I have seen this happen enough to be noticeable. An activator is almost to the summit or is there and setting up. He/she sends out a spot saying “QRV in 15” or something to that effect. I have no problem with that, in fact, I think it is a good idea, especially if you are running late.
But a lot of us use some kind of software or app to alarm us when a spot has been posted. Here is the problem. Instead of the activator sending out a new spot, he/she will modify the “QRV in 15” with new spot information. Our software or app has already alarmed on the first spot and won’t alarm after it is modified.
Please, activators, if you send out a spot saying you will be ready shortly, when you start calling CQ, send out another spot and don’t modify the old one. That way we won’t miss you.
Software design failure in this case.
The " qrv in 15" message is really an alert. Spots should be reserved for reports of signal actually on air. self spots saying “I’m qrv now here” point to a signal on air so they fit the definition of a spot.
The problem is that many apps dont provide for alerts at all. So activators limited to those apps dont have the option of using alerts. (I know, they could use a browser. )
If spots were only used for signals on air your problem would not occur.
I have wondered about this.
Specifically, on a recent activation I knew I would have no way to self spot on the summit. I realized during the ascent that my posted alert was way off time-wise. An hour before summit, I got enough cell coverage to send an SMS spot. I did not have data so could not modify my alert (a pretty common situation for me so far). I had never used a spot to say “summit in 60 min” and didn’t know if that was acceptable use. I decided to go ahead and do it. As it turns out, my SMS never sent, so moot point in this case.
But is that generally agreed not to be an acceptable use of the spotting system?
The horse has already bolted.
I think the reality is that these alertspots are with us to stay.
So although the purist would agree they are undesirable, there is no way of preventing them happening so we just hope they are not too frequent.
I sometimes think that we have become too dependent on spots, alerts, self spots, skimmers and all the other paraphenalia that has come to festoon the fundamentally simple concept of SOTA. Perhaps its time for us - or at least some of us who feel that way - to embrace the KISS principle. Not “Keep It Simple Stupid” but KeepIng Sota Simple! Don’t alert, don’t self spot, just go out there and activate. For Chasers, don’t sit looking at Spots or use software to alert you to activations, just find for them yourself - its much more satisfying that way!
Yah, I know, the horse has already bolted, but it was more fun in the early days of SOTA, constantly tuning through several bands looking for CQ SOTA!
Wow, I didn’t intend for this to turn into a flame about whether it is proper to send a spot saying “I will be ready in 20 minutes.” While that may not be the most proper way to use spots, I certainly don’t lose sleep over it. I just figure that if you (or me as I activate a lot too), can get a signal out like that then you ought to be able to send another spot out when you are actually activating instead of modifying the original. My alarm app doesn’t pick up on that and it is a common app that I am sure a lot of folks use (Android SOTA Spotter).
Andy is probably right, the app could be designed better but it is what it is and that is what I have.
Possibly not Andrew, if the back channel that Richard is working on comes to fruition. Having a separate method to pass information without “corrupting” the pure spotting method will be of great benefit. Until then, (IMHO) it makes sense fthat the activator uses the tool he has to braodcasta delay - that of spotting.
Coming back to Ron’s first point, I believe RRT (as an example) reports the second alert as well as the first, even if it is based on a previous alert. The problem might be that if updated via the website it’s only one record but if spotted via an app (which would for me be the normal situation) I think there will be two records at different times. If a particular application is “hiding” the second alert because it’s for the same summit on the same frequency, perhaps this is something that can be changed in the apps configuration - if not contact the author and point out the issue to him (or her). Or change to an app that doesn’t have the problem.
Except … SOTA Spotter is written by one of the regulars on this refelector @YO8SAW Bogdan - can you comment on Ron’s issue with repeat spots being alerted in SOTA Spotter please? Is there a setting he can change perhaps?
I wrote that because my own SOTA cluster will not pickup on a SPOT being edited. It’s a fine example of saying “not me, a big boy did it and ran away”
I like this idea, if for no other reason than for having a solid game plan when you don’t have access to the aids or they aren’t working. I can’t find mention of agreed upon SOTA calling freqs in documentation. Does that list exist?
There are some de-facto frequencies but in general you find SOTA stations calling around QRP watering holes as most activations are QRP. That’s where you will find people calling but it is important to point out that there are NO OFFICIAL SOTA FREQUENCIES. The last thing we want is someone calling a general CQ on 14.062 and some clown sending “QSY SOTA ONLY”.
I try to always use the same frequencies and band changes. So if you hear me on 60m SSB then next will be 40m SSB then 40CW then 30CW. I try to stick to 7.0333, 10.119, 14.063, for CW and anywhere there is a clear frequency for SSB. I think it’s important to build a fixed working style so chasers can see a 40SSB spot and know I’ll be on 40CW next etc. Always do what makes it easier for chasers to guess where you will next be active.
It actually says this in the General Rules, 3.16, page 22. It also recommends not using the actual accepted QRP frequencies because of QRM from QRO Chasers.
It always helps to read the rules!
Hi Brian, there is nothing to stop you ignoring all alerts and spots so you can enjoy SOTA the way it used to be.
Personally spots allow me to do a little chasing as part of my busy life. I just don’t have the time to spend tuning across several MHz of spectrum in the hope that I might find someone calling CQ SOTA. Alerts potentially increase the number of chasers making contact. This means I don’t have to spend time braving the elements hoping that someone just might randomly tune across my signal and give me a call.
My feeling is that alerts and spots reinforce the relationship between activator and chaser and that can be no bad thing. As for spots which prematurely advise of an activation, e.g. those placed en route, these are only a very small percentage, so why should we worry about them?
73, Gerald G4OIG
Driven in part by some apps not allowing you to alert, only spot.
I have been sending a “setting up now” Spot with 7 (e.g.) as the frequency letting chasers know that I have reached the summit and which band I will be starting on. When I actually have a freq and start sending CQ I do another spot with the actual freq. I didn’t realize that I was irritating Chasers by letting them know I was soon to be on the air. I’ll stop…
Unless you’re not going to be able to self-spot from the summit, I don’t see the point in spotting before you’re actually QRV.
73, Barry N1EU
And the trouble is that until you are there on the summit with a dead phone you don’t know. I very rarely use a “QRV soon” type spot but if I can not update the alert it does seem to be the best solution if I am well behind time.
As a chaser I find them irritating but understandable.
A not uncommon scenario is that you have an alert posted, you are well behnd time, lets say an hour and a half. You can’t modify the alert on your phone or post a new one as some apps dont allow alerting only spotting.
Some chose to spot (let’s call is alert spotting) to advise chasers of the change to the alert. Is there another way to update an alert ?
As a chaser I dont mind the alert spotting as it tells me when I should get ready to go to the radio, rather than, quick run now so I dont miss them.
One of the few times I’ve spotted myself before I reached the summit was a couple of weeks ago. I was caught in snow on my way to G/SP-013 and was running 30 minutes late. The evening before, I had arranged 2 skeds for 0630z and so put a spot up to say I was running 30 minutes late. At least the Chasers knew I was on my way and they weren’t sitting in front of their rigs for nothing.