Identification - yes please!

SOTA is very busy today with many activators QRV on HF in CW and SSB, experiencing large pileups and some confusion at times. On Sunday’s when the WX is fine, it is very busy…

In my opinion some activators aren’t identifying often enough with either their callsign or summit reference. I don’t like to criticise, but when stations are tightly packed, chasers need to know for certain who they are working, before they move off and try to work someone else. It is not good practice in CW to rely on the RBN Gates either, as we know they often get confused.

I reckon an activator ought to give the callsign every 3 QSOs and maybe the summit ref suffix every 5 QSOs. I don’t think that wastes much time when on the summit and then we all know who is working the frequency.

Thanks to all,

73 Phil

In reply to G4OBK:

Wholeheartedly agree, Phil! An ID every three QSOs is not too much to ask.

Also, when there is a multi-operator activation and each operator chooses to use his/her own callsign, it is doubly important to identify clearly and to make it absolutely clear when the callsign has changed. There have been several such activations recently and I have noticed chasers often logging the wrong callsign because they have not realised that the operator has changed and a different callsign is being used!

Walt (G3NYY)

In reply to G3NYY:

I agree Walt, and you picked up on this recently when I was activating on GM/SS-244 with Nick G4OOE (GM4OOE), who has a similar callsign to myself. We were identifying every QSO in CW but some op’s weren’t listening and relied on the last spotted callsign. We were alternating using the key and later agreed this was mistake. We agreed next time we would each work a block of stations each before changing over operators as this would be less confusing for the chasers. I know this is what a couple of the HA guys do and it works well for them. So also from a chasers point of view it is important they listen carefully for the callsign they are working.

All the best,


Every 15 minutes is the requirement. Any more than that is at the activator’s discretion and judgement in terms of getting the most out of their activation.

A bigger problem is the chasers who assume they know what they are hearing, without having either the patience or concentration to determine for sure.

Waiting 10-15 minutes for an ID is not a problem for me - I was brought up on this need in my formative days of being a shortwave broadcast band DXer!


In reply to M1EYP:

Not sure about other countries, but the UK licence says (paraphrasing for brevity) the operator should transmit his callsign “during… calls to establish contact with another Amateur”.

i.e. callsign should be given each time a new contact is established? Something I certainly try to do.

Sure it was more explicit in the old (pre BR68) days when I did the RAE…

73 de Paul G4MD

In reply to G4OBK:
In the States FCC Rules:
Part 97 : Sec. 97.119 Station identification
(a) Each amateur station, except a space station or telecommand station, must transmit its assigned call sign on its transmitting channel at the end of each communication, and at least every 10 minutes during a communication, for the purpose of clearly making the source of the transmissions from the station known to those receiving the transmissions. No station may transmit unidentified communications or signals, or transmit as the station call sign, any call sign not authorized to the station.

I dont see any problem All the SOTA Activiators I work do a Good Job of ID their Station Even some over do it.

Sorry that the rules for us in the US under the FCC

I think that some of us are missing Phil’s point. We all know or should know what are licensing rules are but in multiple cw operator activations and cw activations that are just Hz apart so nominally on the same frequency, we need to send our individual calls more frequently to avoid ambiguity.

Nick G4OOE

In reply to G4OBK:
Hi to all !
It might be a wonderfull world if activateur could give their call !! it makes me laugh !!
But nobody listen ! Yesterday and today, i have done 10 summit. It is not necessary to explain you that nobody listen, they just send their call like that !! they ignore what the activator is sending ! etc…
Very often, at each summit i have done this week-end, I even could not finish my call !!! As i was in germany my call is long and a lot of them start to call before the transmission of /p + k.
We have to admit that Ham are really not ordely !
After a call, it is just a big noise, it takes sometime 20 sec ! Some of chaser have a kilowatt just to try to qso a SOTA !! When i can detect a letter or a prefix in this big noise, it gives me a direction to call. I notice that i have a CW filter !!
So, for example i transmit “PSE F5 ?” everybody call me back ! very few of them listen !
Today i send “PSE PA ?” they were 3 stations from PA send their call all together, I make them repete several times !
I was upset this week-end, i could answer to everybody, but chasers make the trafic just slowly.

If you do not give your callsign very often, then you have less people after few minuts, and then it began to be easier to manage the herd !! If you send your callsign at each time, all the chasers, even those who do not received nothing call you !
Next time i will try split position, or 4 qso !!! need to think !!

In reply to F5HTR:

Hi Bob,

Thanks for the QSO’s this weekend. On 30m your pile-up when activating DM/BW-635 this afternoon was very large & I decided to wait until things calmed down before I called you. It was nearly 30 minutes before things calmed down enough for me to call you. As you say, most of the time your transmissions were being drowned out by chasers calling over you so split operation may well have been a good idea. That of course brings other problems, especially on crowded bands but does help when stations don’t listen.

Very well done on the activations & coping with the big pile-ups.

Thanks & 73,

Mark G0VOF

In reply to F5HTR:
Hi all,
Think the point phil means, that in crowded band conds e.g. on 40m at weekends with a lot of sota stations every few khz, is only to send the callsign es reference more often.think this have nothing to do with take more out of every activation or time gain. It takes not much time to send the call more often.some says i do it too much,sometimes after every or every second qso.but it keeps not much time.

I have no problem with big pile ups, i love them :slight_smile: a long time i don,t use split operation and the pile ups work great. But i played a bit around and try’d different things. Sometimes i listen without any cw filter and let my ears select,that works ok for me.other times as on dmbw042 on 40m cw with a lot of callers i listen with a 200hz filter,but 300-500hz up or down :slight_smile: maybe next time i try again split operation,but that not easy on weekends on 40m cw and can produce other problems.

Think most pile ups are not soooo big in sota, and after 15m or up to 30min most of the pile up is down and often its time to call for qrs station,but mostly with no reply :frowning:

Greetings and good luck in the pile ups…a very good cw training i think…

Klaus DF2GN

In reply to F5HTR:

it makes me laugh !!
they ignore what the activator is sending ! etc…

I have to agree with you… while I have not been very SOTA active of late, I have the same problem when WWFF activating.

I tend to give my callsign and reference every 10 QSOs of so - and most infuriating is (mid pileup) someone still then demands “what is your callsign” or “please confirm the reference”

If they had listened for a few moments they would have had the information at hand.

Equally, I need to check my geography, because my understanding of “outside Europe” is clearly different from certain chasers!

We, as activators, must manage our pileups as best we can… but the chasers (including activators on the hunt) should show courtesy to everyone else - especially the activator!

In reply to F5HTR:
Hi Bob,

Thanks for the 2 x QSOs on 30M. It was a real zoo scenario with so many not taking any notice to what you were sending! Actually it was as hard for Chasers as you the Activator. I think if I was in your shoes I would have gone split because at least then everyone would have heard you in the clear.

Anyway thanks very much for your activations.

73 Andrew G4AFI