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ANN: DM/SA + SX activities



I plan to be active from a couple of SAs on Thursday and SXs on Friday and Saturday.

Some will be new ones for you since they’ve been mostly activated on VHF.

Thursday, I may probably start around 9z, Friday could be very early (be prepared for an early wake-up call!), let’s say 7z or so, Saturday probably after 8z.

For all these activations: Please, keep the QSO short since I’ll have heavy restrictions on battery power and I do know my callsign (most of the time, that is…), so no need to repeat it often. Most of the time, I do also have your call correct the first time. Some people tend to repeat it x times which may become annoying, especially if it’s cold, wet and the battery is running low.

Thanks again to Daniel DH8DX and Steffen DL4ALI for taking me with them on our TH tour last weekend. I uploaded some pictures to my web site at
(scroll to the bottom and click on the callsign).

Hope to work many of you, my operating time will probably be some 20min per summit.

73 Norby


In reply to LX1NO:

the time, that is…), so no need to repeat it often. Most of the time,
I do also have your call correct the first time. Some people tend to
repeat it x times which may become annoying, especially if it’s cold,
wet and the battery is running low.

I think the EU sprint format could be adapted to SOTA, see http://www.eusprint.com/
(nice but little bit too QRQ for me), for example



D9XYZ GD 599 599 SOTA G/XX000 D9XYZ BK

G0AXY 559 559 TU SOTA 73 BK


As activator you may need to repeate the chaser call sign since the chasers have often problems to copy the QRP signals. Split operation would be good, but it is difficult to find free frequencies close to 7032 kHz (or should we do ‘5 DWN’?). On other bands that should be easier. Probably repeating the summit reference is not necessary for each QSO. Any other proposals?

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL


Interesting comments. As a newcomer to CW, I initially found it very difficult to be ‘concise’ with my sending, and sent lots more than I needed to, especially the formal “DL/LX1NO/P DE M1EYP” at the beginning and end of every transmission. Considering my slow speed, that may have been frustrating for the activators, but no-one complained, and everyone was very pateint and kind with me - thanks guys.

Now, as a slightly more experienced (but still QRS) CW activator, I am finding the following more efficient pattern developing:

CQ CQ CQ SOTA DE M1EYP/P M1EYP/P SOTA G/SP-015 K (initial call) or…

TU . . (end of previous QSO, and here chaser stations call, so no need QRZ)

F6ENO DE M1EYP/P = GM UR RST 599 599 BK (then listen for incoming report etc)

R R 73 73 ES TU . . (then the pile-up calls again)

So that can be really quick, but I do try to answer any questions like “SOTA?” before 73. Every so often, I do the longer initial call again to give out summit reference, and get a little “concentration rest”.

When chasing, it is a very similar structure. I try to put in the GMs, the FBs and the names if I can remember them at times (mainly when activating rather than chasing), but I tend to keep it simple most of the time. In fact, the repetitive content of SOTA QSOs has proved to be good for building confidence while learning the mode.

GL with the activations Norby.

Rgds, Tom M1EYP


In reply to LX1NO:


I find your present contest-style CW procedure to be excellent, with short, sharp exchanges and no superfluous comments.

With some CW pile-ups now generating 100+ contacts, brevity is of the essence if you are to activate multiple summits.

I would estimate that 95% of callers have your callsign, freq, and SOTA reference displayed on their screen in front of them, so you can get away with the absolute minimum of Callsign, 599 BK; only needing to send your call and SOTA Ref., every half dozen QSO’s, or if asked. Double calls (c/s de c/s) are not needed.

GL, with be looking out for you.



In reply to G4SSH:

100% agreed with you and your suggested QSO format Roy, in and out quick as possible with full consideration for the activator who is exposed to the elements.

73 Mike GW0DSP


In reply to GW0DSP:

To make sure that I understand what you mean I make an example. The exchange in ] is optional. For me this QSO is still 2-way communication though the exchage is minimum.



D9XYZ [GD] 599 599 [SOTA G/XX000] [D9XYZ] BK

G0AXY 559 559 [TU 73] BK

D9XYZ [QSL | NAME | 73] TU [CQ | QRZ?] [G0AXY] [UP 2 | DWN 2] K

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL


In reply to F5VGL:

Yes Jaakko, that is an example of a minimum CW SOTA QSO. Now that the bad weather is due the optional parts in brackets should be discarded.

However, I would reduce the last 2 lines. The activator knows his own call and this does not need to be sent by the chaser, which would leave your example as:-

D9XYZ 599 5NN BK
R UR 559 TU

This would strip all greetings and good wishes and appear a bit impersonal, but as always, chasers should follow the lead of the activator,especially if they remark on poor conditions such as cold/rain/snow/thunder. A chasers consideration must always be for the the safety of the activator

73 Roy G4SSH


Thanks to all those who read this and called me on Thursday on my way east (left home at 0300z and added 900km to the clock)

I changed my mind en route and drove to my target destination already on Thu evening.

