Qrm +++

After last nights fiasco I think it is time to give up chasing Sota,I would like to have worked Robert on VP8 but an impossibility from this location even though he called for UK only at one point and was inundated with EU calls.
Something I have enjoyed for a few years now and was initially pleased to see the addition of more countries.
Unfortunately this has brought the problems normally associated with dxpeditions with its alligators and poor operators clambering to make a contact for the sake of it and then asking for the activators call sign not knowing who they were working.
Don’t get me wrong I am all for expanding Sota for the enjoyment of others but as said it is degrading the once enjoyable operation of a well thought out activity.
We seem to be experiencing the lack of use of the alert system which doesn’t help the chasers and ultimately will not help the activator in qualifying the summit but perhaps this is a trend to avoid some of the poor operators who we now hear not even confirming their reports.
When we had the confirmation * on the Sota logging system it was easier for us to confirm the contact as good and delete it if it was not confirmed after checking for a possible typographical error.
Just my thoughts and getting a very demoralised chaser.73 Don.G0RQL.

In reply to G0RQL:
Hi Don,

Having been on both sides, I can confirm that many hams (are they hams ?) don’t copy anything, even their own call.
We are often answering to machines which sends their call again and again without stopping.
But what can we do ? that is modern life, with modern systems such as cluster and Sota spotlite.

When we had the confirmation * on the Sota logging system it was easier for us to confirm the contact as good and delete it

I agree with you; the confirmation little star has been removed because the data base system was too slow.
But now, it seems that the new system runs faster, so it should be possible to have again this confirmation.

Best 73
Alain F6ENO

In reply to G0RQL:

I suppose SOTA is the victim of its own success!

I agree that there is some truly appalling operators chasing, and as SOTA is unlike normal DX-ing, in that any activation is going to present a very fleeting opportunity for the chasers, this tends to make the alligators even more obnoxious than usual. But what can you do about it? One possibility is a “black ball” system, in which the worst offenders are removed from the database so that they no longer have any reason to chase, but how do you decide who are the worst offenders? Should they be nominated by the activators so that after, say, ten activators have listed them the MT remove them from the database, or should we have umpires (referees) whose job it is to sample the activations and record the worst offenders?

I admit that I rarely alert for my occasional outings, but this is because I am at the mercy of my XYL (she drives, I don’t!) and she won’t consider activations except in the best weather or if there isn’t anything she wants to do elsewhere! That said, perhaps not alerting for at least the easier to qualify summits may delay the alligator feeding frenzies, but within minutes of a spot being posted up they will pop, calling even before they start listening and wilfully QRM-ing other peoples contacts. Other mitigation techniques include a QSY to another frequency in the band, the alligators are usually slow to catch on and will waste several minutes calling on the original channel! The activators can also help tame the unruly mob by simply refusing to work the worst offenders, although this may just transmute alligators into malicious QRM-ers, those strange gentlemen (I use the term VERY loosely!) who delight in seeking out activations and sitting carriers, music or funny noises on top of them. Anyone for a spot of DF-ing?

In the final analysis we are up against human nature, we have to live with it.

Don’t give up, Don, SOTA can’t afford to lose its most reliable beacon station!


Brian G8ADD

We don’t want to lose you as a chaser Don! In fact, I would welcome your return on Tuesday evenings for the VHF activity contests, for which I am always on a SOTA summit. I have been missing IO70 in those events for too long now! In fact, it would be nice to get it on Sunday in the Backpackers too…

The alligator feeding frenzies are demoralising when they occur, and the despair can be most sharply felt by the activator. I well recall my activation of Trostan GI/AH-001 on a Saturday early evening when GI SOTA was even rarer than it is now. So many stations were repeatedly sending their own calls, sometimes 5 or 6 times, and it seemed most were completely ignoring the partials I was sending. And no doubt many could’nt hear what I was asking for because I was only 5 watts and the alligators were no doubt QRO! In the end, I gave up, one of the only times I have terminated an activation knowing that chasers were still waiting on frequency.

It is very much the exception rather than the rule though (Trostan was once in 957 activations). Often, my choice of time (0600), day (midweek), unexotic summit (SP-015) and band/mode (24MHz CW / 144MHz CW for instance) makes a feeding frenzy most unlikely. A SOTA activation from VP8 that is audible in Europe is always going to generate one heck of a pile-up.

