Can APRS messages constitute a QSO?

I’m planning on taking my yaesu ft3d up Mount Battock as a second radio for the 145 Alive event tomorrow.

I plan to leave it running on 144.800 MHz, the UK and EU APRS frequency, sending beacons at regular intervals.

If I am beaconing and someone messages me, then I respond to the message, does this form a QSO? Now, I am talking a direct radio to radio message here, not via a digipeater, as I am thinking that counts as a normal repeater. Message path is easily checked by looking at the raw message data and also the conformation of reception can be viewed on

Thoughts appreciated. It woukd be a good addition to my arsenal tomorrow and APRS packets can often travel great distances.
Fraser MM0EFI

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If there is manual intervention at both ends then I would think it counts as a QSO. If FT8 counts then I don’t see why manual APRS doesn’t.

Yes, but only if it’s direct.

So MM0EFI>MM0FMF is a valid QSO for SOTA.

MM0EFI><some_APRS_digi><some_APRS_digi><some_APRS_digi>>MM0FMF is not a valid QSO for SOTA.


With ft8 there is:

With APRS there is:
Hi Fraser from G4TGJ-9
Hi Richard. Good to hear you from Mount Battock GM/ES-032 from MM0EFI-7

Then do you have to send me RR73 and then do I reply with 73?
Do we check on that the message was received and log the QSO. That would save fiddling about with a tiny keyboard so much.

The FT8 you show is direct, MM0EFI’s radio signal is being received by G4TGJ’s radio.

If your APRS message travels through one or more APRS digipeaters it is NOT a valid SOTA QSO as the packets MM0EFI’s radio sends are not received by G4TGJ’s radio directly.

Yes, I know this. I was really asking if it is ethical to validate that the message was received by using a computer after the event. I know this happens on EME, 6 m sporadic E etc, but wasn’t sure about SOTA.

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Verifying them like that is OK.

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I think Richard should send a RR73 (or similar) just confirm he received your non-beacon message.

If you used a different frequency then your message isn’t digipeted but becomes a packet message, very easy to do with the FT-5D


Excellent Idea. I will use 144.650 MHz in that case, and to save everyone scurrying off to find their 2 metre bandplans - it can be used for Raynet or community events, according to the notes.