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Listen and look at SOTAwatch before CQing

Dear activators,
See following an example I’ve just picked up from the SOTAwatch spots list while I was QRV trying to chase some activator:


Within 8 minutes times, we can see 3 different activators spotted in nearly the same frequency.
I assume they were in skip with each other.
I wasn’t able to copy any of them due to skip and urban QRM in my current QTH, but any potential chasers well positionned as to copy and work all three will surely have troubles to distinguish morse signals one on top of the other.

I’d say that we, activators, should try to have a look to SOTAwatch spots, whenever possible, in order to avoid starting to CQ on a frequency already in use by some other activator is skip with us. This is not always possible and it can be also avoided by the simple and old well known and repeated to exhaustion action of listening before CQing.

I rise this topic now not only to help daily activators, but also because I foresee a risk of having this same issue tomorrow during the NA<>EU S2S event as there might be several activators at about the same times on probably the same frequencies of the 20m band.
Let’s try to watch SOTAwatch and listen before CQing and also, let’s spread on the band, trying to avoid being all on the same frequencies.




There are cases impossible to avoid: in your above example OK2PDT may not copy HB9CGA who sent CQ earlier (spot by RBNHOLE) and sent own CQ.
I have the same situation last weekend with 9A2GA - he was started CQ before me but I could not copy him and his spot appeared later (by RNBHOLE).
I am sorry for that

73, Jarek

… and there are also sometimes incorrect automatic spots when one activator responds to another activator (s2s) - what looks then as if the answering activator stole the frequency of the calling activator …

… and there are still many activators who are very happy to work without all the electronic tools - like in the good old days, hi …

So please do not despair immediately if not everything runs exactly according to a checklist - routine can be boring, variety is always fun, or is it not? :wink:


Especially if SOTAwatch can’t be used (for technical or personal reasons) I think it is wise to listen at or around the frequency one is about to start CQing, simply because there might be S2S waiting on the next kHz.
If nothing can be heard, asking “QRL? / is the frequency in use?” before the first CQ is common practise, I assume.
As it is still possible to call on top of each other due to skip, I agree with Guru to spread out on a day like today with (hopefully) lots of activity.

cul, Roman - DL3TU

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I normally use 250Hz Filter. I could not hear F6HBI/p
After listened the QSO between OK2PDT/p and HB9BIN/p I called CQ 500Hz higher in hope to catch HB9BIN/p.
In this poor condx it is no problem to send 500Hz above an other STN.
73 es gl, Uli HB9CGA

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Hello Guru, hello all

Yesterday the summit i was on was not GSM connected, so it was difficult to use Sotawatch.

OK2PDT Jan was on 7.028cw, i could listen to his signal 559, but Jan said pse QRX 5Mn, all stations because he had a very hight noise level. So i wait 5mn and send my call from time to time, until Jan came back to me. After that i told Jan to keep the frequency and i moved away.

As the condx are not good, i understand is is difficult for chasers to ear our qrp sigs! it is much easier for us when on summit.

73 and hope to cu soon on the air.
Gerald F6HBI


I could not agree more :wink:

73 de Martin, DK3IT


In connection with “listen” I would like to ask our esteemed chasers to listen more and do not compete with activators in chasing.
It is kind of standard that activator is calling S2S and most of chasers are competing with him to call.
You can tell they may not copy activator who is calling S2S but you will be wrong because a minute later after spot activator (this is my own experience) start to send own CQ and almost all of them clearly copy me and start to chase me.
Dear chasers, please remember that withouit activators will be no SOTA, please “give way” to activators when they call S2S, please keep silence for a while.
You are big guns against us and you will earn your points anyway after our S2S.
Thanks for that :wink:

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I am an activator that has ZERO access to Sotawatch on a Summit (unless I am with a fellow activator that does).

I LISTEN for a slice of available bandwidth. I ASK if the frequency is clear. Then, and only then, do I SPOT with an SMS text. Where anyone else is spotted is out of my control. I can’t hear them. If somebody comes back and works me, that is my confirmation that the spot went out.

Unless it is a Chaser just cold calling me even though they hear nothing. Why would you do that? If you can’t hear me, don’t call me. Of course I only figure out what happened when I answer a strong signal, and they can’t hear a word I am saying. That is the problem that needs to be fixed.

I have no problem trying 6 times at spaced intervals to get someone in the log who has very marginal copy of my signal. At least they hear something. And when the propagation eventually lines up enough to get them in the log, it is very satisfying.