Alert setting - Adding alert carefully

Hi all,

When the hunt is over and I put away my little rifle, I like to go and see what the game will be the next day, so I go to see the alerts.

We have the choice in the settings to indicate these “all bands - HF - VHF”.
I am in a region where there is little VHF activity so I have always indicated HF, knowing that for the spots I have set up all the HF bands and the 2m.

I realized quite recently that I was not seeing all the alerts !
The problem does not come from SOTAwatch but from the activators and the way they write their alerts, example this morning I had this list in my alerts (“HF” choice) :

Settings alertes 1

You will understand why I put yellow lines!
I pass on the choice “All bands” and I have this :

Settings alertes 2

We then realize that alerts appear as if by magic. You will say to me that I have only to leave on the choice “all bands”.

No :yum: , I believe that the instructions must be followed when writing alerts, it is clearly stated :

Settings alertes 3

It’s a detail, don’t blame me and answer my calls tomorrow ! :joy:

73, Éric


Trying to change the World is a challenge. In your example the number of operators posting in their own way suggests you won’t be successful.

I guess the system should be able to filter out incorrect posts but sometimes you don’t know what band or mode to use until you get on the summit. In this case an alert saying “hf-cw-ssb” might be the best you can give.


Hi John,

I agree with you and luckily we’re getting there, 2 of the stations I mentioned, which I know well, were contacted very easily.

Sorry to seem like a perfectionist, but the alerts are done before activation, if you go with a QCX 30m you can only do 30m, if I go with a 4 band antenna and an FT-817 I know I could eventually work on these 4 bands and all modes if I have the appropriate accessories…

Hence the interest of being as precise as possible in its alerts, you will never be reproached for not having activated such and such a frequency!

A saying says this : “who can do more can do less”

See in this example concerning you, your alert was very precise and even if you did not activate HF that day for your own reasons !

G_SC011 18122021

This summit G/SC-011 is in my “to do” list, and I can say that I watched you on 20m CW :face_with_peeking_eye:

Getting back on topic, I was saying this to get things done and nothing else, no complaints…
Sorry, English is not my native language.

73 and good SOTA


John, it’s your alert so you could clarify but my guess is that it was a simple typo (which we all make from time to time, more often in my case) and that 14.050-cw should have read 144.050-cw.


Hi Éric,
Thanks for letting us know this problem which I wasn’t aware of.
I believe I was the first one writing HF-CW-SSB or HF-CW in my alerts and I see now that some others have decided to follow, so I must be one of the guilty indisciplined not following the rules… :sweat_smile:
That’s probably why I sometimes experience problems to see my own alerts… :blush:
I’ll try to write things following the right format, but I admit I don’t like the idea of alerting for bands I will not use or using bands I have not alerted for. I really like having the freedom of deciding right at the summit which bands and in which order I activate, depending on my own mood, wishes, expectations, interest, technical constraints, propagation conditions, available time, etc.
Probably, alerting for one band/mode with a comment saying “I may use other bands/modes too” will be the simplest solution.
Will think about this. Please, excuse me for any inconvenients my method of alerting HF-CW-SSB may have created to you and/or others.



Yes, a typo, it was meant to be 144.050. I was being precisely wrong. :slight_smile:


I hope to return to this summit again this year and I’ll be sure to use HF - and give you plenty of warning. :slight_smile:

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Yes, the activator has many factors that affect, in an unpredictable way, how much time to spend and which bands to use when at the summit.

I prefer to mention the specific bands I want and intend to activate but qualify the uncertainty in the alert comments, e.g. 145-fm, 10-cw, 5-cw “HF subject to weather” or “HF if time permits” or “other HF bands if time permits”. At least this tells a keen activator whether or not even to bother looking for my spot.

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Hi Guru,

That’s what made me decide to write something on this subject, nothing more, I now think I should have kept quiet :laughing:

73, Éric

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Hi Éric. No, I think it was helpful you alerted [no pun intended] us about how sloppy syntax is not handled by alert filters so that both activators and chasers can potentially miss seeing that info. I personally avoid posting precise frequencies in alerts in which case writing 14-ssb, 14-cw is no effort and leave that to my spots.

