Being a fairly active Activator of over 10 years one aspect of SOTA which I thoroughly enjoy is S2S contacts. It’s always a great buzz to work a fellow Activator from your Summit knowing that he/she has put as much effort or indeed more into their activation and that a S2S contact may possibly put ‘the-icing-on-the-activation’ for both Activators?
In the early days of SOTA, S2S’s were fairly rare outwith main 2M conurbations. Nowadays it’s just amazing to see the proliferation of activations on all bands and modes with the subsequent increase in Chasers and summit QSO’s. So S2S’s are less rare. Or are they?
As the saying goes ‘success-breads-success’ and this has certainly been the case with SOTA. Pile-ups are very common with in the main QRO stations chasing. The problem with this is you - as a potentially chilling down Activator, with a 817 running bare-foot, attempting to alert the other Activator that you are trying for a S2S - get nowhere in the ‘scrum’. So if you are really keen you will hang around awaiting the pile-up to reduce or not as the Activator themselves maybe cooling down or indeed heading off for another summit and have to go QRT. Missed opportunity for both!
Could I make the suggestion that we ACTIVATORS during pile-up runs take a break after say every ? contact/exchange to allow for potential S2S’s or other QRP operators to call. ( ? open to suggestions - every 10/20 would workout at about 10 mins - though of course depends on you operating rate? - but would say 10 mins is about right and would allow the awaiting Activator how long they have to wait to get a chance for a S2S and whether it’s worth it?). Remember it’s the Activator who is in control and I think it shows a good quality of operating skills when you take control - asking all stations to - "stand-by and now listening for other summits stations - ONLY!!, QRP and possibly Dx stations - emphasising ‘outside Europe’ (from a European perspective!)
This suggestion is made from many experiences of missed S2S’s both on CW & SSB attempting to break the pile-up - and it’s getting worse! So before it becomes even harder let’s improve our operating procedure and give your fellow Activator a chance by - taking-a-break - please!!
Food for thought?