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

Hi Richard, I’m trying to understand the logic of your statement:-

  1. I already explained the ‘point’ in my comments above i.e.
    • The self-spot tells chasers the activator has arrived on summit and is QRV on 2m FM
    • The activator attracts chasers monitoring SOTAwatch AND listeners on the calling frequency - Yes, I get them when unable to self spot
    • The activator doesn’t have to stop mid QSO / mid pile-up to compose and send a QSY SMS
  2. You rarely self spot so how are chasers better off? Not only do chasers not know when you are QRV but you - like me - QSY after using S20 to establish a contact.

If chasers monitoring SOTAwatch don’t catch me on S20 before I QSY, why is it so hard for them to scan across the 25kHz channels? (like all your chasers that didn’t catch you on S20 must be doing).

I find there are times when the chasers dry up before I qualify the summit and have to return to S20 often to call CQ for ages before someone replies and we QSY. And sometimes there’s QRM or another QSO starts mid pile-up requiring we all QSY to a yet another frequency. It’s a fact of life that the chaser may have to do a bit of searching if he wants to work a specific activator.

Several times above I raised a concern which no one has answered: Is it acceptable that a chaser has to use SOTAwatch to determine the callsign and working frequency of an activator because he/she can’t determine them by listening on the radio? That would not be a valid QSO.


Hi Andy, I’m trying to understand the logic of your statement.

  • If you’re mid QSO/pile-up why are you QSYing? I take it you don’t QSO on the calling frequency.
  • I’ve spotted for my actual frequency so I don’t need to spot a QSY. You spotted for the calling frequency so it’s you that needs to spot a QSY.

If I spot then I ensure it adds value. The only reason for spotting is to make it easy for chasers to find me, so I give my working frequency.

The only 2m chasing I do is from a summit i.e. for S2S. If the spot doesn’t have the frequency then I don’t really have time to scan the band before I get cold/run out of daylight etc. Of course I do scan the band but there is a good chance that I can’t hear his chasers so I miss the channel he is on if I scan at the wrong moment.

If my chasers didn’t catch me on S20 and I haven’t spotted then I don’t think they will find me at all. They find me because they hear me announce my working frequency on S20. Or perhaps someone else has posted a spot (some of my regular chasers do that, unfortunately most don’t).

Which is why I always start on HF CW so if I don’t get 4 on 2m I don’t care.

This makes no sense. If he doesn’t know the working frequency how can he have a QSO?


Hi Richard, I’ve spent a lot of time on this one sub-topic within this thread and this will be my final detailed reply.

I’ve QSY’d before then of course. The usual sequence is: compose & send self-spot for S20. Call CQ on S20. One or many chasers call me. I agree a working frequency with one of them. QSY. Reestablish QSO with first chaser. A pile-up often follows.

I already tried to explain (several times) there is more ‘value’ in a self-spot than just the working frequency. And you don’t self-spot in practise - so you don’t see the problem of trying to text on your phone with a queue of chasers on the radio.

But you “very rarely self-spot” so for the vast majority of your activations, no-one monitoring SOTAwatch knows when you are QRV not alone which frequency you’re on. So, your self-spotting on a ‘working’ frequency is largely theoretical. So, I ask again, how is your way better?

Well, you might be surprised. Don’t think of them as ‘my chasers’ - there are other non-SOTA ops out there. There are still plenty of VHF operators (including chasers and activators) who – like me – check the channels on either side of S20 for band activity and who don’t always ‘hunt and pounce’ via SOTAwatch.

The chaser does know the working frequency if the activator puts it in the self-spot and then he can have a ‘blind’ QSO where he speaks (or sends in Morse) his callsign, report, thank-you etc as a single over but cannot hear (or hear properly) what the activator is saying (sending). It happens quite often to me on HF CW where the chaser is desperate to ‘get the summit’ but really can’t hear me and shouldn’t be trying to make contact.

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As I also said previously, in DL/BW (and Germany in general) the Open Source Signal messenger app is used however this is only a regional back channel solution and doesn’t fit the global need.

Being owned by Facebook, many people prefer not to use WhatsApp any more. Others may not want to use Signal etc. etc. Using an existing (trusted) SOTA site is IMHO a better option.

73 Ed.


But more value in one that does contain the working frequency.

You seem obsessed with me not self-spotting much. It is irrelevant to the question of whether you should spot for the working frequency or the calling frequency.

A strawman. I have never advocated trying to spot in the middle of a QSO or pile-up.

My way is to spot with the working frequency which is clearly better than spotting for the frequency you are not actually on.

