Posting Bad Spots... don't do it! (Part 1)

How do you know the frequency will be free when you get to the summit?


I also write ±5 up/down in the alert.
But normally we don’t have very busy bands over here.

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Because he’s not in Europe!


I’m somewhat is this camp as many times I don’t have great cell coverage anyways. As a CW operator, I mainly rely on the auto-spotting feature of RBNHole so I have no need to use or even look at my phone. Once I start my activation I’m pretty busy for the first hour anyways…usually have a continuous stream of contacts on my first two bands. However, that being said, I do like to use the phone to find S2S contacts. That’s much easier than hunting around for them “old school style”! Maybe I could be called lazy in this respect ;-).

In terms of estimating QRV time, I post my alerts as something like QRV +/- 30min (using the comment field). I’m usually within that window for most summits I do. I think Chasers tend to get used to my operating style and summit windows…consistency counts ;-). I work many of the same stations over and over again – a great bunch of active Chasers we have!

73, Brad


I never knew the ability to self spot was also a messaging service? :thinking: :grinning:

Like the other posters I don’t spend the activation looking to see what other people are messaging other than to see if I’ve been spotted or my self spot has appeared.

In terms of CW I don’t self spot until I get sat down, sorted out and ready to go. I find a quite frequency, send “QRL?”, then post a self-spot for that frequency and immediately start calling CQ SOTA so the frequency doesn’t get jumped on.

If I post an Alert for 3 bands then I will almost always operate on those three bands. If I’d not activated one of the bands I’d alerted for and was running out of time, or getting too cold and wanting to clear off down the hill, its unlikely I’d bother with looking at my phone. But even if I did and saw a request to QSY I’m not too sure i’d hang about and comply. After all I’m not the one sat in a nice warm building, :smile:



As I see it, the only thing we should not be doing is having CHASERS post a spot trying to contact/get a specific station to work them.

Like a Chaser posting… “Hey Joe! call me on 7.063…de WA7JTM.”

If a Chaser, or Activator, decides to use the simplified/shortened information on SOTAWATCH, that is the risk they take in not seeing whatever the Activator is actually doing. This is not an Activator problem in my opinion.

I always view the expanded SOTAWATCH information, at home or on a summit, as I don’t want to miss any info from Activators. More information is always better…all I have to do is read it.

I often put “CQ EUROPE” in the comments when I am hearing Europe, hoping NA stations stand by so I can work them on the West coast. If I post that information, and you don’t read it, we both may suffer…

Anyhow, everyone usually does what works for them…that way we can have these “exciting” discussions to keep us occupied when not actually doing SOTA :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:



I feel I’m kicking a dead horse here, but I really want people to realize that SOTAWatch is NOT the only way that people get spots. There are TONS of phone apps, clusters, websites, etc. that people use to get alerts when SOTA spots post. Many of them do not show comments unless you drill down a bit.

Would you go on to a frequency that was already in use and start calling “CQ SOTA”? When you post a spot with a real frequency and mode that looks like a legit spot, 100% there will be chasers who will immediately go to that frequency looking for you. Best case scenario is no one is actively using that frequency. Worst case, there is someone there and now they have a big pileup and probably don’t know why. Worse, now a bunch of chasers think they are working YOU. They should know better, but: weak signals, QSB, QRM, inexperienced ops, people not identifying frequently enough, etc.

The solution is to use a frequency and/or mode that makes it clear it is not a real spot. 14.000 OTHER or something similar. Then put whatever comments you want, and chasers will know to look at them rather than waste time listening for someone who isn’t there.



I think we understand the point you’re making Josh. It’s just that (as is usual on the reflector) the topic has been broadened by other comments. At least they’re somewhat related to your original request! :wink:


Speaking of spots… I just ran into this the other day: a chaser works me and then, with a delay, re-spots me on the frequency they made the QSO with a nice comment indicating my RST at their QTH.

Seems benign, doesn’t it? The only problem here is that the chaser was not aware I had already moved on to another frequency! I don’t want to discourage chasers from helping activators by uploading spots, but these things are inevitable when spots are being added by both chasers and activators as frequencies change.

—Jeff KX6I


That is a POTA thing Jeff… they encourage chasers to do that. I agree that chasers shouldn’t post spots unless asked to do so. It does more harm than good.


