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My 1st SOTA chase using webSDR


Looking at this. IF your in Spain and your using remote SDR in states side to hear them, surely your signals from Your TX still have to reach the NA Sota for them to reply to you in first place still subject to propagation. It is about two way comms.

But may be in fairness to others stick with a good SDR with in own country . Yes the QRM is badly effecting bands below 7mhz especially 160m and 80m till some one can invent something to filter it out. I feel this RF from man made gear is going to have health effect one day as its all around us unless your in a cave in middle of no where.

BUT end of day it is not same as doing same thing using two way non propagational internet connections BOTH ways to which one and all would be a multi goat and multi sloth big time.

End of day your still subject to propagation on the signal reaching the SDR to yours reaching the Sota station unlike via internet which is not effected by propagation. Hence why I like being a ionospheric jockey as we are all doing. Using relays from country other than own is not allowed fair do’s like that america whom taps into the remote of the Austrian relay station not heard of late he’s been quiet mind you not been on so much 20m of late.

Just a thought and a medium needed to be reached so can be introduced as a rule but discussed openly so a happy medium can be found.

To me is your using SDR in the same cont but different to yours should be registered as a ISWL point.

So how about using SDR BUT with in your country your in and not another cont the Sota op is in . And if he’s in your country no SDR and rely more on propagation, or more trips portable into country side… Just a thought.

And to the gent whom brought this up your brave and thanks for rasing this question for us to talk about

Karl 2E0FEH


Brian, as I said earlier I have do suffer noise on HF at home. I only have about four or five chases on HF from home. There is no need to ‘give up’ and there is always VHF and SSB which is excellent.
Though if it was a choice between logging anything internet related or give up I would find another hobby.

73 Chris M0RSF


I mentioned earlier the IOTA rule, here it is in full:

“Contacts made by the applicant using a single remote receiving or
transmitting site are accepted for credit if the remote site is land-based, contained within a 500 metre (547 yard) radius circle, not located more than 100 kilo-
metres (62 statute miles) from the applicant’s location and is nominated as being in use on the applicant’s personal profile. It may be the applicant’s home station if he /
she is temporarily away from home. The applicant and the remote site must both be located within the same DXCC entity. Use of more than one remote site or a network using multiple sites is not permitted for credit. Contacts between fully automated remotes at both or either end of a path will similarly not receive credit.”

This seems a sensible approach to me, it outlaws web SDR tourism and the web SDR is close enough to your home station to enjoy much the same propagation conditions (excluding sporadic E of course, but the bands where Es might occur are less subject to noise, anyway!) It also outlaws fully automated FT8 as a side benefit…


Having a significant physical distance between the transmitter and receiver is not in the spirit of the programme, in my opinion. As long as repeater / Echolink QSOs are not accepted, I don’t think using a remote receiver is fair game.

However, using a complete remote station (TX & RX at the same site) is OK, as long as the user identifies himself properly (use a call sign from the country the TX/RX is located in).


In the same way as we can obtain SOTA certificates for specific bands and modes, perhaps all this means is that a certificate may be endorsed appropriately to recognise the use or otherwise of remote receivers or remote stations.
For example a certificate could be endorsed for the way in which contacts were made, such as:

  • using all personally operated equipment at the site of the operator
  • using web sdr to receive remotely for some contacts
  • using remote station for some chaser contacts other than S2S
  • using remote station for all contacts

And in reality, some operators may be doing this already but have not declared it, in the certain knowledge that whatever they are doing might be regarded as “unfair” by one or more others in the SOTA community. But SOTA is not a contest, ok, so who is disadvantaged? I think it’s a victimless crime at worst. At best it is technological innovation to overcome interference.

As pointed out earlier, local interference is becoming such an issue that home station operations “as we knew it” is becoming increasingly difficult. Remote receivers or remote stations (rx and tx) are being used in increasing numbers. Some band activity we hear every day is probably due to those operators. Some of our successful activations may have been completed only because of those operators who have invested in these facilities.

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH


The trouble with VHF is twofold.

