Alerts and the use of

Alerts and the use of.

Several people have mentioned if it was possible for more alerts to be used to help chasers make arrangements to be available in time.
As over the recent weeks / months it seems to have declined somewhat to just spots.
There are a lot of chasers who ask the activator if they are activating another summit and if the answer is yes why not put a listing in the alerts as a third party to give others a helping hand if this possible. Or on the spots for them saying later today in xx hours he may be on xx/xxx summit, subject to a change in plans etc.

Items are mentioned in the reflector but may not be visible at the time of the event with more items listed above pushing the details down the list and out of sight.

The reason for asking is that there may be a time when an activator who after making plans and a long hike does not qualify a summit because no one knows they are there, from time to time you see needs more contacts to qualify.

We all know it is not possible all the time as some people have gear in the car and just decide to do a summit when passing by in fine weather or don’t want to get home until the mother in law has gone.

As in the spirit of SOTA one cannot exist without the other, chasers cannot chase what they do not know is there and activators may not want to be on a summit and not qualify after all the preparation and travelling involved. Helping others to help oneself.

On behalf of others too scared to comment.

Roger. G0TRB.
DIG 5051.

In reply to G0TRB:

In defence of the activators, quite often we have travelled a fair distance from home for a holiday and the actual decision to activate is based on the weather or the fact that the XYL is going shopping and we have no access to the internet. A late alert is probably more likely to be missed than a self spot anyway. Other activations are spare of the moment and I know a lot of people who travel with the rucksack packed. Self spotting from a mobile has become quite prevalent and it can certainly prevent walking up a hill to find you cannot qualify it.

Technology is catching up however and I personally have mobile broadband (G3) on my laptop so posting or updating my own alerts should be now be possible. I am hoping I have coverage in GM over the next two weeks, but in case I don’t I have tried to make it as clear as possible of our intentions.

I would encourage activators to make use of the alerts because chasers may be able to twist their plans to catch you but if we don’t know you are out we cannot make such arrangements. It also may alter other activators plans as they try for the S2S.

Regards Steve GW7AAV

In reply to GW7AAV:
The alerts reflector was in response to coments from some chasers in respect of not getting any warnings .
A few who know when people are on like yourself who do mention in the alerts such as the GM trip allows chasers to have a go , its when a spot appears and by the time people have seen it and tried to find them its too late as the activator is halfway to another unknown summit .
A lot of the activators who do on the spur of the moment activations stay on the summit for quite a while giving chasers a chance to have a go at contacting them the logs prove this fact.
As its all in the spirit of SOTA to help each other , as you say with self spotting by mobile phone, if that was done before the climb that would give a warning to chasers to be prepared for the arrival e.g at xx/xxx summit in about xx hours … or even a call for a third party to let people know as mentioned before .
It would also enable a time slot to allow S2S contacts as when there is another summit on air a chaser will often inform the activator of the other activator and with summit details and time expected, but if the info is not available everyone loses .
Roger G0TRB

In reply to G0TRB:

One of the reasons I’m a bit reluctant to alert is that one is required to give so much detail. I know the time is only an ETA but sometimes it is difficult to give even an estimate accurate enough to be useful. I know it is irrational, but if I alert a time I feel pressure to meet that time - at least within half an hour or so. Bands and modes will depend on the time available, the weather, terrain, difficulty of getting contacts, and mere whim. If I alert everything I might do, I’d be letting people down if for some reason I missed some. If I alert only the minimum (usually 2m FM) then the alert is less use and people might not listen for the others.

It’s a quandry: do I risk disappointing people or do I risk missing contacts because they didn’t know my plans?

That’s why I tried the approach of using Twitter, where it is possible to be far more chatty and give a general idea of what I’m doing without being too specific. Unfortunately Twitter have just pulled the plug on delivery of messages by SMS in the UK, so it is now considerably less useful than it was.

You can’t win either way! If you are specific as to what summits, and bands and modes you hope to do, you can get criticised (and worse) afterwards if you fail in any way to live up to expectations. If you are vague, or don’t alert at all, you have not enabled the chasers to be sufficiently organised to work you.

As an activator, I do try to alert all my activations. Some are specific, if I know exactly what I am doing. Others are less so, for instance two of my recent GM activations were alerted as “+/- 3 days” and put as 145-fm and 3.5-ssb/cw, when in actual fact we did 40m not 80m for the HF. A 3rd GM activation was not alerted - as we had not planned it - I was not even aware of the summit myself until Jimmy pointed it out to me mid-holiday.

I didn’t alert my activation today - as it was only decided upon once we were already out and about in the car. However, it was, as are virtually all my activations, self-spotted just prior to commencement.

As a chaser, I hardly look at the Alerts. I just look at the Spots in the shack - and chase them. Only extremely rarely do I find an activation - whether alerted or not - that hasn’t already been spotted. I find the Spots far more useful as a chaser. The Alerts are more useful to me as an activator, judging the “theme” for a particular day, or choosing to meet up with, or resectfully avoid another activator.

73, Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:

As a chaser, I hardly look at the Alerts. I just look at the Spots in
the shack - and chase them. Only extremely rarely do I find an
activation - whether alerted or not - that hasn’t already been

Maybe that is because some of us are listening where the alerted station is due on and even have the SPOT ready to send at the first sign with a finger poised to press the enter key. It is just a little game we play called “got to be first” - Tee Hee.

Previously if I was out, on say a RAYNET exercise, I would print out the alerts page, but now I have mobile broadband it will be the laptop on the passenger seat. I was just weighing up if those little ASUS laptops could be thrown in the rucksack?