A wise decision as I can see this morning: It’s wet outside since I got out of bed and it doesn’t look like as if it’s going to stop real soon. I had in mind to do one or two references in the afternoon but well…

Hopefully, WX improves for the planned Saturday tour although I still have strong doubts. Maybe I change plans again. That’s why I don’t want to announce references at this moment.

73 Norby


I have been following this thread with interest as part of my CW education. The QSOs in my last activation on Cadair Berwyn got progressively concise as the activation went on, and I was trying to work down the pile-up, and my fingers were getting colder!

I think the later QSOs were like:


<R R … sent over with report etc>
R R 73 ES TU E E

I see from the above it could have been even quicker!



In reply to LX1NO:

HI friends,

I am very sad reading this reflector topic.

Have been interrested in SOTA for only one year and, of course, I’m a beginner.
I thought that SOTA was a new kind of radio activity, joining my pleasure to climb mountains and my radio and CW passions.

Yes, I know, it is not easy to key with cold fingers. Last tuesday, I was on F/AM340 (a bit more than 2000m), and after 2 hours climbing, I was giving 8 points to chasers (0 points for me) in a cold wind and a temperature of abt 5°C. I couldn’t stay more than half an hour in such conditions. But it was a real pleasure to hear “73 Alain”, or “thanks for the QSO” or “GL es CUL from another SOTA”.

Well, is it too long to send “73” ???
Are you sure that a CW QSO must be “599” only ???
Are we contesting on our mountains ???

I agree with when you say that a winter SOTA QSO must be short, but what do you mean by “short” ?

I remember a recent QSO with Dan, where I sent him a brief “599” to play your game… I’m not proud of that !

Well, as I said earlier, I’m a newcomer in SOTA and perhaps didn’t understand all; but I’m sorry to say that this kind of SOTA is not mine.

Sri for my bad english; hope that you understand what I feel today.

73 from Alain F6ENO


In reply to F6ENO:

Hello Alain
I must say I agree with many of the sentiments expressed above. Like you, I am new to SOTA, being here for only 1 month, having come back into Amateur Radio in August after a lay-off of 30 years. Back then I used to regularly win WAB CW contests and now use nothing else.

Back then things were very much more gentlemanly and, without computers, were much more ‘hit and miss’. The way in which contests work today with keyer and keyboard CW are difficult for me to comprehend.

However, I have been in great admiration of the way in which activators work for SOTA and, in common with most things in life, realise that there are many ways they need to organise themselves in the ‘pile-ups’ on a cold hilltop. I believe we should allow our individual personalities to express themselves in the same way as with a’normal’ QSO. If the operator wishes a quick QSO you will soon tell and the ‘TU’ type of sign-off will dictate how you react. Like you, I shall continue to recognise an operator by using his name wherever possible and include ‘GM’,‘GD’,‘GT’,‘BJR’,‘MCI’ or '73’s’whenever practical. In general, their operating is first class, leaving gaps for /QRP, S2S and QRS.

Being dictated to does away with a humans ability to think for himself but we must treat each activator with respect and if quick QSO’s are required, so be it.

Best 73’s
David G4CMQ


In reply to G4CMQ:

Hello David,

Many thanks for your reply. Glad to see I’m not alone!

I think that every one may operate from a summit with his feeling.
I prefer to send “GA Tom 73 RST 599” (I try to remember friend’s firstname)
than a single “599”. It takes not long time to send it.
But I understand that some friends want to shorten their QSO and I’ll respect that. I only wish that a QSO format will NOT be imposed to us.

73 Alain


In reply to G4CMQ:

Hello David and everyone!

I agree with you, David. It should be the activators choice which style of qso is preferred.

Just listen to the traffic a while and adapt your call.

73 de Tino DL8LJ


In reply to F6ENO:

I do not think that anyone should be disappointed or concerned about the style of SOTA procedure used. This, as always, will be the choice of the activator and depend on numerous factors such as personal choice, weather, the number of summits planned for the day and the experience of the operator.

The first over from the activator will set the style, so for example, if Norby has a 20 minute deadline before heading for the next summit, or Klaus has posted “Thunderstorm approaching pse quick QSO’s” then I am happy to go along with BK 599 TU" style, but if Andy and Alain intend to stay for a couple of hours on one summit their “GM ROY TNX FER CALL UR 559 ON F/AB337 HW? BK” would be answered with a similar personal cheery greeting.

Some activators take a list of chasers call signs and names with them on tour and you will often hear a pause before they reply whilst they check the list and thank the caller by name. To go to these lengths. especially in winter, is a sign of dedication and is greatly appreciated. In weak and fading conditions the sound of your name coming over the air is sometimes the first confirmation you have if you missed your callsign in the pile-up.

Every activator is an individual and will use the procedure with which they are most comfortable, which will change with experience.



I think this topic is just some sharing of ideas, not an attempt to impose an operating style for SOTA CW. I agree it is nice to hear the friendly bits of the contacts.

