Alert Apps Alerting for Wrong Reason

Don’t really want to get on any soap box and waste any topic space, but I’m fed up with my apps that I use such as SOTA Goat, Ruck Sack Tool and Spot Monitor. The reason why I am fed up is because every so often they will alert me just to say that an “Activator is now QRT” or “Activator is here but cannot be heard for QRM” or similar. I am wondering if the “Roving Reporter” once worked for their local news network. I am sorry if there is nothing wrong with this type of thing happening, but I am receiving alerts which are not necassary.

I agree that superfluous “non-spots” can be annoying, and MT members do delete them from SOTAwatch if necessary. However, your apps will have probably already bleeped or buzzed you by then.

I would therefore suggest this is a case of you configuring your settings on these apps, to better suit your needs.


I suppose the thing to consider, that you may not be aware of, is that some activators arrange for a backup system of being able to contact someone to spot them if they cannot do so for various reasons. An example today being with Allan GW4VPX who had a problem with RRT. He asked me to spot that he was QRT along with other spots that you would have seen. In terms of annoying the ‘test’ one annoy me because they tend not to be deleted but they soon pass. Final note, whilst on boxes, there are a number of chasers who call and call without listening first. I call them infernal bleating callsigns aka Pavlov dog type reaction to a spot.


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Hello Tom,

“I would therefore suggest this is a case of you configuring your settings on these apps, to better suit your needs.”

Spot on.

I only turn on RRT is when I am outside doing jobs and I have configured it to inform me of things I am interested in.


Thanks for your constructive reply Tom, my main programme for alerts is Spot Monitor and unfortunately there is no configuration to ignore spots that are “Now QRT”. I notice that there is an option to filter spotters, does this mean I have to list all the spotters that don’t spot unwanted spots just to ommit certain ones. Looking like just uninstalling the software maybe the easiest option here. Maybe the best thing here (please admin) would be to remove the comments feature on the alerts page, that way no one would be tempted to post unwanted and unnecassary spots.


It’d be nice if the various apps allowed a little more flexibility in filtering. The (beta) SOTAwatch filter at has a useful selection including filtering on comments, which is great for selecting or ignoring things like tests and such.


73, Rick M0LEP

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Thanks Rick this is much better and was unaware of this sotawatch filter. I will try this over the next week or so and see how it goes. Just wish other apps could filter the comments or better still the Admin could remove the comments option from the alerts page as they are not really needed.


Well that’s your opinion David. It’s a classic case of one man’s DX is another man’s local QRM. Or in this case unwanted comment. I think that if you were to filter just a few spotters you would be able to improve, in your opinion, the signal to noise ratio quite considerably. The trade off is filtering the spots you want from the spots you don’t and not missing spots which are important. A little experimenting will be needed.


Well you could do something really radical or perhaps some would say old fashioned. Turn off your apps/gadgets, make a note of the alerts, work out the activators who are reliable, listen on the radio and try and find them. You will then avoid the apparent discomfort at being squeaked at by your apps.

Big advantage is that you don’t have to try and get through a pile up because you are there at the start.

Night night

Hi Dave… one of my more habitual chasers :smile:

I was only thinking about this on Monday when I was late walking up the Stiperstones and, due to a broken battery, would only be activating 2m FM and not SSB as well (as was planned).

I thought about posting a spot saying something like “on my way to the summit - please chasers keep listening out for me - sorry I’m late and no SSB today” but I thought (I think correctly) that this would be inappropriate use of the alerts/spots system.

Then I had an idea. In addition to the standard spots and alerts section - a ‘supplemental’ information section could be created. This would give a platform for:

  • Giving the kind of information I thought might be ‘useful’ for chasers
  • Giving additional info about the activation (i.e. QRT)
  • Perhaps somewhere to put, “can you try 40m next please mate?”

I think this is quite a good idea (I would think this as it’s one of mine! :slight_smile: )

Perhaps this would solve quite a few issues.

Thoughts please?

Best 73,


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Good morning all,

Firstly let me ask for a little tolerance. I find many actions of my fellow human beings annoying and I daresay they think the same about me.

SOTAWatch is an indispensable tool. My plaudits to those who put it together and maintain it. It’s fine as is.

Apart from the callsign, summit, operating frequency and mode the Spot has a Comments line so why can’t that be used for comments that are useful rather than “it is sunny on the summit”?

Information such as “Now QRT - raining”, “Nothing heard in Timbucktoo” is as useful to both chasers and activators as “Good signal in Rainbow”.

I would go so far as to say that provided it does not become just a chat column, and does not contain objectionable material and does not contravene the spirit of SOTA then the Comments field can be used to convey any useful activation info.

For example, I may add the time of posting to the comments as SMS Spots have been known to take nearly a day to appear. Without the time sent clue the post may lead to chasers wasting a lot of time listening long after the event.

Tests sent by SMS cannot be erased but sometimes it is necessary and or prudent to do a test. Of course tests sent by normal internet means should be erased after they have served their purpose.

So this all leads to there being spots appearing that you actually have to read the comments line before reacting. Stiff Cheese?

Half the spots I get are irrelevant but can’t be filtered. eg 40 m spots in US or EU during our day. I accept that as part of the “cost” of being “on-line”.

Having a separate site or other arrangement for live comments is unnecessary and adds complication.
It has been done for some reflectors but having used them over many years on my computer and on my phone I can say not a good idea for SOTAWatch. Sorry Rob.

SOTAWatch ain’t broken so let’s not fix it.

Now if you want an App that is like RRT etc but has a comments based filter then write to the App author.