Firstly your chances of success are controlled by your location, I live in Birmingham which is a fairly hilly city, at various times I have lived on hilltop locations and in the river valleys, in terms of what you can work they are as different as chalk and cheese.

Secondly, the chances of working real DX are severely limited to fleeting opportunities with Es and Ar or occasional longer tropo events. Most V/UHF SOTA seems to be on FM and from my location I can reliably chase no more than a dozen summits outside of lift conditions. Anyway, V/UHF is a pale shadow of its former self. VHF is not to be sneezed at, but the real action is on HF.


Looking forward to Web Sloth and Router Goat trophies in the SOTA Shop…


The urban QRM and restrictions at installing certain or even any antennas are currently a threat to our hobby.
Internet based clusters such as SOTAwatch have no doubt helped a lot to the health and prosperity of certain activities of our hobby like, for instance, SOTA.
Other internet based features, such as SDRs can also help to that same noble purpose.
I can understand that hams spending time, money and big efforts to setup, maintain and successfully use a chasing station, don’t want to see their chasing successful results equally judged and computed as those of someone using some internet based helps.
I think it’s not a question of prohibiting the use of these sort of means, but as simple as creating a new category for these type of chases, as their use will no doubt contribute to the health and long life of our SOTA hobby.



SOTA is not a contest between individuals, it is an award scheme which encourages personal challenges.
The headline aim from its website reads “SOTA is an award scheme for radio amateurs that encourages portable operation in mountainous areas”

Clearly there needs to be a framework of rules within which to operate, otherwise SOTA would not be a thing, but they need to be as inclusive as possible.

I have a high noise level at home, and have sympathy with the arguments surrounding that. I don’t have a strong view, but tend towards the idea of logging the use of web SDR and / or defining geographical limits as suggested by @G8ADD perhaps in line with IOTA, if that is widely considered necessary.
Having said that, there is still satisfaction to be had in completing a difficult QSO, even if the difficulty is man made noise.

As an activator, I have no qualms about working chasers using web SDR. Setting this in context, there are other unusual scenarios which have been discussed before, eg
(1) From a summit, I work 4 calling stations. It turns out that they are a familly of 4, each with their own licence, who share a home station.
(2) From the next summit, I work 4 calling stations who turn out to be 4 hams in a car just outside the AZ, each using their own callsign and their own hand held radio.
(3) Moving on to the next summit, I work 4 stations, each in a different location, using their own transmitter and antenna, but the same web SDR.

Are any of these better or worse? Could I contrive to use any of these to “cheat” on a significant scale - even though I would only be cheating myself?

The use of spotting and alerting - over the Internet - has had far more impact than any of the above scenarios, and made activating and chasing much easier - or more time efficient, depending on your point of view - than either would have been in the early days.

Remember “SOTA is an award scheme for radio amateurs that encourages portable operation in mountainous areas”
Activators need the encouragement of chasers, however they are receiving the signal.



It seems to me, since the creation of webSDRs, there’s been a sudden increase in QRM at some of the Chasers homes.

Bearing in mind, we’ve had nothing but the “Morse is King” mantra rammed down our throats for years, simply dust off the key.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a chat with one of the people involved in the Hack Green webSDR and it seems that not only are there annoyed SOTA Activators, it also came to light that contesters have been using it as a short cut.

It seems consideration was being given to shutting it down during contests. During our discussion, I was also told, one of the options being looked at, was adding a time delay.

My thought was maybe 60 seconds, this would then alert the Activator, that the Chaser was working via the SDR, and no Activator in his right mind would hang about for a minute between overs.

However, it seems a 60 second delay was not possible, but, AIUI, a 15 second delay is. Therefore, if implemented, this should alert the astute Activator that the QSO is being carried out via an SDR. It is then up to the Activator to decide whether, he is happy to carry on with the QSO, or simply call QRZ.

If I was asked to vote on the matter, AFAIC, a webSDR has no place in ham radio other than for SWL.


