Not-standard autospot procedure

Hi Guys!
I have a question regarding non-standard autospot procedure:
is it allowed to calling cq in cw on a freq. SSB before calling in ssb?
In this way if a summit isn’t covered by operator mobile signal, it will be possible to use rbn hole also for ssb spot.
de iw2obx

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The catch is that the skimmers that feed RBN (and thence RBNHole and SOTAWatch) generally only cover the CW-specific(-ish) portions of the bands, so if you call CQ using CW in a part of the band where SSB is generally found (but CW generally isn’t) you won’t get picked up by any skimmers, so you won’t get an auto-spot.

Generally, while there’s nothing to stop you trying it (after all, CW is usually permitted just about everywhere within the bands), it probably won’t have the desired effect because there won’t be skimmers listening there.

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Hi Rick,
I tried on 7.115 and 14.150, rbn has spotted me, but only two stations have decode my signal, maybe to due the skimmer setup.
Thanks for the reply


You have to send really nice well-formed and correctly spaced characters or the RBN will ignore you.

So there are some skimmers listening outside the normal CW band segments, then. I guess that coverage might improve as the bandwidth of the required receivers gets wider.

…which is where the memories in a rig can come in handy. :wink:

Or having the innate ability to actually key correctly. Either will do. One is less common though.


My last activations were only in cw at about 15wpm.
I’d like to give some points also at ssb chasers, but on some summit it isn’t possible selfspot via internet.
In this way, I’m able to autospot in ssb portion band.

I find my somewhat limited ability to key accurately is adversely affected by all sorts of things that don’t affect my rig’s memory keyer…

Maybe we can agree upon a syntax either for the CQ call or for the alert comment so that we can use CW within the CQ part of the bands to indicate the frequency of an SSB activation? Should not be to hard to do - like

“mode/ssb qrg/7.145”

(/ is likely better than = for keying)

Then, RBNhole could generate spots for SSB, too.

Making it part of the alert would make very basic CW sufficient for the purpose (but means that you cannot indicate the proper frequency if there is unexpected QRM). Another downside is that regular CW ops will not be able to realize that answering the CQ call in CW will not be successful. But then again, we also have CQ BCN being used by people who just want to see spots.

What do you think?

73 de Martin, DK3IT

Edit: We could also use a big AI / Machine Learning solution that decodes human CQ calls and generates respective spots.


I actually tried that and there’s so much background noise and weird accents on HF that the AI/ML solutions choke.

That is a clear statement :wink:

Since it’s not yet a fully solved issue, it seems this is a recurrent subject.



What happens if you record the spot on your phone’s voice recorder in CW before you leave home and then play the recoding into the radios mic in the nominated CW part of the band. Does the skimmer pick it up I wonder?? Or record the spot as a CW ident on a radio that has that capability and then play that?

Or get a Sat phone if summit spotting is so important.

For completeness, here is also a related discussion, in which I proposed a PSK31-based approach (which could use the actual SSB frequency).

RTTY would also be an option. As the KX2 has PSK31 built-in, this could become a very handy solution for KX2 users.

We would need PSK31 skimmers, but RBN already has them:

The same would work for RTTY, but that might require a tablet or smartphone + soundmodem cable.

The main challenge would then be to determine whether such a PSK31 or RTTY CQ is actually for SSB. If the RBN telnet data includes the string of the call, a simple “/SSB” or “SSB” could be defined for such CQ calls.

That would require minimal additional effort and you could suddenly use the wide coverage of HF to spot you. And you could try to use a simple audio recording of a PSK31 or RTTY CQ call and play it back.

73 de Martin, DK3IT

The Garmin (nee DeLorme) InReach is supported. You can use it as a GPS, a spotting tool and a PLB.

Personally, if I wanted a PLB I’d buy a PLB and not one of these but I’m funny. If I wanted a thing to let me spot from anywhere in the world I’d buy one of these but I already have something else.

The problem I have with this is you are effectively bastardising the RBN’s intent - to display frequencies and locations where signals are being heard - into a side-channel signalling protocol. That grates with me, and I can see the band police getting up in arms about it when these odd RBN spots turn up and blaming SOTA.

Then I have the problem with making RBNHole process the signalling protocol. That’s fairly philosophical more than technical.

Then there’s the jurisdictions where /SSB as a prefix would be technically illegal.

Then there’s the foundation licensees in VK that can’t use Data modes so making the protocol inaccessible to them.

Then there’s the relative paucity of skimmers on PSK and RTTY compared with CW.

Finally there’s the complete fragility of the whole process as it currently stands for CW, and I hate to think what introducing this on top would do to relative chances of spotting working.

Pull requests welcome, but don’t be surprised if I reject it :slight_smile:

Dear all

I am happy to have a good APRS coverage for APRS2SOTA – at least here around HB9 where I have activated so far . . .

For remote/secluded spots I’d really choose CW (but SOTAwatch spots you only according to its rules).

Vy 73 de Markus, HB9DIZ

So have I, its in the Sherpa’s job description.