Heads up when checking REFs from alerts

Hi all:

I sometimes find wrong refs in the SOTA database when checking who chased me; mostly on days on which I do multiple summits.

My guess is this comes from the fact that I sometimes delete an alert when I am heading to another summit in order to avoid spotting problems with RBNHole.

When it is likely that I will reach multiple summits, I sometimes work with wildcard alerts, sometimes with multiple alerts with narrower time-windows. But all options have pros and cons - if the alert windows are too narrow, I will not be spotted by RBNHole, which puts an activation at risk. Using wildcards is good, but chasers may not be too motivated to chase you if they do not know whether it is a 1-pointer or a 10-pointer.

Anyway, my plea is: When you check the REF from your log in the evening or anytime later before entering the QSO into the database, please use the spots, not the alerts from SOTAWatch, or ideally both.

I try to send the REF every now and then during the activation, but how often depends on the conditions on the summit (weather, amount of time,…).

73 de Martin, DK3IT


No don’t. Please use the reference the activator is sending. :wink:


Yes, you are of course right. But if you check, keep in mind that the activator might have deleted and replaced the alert, so do not assume that the alert is more reliable than what you heard.



Never delete or replace an alert for a valid activation! You can simple enter “NORBN” in the comment field and RBNHole will ignore the (old) alert.

73 Heinz, OE5EEP

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Hmm. This can be challenging in many cases. In the few situations where I added a new alert and deleted the old one, I mostly had poor Internet, cold fingers and in general unpleasant conditions. Deleting an alert is one click and one http request. Editing an alert is many times more complicated.

I am not talking of a sunny summer walk, but a situation where you decide on the spot that you can reach an additional summit via a ridge, or change the plan while on your own way.

Why should one avoid deleting an alert?

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RBNhole only knows what the alerts tell it and the reverse beacon network tells it. If your activations do not exactly match the view of the world YOU have told RBNhole then it is not guaranteed to accurately spot you.

The solution is simple for anyone planning multiple activations involving CW… give RBNhole something it can only get correct. That is place NORBN in each alert for a day of multiple activations and RBNhole will ignore you and thus will not place inaccurate spots. Or place a single wildcard alert and allow RBNhole to spot you with a spot lacking full reference info but allowing chasers to know you are on the air and chase you. They can spot with more accurate info once they have a QSO.

It cannot be any simpler. If you consider the only reason for a spot is to let chasers know you are on a summit then a wildcard spot is all you need.

Totally agree. Once the chasers arrive to the frequency, you can inform the actual summit ref. and they will surely be spotting you with the full reference within few minutes.

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I don’t delete alerts, but I sometimes modify them. Not regularly,but when I arrive at the car park after the activation,and then spontaneously decide to go for another summit. It seems to me that this produces the lowest error quota.

Why not motivate chasers to listen more carefully by declining the chaser points for the wrong summit, and give them to the activator as activator points instead? :slight_smile: If it was that way, I could have scored points for summits which exceed my hiking skills by bar, or points in associations where I’ve never been, or at least not with a radio in my luggage :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

73 Jens HB9EKO

I agree with all what you say; the typical use-case for me is, however, an unforeseen change of plans, often in Winter, in a hurry, with brittle Internet connection (EDGE etc.).

When the plan is a multi-summit activation, I use a combination of a long-spanning wildcard alert that lists potential summits and a regular one for the first summit with a narrower time interval.

During the almost five years of my SOTA career, I‘ve had quite a few failed activations for ten-pointers that were a day-trip in alpine terrain. In all of those cases, something with the RBNhole spotting went wrong, mostly my fault, in one case a faulty app.

In the Winter on skis and in high-alpine terrain in summer, time is really limited due to fellow climbers or other constraints; 20 minutes from arriving on the summit to all gear back in the rucksack is a very tight schedule from a ham
perspective, but already beyong what most fellow climbers will tolerate for our nerdy hobby.

So speed and effective shortcuts are very helpful and can make a difference.

73 de Martin, DK3IT