other APRS users think?

73 Martin, OE5REO


What is the advantage anyway? When successfully self-spotting via APRS the network recognises the beacon and the station will show on the website.

it’s not only about the activators that use APRS2SOTA … every single activator is currently displayed on the APRS map!


I just spotted 2E0RYR on G/WB-004 and this appears on the map


Maybe someone should ask Chrsitophe ON6ZQ about the service, what it does, features etc. ?

It’s amazing how fast such new things are noticed :slight_smile:

Here are details about this: ON6ZQ | SOTA2APRS .

Comments and suggestions welcome !

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When I arrived at the summit this morning, I got an APRS message that looks incomplete, generated and a bit related to that.


I noticed that too when I recently started to use APRS. I found that the messages come from here:

Very interesting job!!!
As far as I can see t is other way of spotting. I usually send out APRS beacons from summits as eb2gkk-7, perhaps any other unified symbol can be used in order to avoid confusion with our own most used “Hiker”.
73 de eb2gkk

Page 7 at seems to suggest a symbol that looks like the IOTA one with an overlay of S.


Just tried it on the latest spot (SV2NCH), but it does not suggest anything close to SOTA.
Reverted to “Hiker” for now. reads

/; = Portable operation (tent)
; = Park or Picnic
F; = Field Day
I; = Islands on the air
S; = Summits on the air

Maybe a proper SOTA symbol should be proposed for inclusion ?

Anyone willing to help with this ?

It will be interesting to see how this develops.

One thing I notice from yesterday is that some of the objects posted to APRS-IS have a prefix appended, presumably to indicate operating in a country different from their callsign ( DL/IN3ADF and DL/OE5EEP for example). Yesterday though my SOTA spot for the call VE2DDZ/W2 was posted to APRS-IS as VE2DDZ with no suffix. The W2 suffix to a Canadian call indicates I was operating in the W2 call area of the US.
SOTAWatch%20spot%20preceeding%20the%20APRS-IS%20post fi%20VE2DDZ%20object%20posted%20from%20SOTA%20spot%202019-08-24

73, Malcolm VE2DDZ

Just a comment: if the summit has a large activation area and the activator is some distance from the highest point this could be quite misleading.

Martyn M1MAJ

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What is reported is the fact that there is a SOTA activation of a particular summit by an activator, not the exact position of the operator.

Arguably, this is the most interesting point to display to let people know about how much SOTA activity there is, and where SOTA summits are located in the regions they are looking at on APRS maps.

Activators who want to report their actual position use their own equipment and typically identify with a -5 or -7 SSID that can be used for filtering.

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This seems to be more complicated than just choosing the “right” symbol: the implementation of the clients matters too…

Here are two screen captures for the same activation by @HB9AFI this morning:

aprsdirect_com aprs_fi

One is from and the other is from .


Obviously. But how is a random observer who hasn’t read this thread supposed to know that?


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Well, the comment reads “SOTA activation AB/CD-123”.

Can we make it more clear ?

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just a thought …

why not name the object “HB/VS-113”
and the comment "SOTA activation by HB9AFI/P -"

then it would make sense to have a the sota logo instead of the hiker-logo … depending of how difficult it is to implement a new aprs-symbol?!

73 martin, oe5reo


It sounds like a good idea.

However, as the name field length is limited to 9 characters, summits references like VE2/AT-001 could not be shown.

Also, the APRS “clients” usually only allow for filtering on the “name” field (not on the comment). So it would no longer be possible to “follow” an activator trip.

Update on the current status of my experimentation with publishing spots and alerts to APRS:

SOTA2APRS reports

  • every activator “spotted” on SOTAwatch to APRS-IS with a “Hiker” symbol (“H[” ) and his current frequency. Example: ON6ZQ 007.032MHz SOTA activation ON/ON-001
  • every announced activation (“alert”) with a “SOTA” symbol (“S;” ). Example: ON/ON-001 SOTA activ. planned on YYYYMMDD HHMMz

Activators who would prefer NOT to be listed on APRS when their activations are spotted on SOTAwatch are welcome to let me know, and I’ll make sure their callsign is added to the “black-list”.

SOTA2APRS is purely experimental, and is meant to make the SOTA related activities known to a larger public, while helping chasers to follow the activators and activators to be chased.
It might be adapted or stopped without notice depending on the feed-back I receive.

Hint: On, you might want to try filtering (right of the screen) on “Source callsign = ON6ZQ” and setting “Show last” and “Track tail length” to 24 hours.

More details on ON6ZQ | SOTA2APRS

Feedback welcome…