Heard an activation where another station was almost feeding stations in like a net. I am pretty sure this goes against the essence of the rules? I did nt count the contact
What makes you think that?
I’ve come across this too. I generally abandon the chase when I encounter it.
It sometimes seems completely in violation of the rules with the ‘controller’ calling in the chaser by full callsign. Which counts as a ‘relay’ of my callsign by the cobtroller to the activator - to me at least.
Even if the ‘controller’ does not relay the full callsign it feels against the spirit of what SOTA is for me. I face the challenge of managing a pileup whilst /P /QRP and despite compromised antenna & environmental challenges. For me that is part of SOTA.
If others want assiatance with managing chasers then that’s their call. And if I don’t want to participate under those conditions, that’s mine.
Reminds me of the W7PHO Family Hour on 20 SSB, where he would take a list while DX would stand by. I called it the trainer wheels net because everybody was new to DX and, when their turn came, would tell the DX “last heard, please copy, 5 and 9”, even though the last heard part was less than 5 seconds earlier. If you told the DX they were 2 and 2, PHO would cut you off and go to the next station, saying “you can’t hear him well enough”. Most of the DX was ordinary, but Father Marshall Moran, 9N1MM, would come by and the list suddenly got really long.
I can’t see anything in the rules against this kind of operation. As long as “some data” is clearly transferred directly between the chaser and the activator (e.g. signal reports both ways) without intervention by the “pilot” I don’t see any issues with this approach.
It’s simply a different approach to handling the pile-up. In fact, in this way, weaker chaser stations may get a chance of a contact than trying to fight through the normal “rabble”.
Many many years ago I used to take part in the WAB net. Presumably it still works the same way. When a mobile station was in a new square the controller would call each station in turn by callsign. You would then exchange signal reports with the mobile station. You had to repeat the report to confirm you could actually hear each other. On one occasion I was struggling to hear the mobile’s report so another station ‘helpfully’ repeated it for me. He was immediately reprimanded by the controller and the mobile had to send me a different report to prove it was a proper QSO.
I’ve been part of the WAB SSB net when on a summit on many occasions. The normal operation is that stations in the net know who is before and after them so most time the callsign is not given by the controller. The exchanges in the net require the exchange of signal reports both ways and the other net members police those religiously. So if you do not correctly exchange reports it’s not considered a valid QSO. From my experience being in the WAB net on 40m, there are no dodgy QSOs being logged. It contrasts markedly with my experience on non-net 40m SOTA where quite a lot of chases have been logged with me where the chaser could not discern any meaningful data.
It depends on the net whether the QSO is valid. WAB NET QSOs are 110% squeaky clean and valid.
I take the attitude that this is a hobby in which you set your own goals. If other somebody wants to call into someone else’s net from a SOTA summit then why not. That’s entirely up to them.
As has been said many times before, SOTA isn’t a competition. The only person that they are “cheating” (if you want to see it as cheating) is themselves.
I do collect WAB squares on a somewhat adhoc basis but I generally don’t partake in their nets. They also don’t seem to have any kind of spotting or alerting facility (not as far as I have found), which is annoying if you’re going out of your way to put on an unusual WAB square & can’t tell anyone that you will be there.
I tried a WAB net once from a non-SOTA summit. Perhaps slightly ironically I was on “Great Cockup Mountain” in the Lake District. It took approximately 20-30 minutes to work around 5-10 stations because I had to wait for my turn. I said several times that I would have to go QRT very soon due to poor weather conditions but this was ignored & I was kept waiting as the net went round the operators sat at home in their warm, dry shacks.
For a portable operator on top of a mountain being pounded with 30+mph wind & rain, I found it a thoroughly frustrating & miserable experience!
If I’ve gone out of my way to put on a SOTA/WWFF/WAB, especially if it’s an unusual one, I want to control my own pileup rather than sitting on a cold mountain getting battered by the weather while waiting as someone else controls the net for me & drip feeds me contacts significantly slower than I would normally clear a SOTA pileup.
Bottom line, let people do what they want. Just my two cents worth!