Regards Steve GW7AAV (who should be packing for GM)

I tend to agree with Martyn M1MAJ, that it seems to put pressure on one to stick to a rigid plan when you alert, and this takes away from the whole experience. I have alerted in the past and then rushed to get to the summit just to make sure I’m on air within the alerted times.

Obviously, with practice it becomes easier to assess how much time is needed to get to the summit and set up the equipment, so working out the approximate QRV time becomes more accurate.

I don’t really really have a rule for myself, sometimes I alert, sometimes I don’t. At weekends I have found that there are lots of willing chasers nowadays and like Steve, GW7AAV, says the first person to work you normally ‘spots’ you .

I like to think it gives pleasure to the chaser to have a bit of a surprise factor also. I don’t do chasing from a shack, but I think I would be pretty thrilled if someone turned up unannounced on, say, Helvellyn (LD-003)and was giving away 10 chaser points.

Hope to surprise some chasers in the future from some large scoring LD summits!

73 Colin

In reply to M0CGH:

I do not know what is the right way, but I have not used self spotting so far. I have always put an alert before the expedition and now I use the APRS so that the chasers can check how close I am from the summit. That works quite well if you go high enough, like in the case of tracking balloons. For example from Roc de Tavaneuse F/AB-324 2156 m . On Pic de la Corne F/AB-335 last February I managed only two QSOs and the first activations from OH/KI were only 4 - 5 QSOs with my QRP rig ATS3B with 8xAA battery and moderate gain loop antenna. There have been few no-show cases, but mostly I can keep the planning.

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL

In reply to F5VGL:
Hi Jaakko,

What kind of equipment do you use for APRS ?

Alain F6ENO

General reply: I both alert (when travelling from my home QTH) and try to self-spot. When alerting, I try to estimate the journey time, but this can be affected by traffic, RTAs weather etc. Very often it is impossible to self-spot a major delay en-route or from the car parking area - there’s no mobile phone signal. I can now just about match Naismith estimates for ascents except on a scramble. The value of a self-spot is to confirm that the activation is going ahead (or perhaps not) and the frequency being used. To alert and not to follow up with a spot leaves chasers with trying to guess a QRV and a frequency/mode. Do chasers really want to scan up and down perhaps several bands waiting for an activator to appear?

On holiday my only option is to use a self-spot as an alert, because that’s all my mobile phone will let me do. I’ve no other use for a portable PC, and I really can’t face the hassle of getting connected by wireless. Alternatively. I’ll go fishing or look for our beer money with the metal-detector.

In reply to F6ENO:

Hi Alain,

That was mentioned in thread

Antenna is simple dipole for 2 m


The packets are sent in 10 minute intervals and power is half of the maximum for VX-7R.

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL

In reply to GW7AAV:

I was just weighing up if those little ASUS laptops could be thrown in the

They work really well both as a nice terminal for email, browsing etc. and of course for digimodes. I have mine running over Wifi when it’s available and via dialup HSDPA on my 3g phone. For digimodes I have fldigi-2.10.3 running. fldigi-3.0 is now out, the binary download works out of the box but I haven’t had a chance to compile my own copy yet as I did with 2.10.3.

The bigger screen models (900 series are nicer) but the price of those is starting to approach what a “proper” laptop can be bought for which makes the small screen 701 models better value for money in my book.


In reply to F5VGL and all:

Thanks Jaakko,

It seems that APRS should be good for climbers security, but how many people are watching their screen ? may be more in the future ?
I’m looking for a Kenwood TH-D7. Is it a good choice ?

73 Alain

In reply to F6ENO:

Hi Alain,

It seems that APRS should be good for climbers security, but how many
people are watching their screen ? may be more in the future ?

It could help if you drop into ‘crevasse’ or get lost or loose your mobility. Though it is probably difficult to transmit on VHF/UHF from a deep crevasse. But better solution is to have somebody in base camp monitoring the emergency channel (or simply 112 on mobile phone if that is available). APRS network can operate independent of the internet in the local area, but with the RF-to-internet gateways the whole world including non-hams will know where you are. Simple self spotting could be done with the preprogrammed APRS status messages and then those receiving the packets would not need the internet connection to check the activation frequencies.

I’m looking for a Kenwood TH-D7. Is it a good choice ?

I have no experience on TH-D7.

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL

In reply to F6ENO:
I was out today with APRS running, see:

I was using a TH-D7. Overall I am quite pleased with it, it is fairly robust and does all the things I want…I wouldn’t mind getting hold of the SSTV add-on though :slight_smile:

If you want to buy a TH-D7, there isn’t a lot of difference between the D7A & D7E versions (US & Euro) but the later G version has more aprs functions.

If I were in the market for an aprs radio though, I’d wait to see what the Yaesu VX-8R turns out like.

All the best,
Richard M0EIQ

In reply to M0EIQ:

Thanks for infos Richard,

It seems I should have a problem because my GPS is a Magellan with a NMEA USB connexion. I had a look to TH-D7 specifications and the connexion is COM compatible.

Will be waiting for new rigs…

73 Alain

In reply to F6ENO:

If the output is NMEA…isn’t that a standard serial data sentence?
Maybe magellan just send serial data over a USB connection.

Might be worth making up a cable & looking at the output with hyperterminal or a serial port monitor program…

Then again, GPSRs are very cheap now…I picked up a Garmin Foretrex 101 from Ebay for £40 (50 euro ?) a month ago.