Please exchange and confirm information for QSO credit

I am a newcomer to SOTA and very much enjoy activating W2/GC-xxx summits and chasing on HF CW. It is my understanding that a valid QSO requires the exchange of information between activator and chaser. Each activator has his/her own style. When I am the activator station, I begin by acknowledging your callsign, send RST, QTH and NAME. I listen for your QSL, followed by RST and your QTH. I respond with QSL and TNX to complete the exchange.

If you do not respond to my initial message, I try twice to re-establish contact with you before moving on to the next chaser. Recently I have had a few chasers who quickly conclude the contact after simply hearing me respond to their initial call without listening to my message or waiting for confirmed receipt of any information. In my opinion, that is not a valid QSO and will not be logged.

Thanks and 73!
Mike, WB2FUV

Good topic Mike.
I think we really only need to give and receive an RST /RS as the exchange. When I first call CQ I send my summit Reference on cw or call “CQ SOTA vk5cz on / summit name” and Quote the reference on ssb. I guess we assume most chasers have seen us on SOTAwatch3 and know what summit we a calling from but if I hear an unfamiliar call sign I do tell them my name and what I am doing. Another thing to consider some CW chasers might not be able to exchange too much information in cw mode and keep it as easy as possible for them to take part. Some people I have heard get tangled up in “waffle” and end up making lots of sending mistakes so keep it simple is the key.
Glad you are enjoying SOTA and after a while your regular chasers will remember your name anyhow and things like that. I try not to guess names at my end as I usually get it wrong until I work them a few times.
Cheers Mate
vk5cz …


CW sequence

  1. I call CQ, my callsign
  2. Chaser sends his callsign
  3. I send his callsign and RST
  4. Chaser responds immediately and sends RST
    (this is now a loggable QSO)
  5. I acknowledge and send TU/73 and my callsign, indicating I am ready for waiting chaser(s) to call me

If chaser doesn’t respond immediately after 3, I repeat - if still no immediate response I call CQ again and do not log it. I only send the reference if chaser requests it.

73, Barry N1EU


Dear Mike,

Thanks for the 4 QSOs we’ve had so far.
Honestly, I find your exchanges during your SOTA QSOs unnecessarily long. We could have had at least one more QSO, because I remember not too long ago copying you well on your spotted frequency, but the size of your pileup and your too long-lasting QSOs kept me waiting until conditions finally changed, your signal vanished and we lost our chance to QSO. Shame… :frowning:

I find redundant if you go sending this info on each SOTA QSO because most of us, chasers, have that information on the SOTAWATCH page in front of our eyes, so we know your callsign, your name and the SOTA reference you are activating, which implies the country and the state in which that summit is located.
The only necessary pieces of info to be exchanged for a QSO to be valid are the callsign and the signal report. Sending the SOTA ref from time to time or upon a chaser request is highly advised and recommendable.

You in the U.S. are used to send the 2 letters for the State and that’s fair because it’s a short piece of info, but what if I make QSO with you and tell you that my QTH is Muruzabal, or you contact a HA chaser located in the city of Székesfehérvár?
Those are far too long city names to be sent during a SOTA QSO making the contacts pace unnecessarily slow, thus having too many chasers waiting for too long.
We also use 2 letters to identify our provinces in Spain, but I’m afraid it will mean nothing to you if I say my QTH is NA.
All this is to conclude that your chasers, particularly all of us out of the US, don’t need to send QTH, as our callsing preffix gives enough information about our geographical location. For more details, we always have, but the SOTA QSOs should better remain brief and concise, particularly when the pileup is big.

My advise is for you to follow the CW sequence in Barry’s @N1EU post above.

I’ll be looking forward to chasing you again soon.




Hi Mike

I agree that a caller who does not respond to your initial or repeat call with RST should not be considered a contact.

The rules for acknowledgement of reports include the sending of R or QSL or CFM by the station receiving the report and without that, the contact is not complete.

I don’t lose sleep over it though. They might even claim the contact and because there is no requirement for claimed contacts to match the activator’s log, there is a possibility they get points for the contact that they did not earn. Such cases are rare though.

Any extra info over RST I tend to send only if conditions and time allow.

Most of my callers have found me via SOTAWATCH or an app fed by SOTAWATCH so there is no need to send the reference or my name often for my activations.

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

One of the things I like about SOTA is that for the most part activators and chasers give an honest RST instead of the useless contest 599. That being said, I have yet to see where I log RST in the SOTA database to validate an activation or chase. Dean~ K2JB

There isn’t a separate field for that data. The sotadata design records activations in terms of date,time,freq, mode, callsign, summit codes. It isn’t an online log. So the only place to put that is in the comments field. There is a convention of labelling sent and received with S and R. Eg. S59 R57. No spaces or other characters are required, but if you include a comma, put the whole thing in quotes. “S59R59” or “S59,R57” or “S59 R47, Jim, Sorento”. Whatever is in those quotes is the comment.

The comments field is completely open format with a size limit, but just watch those commas or tabs, as in a CSV or TSV file they indicate a new field.

If the reports are not relevant, you could ask, why put them in at all? It’s simply up to you if you want a more complete record of the contact. Some logging software does insert the reports into the comment field as above.

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

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…and, if there’s a pile-up chasing you, we will most likely have heard your answers to several previous callers, even if we havn’t seen the details on SOTAWatch, so sending the information once every several contacts is plenty often enough.

When I’m activating CW I really don’t want more than necessary coming back at me, because my Morse isn’t that hot, and if the reply contains too much else I might miss the essential information. The one exception is when it’s a summit-to-summit, in which case I do want to hear the other summit reference, and I’ll be sure to send my reference…


Correct exchange of callsigns and reports is all that is required. The summit reference is important of course, but in a pile-up might only be mentioned every handful of QSOs.

Name and QTH are not necessary nor required.

But - the QSO is only complete when both stations have confirmed that they have received their report. This might only be a “Roger”, “QSL” or .-. (R in CW) - but it is the crucial aspect that completes a good QSO. So on that specific aspect, I agree with the OP, but other than that, I feel it would be regrettable if individual participants started adding their own personal rules to those in the SOTA General Rules document.

However - even if the activator chose not to log a chaser, there is nothing to stop the chaser logging the contact and it being valid for the SOTA awards. We did away with the confirmation asterisk a few years ago, because it was being used, and interpreted, inappropriately by too many participants.

Rest assured, the SOTA MT (in particular the Awards Manager) do review submitted activator and chaser logs, and so activators that are routinely not logging chasers - or chasers that have lots of logged QSOs that don’t appear in otherwise complete activator logs - do come to our attention, and can be considered appropriately when processing award claims.

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My suggestion is to Generally Confirm the QSO And call it Good, which what is required under the rules. Propagation May be difficult, I’ve legitimately had some 229s that I’m just glad to get in the log. And the activator or chaser may need to move along (e.g., storm inbound for activator or chaser may be trying to get several activators who may not be on air for long). And doing this long enough activators know the names and probably QTH of regular chasers and I suspect The same is true for chasers. I’m a fan of keeping it efficient for everyone. :call_me_hand:

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Being new to CW, I appreciate as terse of an exchange as possible. I’m comfortable doing the basic RST exchange and then TU 73 EE but when someone starts a pseudo ragchew with their QTH, Name, WX, Rig, Ant, etc I can get a bit flustered. :upside_down_face:

When I log you in HRD or QRZ, I’ll get your QTH and name.