I would of course not kick you out of my log, as I am not in charge for what the chasers do. But I would never even consider to use a webSDR to make a contact. If I don’t hear the other station due to noise, I go out and do a SOTA activation.
But there are many of us that are not always in a position to go out activating and we should also think on them. Activating is great, but chasing is fun too and if you had too much QRM and your receptor can’t receive anything below S8, or you were living in an area where it’s restricted or forbidden the installation of any high antenna, mast or anything giving you the chance to operate a ham radio station, it would be a big shame that you can’t do some SOTA chasing with a simple mag. loop in the attic or the balcony and the help of a web SDR.
You made the contact and made his day! That’s whats it all about. Have more fun. Right?! If it’s a sin then do it again! We sin multi times a day and you don’t see me apologizing about my sins day to day…
Some people don’t get the right frame of mind. But you did. Having a good time making a contact… I say good job! And on 20m? Wow!
For me - using a web based equipment ist like making qso via a repeater…
So the next step is to give up the direct contact and to call via a repeater.
What about to receive a partner direct (because he has more power…) and transmit via the repeater? It would be a new game… you could reach more chasers…
I think is has to be fixed in the rules.
Having read this thread, I am still of the opinion, that this remains one of the decisions that should be made by the SOTA participant themselves and that the freedom to decide, rather than being told what to do, remains part of the “Spirit of SOTA”.
To much like texting and repeater operation to me. Both are great formats for passing data and information. But, using someone else’s station in Maine while still being in Arizona just seems wrong and unfair to the hams in Maine. Working Europe from Arizona on 6 Meters is hard. Working Europe on 6 Meters from Maine is easy. There would be no satisfaction or sense of accomplishment for me to work Europe on 6 Meters that way.
How could I brag that I worked Europe that way.
No, it isn’t really like a repeater. With a repeater you transmit to the repeater and receive signals from the repeater. You can’t hear the other station directly and he can’t hear you directly. Using a web SDR you transmit directly to the other station, he is hearing you, not the repeater. In effect you have moved your receiver and its receiving antenna out of your local noise, it is as if you have a remote receiver with a very long speaker lead and control line, except that normally it isn’t owned by you (but if you were sufficiently wealthy it could be owned by you!). Would it make any difference if you were using a club station to chase, you do not own the club station, do you? Nobody has ever claimed that chasing with a club station should be against the rules, or for that matter where two activators or chasers are sharing the same equipment.
What I am against is what I call “Web SDR tourism” where you switch from web SDR to web SDR around the world until you find one that is receiving the station that you want to chase, but even there you have got to get your signal direct to the activator, if the propagation is against you then you can’t get the chase. In my opinion acceptable use of a web SDR should be limited to either one in the same Association that the chaser resides in, or one within a certain distance of the chasers QTH, so that you can be reasonably sure that if the noise suddenly went away you would be able to hear the activation. It is all academic, though, since if somebody decides to ignore the rule, he cannot be detected.
Oh, by the way, yesterday my local noise finally reached S9 on 60 metres. This is the point where I have to make a decision, where for me chasing starts to look impossible. So what do I do, give up a hobby that I have had for over half a century, struggle to work just the very strongest stations, or use a web SDR? What would you do? Or what WILL you do when it is your turn?
I understand your point of view. And with the problems of qrm I’m totally with you!
…and if you can use a remote station without qrm in your neighborhood - that’s ok for me!
My problem is when you 're using a remote station in the “neighborhood” of your (dx)-qso partner.
ok - but that’s my opinion… and my problem…
Even this doesn’t guarantee any success in completing the QSO.
Yesterday, after much switching from one SDR to other within the USA, I finally managed to get very weak copy of a couple of activators on 20m CW. One was KX0R and I don’t remember the other one. Despite having copy of them through the SDR, I called them with my 50 watts and my endfed wire in the balcony and they didn’t seem to have any copy of my call, so the QSO didn’t happen. Why? because it was a bit too early and propagation conditions had not yet built up.
On Saturday, I was also copying my friend EA2GM/P through a SDR in Oviedo Spain, while he was activating EA1/AT-208 on 20m CW, which is about 500Km West of me. I didn’t even call because I perfectly knew there were not propagation conditions for such short skip on 20m at that time and date.
