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How SOTA CW QSO is getting faster and easier

I know what you mean. Summit REFs almost never get exchanged and often people just read them from Sotawatch or a different cluster. On the other hand, the predictable character and brevity of SOTA QSOs in a pileup is something that has encouraged me (and many others) to learn CW. For now, it’s difficult enough for me to read the callsigns and the reports and the occasional S2S reference.

I feel much more comfortable when I know that in the worst case scenario people can read the REF on the web. And that I can do the same – if I don’t manage to read an S2S ref correctly. I can also type a request such as: “PSE QRS – CW beginner, stick to 17wpm or less” to my Sotawatch self-spot comment.

Of course it’s much more fun to exchange all the info over the air - which is what I always try to do. For the same reason I always transmit my Summit REF every now and then, so that I don’t ruin the fun for anybody who wants to have the complete info over-the-air only. And some chasers won’t even wait for me to play my OWN CALLSIGN after I finish a QSO. But I guess that is my job, as the Activator, to have order and discipline on my frequency. I learned to do it on 50+Watt SSB, I will eventually have to learn it on 5W CW. And of course - the regs state you MUST transmit your own callsign every now and then, so people who don’t do it at all are breaking the rules.

I’d like to express enormous appreciation for everybody who has the nerves to listen to my slow and broken CW and still works me. Outside - snow and ice get in the key, I’m in uncomfortable body positions, pencils break, get lost, log paper gets snowed or rained on, tourists stop by and ask what’s you’re doing when you’re in enough trouble trying to fish at least one callsign out of a heavy pileup… We’ve all been there! And of course, I still do a lot of SSB activations. It just feels more personal to me, to be able say hi and describe my working conditions.

As for SOTA CW activations getting easier and becoming more computer-assisted, I guess this is what happens with every activity, be it DXing, Flora and Fauna or SOTA. But because many people learn CW primarily to participate in these, the pool of people who know at least basic CW is growing. Among some of them you will also potentially recruit more partners for casual CW rag-chewing.

Jakub, OM1WS


It seems we understand that about the same. Your statement could indeed be understood as Oxymoron, hi.

It might be said so, Heinz.

We should, however, be careful not to avoid prefix “oxy” when naming the trendy operators involved in the JT/FT modes. Otherwise, we could be sanctioned by the Moderator :smiley:



(Back from my weekly ordeal in the supermarket!)

I think that is not quite correct, Karel, without the on-air contact, however attenuated it might be, the data that you can find by other pathways has no use.

I find that it is always sensible to go back to the General Rules. The relevant item is in Rule, “QSOs must comprise an exchange of callsigns and signal reports, it is strongly recommended that the summit identifier be given during each contact. Where the summit identifier is not given in each contact (for example in slow CW QSOs) it should be repeated frequently every few QSOs.”

Now I can’t speak for CW, I don’t use the mode and only occasionally listen to CW activations, but I do know that on SSB there are activators who ignore the rules by running long strings of contacts without giving either their own calls or the summit identifier, just xxxx 59 73 QRZ, and I guess (but don’t know) that the same sloppiness has crept into CW, sloppiness is infectious! There is little that can be done about this, unless either the chasers make a point of asking for the details, thus breaking the run, or the MT start penalising activators by disqualifying activations when they receive complaints - and the MT are busy enough already!

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You are correct. But for your own chasing don’t look at the spots but tune about. When you hear one you can send your call and when the activator comes back to you then you can send CALL? and REF? if the activator has not sent it.

That way you get to work stations only using amateur radio and those who are happy to not hear the call or ref. continue to operate as they do now. Everyone wins.


I don’t complain about it :slight_smile:

I mean, how can you give up a bit of philosophy of SOTA CW QSO? I just wonder where shortwave radio goes from where I started. Just how CW QSO is getting faster and easier.