I too find some false spots annoying. Some are more helpful than others and I find those that display an improbable frequency most helpful.
If I see a spot for activator GW1XXX on 7.118 ssb and a later spot for the same activator on 7 ssb I deduce that the later comment contains something useful such as Now QRT or Short break, then 20m. I feel that QRT, request and test spots without an abnormal operating frequency are NOT spots and may therefore be an abuse of the system.
I do think that QRT spots are useful but think they are best done by editing an already displayed spot.
However, as always there will be other views on all this.
73, Rod

There’s not much to disagree with there, Ron.

There aren’t that many spots that need to be deleted in my view and I’m happy that others may think there are more that should be removed. In general I feel the balance is right. However, SOTAwatch doesn’t have user filters, it only has the option to compress spots for the same activator.

If you want different display or filters you can:

take the RSS feed from SOTAwatch and write your own software to filter and display the data
use SOTAgoat, RRT etc. to display the data
use Eric KU6J’s SOTA monitor to display and filter the data
use the Mathieu David SOTAwatch filter to display and filter the data
use Christophe ON6ZQ’s tool to give you the spots in JSON format and use that in your own apps
connect to the SOTA cluster and get the spots in DXcluster format (and use your logging/cluster program to filter)

So there are lots of ways of taking the raw data and reducing it to something you do want. The important thing is that activators get spotted on the frequency they are using. Yes, that results in pile ups and can result in some bad behaviour when a lot of chasers want a QSO. But most of the time it’s OK. I’d rather be spotted and have to deal with an unruly pileup than walk a long way, climb a summit and struggle to qualify the hill!

Whenever there has been discussion about what is a valid spot in the past, the number of spots drops off. There will be people who will be reluctant to spot for a few days to weeks in case they are accused of poor spotting. Also there are fairly regular complaints when RBN spotting deduces something from the alerts and generates bogus spots because the activator ended up on a different summit. These spots can be frustrating at times but, to be honest, in the end all the bad/bogus/inaccurate spots don’t really amount to much in the grand scheme of things.

I have to agree with Ron, if you use an app and it doesn’t do what you want, get in touch with the author and ask them to enhance it. The people writing these things are SOTA chasers/activators and will understand what you need. But if nobody is asking for anything then it’s unlikely to be implemented.

It’s been done before!

I have to agree there are some roving reporters that appear to add little value and appear to spot purely to raise their spotting score! (Do you get points for spotting?) :smile:
I often see valid spots followed by duplicates which add nothing useful and just create noise on SOTAwatch.
Personally I see no value in a QRT spot, but that’s maybe just me!

I’ve just learnt to ignore them and get on with the business at hand.
Obviously the biggest problem is when using compressed mode or one of the spotting apps which don’t actually show the comments.
Luckily when I’m using RRT I’ll only be interested in CW spots so I can filter appropriately.
The roving reporters tend only to publish about tabloid events (SSB) not the broadsheet news (CW).

Pete :gb:


Thanks for your input Pete. Can I just clarify my problem as I don’t think I explained properly. When I am not by the radio I have 3 spot monitor apps with notification alerts. Sota Monitor being the main app,Sota Goat on iPad. On my Android I run RRT with voice alert which says “Can you work such and such on xx Meters” at this point I would hurry to the shack and find that the frequency is clear, then check on to find comments such as “Now QRT” or “can you try xx Meters”. Surely common sense would tell me the station is now “QRT”.It just frustrated me yesterday to think how can you spot a QRT station when the sotawatch site is to mainly spot activators who are there (at this moment of time). Im fairly new to this award scheme but surely If a TV station was to advertise programme starts at such and such time but was shown an hour earlier and now had finished I think that TV station would be bombarded with complaints. Maybe “roving reporter” was a little harsh as it is not just an individual that is to blame and I apologize for choosing an inappropiate wording. Now I have altered my configuration settings, I am hoping that this shouldn’t be a problem no more. Long live the SOTA scheme.

Back to my nice cuppa

[quote=“G4ISJ, post:14, topic:9829”]no value in a QRT spot[/quote]…while I find them useful; they draw a line on an activation.

The spots begging for QSYs, on the other hand, aren’t.

…but most of the things that folk seem to be troubled by could be solved by improved filtering, particularly of comment content. For instance, it’d be really useful if an app, having seen a “QRT” spot, would recognise it for what it was and remove the other spots for that activation from its display of possibly active summits. Likewise, it’d make sense to ignore spots with “ignore” in the comments. So, if there are any authors of SOTA spot monitoring apps reading this, please consider implementing more filtering like this (if it isn’t there already). Thanks.

73, Rick M0LEP

They do serve a useful purpose in that they tell people the station is QRT i.e. shutdown as opposed to still being likely to TX on another band or maybe just take a short break for something to eat and drink.

I can recall sitting on the top of Tom Bailgeann chatting on the phone to a friend about whether I was intending to do more summits after this one. The 817 was still monitoring 40m where I had been operating. I heard a voice appear at a good 57 and say “thanks for the 59 Andy, you’re 56 here.” Quite amusing in some ways as I had been on the phone for a good 10 mins by then. The other station thought he could hear me giving him a report. Had I spotted myself or been spotted as QRT he wouldn’t have thought he could hear me. Or maybe he would, who knows.

However, anyone spotting a “can you do XX metres” and not spotting the station on activator on his current frequency is “cruising for a bruising” from the MT. Requests for QSYs are tolerated during quiet periods as long as the station is spotted on their current frequency. If you see any where the spotted frequency is not being used by the activator then let the MT know and we will have a quiet word with the spotter.