I mention this to illustrate what Brian G8ADD just wrote in his last post and I have already explained in previous post:
When I’ve managed to get my 50 W into the endfed wire in the balcony copied by an activator accros the Pond, I’m sure it’s because there were the necessary propagation conditions and the activator signal would have been copied by me had the urban QRM stopped. But it didn’t and it will not do it, so that’s why we need to find and prepare for alternative ways to keep doing what we enjoy, which in this case is chasing SOTA.
I also want to say that when I used those USA based SDRs the other day, I was using websdr.org to select the desired SDR and there weren’t listed any one near to my location. Now that Brian G8ADD shared with me the more populated list in the page sdr.hu, I’ve managed to find several SDRs near me. However, the antennas in those SDR stations are not always as good as to receive a QRP signal from across the Pond.
BTW, this morning the technicians came to my QTH in the village where I have my remote station and they fixed the problem, so internet is back there and my remote station is again available for me. This means I will probably not be needing to use web SDR to hear DX from across the Pond, but all that it’s been witten and argued here in previous posts remains 100% valid and I will keep defending this way of overcoming the urban QRM problem.
Hi at all, sorry but I completely agree with DL6GCA and DK9JC. SOTA should be remain a 2 way bilateral contact on the bands, in spite of QRM/QRN. As chaser I missed a lot of activators and never using WebSDR.
I do prefer to looking for my next activation instead beating with the noise and bad propagation.
As activator, don’t forget that is is always a challenge to climb, install the station and operate. After few QSOs, I can only estimate if the prop. is good or not. But the effort to access the Summit was done …
Best regards to all and hope to meet you anyway during my next activtion.
Hi Jean Claude,
Technically the contact remains an RF contact in both directions - this is not the use of an Internet link direct to the activator.
The question is whether the chasers RF outgoing and incoming must be at the same exact location.
I remain undecided on this point - I see value in the arguments on each side, having had some terrible QRM here two days ago - if that hadn’t gone away, I would have been unable to operate without using a (regional) WebSDR receiver. Thankfully the noise has stopped (for now).
At the same time a WebSDR does involve using someone else’s station and hence could be looked upon as “assistance” in what is otherwise a personal challenge.
Ed, some good points there.
I think we need to separate several modes of remote operation and consider each for validity in terms of SOTA contacts.
- the chaser uses a remote station for all their chasing, as their home station is not a practical site physically. they use the same remote station for all chasing operations.
- the chaser uses a combination of a home station and a remote station.
- the chaser logs into different remote stations depending on where the activator is.
For cases 1 and 2, I think these are quite common today. some operators probably already operate this way.
Case 3 is where some unusual advantages are found. This mode makes it possible to chase stations in another country that would not normally be reachable from any station in your own country; you could even chase on VHF bands. It is rather like visiting that country in person and operating your equipment in that country, which IS permitted by SOTA rules but would not be allowed by contests and dxcc rules…
So is there any unfair advantage to the operator using remote stations? I don’t think so.
For contesting or DXCC awards it would be different and perhaps we are all very familiar with contesting and DXCC rules. But for SOTA it seems not to infringe any basic principles.
Your case 3 of using SDR for RX in other Countries allows you to hear stations that might be not copyable by any of the SDR near to your location, but don’t forget that your own station (trasmitter+antenna) must be able to reach the activator on air. In this way, the SDR doesn’t play any role, so I don’t think it’s true what you wrote that “it is rather like visiting that cuntry in person and operating your equipment in that country”. It’s not true because only your RX is in that distant country, while your TX remains being your home station. You wrote “you could even chase on VHF bands” and that’s not true either because despite being able to copy the activator on VHF in a distant country by selecting a nearby SDR, how on earth will you make your VHF signal travel from your home station to the activator in a country, let’s say 5000 miles away?
When using SDR, we must always be aware of the propagation conditions and seize the chances of our home station signal reaching the activator.
What’s the point in me selecting a SDR in VK land in order to copy an activator from a VK summit transmitting on 10m at noon time in VK when I know my home station signal will never be able to make the trip to VK given the propagation conditions we have now?