I have made 3 QSOs so far using web SDR and in 2 of them I informed on the air to the activator that my report was given via SDR in UT and in UK respectively, so there’s no need for astuteness at the activator’s side because I told them on the air and now on the Reflector that I worked them listening through a web SDR. In addition everybody can see it noted in my chaser log.

What’s the problem with that?
Do you think these activators will feel cheated by me and therefore they will delete our QSO from their logs?
I honestly don’t think so but should that be the case, thanks Rich @N4EX and Juerg @HB9BIN for letting us know.
What I believe is that thanks to these web SDR, both activators and chaser (myself) have had fun and enjoyed our QSOs.
At the moment, I’m having some health issues and I’m not feeling strong enough to go activate, so all I can do now is chasing. But I’ve got a burnt port in either my dish antenna receiving the internet terrestrial signal from a nearby mountain or in the router at my remote location, so I can’t make use of it until the supplier sends people to fix it. In the rental appartment, the noise floor is S8-S9 and it’s just impossible to copy almost anything. Using the web SDRs gives me the opportunity to keep having fun in the mean time. I don’t have any problem with not counting those QSOs for the chaser points ranking. I don’t care about the points, the awards and trophies AT ALL and all I want is to have fun and enjoy the hobby.



Frankly, Mike, I haven’t the faintest idea of when web SDRs were invented, but I do know that noise at my location has grown enormously in recent years, going from a minor irritation to a game changing disaster. This is not hyperbole, I genuinely have S8 noise on the worst bands, 80, 60 and 40m, and S5 on 20m. The only reason that I have continued with what chasing is possible in such conditions is that I am a stubborn beggar! I see no reason to hope that things will ever get better and the only work around that is on the table is the web SDR - and if Hack Green takes their device off the table by introducing a time delay there are many others available. Hundreds of them!


Well, none at the moment.

EDIT: they are all back, pfew!..


https://sdr.hu/ lists 402!


Great list!
Thank you!


I found out about Webster on this site, it is very handy for checking if u can be heard in various locations,
It’s very good for adjustments as I also used it to adjust my mic settings as I kept getting reports of low audio
I haven’t used it on a summit as the ones I have been on have 0 noise floor.


As almost exclusively an activator due to my home qth restrictions I would have no problem with an sdr contact. A contact from UT is a contact from UT regardless of whether it originates elsewhere. I don’t see it the same as an EA contact, but it is a contact and I would not feel shorted at all. Perhaps a /sdr or similar designation could be agreed upon to identify the method of contact but it would need to be generally known to avoid confusion.

From a chaser perspective and point scheme I could see how this may cause some problems in comparisons. But many things about point comparisons are not equal from qth, power levels used, modes, transceivers, etc. as an activator I currently welcome the development and see it as an advancement of radio in the digital age.


Well, in the particular cases I’ve mentionned in this thread, bear in mind that my transmission was sent on the air from Spain. It was just my RX through SDR but the TX was on air with 50 watts on an endfed wire in the balcony of the rental appartment I’m living in now. So we could say it was a contact 50% UT and 50% EA :blush:



Hi Guru

I’m sorry … but I do not think it’s right. I think it is a little bit cheating.

If you are using web-based equipment then you should at least change your call according to the location of the web station. No matter if you only use the receiver. A one-way connection is not a 2-way DX-qso…

Yes - many of us have problems with receiving through local qrm. (Me too) Nevertheless, even if you use only for the reception of a web station … you are ea2if / xx and no more an authentic ea - station.

May be I’m a purist :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

73 Armin


Hi Armin,
No, I don’t think you are a purist. Most of us, I believe, have same point of view. Personally I don’t pretend that QSOs made with SDR RX be counted as the pure 2 way on air QSO.
I confess the level of satisfaction I feel after a 2 way on air QSO with my station is far greater than that of a chase with the help of a SDR.
However, my point is that in case a 2 way on air QSO can’t be made for whatever reason, it would be great that the SDR assisted on RX QSOs be accepted under a new category that would need to be created with the aim of letting have some fun with chasing to those incresing number of hams living in urban areas and suffering high levels of QRM letting their receptors technically deaf.
This will require some programming work to create the new category or categories.