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Bogus spots - do we need annotations instead?


Recently I have seen a fair number of completely bogus spots - an apparent spot of an activator, sometimes with a specific frequency mentioned, but when you read the text, it’s not a spot at all, but a question such as “Is he going on 2m?” I’m not quite sure who is supposed to answer these questions or how, but it seems to me that it’s not really very helpful to other chasers. Especially now that we have the voice announcement software (which doesn’t read the text of course) these bogus spots will generate a lot of false alarms.

I wonder whether we need a better mechanism to let people exchange short messages without having to generate a new spot to do it. For example, if an existing spot could be annotated, you could usefully add on “not heard” reports and ask questions which could be answered by others. Display of such annotations could be made optional, so that they need not bother people wanting “pure” spots, but would be there for people who wanted to engage in the chatter.


In reply to M1MAJ:

Anyone can edit their own spots so the comment line can be altered without generating a new spot.




In reply to G3CWI:

PS I am also led to believe that some chasers participate in a Skype conference. I am guessing that is by invitation only but maybe they would like to extend that to others?




In reply to M1MAJ:

Hi Martyn,

If you consider HF only, then I do agree that comments / questions are not especially helpful. However, I’ve actually been on a summit in QSO on 2m when such a spot has come up asking whether I could beam north. This was relayed by the operator that I was in contact with and as a result I turned the beam north and hey presto - not one, but four chasers waiting! I personally don’t see this type of request as a problem and on the occasion mentioned I was really pleased to give the summit to the four chasers that were waiting on frequency.

73, Gerald


In reply to G3CWI:

Anyone can edit their own spots

I know; I’m talking about comments being made by OTHER people.


In reply to G4OIG:

I’m not suggesting that the comments aren’t useful; I’m suggesting that there might be a better way to provide them.

What I think is NOT helpful is somebody putting up a “spot” of an existing HF activation, specifying (say) 145.500 FM, with the comment “Is he going to do 2m FM?”. There were some examples of that yesterday though I don’t want the people who did it to feel that I’m getting at them personally as it’s being going on some time.

Perhaps all that is needed is a convention for something to put in frequency/mode to indicate that it’s not a “real” spot.


In reply to M1MAJ:

I think everyone can agree the information might be useful from so called “bogus spots” it’s just that it should really be presented in another way i.e. chat, anouncements etc… away from the “real spots” panel.

Is there a plan for such a chat/announce facility Jon?

73 Marc GØAZS


In reply to G0AZS:

Jon is on holiday. Suggest you send an email to him direct for him to pick up on his return. www.gm4zfz.com shows his email address.




In reply to G0AZS:
At the bottom of each page there is a link to ‘Change Log’. There is a listing for a ‘Chatbox’ at priority 3.
I personally do not mind the Query type Spots (not bogus) but could they be deleted by the OP agter a few minutes?

Roger G4OWG


In reply to M1MAJ:

Again I agree with the concerns that have been expressed. However, those putting up these “spots” are only using the system in an attempt to improve their chances of making contact. Generally I would expect most avid chasers to be monitoring the SotaWatch Home page showing the spots and alerts, so if there is to be a comments / questions facility, this is where it should be assuming of course that it is feasible.

There is an issue that goes cap in hand with this matter and that is the quality of information given by the activator when posting an alert. This should be tailored to assist chasers. I quote bands/modes in order of operation and also try to provide information as to how long I am likely to be on a summit. Some have criticised me for being too formal with my time scheduling, but I try to keep to time so everyone looking for a contact knows more or less when and where to find me, propogation permitting and so questions as to my intentions should not arise. On a couple of occasions that I have not appeared around the posted time, my mobile phone has rung with a chaser on the other end asking whether I am alright! Of course all this does not stop the question “is he coming back to 2m SSB” when someone has missed me.

73, Gerald


In reply to G4OWG:

At the bottom of each page there is a link to ‘Change Log’.

Aha… so there is Roger… yes I agree that one could delete the spot after a while but the chatbox might be a neater solution…

Anyway I think the real point might be the need to relay the odd message to the activator… i.e .listen here… beam there etc. In which case “SOTA chatlite” (made up and not real!) on a phone would allow the information to be passed. (provided it wasn’t used to “verify” a dubious exchange. i.e. "was that 54 or 44 you gave me? and so on)

73 Marc GØAZS


In reply to G0AZS:

The ON4KST system suffers from people relaying reports etc. Maybe one can have too much technology?




In reply to G3CWI:
Yes Richard you’re probably right…

I’ve got a good idea… why don’t we listen to this fancy equipment we all have. Apparently it’s called a radio and you can use it to communicate with other people and send them information etc… :slight_smile:

Tongue out of cheek… on the other hand, I know Sotawatch has done a lot to grow the programme too.

73 Marc GØAZS


In reply to M1MAJ:
hi martin

i for one would like to see the REFLECTOR LATEST removed from the main screen and return to single line spots as of old, and probably get more on screen without having to scroll. its also easier on the eye when one gets older.

73s alistair gw0vmz


It is not unusual for an activator, knowing that the world is waiting, to use Spotlite to say something like “QRV in 30 minutes”. Could someone say in precise terms what is a “bogus” spot.


In reply to EI2CL:
Self spotting as you point out is clearly not bogus… it’s essential in many cases to ensure a safe activation in a timely manner. I think the term “bogus” has been used to describe “messages” or “comments” requesting bands, modes etc

e.g. Someone is running on 40m CW and a spot appears with their call on 145 fm with a message saying “can he/she do 2m?”. Clearly not a spot but an announcement/message.

My 10 cents worth… 73 Marc GØAZS


In reply to G0AZS:

Self spotting as you point out is clearly not bogus… it’s essential
in many cases to ensure a safe activation in a timely manner. I think
the term “bogus” has been used to describe
"messages" or “comments” requesting bands, modes

On the air with cw this is easy:

f5vgl 7076/lsb?

< no


< qsy 144300 qrx

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL


In reply to F5VGL:

On the air with cw this is easy:

Not all chasers have access to all bands and modes. The spot system is being used (abused?) to get messages to activators to change band/mode so that more chasers can work them.

This would support the idea that an announcement system is needed in addition to the spots to allow chasers to get messages to activators when they can’t do it by RF.

The spot system we have is great and a bit of tweaking should make a great system greater and end up pleasing everyone. Otherwise, what’ll happen will be like the Flickr group where hardly anyone from the UK posts pictures anymore because of the comments made about subject matter and quantity. Chasers will start posting spots and other info to alternate spotting systems/websites so they don’t get accused of sending spots which don’t fit in with someone’s narrower view of what should and shouldn’t be sent.



In reply to MM0FMF:

Something like an IRC channel would be fine and convenient to pass on information. Or use a Packet Radio convers channel so that those without Internet access can join as well.

That’s how we do on DL convers channel 260.

73 Norby


In reply to EI2CL:

Could someone say in precise terms what is a “bogus” spot.

What I meant was a spot which specifies a frequency/mode that the activator is not known to be using, or in the case of a self-spot or proxy self-spot known to be imminent.

By proxy self-spot I mean somebody relaying information that they have just received from the activator.

In other words, a bogus spot is one that is likely to mislead a chaser.