No RBNGate Spots?

Is there some reason I haven’t heard about for RBN Gate spots not working? My activation of W1/MB-014 today was unusual in that none of the usual chasers who find me almost every time I go out showed up. When I look at the alerts for today I see I wasn’t spotted at all. It wasn’t a bad day - there was a lot of activity due to QRP to the Field - but most of my contacts today came from chasing QRPTTF CQs, there were very few answers to my CQs.

It’s been discussed.
See thread below.
Due back 24th April at the very earliest.

And should be back now.

Thanks for the replies. I had never experienced this before, when I was on the summit
I was wondering if something was really wrong with my rig or antenna, then when I got home and saw no spots I thought I must have botched the alert.

As mentioned recently on the NASOTA mailing list, if you have Internet access it is also possible to check the RBN spots directly, if you are doubtful about whether the reposting service is operational.

You would see all CW activity currently reported to the RBN.


That’s what I do before adding useless self spots to SOTAwatch for each band up to 28 MHz :wink:

BTW, my “test calls” often returned reasonable S/N RBN spots from W/VE skimmers without then one single QSO was made.
May be that skimmers never have to sleep, hi.

My sympathies that you were unfortunately not aware that the spot gateway has been dead for a while and dead yesterday for perhaps the biggest day of NA SOTA activity this year. I was taken by surprise when I noticed this about a week ago and also posted a question here on the reflector. I went armed with my SMS Android app yesterday and didn’t hesitate to pump out my spots and grateful for you finding me and calling s2s.

73, Barry N1EU

If I had Internet access on a summit I would not care about RBN spots. In my case yesterday the first thing I did when I arrived home was to check to see if RBN had heard my SOTA CQs. I was heard numerous times, some with good S/N.

I think it’s down again - haven’t seen an RBNHole spot since 1036Z

Which is suspiciously when I logged out of the RBN server last night taking with it the session I’d forgot to detach. Re-upped now. It may go up and down a little over the next few days as I work on altering the architecture a little.

I sure missed the RBN Hole today!

I did a long multi-band activation. It was Monday, so activity was relatively low. The solar flux also was very low, making it harder to be noticed with a QRP signal. I was activating a wonderful one-point summit - fine place to be on a sunny spring day, with birds and flowers all through the forest. One point isn’t enough to make most chasers hunt and dig - but a few sharp chasers did just that, and that’s how I got listed on the spots! Thanks to all of you!

The RBN Hole makes a huge difference to both activating and chasing. When it’s not available, I have to call CQ for a long time before anything happens. The USA is a big country, and with weak propagation, the audience is limited. As a chaser, I find that the absence of spots causes me to totally miss activators that I otherwise could work. The smart activators are posting alerts with detailed information, specific frequencies, modes, times, order-of-play, etc., so we can hunt for them and contact them before they disappear. The smart guys also realize that it may quite a while before they get spotted, even if they’re getting out just fine. They call for a longer time, since the chasers take a long time to realize that they’re on a particular band. As a chaser I’m using the RBN directly to try to find certain activators when they have posted alerts with times, etc.

I really miss the RBN Hole and find both activating and chasing more frustrating without it. With the poor solar conditions, activators who post no alerts, or who leave few clues for the chasers, it’s tough. I wish there was a rule that if you activate a 10-point summit, you have to stay on each band at least 10 minutes. It’s basically the Golden Rule. Today I actually went back down to 30M and 40M to try to pick up a few more of the close chasers, but I never got spotted a second time on either band. The RBN spots were fine though!



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Agree with your thoughts on alerts and spots.

Perhaps we need a new code “please spot me” or PSM on CW?

Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

I don’t think it matters how many points a summit is worth, 10 minutes is a suitable amount of time for the chasers to see your spot and get to the radio.
Also keeping to the 10min rule has the chasers waiting for me as I work my way down through the bands from 15 to 40. With 40 being generally the best propagation choice in south eastern VK and therefore the busiest.

Equally, alerting early will also improve one’s chances. Like the USA, VK is a big country with a finite number of CW chasers, so the more I Spot and Alert the better my chances are.

PSM is a great idea, and one you may hear me use rather than spelling it out. I did look at the Q Codes, QRW seems the closest but I suspect most of the chasers would be heading to google to look it up (myself included HI)

Warren vk3byd

I hate 10 minute activations. I can’t spend all day every day sitting by the radio just to jump up for an activator. During the few times I can watch for spots, I still have other things going on with my family. And with local noise and QSB it might take a while to get good copy from an activator.

If you want to do it that way, fine. But it doesn’t help spread the joy of SOTA.


I can understand an activator only activating for 10-15 minutes Walter. There can be several reasons - inclement weather, others present who want to move on, darkness or storm approaching, flat battery, wish to activate additional summits (or other appointments).

It’s up to the activator how long he or she wishes to activate for and we should be happy that they are out there at all!

The fact that CW operators are whingeing because they are not being auto-spotted is a shame, remember that SSB activators don’t have the luxury of the RBN system and they manage to get contacts (normally).



I was not suggesting a 10 minute activation, but 10 minutes before I qsy to another band if I have had no calls.
Most of my activation’s have me on the summit for 45 to 60 minutes.


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I think sending “spot pse” is likely to be more generally understood than PSM. A surprising number of people dont read the reflector so will not know what PSM means. It might catch on but I suspect the odds are against it.

Wikipedia suggests PSM stands for Professional Scrum Master - perhaps appropriate for a CW activator.

Why are we accepting regression as the norm? We were greatly in debt to KU6J. But we now need to pick ourselves up and put in a RBN spotting system with fail-over redundancy. Isn’t that obvious to everybody?

73, Barry N1EU

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Re PSM - True
Scrum master - a role within the system development methodology Scrum.

So obvious that it is exactly what I’m working on. Not that I find the tone of your comments particularly encouraging. The ultimate regression, of course, is I turn RBNHole off and you can go and write your own, but I think people prefer some functionality to none, in the interim.