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My 1st SOTA chase using webSDR


#61

The point you overlook in this action Guru is that by using Hack Green, you put a lot more European activators into your range than you would be able to hear because of skip distance if using a local receiver (WebSDR or physical in your QTH). OK, you still need to get your Tx signal to the station in say Portugal but somehow that can be achieved when receiving a QRP activator signal at a distance less than the skip can allow.

In any case - I come back to my earlier statement - SOTA is a personal challenge not a contest where you are competing against others. If you are happy with using a WebSDR (for whatever reason), that is your decision and I don’t personally believe the MT should add any new rules about it. How would it be policed? There could be arguments etc.

Once you have your own remote TX & RX station working again, this problem goes away for you. In the interim, if you are OK with using Hack Green, that’s your choice.

By the way if you do look for other close by WebSDRs don’t forget there are the kiwi SDRs (under sdr.hu) as well as the WebSDR network itself.

73 Ed.


#62

The following map shows the distance between my QTH and the nearest SDRs, I’ve been checking over the last few days.

We have Hack Green near Liverpool, which is the one I’ve mainly used so far and I like it because it has very good ears. Others like the one in Asturias on the Northern coast of Spain (to my West) and the one in Andorra (to my East) might be some valid ones, but I haven’t yet had the time to use and compare them.
The ones in Madrid and Alicante are not interesting as they are far too much South and they can’t copy most of the European SOTA traffic on 40m.
There’s one listed on sdr.hu which is in Vitoria, only 100Km to my West but all my recent visits to this one showed that it’s offline due to maintenance.
I’ve been checking the one in France (F1JEK/P in JN05hs) but the DX500 active antenna they use seems to me like a nice deaf piece of junk when it comes to copying weak QRP signals from SOTA activators, so I don’t think this is going to be a usable option.
There are 2 more I’ve found in HB but one has a whip antenna which strikes me as deaf as the one mentionned before. The other one in HB has this type of antenna:


so no comments about the hability to copy QRP signals from SOTA activators.

I already have my own remote station working again and I have enjoyed good chases accross the Pond like the one yesterday with Pat @KI4SVM. Anyhow, while I’m still off work due to health issues, I keep playing with this SDR RX thing while trying to keep this discussion open in order to try to come out with some ruling about their use or what it sounds more likely to me, some new “assisted” category within SOTA for those QSOs made by using web SDRs for RX.

73,

Guru


#63

Hi Mike,
Yes, that’s a valid approach.

But maybe by allowing chasers to use remote stations we increase participation and perhaps also we allow people to participate who would otherwise be stuck at home surrounded by noise and unable to go out to those nice quiet hilltops, due to physical or health limitations. It’s a matter of where to draw the line, and finding a consistent and fair approach to doing it. And if it needs to be a different category of chaser, how is it defined?

Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH


#64

SOTA is a personal challenge not a contest where you are competing against others?

If that’s the case then why is the desperation for points so great that people have to cheat using WebSDR?

73 Chris M0RSF


#65

Hi Chris,
It seems to me that you have not got the real point of this discussion.
In my case and I believe it’s the case in most of those that would make use of RX through web SDR to escape urban QRM, the point don’t matter AT ALL. It’s just a question of being able to participate in the fun game of SOTA chasing or not and being kicked out condemned to find other hobby due to urban QRM.
I would even accept that the QSOs made with the assistance of SDR count half or even zero, I personally don’t care for the points.
Since this might discourage others, why don’t we think about having a new category for those chases made with the assistance of a web SDR?
73,

Guru


#66

Hi Andrew,

All noted…

Another thing which needs to take into account, Chasers can chase from a motor vehicle, Activators can’t activate from one.

However, what I find appalling, is the continuous watering down of this hobby. Remember our last summit to summit contact on the 6 April and the dreadful QRM I was suffering from G/SP-004? Did we log into an SDR to complete our contact, of course we didn’t, we got on with it and completed our contact the hard way.

As for an “assisted” awards category, quite frankly, I’d be too embarrassed to even take part in it , let alone claim such an award!

73
Mike


#67

Cheat? Which rule are they breaking?


#68

Can’t use a repeater, but you can use an SDR, are you serious?. A repeater has it’s limitations an SDR does not.


#69

That sounds suspiciously like a non sequitur, Mike! After all, you would first have to find a web SDR that conforms to the rules for activators, not an easy task. Actually, I find it hard to understand why you are so strongly against chasing with a web SDR, as I rather think that most if not all of your chasing is summit to summit, you seem to have little contact with the world of chasing as most of us experience it. I mean, your lovely idea that every time a chaser in a QRM compromised location sees a Spot he should get in a car and drive several miles into open country before he can chase it is, well, funny!

