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Hack Green Again


A remote receiver is not a repeater. A repeater facilitates two way traffic. FT8 is a seperate topic which I think has been done to death already.


Not actually true at present Steve, because I’ve not successfully managed to get macros working to even log a QSO, never mind start calling CQ again. I am however playing with the technology to see what can be done. Ultimately, what is wrong with that? This is a technical hobby, and these are technical developments. They won’t be to everyone’s taste of course, but what is? I’m not interested in satellites, top band, 5MHz or HF SSB myself, but don’t see that as a reason to suggest others who are should be prevented from SOTAing in those valid AR areas.

Hi John, I really wouldn’t worry about this. Such instances will be extremely rare and hardly likely to change the character of the SOTA programme. Where it does occur, then the question of “Where do you draw the line?” is a very difficult one. A chaser could have a remote receive at the bottom of his garden. A chaser might live on a farm, and the extent of the property boundary where the remote receiver is might be 5km away. It could be in a neighbouring county, or the other end of the country, but be fixed and the one and only RX that chaser ever uses. Finding a robust and logical rule to cover all situations is nigh on impossible, and the incidence of such practice so utterly rare that IMHO, it’s not worth devoting valuable MT time on attempting to.


‘I cant hear you but your 59 in Nantwich almost 200 miles from my QTH’.

Has the desperation for points become that bad?


From Steve:

Yes Steve but the person did press the WSJT-X enable TX button I suspect? If so, guilty as charged, that persons decision to leave the bivvy bag hihi

73 Phil

PS Done it myself, once operating from home (Don’t do FT8 from summit, too challenging to set up and carry the kit) went to the toilet came back and had worked a station that I had called 2 minutes previously. It counts. Amateur Radio, but not what we knew 10 years ago…the changing face of.


Or is it a “desperation” to continue participating in ham radio and SOTA in the face of overwhelming electronic smog?

You cannot arrive at a just appreciation of the operators position until you know all the facts. Jumping to conclusions is not helpful.


No. The desperation to enjoy my hobby and make any contacts at all with an impossibly high noise level has got that bad.

Although the MT would ultimately step in with a final ruling if there was a dispute, as someone has already pointed out, using a WebSDR is not currently against the rules.

I think we all set our own goals for what we want to achieve within the SOTA programme. As long as it is within the rules, it’s up to us to decide where we want to draw the boundary for our own challenges.

If you start banning things and imposing additional rules left right & centre, it starts to get ridiculous and you get people acting like lawyers, picking away at every fine detail. It takes the fun out of it.

You may not want (or need) to use a WebSDR to hear other stations. I presume that you are lucky enough to have an acceptably low noise floor. Not all of us are that lucky.

There seems to be a perception that it is unfair because it gives somebody an unfair advantage, therefore it shouldn’t be allowed What else do we want to ban to level up the playing field whilst we are at it?

I can’t run a linear amp from this location for several reasons. Partly due to the risk of interferance due to an undersized & inefficient antenna in a small space. Also the fact that I don’t have a grand or two to spend on a linear amp,

I can only run 50-100 watts maximum. Are we now going to stop people from using linear amps just because it might give someone an unfair advantage over people that don’t have them? I make the point that you shouldn’t need a 400 watt linear amp to talk to a QRP station that you can hear, so probably a bad example. That’s not quite the point though.

Someone may be lucky enough to live on a large farm and be able to get away with erecting a 100 foot tower with a beam on the top. They definitely have an unfair advantage over me.

Are we going to ban people from using towers or masts taller than the 12 meter high mast that I’ve got?

How far do you want to go with this before it gets really silly?

As I said (and as has been said in the past on several other threads on the same topic), SOTA is not a competition. It is a personal challenge.

We set our own goals and challenges. If you don’t think it’s in the spirit of things to use a WebSDR then don’t use it. If you are comfortable with it then go ahead & use it.

Ultimately it’s a personal decision. It’s your choice. That is what is so beautiful about a democratic society, we all have a choice!!!


Brian was a bit quicker on the keyboard & beat me to it!!!


But you said it better and with authority that trumps my guesses.

If the local noise gets any worse I will be following your lead!


It’s just the way I see it. As I said earlier, “live & let live”

We all set our own boundaries.

For the record, I have used a WebSDR on several occasions but only if I can hear the station in the noise in my own receiver. If I can hear them (even if I can’t make out what they are saying) then I figure that I would be able to make the contact if my noise floor was at a reasonable level.

In that case a WebSDR is fair game as far as I am concerned. I don’t think that I am getting an unfair advantage over anyone who only has an S5 noise level.

I give a signal report around 1-2 S-points below the noise level shown on the S-meter on my radio (as opposed to what the WebSDR shows), so if I can just about hear you buried in the noise at S7 on my local receiver, you are likely to be around an S5-S6.

Working on this basis, the report that you get from me should be reasonably accurate and what you would expect to be getting from me if I wasn’t using the WebSDR.

If I can’t hear anything on my own receiver then I let the contact go, even if I can hear it through a WebSDR.

That’s just where I choose to draw the line. If other people are more relaxed about it then I won’t interfere. It’s up to them.

Draw the line where you want for your own operations.

You won’t get any criticism from me!!!