So I take it you don’t spot your working frequency on HF either.

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I guess it’s an age thing. No, not my youthful 53, but the length of time I’ve been involved in SOTA and MT. I come from the days when the reflector was an actual function of SOTAwatch, rather then an outsourced entity. Because of this, and because the panel of topic thread titles/links still appears on the SOTAwatch page, I still think of the Reflector as an integral part of SOTAwatch.

When logged into the reflector, there is an icon with one’s profile picture in the top right hand corner. If there is an unread message for you, this is shown on that icon. Maybe if there was a “hole” in the main SOTAwatch page that displayed this icon to the logged-on user, in a similar way to how the reflector topic titles come through, then that is a possible solution?

A definite no from me to more non-spots, even if they can be filtered out at user level. That’s not the way forward IMO.


An activator today spotted himself as 18.091 CW, but his subscript said QRT. I changed it to 18.000 FM with the same subscript. He owes me a beer. Just now, KX6I did it the right way, so I hereby assign my incoming beer over to Jeff, with all rights and privileges attached thereto. Enjoy.

Elliott, K6EL


Thanks, El! :beers:
—Jeff KX6I

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Cultural imperialism wins again!

So those of us who filter spots for just CW, or just SSB miss out on the QRT spots if everyone can be successfully cadjoled into working the K6EL-approved way.

Just like those of you who chose not to read comments (or chose to use apps that did not display comments) missed out on them before, for people spotting the way many Oceania-based operators have been running for as long as I’ve been active

Well: that’s progress, I suppose!

(How about a compromise: if you want to make it clear for all, spot QRT on the band minimum frequency, but please do not change the mode from that you have been active using?)


Yes - because some of us use the ssb only filter and never see spots for “other” bands.
EDIT - and I will try not to do a mode change myself in that situation :wink:

Or, since it seems the idea of adding “MESSAGE” as a mode has not gone down well, use “OTHER” which is already there (but almost never used) with the bottom of band frequency as suggested by the last few posts and those who are filtering on CW or SSB or Digital or whatever add the second entry of “OTHER” to their filter. After all, some Ops start on CW and then go to SSB, so sending the QRT message with the SSB mode will not be seen by CW only chasers, who may have been hoping that the activator may return to CW on a different band.

73 Ed.

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Do not use the spots to convey things other than spots!


To my way of thinking. if we only wish to post the spot data (effectively call sign / frequency / mode). Then do we still need the text field at all?
Having a text field there does invite its use to pass extra information (such as QRT) and if that is not the intention, perhaps the free text field should be removed. Just saying…
73 Ed.


There’s plenty that the text field is used to convey for valid spots. If the only purpose of it is to explain it’s not a spot - then simply do not spot!

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Yes. You, the activator can add say to a spot for144.400 FM the comment “also qrv 433.575 and 1297.500” to tell people you are ready for contacts on those bands/frequencies. Or a chaser can add to a spot of someone on say 145.400 “Andy needs 2more”. Which often encourages people to try a little harder to chase the activator so they can qualify the summit.

Or the service could be used as in the manner requested, several times now, by the people providing the service.

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Useful extra information from an activator could be “QRV for 10 minutes only” or “Cold - QRT very soon”. From a chaser it could be “Very strong in Brazil” for an EU activator. The text field is also used for the RBNHole information. If I have mobile coverage on a summit I find it very useful to see where I have been spotted and how strong I am.


I am a new SOTA chaser so I am still learning a lot as time goes on. I am also very active in the WWFF parks activity both as an activator and a chasers. I enjoy reading the posts on this subject as they provide a great learning platform. I must admit that I have been guilty of posting additional comments on my posts, usually when I spot a VK summit and use the “parksnpeaks” spotting page. I will be more careful in the future. de W6LEN / Jess

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Hi Richard,
If you look back a few posts - you’ll see that the QRT message is one that is “undesired”.
Some of the MT members have made it clear that they don’t want the comment area used to send message data, “Do not use the spots to convey things other than spots!” so we should follow that guideline. RBN data (I presume) is admissible as it is spot-related.

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That isn’t a QRT spot. It is a genuine spot with the additional information that the activator won’t be there much longer.

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That’s a very fine difference - the information that I get from the spot is that the operator is going QRT (albeit in a few minutes time).

In any case I refer you back to Tom’s statement that you can measure this example against.

What this thread has made very clear is that the chasers and some activators wish to have a “back channel” to pass useful messages however the MT would prefer that SOTAWatch is not used for these kinds of functions.