73, Andy



Hello Eric,
First to all thanks for the contacts yesterday. Excuse me for my way of alerting. Before, I did it following the format. But sometimes it happens that you announce a band and then the antenna does not work for that band. For example, in the last summits I have not been able to tune in 20M (I have to check it), If I have announced 14062-cw I am generating false expectations. this is why now only HF-CW-SSB.

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And if we’re going to be ultra-critical in examining John’s alert…

Datamode contacts would be entered in the database as “DATA” in the mode field. However, in spots and alerts, the actual Datamode being used can be accepted, and would be much more informative for potential chasers. Setting the shack up to RX on FT8 is markedly different from getting ready to monitor on PSK31.

However, I say all that entirely tongue-in-cheek. While I concur that it would be preferable for us all to be consistent in formats etc, the Alerts aspect isn’t particularly important. I post to it as an activator, but rarely look at it as a chaser. The Spots page is more important, and for the Database, accuracy and consistency is essential.

I won’t be losing any sleep over “customised” alert formats!


Looking at the alerts right now there are plenty in the wrong format and so don’t get selected properly by the filters. Either we need to educate the users better or the filter software could be updated to handle these different formats. But as Tom says it’s the spots where accuracy really matters.


In the past, the alert format on old versions of SOTAwatch was more strictly controlled. It isn’t on later versions. Newer SOTA activators not aware the format is now less strict will invent their own format rather than following what is suggested. It does say the limit is 40chars for the band and 60 for the comment. Some activators enter comments longer than Tolstoy novels!

The fact that the formats are not strictly enforced is not a big issue itself, humans can see what is likly to have been meant. It only becomes an issue when filters are added and these new forms of frequency self-expression fail to trigger the filters.

The fix is to make the filters more accommodating or to enforce the band specifier. I’d prefer a the band specifier to be more stringent. But it’s a lower priority issue.

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I personally would prefer to see the entry format of the alert freq/mode entries be more strictly controlled. I believe spots are more strictly controlled hence I believe that Alerts should also be entry-validated to the same level if possible. I agree with Andy, this is not a priority more an annoyance however and if those placing the alerts now realise from reading this thread that their alert may not be displayed to several chasers if they do not follow the documented standard, the problem could solve itself.

The way I approach the situation where I am not sure which bands I will use is to enter one that I know I will use e.g. 7-SSB and then in the text add something like “May also use 20 & 17m”.

73 Ed.


Hi all,

Today I was not very diligent on SOTA activity !! Like Mo (@MM0EFI XYL) mine had surgery on January 25th, … shoulder ! and needs my presence… (4 months at least).
Following my subject on the alerts I noticed that Gérald @F6HBI had a touch of humor :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I had a good laugh seeing these spots later on HF.

I made the final decision to set my alert settings to ALL BANDS, even though I have to scroll 3 pages to be able to find what I’m looking for :wink:

Stop and end .-.-.


Hello Eric,
My Alert was good! My first QSO was on 144-FM with F8AST and i had SA4 / SP9 / F stations on DMR…
I did call you just before i started on 60m-CW, but you were away.
I missed your spot and therefore i did very few QSO on bands.
Next alert i will use my old fashion alert 5-cw <7-ssb> 50-cw
this means i will be active from 5mhz to 50mhz using CW, and also SSB mostly on 7mhz…
It is a shame i did’nt log your call from this summit.
73 from Gerald F6HBI

Non c’était pas good …
Ton mail disait : “vers 11:00 Utc toutes bandes CW/SSB” mais tout le monde ne reçoit pas ces mails. Moi je parle d’alerte SOTAwatch3
mais rien de bien important :wink:

You had me worried, for a moment I thought that your rifle was pointing at me!

Hi Kevin,
No, was looking for you later on GW/SW-012 :wink: