Confused? Carpe Dieum?

Hi all
So the clocks have changed and yet again I am confused, or perhaps not.
I have missed a couple of activations today and yesterday due to confusion over the time. The clock on Sotawatch is in UTC, therefore I assume that all activation alerts will also be in UTC. If an alert is posted for 14.00 I assume that is in UTC and therefore the activation will be around about 15.00 local/bst. The couple I missed started about 1-1 1/2 hrs before the activation alert suggested. I know that climbing a mountain is not an exact science when it comes to time so perhaps these were UTC postings that for various reasons were quicker than expected.
Am I confused/confusing or can someone help please?

In reply to GW3BV:

Your reasoning is fine by me Quentin. It was due to the clocks changing this weekend that I specifically mentioned I would be onair at 1200BST and placed the alert for 1100UTC. I only realised at the last minute the clocks were changing and I was sure that others may forget too and listen at the wrong time. Hence the explicit 1200BST in the comment.

Our colleagues on the EU mainland will be used to the difference between their local time and the UTC alert time so I think it’s only us in the UK who have had the benefit of the alert time == local time for the last 6 months that will make mistakes.


I reckon there will be plenty that forget to convert their Alert times to UTC from BST when posting them. I often make this mistake myself. Even so, it is still less error than that created by the variance in my ascent times anyway, so I don’t worry - too much. Thank goodness for Spots. At least we know that they are accurate!

In reply to M1EYP:

…it is still less error than that created by the variance in my ascent times anyway.

Ah Tom we have touched on this subject before. I still maintain that being accurate in setting up an Alert allows Chasers to go about their daily business and appear in the shack a short while before the planned activation takes place. Not many people have the luxury of being able to sit in the shack all day. The use of Naismith’s rule (plus a bit of bunce to tailor it to my abilities) has helped greatly with my planning. Being accurate has brought with it a high level of dedication from Chasers. In particular I have appreciated the Breakfast Club being in action when I activate a summit before 0900 local time.

Thank goodness for Spots. At least we know that they are accurate!

Yes, but use of the spots requires regular screen viewing - not so easy when there are jobs to be done. Also someone has to make the first QSO with an Activator and that may not be a Chaser. I have qualified summits with non-SOTA ops before being picked up by a Chaser and being spotted - this has usually been down to me being early on a summit.

As for GMT / UTC / BST - even after 37 years of being licensed, I still occasionally get it wrong when logging, but fortunately not when posting Alerts.

73, Gerald G4OIG

P.S. Yes, I do laugh when a time such as 10:37 is posted - mucho tongue in cheek!

In reply to G4OIG:

I try really hard to hit the time window I give in the alerts for the reasons that Gerald gives. I’ve been keeping details of how long it has taken me compared to my tweeked Naismith’s rule times.

If the WX is OK and there’s some sort of path I find that 15mins/km and 1min/10m climbed seems OK for me. If the going is good (or the sun is shining) that will drop to 12mins/km. What I’ve not got a good skill at guestimating is decents, head winds and no path. Those variables makes it hard to figure out the summit time for any follow on hills never mind meeting the first time. I think if you look at some of the early alerts I posted, the second summit times are wildly optimistic so I’ve been deliberately pessimistic of late for second summits.

As I am primarily activating during weekends it makes it much more likely there’ll be chasers lurking in their shacks. That improves the chances of being spotted at the start of an activation. I’m certainly not brave enough to operate mid-week without announcing when I’ll be on and making sure I hit that time!


In reply to GW3BV:

Hi Quentin

UTC (or GMT if you prefer) is used throughout the World by radio communicators (professional as well as amateur). The idea is to avoid confusion - not create it! Most digital watches have a dual-time facility and I find it handy to set mine to GMT. Like Gerry, I must admit to the occasional error but overall it is far easier than everyone using their own local times - that really would be confusing!

…must go now. It’s tea-time (or maybe not).



In reply to G3CWI:
Hi all
Thanks for the comments and observations. It wasn’t intended as a dig at activators, I am very supportive of activators doing what they do when they want. You are the ones up the mountain afterall!
I was just curious as to some of the alerts and the times of the activation. Perhaps it was a mix of human error and activators walking too fast…
I always make a few mistakes in my logbook in the first week or two after the clocks change, human nature. I suppose if I really wanted to stir up a hornets nest I could ask if we need to change the clocks at all, but I won’t :wink:
Beautiful day here and a couple of Sota contacts with Frank and Richard including Y Lliwedd which for some unaccountable reason was a unique for me. I love Snowdonia and know a beautiful spot in Capel Curig. You pull up on the verge at the tip of Llynnau Mymbur and can then lie back in the sun and look at Yr Wyddfa, Crib Goch and Y Lliwedd, the best view in Wales in my humble opinion.
Cheers all

Hi All

I have to agree strongly with Richard… can you imagine how confusing it would be if you are trying to work out the local time offsets when viewing the alerts (or spots) page.

Hmm… now I’m sitting in the UK and he’s W2 so I add 5 hrs to his alert time, that’s European so I subtract one… and so on. In fact how many of us know the offsets just in the various US call areas (assuming they get SOTA associations up and running) let alone all other potential SOTA areas.

As the popularity of SOTA widens (as it rightly should) it would get more and more difficult and therefore in my view, UTC solves this problem.

Please can we stick to UTC then we should all know when the activation will happen… no matter where we are viewing the alert.

I hope this has been a constructive suggestion and I have to say the way the curent Sotawatch2 pages work is superb for its’ clear presentation of information. Let’s keep that clarity with UTC.

73 Marc G0AZS (K1UG)

PS We all use UTC in our shack log don’t we… :slight_smile:

In reply to G0AZS:

Hi Marc and all,

In the UK we’ve been spoilt over the years - GMT = UTC, English is the universal language, etc, etc… I think BST is a small blip in our cosy lives to keep us alert. I usually have brain fade just once a year, Hi!

“PS We all use UTC in our shack log don’t we… :-)” - yes and our summit logs as well.

As for timing, in my relatively early SOTA days I well and truly bit off more than I could chew in deciding to do 5 Welsh Border summits in one day - I managed just 3, largely due to this being before I started scheduling my day and it being over 30 degrees C. A couple of activation days later I allowed too much time and found myself taking a lazy lunch in the car to kill time and the problem was solved for summit number 3 (of the 4 planned) with a 20 min torrential downpour before the ascent - fortunately I was still at my car. Such is an activator’s life!

With W2 now active and the enhanced performance of the HF bands at dusk, it would seem that SOTA is likely to become an evening activity as well as a daytime one. Are we prepared for walking down in the dark after grabbing those S2S contacts?.. well I am!

73, Gerald G4OIG