When selecting a SDR to copy an activator, we must carefully chose an activator in a location where we know that our home station signal will be able to reach him, otherwise, all we’ll be able to do is SWLing.
Actually just on the Contest point - going to another country to operate from “out of region” is very common to get more points. North Africa and some islands in the Mediterrean don’t count as Europe. Islands in the carribean don’t count as North America/US etc. So they get (eg) 3 points per contact back to their own (highly populated) region rather than 1 point per contact if they operated from home and worked the same stations.
Remote stations are also allowed in many contests and indeed there are companies making their money by setting up and renting out access to, remote stations for contests.
If we mix things up, we risk making people missunderstand or confuse what we are talking about in this thread.
Using remote stations in other countries for both RX and TX is something just very few wealthy people can afford and it’s something done for contesting. It doesn’t make any sense that someone rents the use of such remote stations for chasing SOTA activations.
Having a private remote station for RX and TX is something often seen and commonly used by chasers like myself on a daily basis. This has been discussed before in other threads and it looks like there’s nothing against the SOTA rules and no one have an issue with this practice.
What we are talking about here is about hams living in highly noisy areas with their RX technically deaf in QRM using SDR in other locations to RX the activator. Only to RX the activator and the TX part must be sent on air from the chaser home station and reach the activator without any other rely or assistance of any kind on its way to the activator.
See all the chases I’ve done this way so far:
The 2 at the top were done using a SDR in Northern Utah for RX the activator and all the others were done using the Hack Green SDR in UK for RX the activator. In ALL these cases, my TX reaching the activator was made with my IC-706 at 50 watts into an endfed wire in the 25m above the street level balcony of my rental appartment.
P.D. I’ve been trying to find other closer to me SDRs but after checking one in Asturias (North of EA 500Km West of me) and one in Andorra (500Km East of me), I’ve decided that the fantastic Hack Green SDR is best for me, as it receives (RX) well all I can usually reach with my home station on TX.
I understand that the way you operated isn’t quite in any of those categories. And I understand your point that you could not use bands that were not reachable from your home station, but I was thinking of the situation where no home station transmitting was possible.
The shared remote station is perhaps feasible for a group, a club, where the expense of the remote station is shared. So extending the facility to more ordinary people rather than being the privilege of the wealthy.
It’s an interesting question.
73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH
You are right, people do that, but I should have made the point that for contesting, only one location is permitted normally (unless rover type vhf operation is afoot) per entrant. It is the ability to operate from multiple locations that is normally forbidden by contests, in an effort to keep a level playing field. We know there are other factors that unbalance the level field, but at least keeping people to a single operating location for the contest is achieving something.
My main point there is that SOTA is not a contest, it is a matter of achieving valid contacts in one way or another. We rule out terrestrial repeaters, the question is whether using a remote station (for receive only, or for transmit and receive) is equivalent to using a repeater.
Opinions vary on that, and that’s a sign of people thinking about it and coming to conclusions. A very healthy thing.
73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH
It’s not about renting a station … or unrealistic dx
yes - maybe an ea2 - station - that would be ok for me …
Many years ago I could not afford radios and later I had no chance for an antenna. So I worked in a clubstation. (DK0YY) It was only a few miles away. It was always the same station.
That’s my point … if you always use the same remote station (instead of choosing the best receiving conditions in different countries) - this would be an acceptable advantage. The results would be comparable too. I would like the sportsmanship …
“Repeater” normally means a VHF or UHF station that receives on one fixed channel and re-transmits on another.
So, if the activator can reach a repeater - and this can easily be tested by keying and listening for a response - they are likely to be able to get 4 or more QSOs in the log in less than a minute, with no further effort. (OK, I know not all repeaters are that active these days, but that is a different point).
I don’t think that the “receive only web SDR” being discussed in this thread can give anything like that opportunity to an activator. Nor for a chaser, of course, as there is no “output channel” for them to constantly monitor.
I think that is the main question. It should not be about the more general argument over what is or isn’t “Amateur Radio”, as there are many valid points of view on that subject, and they won’t be resolved by SOTA.
Of course, one could always argue, if the Chasers can’t chase because of QRM, then go out and chase from somewhere noise free.
Why shouldn’t the Chasers go out and earn their points like the Acivators have to do, not simply log onto the SDR?