Cheating is defined as the breaking of rules to gain unfair advantage in a competitive situation. Firstly there is no rule against the use of a web SDR, secondly SOTA is not competitive. Thirdly there are big differences between a repeater and a web SDR. If I call you, you hear my transmitter, not a repeater retransmitting my signal and yours. In fact there is no way you can tell what I am using for a receiver, is there?

I repeat, as long as there is no rule that forbids the use of a web SDR, then using a web SDR is not cheating.


#70

Let me give you an example with what just happened to me about 5 minutes ago.
Phil G4OBK was spotted with his OK8CDX/P callsing on 7.033, I tried to copy him with my station (endfed antenna in the balcony) and I could barely sense he was there fully buried in QRM, then I selected the SDR owned by URE Asturias and found that Phil was being received at about the noise floor level, pretty much like in my station, so I selected the Hack Green SDR and he was very well copied there. He had a pile-up and despite my calls everytime Phil ended a QSO and listened for new calls, I never was picked up. I assumed my signal was very low and I would surely have to wait until the end of the pile-up. Well, not even at that point. The pile-up ended, I called Phil but he never copied me, so he went QSY to SSB, where I will not even try to call him seen the bad results on CW.
This is to illustrate that this way of chasing has nothing to do with using a repeater and it’s nothing like the easy way of chasing some of you seem to believe it is. In fact, it’s nearly as hard as with ones home station.

73,

Guru


#71

Hi Mike, I Simply agree ….


#72

you seem to have little contact with the world of chasing as most of us experience it.

Indeed Brian, you’re totally correct, I don’t.

Instead, I get out of bed a 0400 local time then, drive to a summit burning diesel that I pay for. Then I drag about 20kg of equipment up to the top in the hope of chasing some DX. For about 3 years, through the winter months, I was sitting in -5c degree temperatures and much lower.

If you think chasing is easier, via summit to summit contacts, be my guest and try it. No webSDR for me, I earned my points.

It may have escaped your attention, but sitting on a summit doesn’t exempt Activators from QRM, if anything it’s far worse. Trust me, I have a lot of experience chasing from a summit, especially DX.

Take a look at Wades video if you want to see how much QRM, I was dealing with.

The success of the VK/ZL/JA/EU days hasn’t been achieved by Activators pitching up to a trig point at midday with a HT.


#73

Don’t think that I do not appreciate what you experience, Mike. When I was younger I, too, used to get up at silly o’clock, and hump a 40 lb rucsac up mountains by the light of a headtorch, but in my case to reach and climb ice falls and gullies in the depths of a high mountain winter. I, too, know what it is like to endure bitter cold and wind, though at my advancing years it is now mainly glorious memory. You see, I wasn’t saying chasing by S2S was easier, I was saying it was different. Sitting in a warm house is fine, but wearing headphones and listening through a non-stop rasping buzz of a racket for hours on end, hoping that you can copy enough from an activation to exchange the necessary details takes a different type of endurance, and as the noise increases year on year, drowning out more and more activations, the rewards are diminishing to the point where it might be sensible to give up. I can’t follow your example and move all my ham radio outdoors, I don’t drive because of the effects of an eye defect, so it is chase from home or give up chasing.

By the way, I have never pitched up to a trig point with an HT - until recently I didn’t even own one - like yourself I prefer to use an FT857, though my activator log includes a reasonable proportion of 4, 6 and 8 point summits because though I may be too old to ice climb I can still slowly hump a good load up a decent mountain!:grin: For me, though, the mountain is the reward, the activation is the icing on the cake!


#74

Guru, is it possible that in your series of (predictably) unsuccessful attempts to get Phil’s attention, you unintentionally and unknowingly made some QRM to some other chasers and possibly prevented them from working OK8CDX/P?


#75

Let’s keep it courteous and keep it in perspective. One thing I have enjoyed with SOTA is people are allowed, within the rules, to chart their own course. One method may be more strenuous, require more gear, require more patience, or any number of comparisons, but I’ve always appreciated courtesy and respect for the individual’s course. I still think we are still all on the same “team.”


#76

Thank You Brent - I 100% agree with you. Very nicely stated.

73 Ed.


#77

Hi Zoran,
When in a pile-up of let’s say 15 hams calling to an activator where the activator has been steadily working 1 station at a time, you can consider that all the other 14 hams calling at the time when the 1 was picked up in each turn, were all making some QRM. That’s how a pile-up works. But I saw that it always was perfectly manageable because Phil continued working one station at a time with a very good rate of aproximately 2 QSOs per minute. So, no, I don’t thing my calling (“my QRM”) with 50 W from an endfed wire in a balcony was even a minor problem to anybody in that pile-up.
73,

Guru