Existing ARRL / DXCC guidelines are helpful here. Maybe we already aligned to this (I can’t remember) and that’s why we are where we are!


So in a nutshell, it’s fine to receive your signal report via the internet.


i am sometimes listening for sota activators on different websdr’s that i can’t hear on my radio. but using a websdr to do and complete sota chaser qso’s and then claim points for that is (in my point of view) complete nonsense …

if i can’t hear the activator from my home station i can’t make a qso and i don’t get points … it’s as simple as that!


It’s great people feel strongly about SOTA issues like this.

There is no rule stopping remote radio use. That’s why, in my view, it’s not cheating to use one.

If you think there should be rules regarding remote receivers, remote transmitters, then draft some words and send them to the MT. By all means, discuss it on here, but these things tend to be circular discussions and not really get anywhere.


Bear in mind that most of us live in an urban environment and suffer to a greater or lesser extent from noise. My four choices described in post 4 above are not a rhetorical flourish, they are a real and urgent dilemma for those of us with impossibly high noise levels. On 80, 60 and 40 metres my noise level has crept up to S8 in recent years, and the number of chases that I can successfully conclude has fallen by more than half. What do I do when the noise creeps up to S9, as it quite possibly will. Do I give up on a hobby that I have enjoyed for most of my life? And those activators that disapprove of web SDRs and the like, how will vanishing chasers affect their enjoyment of SOTA? Surely the use of the nearest web SDR is the lesser evil?

It is all very well disparaging the use of web SDRs, but how would you frame a rule, and more importantly, how would you enforce it? How would you know that a station is using a web SDR, or their own remote receiver, or a full remote station, their own or rented?

The best we can hope to do is agree a code of practice and trust that chasers will abide by it, just as we trust that activators are within the AZ on their summits.


My thoughts on this mirror Don.s, but in the end the only person you
can cheat is yourself, if you feel you haven’t 'earned your points.

I can’t put up an external aerial where I am now, due to lack of a garden
and tenancy restrictions, so I use a 90cm Magloop in the shack, but
personally I would not use Hack Green for SOTA - my choice!

Best 73


I don’t particularly like the use of WebSDR, but as Brian said, I see it as the “lesser evil”.

Chasing (or doing anything radio for that matter) from an urban environment is virtually impossible with an S9 noise level.

Even if you put up a “compromise antenna” such as a Magloop in Dave’s situation, this is still completely useless if you have an S9 (or sometimes greater) noise level & can’t hear anything. You might as well just give up and pack in the hobby.

I personally have resorted to setting up my own remote station on a piece of farmland which I own because it seems to be more “in the spirit of things” to use a radio station that I have designed & built, even if it is about 30-40 miles from my house and controlled remotely via the internet. It’s not an ideal solution (I would obviously prefer to have a more traditional setup at my house) but it’s the best that I can do. It’s still my own antenna and radio that’s doing the leg work.

I think more people in SOTA use WebSDR’s than would openly admit (probably because they feel that they might be judged or looked down upon by the rest of the community).

I think that you would eliminate quite a few chasers and risk driving people out of the hobby all together if WebSDR’s were removed from the equation.

As I said before, I think it would be very detrimental to SOTA & to the hobby in general if we make it an “elitist hobby”, where one can only partake if they are lucky enough to live in an area with an acceptable noise level.

Unfortunately, this is a hobby where many people are stuck in their ways and don’t like new ideas. Sadly I think that this often deters newcomers to the hobby because they don’t want to get involved in the politics.

Without starting another debate, there are literally dozens of ongoing debates on this and similar subjects, and you will often hear conversations on air and at the club as to whether it is real radio, or in the spirit of things…FT8, D-STAR, Network Radio, Remote internet controlled stations, WebSDR, C4FM, DMR etc etc…there have been lengthy and passionate debates on all of them as to whether they are “in the spirit of amateur radio”.

For better or worse, like it or lump it, I believe that it’s progress (possibly not always in the right direction) and we have to learn to live with it.

My point is that I think we just need to be a bit more tolerant and willing to embrace change, even if it isn’t the way that we personally want to go.


Hi James,

Sorry to not have had a QSO with you yesterday, but I did call you several times around 1552z - NIL - after I had the S2S (G/SP-004) QSO with Neil - G0WPO.

Maybe next time?




But end of day the Sota Op still has to hear you in first place for him to reply back to YOU. So he if no hearing you, SDR not going to help and still at the mercy of propagation.

RF Qrm at homes now is getting so bad. One day we will find a way of getting rid of the Noise so does not interfere like it does today. Even the SDR stations suffer with Propagation changes.



The use of FT-8 and WebSDR’s has put this hobby back 50 years. Why would anyone wish to upgrade their licence from the Foundation level? Why learn Morse, when FT-8 easily outguns it. The mode holds no interest for me, as my operating standards are way above such a junk mode.

Why learn about antennas, when you can use a WebSDR to copy a contact which is unworkable on your own antenna. What a shambles.


Hi Neil.

No worries. You win some you lose some!

There was a bit of QSB and my noise level was up around an S7-S8. You were fading in & out of the noise so I wasn’t getting a solid copy.

At one point I thought you had called me back but wasn’t sure. Then I heard G0WPO so assumed that you hadn’t heard me and was calling him.

Next time.