CW S2S protocol?

During my recent activation of Blind Spring (W6/ND-067) @N6AN sent me a S2S via CW.

What is the preferred/recommended sequence (easy) to acknowledge receipt of a S2S and share RST and peak info?


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A very good question. Here are my typical CW QSO exchanges. You - being in the US - will probably drop the “/P” suffixes.

[Starting up or when chasers run ‘dry’]
Me: cq cq sota sota de g8cpz/p g8cpz/p k

[Pile-up starts]
Chasers: (lots of chasers, I copy ik2ley first)
Me: ik2ley ga fabio ur 429 429 kn
Chaser: ga andy 559 559 k
Me: rr tu 73 de g8cpz/p ee
Chasers: (pile up again)

[S2S caller]
Chasers: (lots of chasers, I copy hb9cbr/p first)
Me: hb9cbr/p ga ur 539 539 kn
Chaser: ga 559 559 ref hb/be149 hb/be149 k
Me: rr my ref g/ld052 g/ld052 ok? bk
Chaser: cfm tks s2s 73 de hb9cbr/p
Me: rr tnx s2s 73 de g8cpz/p ee
Chasers: (pile up again)

Note: in EU at least we tend to use “s2s” only during the thank-you over.
Some smarty-pants will tell you, one can do the QSO with fewer overs or miss out some of the phrases but I think the above protocol is the right balance between clarity, courtesy and brevity.


Hi Paul,

I can show how I usually do it:

73, Jarek

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I’m missing the part that shows you know it is an S2S caller and what the exchange looks like.

His call is /P. Not all /P chasers are S2S but most are.


My typical s2s exchange on CW goes something like this:

– Mixed in the pile-up you hear “s2s s2s” among the callers.
–You reply “s2s??” to alert the pile you are listening for an s2s caller
–The caller replies “s2s s2s DE WB2FUV WB2FUV K”
–You reply “WB2FUV DE W6PNG TNX S2S 339 339 on W6/CT-225 BK”
–The caller replies “BK QSL S2S 559 559 on W2/GC-061 W2/GC-061 DE WB2FUV BK”
–You reply “BK QSL S2S TNX 73 DE W6PNG SK”
–The caller might give farewell “73 73” as the pile mobs the frequency.

I am sure there are some alternate versions of this exchange. Also it may sometimes take a couple of requests for “s2s??” to pause the other chasers. Always be aware that there may be more than one “s2s” caller taking advantage of the pause in the pile.
Stay well & 73!
Mike, WB2FUV


Hi Paul,

When I am activating and I hear ‘S2S’ I reply with ‘S2S?’. This lets the other chasers know they should cease fire and let the S2S happen. The S2S calling you will usually then reply with ‘S2S DE KX0R’ or sometimes just the callsign. Then you work the contact like any other, except you should send your REF and be prepared to copy the REF the other op will send. Also, be prepared for something like this at the END of the S2S: “NEW OP AS AS” - that means there is another op on the same summit who is about to work you.

The prosign ‘AS’ means ‘stand by’ - a very useful one to know. It’s not ‘A’ and ‘S’ but the two letters run together with no space between them “didahdididit”.


In my very limited experience not many chasers understand the meaning of AS and will ignore it.


It’s when he sends his SOTA summit reference. That’s the only way to be sure. It was in the third line of the ‘S2S Caller’ dialogue above, i.e.
Chaser: ga 559 559 ref hb/be149 hb/be149 k

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I have been working on SOTA ops here on the west coast of the USA. I am almost always with another op, and we make a lot of S2S contacts on a typical activation. Many people here now understand what ‘NEW OP AS AS’ means because of us =)

I would encourage everyone doing CW to learn the prosign ‘AS’. It is VERY useful and should be known by all CW ops.


Good luck with that one!
Most of us oldies know it but I seldom hear it in SOTA type QSOs. I think you are swimming against the tide trying to promote the use of less-frequently-heard prosigns.

That is true outside of the USA, and I learned that very quickly while operating in Iceland =)

In the USA, we always send ‘S2S’ to initiate. Our chasers will respect the S2S and if they hear S2S they will be quiet so the S2S can happen. I don’t know why this has not caught on in other parts of the world. “S2S” has become a prosign here, and is very distinctive and easy to hear. Best to send it at high speed, and slightly off frequency so that it has a better chance of not being drowned out by the pileup.


I rarely hear the AS prosign in SOTA and never use it. I seem to have managed fine without it for 10+ years.

Any transatlantic callers would be put to the top of my list to work and EU SOTA ops usually use /P at the end of their call. To be honest, S2S doesn’t particularly excite me, making contact with ‘friends’ does. Friends in quotations as I haven’t met these people in person, but do feel connected to them.

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The people I have S2S contacts with ARE my friends. I’ve worked most of them many, many times in the past and chat with a lot of them outside of SOTA regularly. Working other ops who are also on a summit does excite me, and as Morse is a language I make an effort to ‘speak’ it as well as I can. Which includes understanding basic prosigns that used to be required learning to get a general class license.

I will keep on using ‘AS’ and hope that others learn it too. It is a useful prosign that should be part of every CW ops vocabulary.


Ideally you would also use it to signal to the chasers that you need to pause to do something else (radio/antenna issues, passerby asking questions, phone call). I tried, the pile-up didn’t thin a bit.


That’s because 90% of chasers don’t know what it means and the other 10% are too competitive to care.

There was a debate about lesser-used prosigns, Q-codes and abbreviations on this reflector a few years ago. In my opinion, they go into disuse for the same reasons as archaic words in English (or any language), i.e. they are redundant or have better replacements.

Those of us who had to take a Morse test (to get a ‘higher’ licence) had to learn all the prosigns. It’s a formal legacy that amateur radio inherited from the military and commercial Morse protocols of a 100 years ago. But amateur radio is a hobby and operators will vote with their feet or rather their keying hand.


When I hear AS I think “aha… someone who knows what they’re doing.” And for the record I seldom use it for the obvious reason :slight_smile:

I use QRX to request a standby typically because the antenna is down, log paper needs attention, I’ve got cramp again etc. etc.

As you discovered, somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic it switches to /P

What you will find Paul as you work more people, the switched-on chasers will learn your habits (good/bad/whatever) and how you operate and QSY to other bands. After 6months of your regular activations you’ll settle into a rhythm and those switched-on chasers will predict with frightening accuracy where you will QSY to etc. So if someone has seen you spotted and can’t hear you on 30m then they’ll be waiting for you on 20m on your usual frequency and you’ll get chased after the 1st call. It’s scary just how many EU chasers are sat in my head knowing what I’ll do next :rofl:


I think even QRX is on the endangered species list. It would be interesting to do a poll of CW ops as to which Q-codes 1) they know, 2) actually use. I have a pretty good idea of the latter based on how often I hear them. I’m looking at the list of Q-codes on wikipedia under the ‘Amateur Radio’ section and I reckon there’s only 16 known and used by most amateurs (17 with QRX).

Get yourself a comfortable ultra-lightweight portable chair (like my xmas pressie, Helinox Chair Zero) and say goodbye to leg cramp and butt ache.


Maybe if we send an ASS prosign it would eventually work ;-). I sometimes have to send an AS prosign three times in a row before chasers stop.

Paul, both WB2FUV and WU7H have given you great info regarding working S2S stations here in the States. Of course, I’ve only been doing SOTA since 2014 so I still have stuff to learn ;-).

I’m really happy to see you doing CW activations now. Keep it up!

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Does it work?

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