Advantages and disadvantages. I just put myself first as an activator and do whatever suits me best. Usually that is control my own frequency. However - it has, more than once, occurred that I’ve been struggling to qualify and gone into the WAB or Royal Signals nets to get up to the magic 4 contacts! Long long time ago mind you!
I had a very similar experience. Wanting to test the effectiveness of my triband whip mounted on the rack of my hybrid [gravel] bike, I cycled up a hill and joined in the weekly early-evening 2m FM net of a local ARC hoping this would be a good way of getting multiple reports on my signal.
IMHO, I find many net participants make their overs too long and it can take ages for the net to get round the group. Although it was summer, it was getting chilly standing around and I was freezing by the second time I got to speak. I suspect many shack-only operators imagine all portable operators are sat at a long table in a big tent like on field day.
Without getting into the convoluted argument of the differences between mobile & portable, I suspect that when you say portable some shack based operators imagine that we are sat in our cars in a car park somewhere, or operating from the garden of a holiday home.
As you say James, even when you explain your operating situation [e.g. cold windy summit, no shelter] it doesn’t seem to matter.
I was probably expecting too much. I wasn’t a member of the ARC but I had hoped my unusual technical investigation [i.e. Was the bike’s frame enough to provide an adequate ground plane at 2m ?] would spark some interest between the long overs of non-AR social chat.
The answer is probably, It all depends.
I rarely have trouble with a pile up.
I certainly don’t want a “kindly soul” hopping in and passing on reports after I ask someone for a repeat. The last time that happened I was somewhat caustic and said that that call whose report he passed was consequently not in my log. It may be kindness but it is ignorant.
I wonder if there is anyone who comes on an activators frequency and makes a formal net calling in stations for the activator to work. That would be a control freak, not a kind person. I would QSY to a different band citing QRM if it happened to me.
I have on two occasions gone to a QSO between some of my friends and asked for reports from each, having given out reports for them. This was when I had not had any response to my CQs and was for a park award. I would not try this with any of the regular round robin central controller nets.
I find the way you denigrate the WAB nets very unfair.
First of all, there is now the WAB reporter where all activity is regularly updated hour after hour
Take a look : WAB REPORTER v3 - Google Sheets
Then, managing a net is not an easy task, when the number of participants can be very large, including mobile and portable operators.
Radio is patience, wherever you are, home or not.
(and I have done a lot of SOTAs over the last years so I know what it can be like up there)
73s de F4HZN, overseas WAB book holder.
As far as WAB goes - and there are many other nets - when it comes to priority, generally mobile stations take precedence due to the way WAB works. However, the guidance given to net controllers says this:
“There may be occasions where a portable station should take priority over a mobile due to their physical working conditions. Such circumstances may be due to weather, tides, battery power, limited time availability etc.”
Whoever was controlling the net at the time should have taken this into consideration in the case of M0GQC, but I’m lead to understand that we are all human.
Thanks for the link. That’s very helpful. Having just had another look at their website, it’s not obvious where you found that link so I don’t think it’s very well publicised.
I don’t believe that I did denigrate the WAB nets.
To be completely fair, I actually think that their nets are extremely civilised. Especially considering some of the ridiculous pileups I’ve heard on air for other programs.
My point (rightly or wrongly) was that I didn’t feel it was structured for a fast-paced SOTA activation where time may be a limiting factor.
I will make the point that on their website in their own guidelines they specifically state that mobiles & portable stations take priority over fixed stations (item no 10 on their guidelines).
If someone is sat on a mountain top in poor weather waiting 30 minutes while numerous base stations are getting called in first, that doesn’t sound like giving priority to mobile & portable stations?
It may have been a one off (hopefully it was) but I simply said that I found it frustrating.
That’s all very well but there are safety considerations. If the weather is deteriorating we may not have time to be patient. It may be necessary to pack up & descend to a more sheltered location. Especially if I have already been on air for well over an hour, have already activated for WWFF & may have limited battery left.
I never said that it was easy. I’ve done it myself numerous times in several different capacities.
There weren’t that many stations on the net on this occasion (like I said, I worked around 5-10).
I think that’s a very fair & reasonable way of putting it.