How to prevent best 2 stations on the same QRG?

Dear all

Had seen this today on SOTAwatch:

Wed 07:54 HB9AFI/P on HB/OW-021 7.032 cw
2 SOTA on this QRG! (Posted by SP9AMH)
Wed 07:48 DL6FBK/P on DM/BM-063 7.032 cw
[SOTA Spotter] (Posted by DL6FBK)

What is the best practice to prevent that 2 stations supersede each other on the same QRG when you don’t have internet access on the summit to check SOTAwatch before starting the activation or to read feedback from chasers at home?

I suppose that all activators ask “QRL?” or “Is this frequency in use?” - but they probably don’t hear each other and assume that their (same) frequency is clear.

Thanks for your hints,
and vy 73 de Markus, HB9DIZ

If you hear the most frequent chasers responding to your CQ SOTA, but not responding to your report, hm, that could be it… Try QSYing and calling again…

. . . so is the problem mentioned above mainly a CW problem because of the “standard” frequency 7032 kHz?

Tnx es 73, DIZ

My first thought: Kurt as seasoned DXer would not go on an occupied frequency.
And he didn’t because he was spotted on 7032 at 07:44
From DL6FBK’s selfspot I take it that Paul had internet access.

73, Hans PB2T

With self spotting nowadays commonplace it may be a good time to consider operating away from 7032 KHz. When activating last month in Czech Republic I often used between 7002 and 7005 during the daytime - no DX possible during summer so I’m didn’t upset the DX window - no complaints. I found reception much better on those frequencies. The main reason for going down in frequency was wideband (At least 5 KHz wide) interference from a data transmission intruder that was operating around 7030 KHz for several days last month.

Sending “QRL?” doesn’t always work on 7032 KHz when the QRP SOTA stations are in the dead zone for skip. This is probably what happened today. Sorry I missed Paul DL6FBK/P but I certainly heard him, but as Kurt HB89AFi was the stronger station I went for him!

73 Phil

I didn’t know that 7032kHz was a recommened SOTA frequency. I always operate near to but not on the QRP frequency for the band in use. I just hope that RBNHole will spot me - the chasers usually appear just after that happens.
The band plan makes no reference to a 40m CW DX window - I think this only applies to 80m

There are approximately 5 CW “channels” every kHz. We just need to specify our QRG to 100Hz , that is one more digit to send. This also mitigates the Super Fast broadband interference that many Shack Sloths suffer.


I had a station answer me about 270hz above my QRG of 7.0315 on Tuesday. Won’t that be a problem if stations operate as close to each other as possible?

I don’t think there is any foolproof method. But perhaps examining the alerts before posting our own is a useful precaution.

I have observed a station calling QRL? (Is this freq busy?) on a frequency that IS occupied, and in the Q code the correct response is QRL. (The freq is busy).

But too many newcomers to CW don’t include the ? And don’t understand that QRL does not mean QRL?

So I wonder what the ideal response is when hearing QRL. (?)

Maybe the word YES would work or perhaps QSY. (?)

Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

I think the simplest rule of thumb is that IF anybody answers your call for QRL?, no matter whether you understand what he or she is sending, then this frequency is most likely NOT clear.

73 de Martin


Hi Martin,

That is logical but I wonder how well it would be used. Remembering that the two or more ops in QSO are both trying to copy each other. The station transmitting when the third op comes to the frequency is in the third op’s skip zone. So the only other person likely to hear the QRL? Is the station 2 who is trying to copy station 1, who is currently transmitting.

Some ops are capable of absorbing an RST while also realising there is someone sending QRL, but many will just hear a bit of QRM. If station 2 responds to the QRL they will likely be sending over the RST they are trying to receive, which is counterproductive to the current contact.

My suggestion of YES is language specific of course. But perhaps the morse prosign AS (combined like di dah di di dit) meaning Wait, is more appropriate. It is also faily short. The “wait” prosign would mean something to experienced cw ops but nothing to a newbie, unfortunately.

I guess really there is no simple and ideal answer to the question.

I would probably not have copied him / her unless the incoming signal was very strong. I have 300Hz filters in both of the rigs that I use for SOTA. In my opinion 100 - 150Hz is sufficient. It certainly works… as DL1FU and a few others know!

I have had other activators appear on or very close to my operating frequency. On those occasions I have slid up or down the band a little and have always taken my Chasers with me. :slight_smile:

I tend to leave the filters a little wider on the KX2, then use RIT to bring in any stations that are a long way off my QRG. I could close them right down of course, that would be fine from my point of view, but it would still be a nuisance for stations operating 100 - 200 Hz away.