After my initial 2 SOTA activations back in 2017, I recently got back onto the (SOTA) trail but have a question about the definition of a valid QSO.
I read the rules several times and also trawled through SOTA reflector posts but could not find confirmation.
The rules on the validity of a QSO state:
“In order for the activation to qualify for the points attributed to that Summit, a minimum of four QSOs must be made, each of which must be with a different station. QSOs must comprise an exchange of callsigns and signal reports, it is strongly recommended that the summit identifier be given during each contact”.
In case I am on summit, ready to operate - first checking for any possible S2S contacts - if I were to answer a CQ call from anyone (not on a summit), just to check if my signal would ‘get out’ - the operator comes back to me, we exchange signal reports and I state my SOTA summit name/reference, would this classify as a valid SOTA QSO?
In all SOTA activation videos I have seen, the activator calls CQ and is answered by a chaser (whether the chaser participates in SOTA or not). They exchange signal reports and the QSO is counted.
In case an activator answers a random CQ call on the band, it kind of feels not quite right.
But as so many have written before, it may well be in the rules staring me in the face, but I have not been able to spot it.