Please state direction of radiation if you have time

As we see more activity on 6 metres with the latest challenge, can I please request that if an activator self-spots, they also state in which direction they are beaming if they are using a directional aerial. This of course applies to 4m, 2m, 70cm etc as well as 6m.

This will save me wasting my time as a chaser if for example an activator in Scotland is beaming south, I am not going to hear him (or her) over here in Germany, even if the band is wide open.

Thanks, Ed DD5LP.


Other information too, like which way the propagation is going and the level of QSB, should be included. Anything that stops the activators inconveniencing the chasers.

You won’t see any such information from me though. My challenge antenna for 6 is omnidirectional, and when I use the SB6 beam, I am changing the beam heading so often it is pointless posting updates every time I do.

When I use a beam, normally 2m & 70cms, I reckon I would change beam heading over 100 times in a typical 2 hour activation. If I was to spot myself every time I change beam heading, I would make the mobile phone company very happy & leave myself precious little time to operate.
G1INK (from Yorkshire when it was all one county[North Riding]).

I think what we need here is a rotary encoder connected to the fishing rod/mast that gives the beam heading. Then we need app that uses the camera on your smartphone to read the encoder and send the beam heading automatically. As soon as the beam is moved the app will send the new heading. If we then couple this auto-position report to a graphical widget on SOTAwatch we can have real time beam headings displayed for all activators.

Actually Ed, I understand where you are coming from here but as you can see it’s sometimes not always quite so easy for the activators to oblige.

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It would be more useful to add something like “Es to DL, OE” or “tropo to EU” to a self spot (we should be so lucky!)


[quote=“G8ADD, post:5, topic:11032”]add something like “Es to DL, OE” or “tropo to EU” to a self spot[/quote]A chaser is in at least as good a position to add useful information like that to a spot, but with propagation modes as fickle as Es and tropo, who knows whether such a comment will still be accurate five seconds after it’s been posted… :wink:

In this country, the default beam heading for an activator is likely to be “downwind” or possibly “upwind” :smile:

I like Andy’s suggestion for a readout though - It should be (technically) easy to include a three digit beam heading in a CW CQ, and get RBN to record it for use on RBNGate :smiley:


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Hi Tom,

I’m not sure if you’re joking about propagation and QSB levels. I’m not looking to give a lot of extra work to the activator. But if the activator is using a beam he/she will know which way they are beaming initially and hence adding this info isn’t a difficult job. Of course the beam may get peaked or turned when he/she hears a chaser or another activator. I’m looking for a starting point rather than a running commentary, perhaps as someone else said, the expected area - e.g. looking for calls from Southern England, Spain, Scandinavia etc.

I liked the comment that the beam direction will mostly be up-wind or down-wind. From operating VHF/UHF field days in high winds - even with much more sturdy masts that we use for SOTA, I know EXACTLY what you mean! Using the old “Armstrong” rotator to try to get the beam pointing back where it needed to be was quite an effort!

As we’ve seen of the last 24 hours, where one person considers 6m to be open, others are hearing nothing. It’s all about position, so propagation reports can only be partially useful.

73 Ed.

Like Steve says though Ed, the likelihood is the activator will beam in many directions several times over during the activation, so just keep monitoring.

[quote=“M1EYP, post:9, topic:11032”]will beam in many directions[/quote]Certainly with U/VHF and the high end of HF, if an activator’s using a beam then it’s likely to be one that can be pointed in whatever directions the activator chooses.

If, however, it’s something like VK5FO’s phased verticals (see and Brookfield CP VKFF-822 | VK5FO for details) then the direction will be rather less easily varied, but the beam width will probably be a fair bit broader.

73, Rick M0LEP

A guy dragged a radio for half a day to a summit, uses 2 hands to do 4 things while wind is blowing and also has to get back to civilisation before it gets dark (or starts to rain).

Another guy sits in the comfort of his own shack, cold beer in the fridge.

“wasting my time as a chaser”

Activator and chaser Razvan, YO9IRF.


I also activate Razvan.
This was not meant to be a demand on activators, rather a request “where appropriate”.

It was common practice in VHF/UHF field days when I used to take part in them to state on air in which direction you were beaming. This seems to no longer be the case. If I know an activator is likely to rotate the beam at some point, I’m more likely to stay listening on that frequency, rather than concluding the station is using an omni-directional antenna and I will never hear him.

Each to their own.

73 Ed.

P.S. Rick - I’ve been discussing with Bob his phased verticals set-up and that would be an attractive portable antenna for me for the 10m challenge. Just got to get time to build it! If there’s enough room on the summit, rotating a 10m one should be possible, Bob’s 20m one less so, but as you say the “beamwidth” is relatively broad.

UK version:

A guy dragged a radio, linear, batteries (including a spare - just in case one is needed) for a couple of hours to a summit, having adjusted his clothing every five minutes en route as he has been subjected to 4 seasons in one day, uses 2 hands to do 6 things (we always make it more complicated than it needs to be) while trying to operate in a gale with horizontal driving sleet (the weather has now thankfully improved) and also has to get back to his car before before it gets dark as he has forgotten his head torch.

Another guy sits in the comfort of his own shack, fan heater blowing casually his way to maintain an acceptable 21C, a cup of tea in his hand…

And who says the Brits aren’t eccentric? ;-).

It was common practice in VHF/UHF field days…

You’ve said it in a nutshell Ed. A 24/48 hour field day is entirely different in character to a 30-60 minute SOTA activation. You won’t have to wait long for different beam headings in SOTA, and you have lots of other spots to attend to as a chaser in the meantime.

Perhaps the quote “wasting my time as a chaser” was not the best choice of words!

Agreed - and apologies to everyone - bad choice of words “wasting time”.


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That will be the normal Scottish weather you mean then I presume? :laughing:

I’ve lost count of the number of V/UHF chases I’ve lost because the activator turned his beam to peak and answer a stronger caller and vanished for me, and never turned his beam back to favour my direction. Of course, a relatively nearby activation will be heard “off the back” but a weak signal is another matter! If you then go after another spot on a different band you risk losing any chance that might occur while you are not listening for the original station. It is a difficult judgement, stay on the channel and hope, or go for another activation on another band - and there is no guarantee that you will break the other pile-up, either. This isn’t a complaint, by the way, a chaser can no more expect to catch all the available activations than a fisherman can expect to catch all the fish!


What really gets my back up is when I hear “Where has he gone?” shouted out over the air in a somewhat questionable manor, whilst some part of your equipment falls out of balance between your hands doing several things at once.

As they say; - Ignorance is bliss.


Simply put Ed, I can spot myself on 2m on G/SPxxx as beaming East. First call is a GW so I turn the beam West probably before my self spot is visible, thus rendering it obsolete. Rest assured, us “proper activators” will try all beam headings several times during an activation rather than the 4 contacts and run brigade. A lot of the top chasers know who they are likely to work & who they’d be wasting time on, harsh words but top chasers don’t amass thousands of points by chance.

I remember these. In fact I’ve had the odd spell as one myself in particular circumstances.

However, I’ve not seen or heard one for ages; do they still actually exist?