I have found an alternative to using SOTAWatch3 to find on-the-air CW activators when my computer is not available. I simply tune the higher end of the CW bands looking for lids “tuning up” with a 15 seconds solid carrier signal while parked on a whole number frequency (i.e. 14.0630 MHz) and…sure enough… there is a SOTA station calling CQ beneath him. Works every time.
Sometimes works for SSB too
When I’m not chasing S2S, I generally find a clear frequency, put out a couple of CQ SOTA calls and then spot my frequency. I can tell if someone is going to answer soon when I can hear the pop as they tune up in between my calls after I put my spot out. (All on SSB). It 's like a warning to get my notebook and pencil ready !
Sad but true Mike
If this is correct how thoughtless can one be? These people ought to build resonant antennas and then they do not need to “tune up” their equipment. Very few of use chasing are using transceivers with valve PAs and valve linear amplifiers, so you must be referring to the tuning their antenna via an ATU.
One thing I have noticed in conversations with some amateurs, is that when they hit the TUNE button on their radios and the motors start turning the capacitors, they are unaware that they are actually transmitting a tuning signal. This can be clearly heard daily on the HF bands as a whirring sound as the antenna is brought into resonance.
73 Phil G4OBK
Not everyone has space for multiple resonant antennas. I have a doublet so I have to tune the ATU. I listen first, do it quickly and usually use QRP.
Very good Richard - assuming you tune away from the frequency in use to an apparently clear one when you are tuning of course! If using a manual ATU it is also advantageous to keep a tuning chart of settings, but I guess you already do that.
Of course. It’s so obvious I forgot to say. Doesn’t stop the lids though!
A tuning chart is very usefull, but the actual settings are influenced by the weather so the chart is just the starting point - but as you say, a move to a nearby clear(ish) spot is good manners, and in addition I switch to QRP for the initial tune up.
Even if you aren’t using the spot frequency to match your antenna at the lowest possible power, it is best practice to listen first. After all, SOTA ops aren’t the only ones using the bands, even if we think we should be.
73 Bill K7WXW
KX2 automatically drops to 500mW.
Ah yes, and don’t forget about the POTA stations, as soon as a SOTA
gets spotted and starts CQing, a POTA starts CQing 100 Hz off frequency
running 100 watts or more causing much QRM and confusion.
Gotta love it !
The owner’s manual says 2 to 3W with the KXAT2, page 51. It seems a bit excessive, but I guess they deemed it necessary?
My KX2 says it tunes with 3 watts… ok - maybe you can adjust that… I haven’t looked yet. But it doesn’t matter if I tune with 3 watt or 500mW: it would be roughly an S-stage.
Especially when tuning in for the first time at a new location, it takes a few seconds. Of course, I listen to the frequency for a while beforehand. But unfortunately the receiver is not really good before tuning either. The tuner also has an effect on it.
Sometimes I have only noticed after tuning that the frequency is not free at all, but that stations can be heard faintly. OK - my chasers would be louder. I could hear them fine! But they would probably also be heard by the actual users of the frequency, especially as they often have more transmitting power than I do… and it is possible that these stations will drown me out among the chasers.
So after tuning, I look for a free qrg … and the antenna is now adjusted, I can also transmit and ask if the frequency is free.
…and only then I spot !
Then someone else starts calling CQ on that frequency without warning.
Of course it can happen… i call cq and spot at the same time … and someone else doesn’t hear my qrp transmission and calls at the same time…
True - it has happened, but not very often.
Then it’s great when strong chasers say: this frequency is occupied by a SOTA station … and usually the activity on the frequency is enough for the calling station to do qsy… and in a pinch I do qsy. What the heck…
And then the pota chasers qsy and insist that you started calling next to HIS frequency and scold you “do you know how hard it is to activate pota” sadly those comments are never accompanied by a callsign