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Do 2m FM activators still call on 145.500 ?

I have seen a number of posts on various FaceBook Groups reporting that a certain callsign is looking for contacts on a 2m FM Frequency that I could probably have worked them on if I had seen the message in time or if the station had made at least one call on 145.500 FM where the radio is often left on.

I don’t often have the radio on scan simply because it stops much too often on a number channels where there might be high noise level for short peroids of time or other distractions.

I used to use a RSS Reader (I don’t recall its name) that alerted me to spots from SotaWatch, but that stopped working a long time ago and I removed it and so far I have not found another method that alerts me in a similar manner to spots on SotaWatch that I might just be able to work.

Am I missing some trick here ?

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I always call on 145.500 first and, here in G/NP, usually attract enough interest that I have several callers after QSYing. But if I spot it will be for the specific frequency. You can’t specify a frequency in an alert because you don’t know if it will be free.

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I have to admit that I tend to sway towards HF activations these days (I used to be exclusively 2m FM).

Having said that, when I do activate on 2m FM (usually on my trips to Wales, the Lake District or the Pennines) I always put at least one CQ call out on 145.500.

Once the initial pile-up has cleared (if there is one) I usually go back & put a second call on 145.500 for anyone who missed the first one.

Personally I don’t bother to spot myself on 2m FM as a CQ on the calling channel in the aforementioned regions is usually enough to qualify the summit, although I believe that some activators do.

A quick scan through the FM portion of the 2m band often reveals one or two S2S contacts when I’m activating but (as you point out) leaving the radio on scan doesn’t really work due to “nuisance hits” that the scan keeps stopping on.

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2m isn’t used a lot here in the South West but I always call on 145.500 as there is a chance a non-SOTA operator will hear me. After that, if I can post a spot I will choose another frequency and try that for SOTA chasers.

What frequency to choose can need more care than I’ve used in the past. For example, from a G/SC summit a few weeks ago I chose 145.350 after listening on it and asking if it was in use. I did make contact with someone on an GW summit but it was a struggle as the channel was already in use up there but I couldn’t hear the activator further north.

I think checking SOTAwatch to see what frequencies are in use, if only for the S2S opportunity is very wise, assuming you have a mobile signal of course. Then I would choose a more obscure channel such as 145.5375 or 145.4625.

But I would be the first to admit my 2m experience is limited so there may be others with better suggestions. :slight_smile:

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Hi there

just give Hamalert a try, this is what you are looking for.

73 de hb9fvk (ruedi)

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I hear lots of SOTA activity on 145.500 from Wales, the South Pennines and the Welsh borders. As far as I can tell, most if not all activators call on 500 at some point.

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Yes. Calling channel is still used often with variable success.

73

Calling CQ on 145.500 is a good idea, spotting on 145.500 not so.

73 Chris M0RSF

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HI Chris
Yes, you hit the nail on the head there Chris. So frustrating to come in the shack, see a spot on 145.500 a few minutes previous then no working frequency for the chaser to target. The activators cannot rely on the stations they may work spotting their working freq. It pays for the activator to spot the working freq and not the calling freq I agree. As activators ourselves I think as chasers we are allowed to moan about this!

All the best
Phil
73 Phil

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Its not always that easy, Phil. I have had activations on 2m where I have had more than one working frequency. Call CQ on .500, QSY to an available channel, work a few stations, it goes quiet, back to .500 to drum up more custom, find the QSY channel is now busy so find new slot, and so on.

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Yes Brian but if the activator had spotted his working freq rather than the calling freq then he may not have needed to return to the calling channel to drum up more callers.

73 Phil

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With you on that Phil. Both as chaser and activator I find 145.500 spots very unhelpful.
73,
Rod

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I activated my local summit (G/LD-058) on 2m FM today to check out the radio kit for next weekend’s Lake District SOTA event. As always I self-spot specifying the calling frequency so that anyone who’s seen my alert knows I’m QRV on summit. Then I call CQ and having establish contact, agree another frequency to QSY to.

Despite the moaning minnies (above) it’s not a hardship to flick through the channels to find where the activator went to.

Everyone I hear in G/LD and G/NP where I mainly operate calls CQ on the calling frequency and then QSYs. One could self-spot for another frequency but one takes the risk of missing any random listeners tuned to the calling frequency.

Don’t expect activators to self-spot twice - we’re the ones freezing our butts off.

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I agree that I’d never spot on the calling frequency, but I have had to move from my spotted channel when another QSO has started up on top (not maliciously, I’m sure, but just because neither station can hear me!)
I usually call CQ on .500 a couple of times. If I get a response and QSY, it is quite likely that one of the chasers will spot me (always grateful for that) in which case I stay there until several CQs produce no more contacts.
If I get no calls on .500 to get started, then I will find a free channel and self spot.
If weather and other pressures allow, I like to stay where spotted for 15 or 20 minutes at least to give people time to see the spot and come looking.
After that, I may or may not call again on .500, depending on circumstances.

I don’t use social media for SOTA (yet), so if the spotting / alerting is not on Sotawatch, I won’t see it. I say “yet” because I suppose, as SOTA activity increases around the world, Sotawatch might at some point be scrolling too fast to keep up with - though in that case, the sort of filtering system mentioned by Stewart at the start of the thread might be the better option, rather than hopping around lots of different platforms.

In NE Scotland I tend to have my SOTA QSO’s on 145.500 a lot of the time, as there’s no ione else on.

Even if I do advertise a different frequency, I’d always call on 145.500 first.

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Sitting in your warm shack, you could always do the activator a favour and spot him/her on the working frequency.

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This may not be quite as easy as it seems. Here there is a lot of distant activity so if the squelch is set wide open most channels have something making a noise. The Black Mountains block out much of S Wales and nearby hills block much of North and Mid Wales. Picking out a weak activator on a shared channel is a bit easier when you know which one to listen to.
73,
Rod

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This sounds like a strawman argument to me Rod because I didn’t suggest that every chaser is in a position to spot an activator but there are often those who can hear the activator well, are sitting next to their PCs, and could easily do so.

I don’t rely on chasers spotting my working frequency - although I’m grateful when one does. Most activators don’t stray far up or down the band from the calling frequency and I’m very unimpressed by those who it seems don’t want to flick through a few 25kHz steps to find the activator but want to read the frequency on the website

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I have tried HamAlert for other things, but found that the emails tend to arrive too late to be of any use.

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Yeah, email is possibly the least useful option (and would certainly not be my default choice), but Hamalerts does offer various other options including a mobile app which should be rather more useful.

With a distant QRP activator signal, and callers often down out of earshot behind the geography, it’s not necessarily that easy to find where the activator’s gone.

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