Whew… I was worried that I had become a “Bad Spots” magnet! :laughing:

Not something I’ve found to be true in my (albeit limited) experience, but maybe its more of a CW issue. Activating G/SP-017 on Sunday, I alerted for the activation, but found that when on summit I could not place a self-spot (due to an issue at my end).

Called CQ on 10m SSB and yes it took a little longer to get 4 contacts (19 minutes) but it wasn’t hours of fruitless calling. I was spotted after about the 6th or 7th qso and netted a further 7 qso in 7 minutes.

I do agree with the original poster though. Spots should be informational not instructional.

I don’t think it does any harm as such. If the activator has decided to move or go qrt then so be it. The only issue I can think of is that due to the number of ‘OTA’ schemes which seemingly all have similar references a chaser can become confused to what they are listening to.

One thing I could never understand is why the summit reference wasn’t included in the requirement of a qso but that’s a different topic altogether :slight_smile:


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…and spots posted on SOTAWatch get propagated onto quite a few other spotting systems as well. Some of those may preserve the comments, but others do not. Some of them are used for rig control, so a chaser need only click a button to have their rig go to the spotted band and mode (and maybe even rotate an antenna, too). Conscientious chasers will, of course, listen long enough to determine that the activator they expect is actually there before giving a call…

On HF it’s very often a propagation issue, combined somewhat with timezones and wakefulness of chasers, but then self-spots won’t help you either, if your RF isn’t going anywhere useful…

I had a grand activation on Wilmington G/SE-011 during the 12 metres Challenge when I took a mono-band antenna and spent almost two hours on the summit calling. I made exactly three contacts, all within a 7 minute window on CW (very much QRS at the time).

For bands with only relatively local reach, bad spots will likely only cause problems in a relatively small area, but where the band has potential for global reach, a bad spot may well cause trouble all over the place, even half-way round the world.

I’m only occasionally an activator. It’s surprising how often there isn’t adequate network coverage on a summit. If there is then I use SOTAWatch to self-spot and to look for S2S opportunities. I’ve also occasionally adjusted my alerts when I’m not running to schedule (if there’s been network coverage wherever I was at the time…).

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Well Ian,

Try sending the summit reference every qso on CW and see how popular you are.

If you send the reference in your CQ call and you are lucky enough to get a pile up (3 stations on CW in VK) then you would not give your summit reference again until they were worked and there were no other callers.

I use SOTA spots as a back channel when necessary.

If some other app makes a mess by creaming spots from SOTAWatch then I could not care less.

I can keep an eye on my brother but not every other galoot.



Right now, we (SOTA MT) are asking people nicely not to do this.


To be fair, if I tried sending anything in CW I wouldn’t be very popular. It would be a toss up which would be worse, me sending CW or me dancing at a wedding :slight_smile:

The point is taken though, that sending the reference on all possible modes may not be practical.



The GR actually say ( “QSOs must comprise an exchange of callsigns and signal reports, it is strongly recommended that the summit identifier be given during each contact. Where the summit identifier is not given in each contact (for example in slow CW QSOs) it should be repeated frequently every few QSOs.” (my italics)

Is it not said that “the activator is king”? If they want the points they will work you despite you “wasting” a few seconds each contact. You don’t need to send the full identifier, skip the Association and slash, skip the hyphen, just XXNNN is enough and just takes seconds.


I will continue to send my callsign AT LEAST once every 3 QSOs and the reference every 5 QSOs and when I QSY or go QRT. I think that, as well as a check of my current SPOT on SOTA Spotter for accuracy, is sufficent Brian.

I think the GR recommended guidance is just that, guidance, and I am not aware of any activator (certainly on CW) who sends the SOTA reference in full or abbreviated for every contact. There are a few (a minority) of activators though who don’t identify often enough, especially in CW, but that is a seperate argument!

73 Phil G4OBK


While I am on this thread concerning POSTING BAD SPOTS. Its not necessarily bad, but on VHF FM can activators please state their WORKING FREQUENCY, in either the Freq field or at least in the comments box, rather than the calling frequency when they start their activation.

Often the activation is completed and the chaser is searching the 2m or 70cm band channels on FM for a weak signal which may come and go and never find their actually working frequency, thereby missing a possible QSO.

73 Phil G4OBK

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No Phil, sorry.

The 2m band is busy round here. If I were to nominate a QSY frequency on 2m FM, and go and call on the calling channel, when I get back to my nominated frequency it can often be taken even within that short interval.

It doesn’t take long to scan through the 2m FM channels to find where an activator has gone though really.