Activators, please ID!

I was frustrated today as I waited to chase an activator whose call sign I never heard during the 20 minutes I was able to receive him on 20M CW. There was some QSB, and it’s possible he signed his call during a dip in the signal, but I counted 13 QSOs where he sent only the call sign and signal report of the station he was working, then “dit dit” or “QRZ?” to indicate the QSO was completed. Never a CQ SOTA, never a peak reference, and as far as I could tell, no call sign. I only knew he was an activator because of the frequency and the familiar chaser call signs I was hearing. Only later, when I could look at SOTAwatch spots, was I able to guess who he might have been from the time and frequency.

I think I am hearing this kind of operating practice more and more frequently. I think it is bad practice.

Activators: please don’t assume we chasers all have access to the current spots to deduce who and where you are. Also keep in mind that your signals are often quite weak and subject to QRM and QRN here at home stations.

And if these reasons are not enough, consider you may be operating illegally. FCC (US) regulations state, in part:

97.119 Station identification.
(a) Each amateur station, except a space station or telecommand station, must transmit its assigned call sign on its transmitting channel at the end of each communication, and at least every 10 minutes during a communication, for the purpose of clearly making the source of the transmissions from the station known to those receiving the transmissions. No station may transmit unidentified communications or signals, or transmit as the station call sign, any call sign not authorized to the station.

(emphasis mine)

I read this to mean US hams should transmit their call sign at the completion of every QSO (SOTA, contest, or otherwise).

Before you flame me with “well that means chaser should also transmit their call sign at the end of the QSO”: yes, that would be literally correct. But let’s not let perfect be the enemy of good – chasers do not go unidentified in this scenario.

I hope to work you next time, whoever you are.

Randy WB4SPB


Hi Randy,

You are right of course and a timely reminder not to allow a lapse due to enthusiasm and a desire to get through the dog pile quickly. It’s not confined to W land.

My own CW etiquette could be polished up - I do try to put out my call once per contact but might miss sometimes. My summit locator is given less frequently - usually only when calling CQ at the start or when the chasers go quiet and I think a CQ is appropriate. I have been more focused on my other deficiencies - sending errors and poor decoding of others signals.


Over the pond our own rules state at least once every 15 minutes.
But tend to give call sign more often even during Qso as still lot of people still give call on each over.
i suppose it can get bit left out if when get busy. Even in SSB mode to which i mainly work in.

As you say sometimes you don’t have access to said information.
Plus if info is not on the sota watch and its not been heard by the chaser to whom has access to the watch can not pass it on either.


Not any more…

13 Identification
13(1) The Licensee, or, if this Licence is a Full Licence, then any other authorised person who uses the Radio Equipment, shall ensure that:
(a) the station is clearly identifiable at all times;
(b) the Callsign is transmitted as frequently as is practicable during transmissions, unless the specific requirements of Note (g) to the Notes to Schedule 1 of this Licence apply;
© and the Callsign is given in voice or other appropriate format consistent with the mode of operation.

(Schedule 1 Note (g) refers to use of the 5MHz band.)
((No, I don’t know what “at all times” and “frequently as is practicable” mean, exactly, either. Apply common sense, I guess, and if folk are complaining that they don’t know what your callsign is then you’re probably not up to the mark.))
(((See (many?) discussions past?)))

;;; A programming joke some will understand :slight_smile:

(typep M0LEP '(Lisp Programmer))

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On the seventh day, God created LISP. On the eight, he replaced his keyboard because he’d worn out the bracket keys.

LISP stands for Lots of Irritating Single Parentheses.

Back on topic…

Rick is correct we have discussed this before. As George Washington didn’t say “I cannot tell a lie, I have failed to ID often enough”. When I have a big pileup (oh for those days now old Sol is snoozing) I would often forget to ID. I just kept working the chasers. When there are few callers I ID all the time as I keep hitting the memory keyer which sends “CQ CQ SOTA de MM0FMF/P MM0FMF/P”

It’s a heat of the moment problem that requires effort to overcome the inertia. I promise to do better.

Actually the SFI is currently at 107, its just midsummer doldrums!