In my examples above, I did not mean to give the impression that I sent 599 every time! I was just showing where I put the report. I do send and receive ‘real’ reports on my activations.

Another factor, not mentioned, which may influence more concise operating, is the inexperience/slow speed of the activator. The concise and repetitive nature of the exchanges in SOTA contacts have helped me build by confidence and ability as a CW newcomer. Last night I started some local 2m CW QRS practice with another M1 station who was wanting to develop his CW, and recommended that he followed the SOTA spots to locate some real HF CW that he had a decent chance of following.

For me, this topic is not sad at all. It is a good opportunity to learn more about operating styles and procedures.



In my earlier reply I stated that I agreed with Roy 100% with his recommended QSO format. That was only in reply to Norby’s request for quick QSO.

I prefer the personal QSO style Alain, as you say it does not take long to greet a friend with GM, GA, GD 73 and their name, but, when an op requests a contest style QSO for any reason, then that format has to be followed.

There is only one safe way to decide on the QSO style and that is to listen to the activator’s style for a few calls, then copy his QSO format.

vy 73 Mike GW0DSP


In reply to GW0DSP:

There is only one safe way to decide on the QSO style and that is to
listen to the activator’s style for a few calls, then copy his QSO

Yes Mike, I think this is the good way.

73 All


In reply to F6ENO:

Yes - I agree the activator sets the trend. If time is of the essence for whatever reason it will be evident from the initial contact, or by SWLing to the previous QSO(s) whether in CW or Phone. One thing about not sending the chasers name is that it saves the embarassment of getting mixed up (no computer log for most operators on summits!) and sending the wrong name or having the embarassment of forgetting the chasers name when the chaser thinks the activator should know it. Some of us are very forgetful as far a names go unless we are looking at the computer log.

If I am on a summit and I have time and I recall names I will make the QSO longer and more enjoyable for all, if not I will make a short rubber stamp QSO and get as many in the log in the time available as I possibly can.

Also a comment from me on the thread regarding the use of a handheld on a summit to quickly snatch points for the activator by making the minimum of QSOs. I am more than happy to do this myself when I am walking (and usually leading) a group of walkers over the top of a summit when the maximum time available to me is 5-10 minutes of operation. This is not my preferred style of operating on a summit but sometimes it is the only way in these circumstances.

73 Phil G4OBK


Hi folks,

Just some statistics regarding my recent activities.

DM/TH-139 33min 32 Qs, very slow start, even afraid not to reach the 4 required Qs
DM/TH-024 19min 35 Qs, finally, people called us
DM/TH-119 16min 20 Qs, not too many callers, especially at the end
DM/TH-004 33min 42 Qs, used more power on a fresh battery but pretty cold up there

Thanks to Steffen DL4ALI for joining. He worked on 2m whereas Daniel DH8DX and myself did HF.

DM/TH-425 33min 33 Qs, tried to empty the battery but quite slow towards the end

OK/KA-037 57min 67 Qs, that’s been SOTA DXCC #5 for me, Daniel and I both had a great time

DM/SA-032 32min 37 Qs, vy high powerline noise of S8-9, quite windy, my last missing DM region
DM/SA-029 25min 43 Qs, no noise but strong wind
DM/SA-026 18min 34 Qs, started to run low on battery
DM/SA-033 19min 38 Qs, used the bigger battery now but started to get cold
DM/SX-196 32min 41 Qs, my first total night activity with only a big mag-lite

900km, starting at 3z, I was quite a bit tired upon my arrival.

I planned to do more on the 2 November but it’s been raining all day long.

DM/SX-003 15min 36 Qs, it started with quite a wet day, falling fog and windy
DM/SX-009 33min 47 Qs, a nightmare, broken fiber mast, antenna connection destroyed, still wet but covered by a hut
DM/SX-005 21min 44 Qs, so foggy we could hardly see the nearby big telecom tower
DM/SX-010 12min 25 Qs, contest noise
DM/SX-127 10min 17 Qs, fog driven by wind, the two umbrellas held by DL8DXL and DL8DZV did not help a lot

A big thanks to Kurt DL8DZV for joining Manfred DL8DXL and me. Without his help, we would not have found the references that easily in this mess of bad WX.

On the way back home, Daniel convinced me to do a pit-stop on two TH references including lunch

DM/TH-073 20min 45 Qs, noisy but ok
DM/TH-565 13min 29 Qs, a quick one since we still had 500km of Autobahn to do

A big thanks to all those who accompagnied me (us) on this tour and also thanks for keeping things short since the WX wasn’t really favorable all the time. I’m glad to have reached SOTA DXCC #5 on this tour and confident that I’ll be able to add some more during 2008

73 Norby


In reply to LX1NO:

And mine:

F/AM-340 20min 19 QSO ; vy cold and noisy 40m
F/AM-330 35min 31 QSO ; WX OK and good condx

Hope I will increase my score on last november week end sending only “599 14” during…

73 all
Alain F6ENO