It wouldn’t just be the chasers that wanted it, there would be plenty of non-SOTA DXers chasing it as well, so that makes it even tougher. Having said that, I tend to find the calling discipline of non-SOTA DXers generally excellent - it is, sadly, a handful of known SOTA chasers that disrupt activations with their particular approach to working a summit. I listened last night and heard only the occasional murmur from the activator, but I did hear only too well the disappointing antics of some chasers.

But it is the exception, not the rule, so don’t give up. The summit will be there some other day. Maybe a different time, mode, band.

Most importantly, Jimmy and I will be activating 16 G/DC and G/SC summits at the end of July/beginning of August, and your signals on 2m particularly will be very welcome indeed!

73, Tom M1EYP

In reply to G0RQL:


You cannot give up until I cant get up the hills anymore (HiHi)

On a more serious Note, I strive to get all my regular Chasers from all my activations. I suppose I don’t get too much of the alligators when I use mainly VHF/UHF with only a few summits using HF.

It would be a sad day if we lose one of our Stalwart Chasers and the amount of help and support I get off you and the other regulars is invaluable to me and I would say a lot of others on here will agree with me

So, dont get demoralised Don, as you are well and truly wanted by a lot of people ( I would really miss our regular 5-1 reports HiHi)

Best 73


personally i think no sota-activation is complete without a qso with “G0RQL”. it has been a pleasure working you today on 20m from OE/OO-050. i hope to work you from many other summits in the future.

but don is right … those people that are tuning and making qrm on the band can be a real “pain the a**” …

best 73


In reply to M1EYP:

Most importantly, Jimmy and I will be activating 16 G/DC and G/SC
summits at the end of July/beginning of August, and your signals on 2m
particularly will be very welcome indeed!

73, Tom M1EYP

I’ve noted the alerts, and will be listening out.

In fact, I have an afternoon off on Monday 2nd August, and am planning to do G/SC-007 and -008 so maybe even a pair of S2S?


In reply to G0RQL:

Don, please don’t give up chasing - you were the top chaser for Martyn and my recent Scottish trip, with 15 contacts between us. The 2m SSB contact from Schiehallion was particularly special, but it was also great to have you following us round various HF bands on some of the other hills, and providing help with spots.

On the matter of alerting, we tend not to because we usually decide on which hill to do only on the day, depending on the weather. Also since most of the hills we do are uniques for us and we aren’t particularly fit we cannot make accurate time estimates. Finally, on our last holiday mobile access was pretty dire (at least until one got above 900m, which is a bit late for an alert!).


In reply to G0RQL:


I echo the comments made by the others. Where would we be without the Devon Beacon? Contacts with you are always extremely highly valued and on the odd occasion that you are missing, there is a tangible gap in the log!

Unfortunately this has brought the problems normally associated with DXpeditions with its alligators and poor operators clambering to make a contact for the sake of it and then asking for the activators call sign not knowing who they were working.

The situation yesterday evening with Robert’s activation was as crazy as many DXpeditions that I have listened to recently. The poor operating that I personally heard was from operators that have absolutely nothing to do with SOTA. The idiots that caused deliberate interference were just trying to spoil the enjoyment of others. As Alain says, this is unfortunately just a reflection of modern life.

While I don’t see that there is much that we can do about the situation that we are faced with, I did have one thought: when faced with a barrage of QRM, perhaps it would make sense for the activator to halt the activation, find a clear frequency and post a new spot on SOTAwatch. This would give genuine SOTA chasers at least a chance until the alligators found the activation again.

On the subject of being worked and then asked for your callsign - yes, it happened to me several times when I was on 10MHz CW last week. Maybe I should have refused to give it… now there’s a thought.

73, Gerald

In reply to G4OIG:

I’ve got a huge amount of sympathy for you Don. You’re one of my essentials to work on an activation and I always feel the activation is incomplete without your call (and a few others) in the log. As a regular, keen and well equipped chaser it must be hugely galling to not work a SOTA gem like VP8 not because of the propagation or not being around when the DX was on but because of the actions of loons who don’t take part in SOTA. With the piece of wet string that I had in the back of the TS570 I couldn’t hear Rob but I could hear the howling pack calling.

It’s just as hard for the activator when you get an unruly pack calling. It’s happened to me a few times when I’ve been on 40m/30m CW. I’d have thought it was obvious from my sending speed and the repeats I ask for that I’m a beginner but you still get loons who send their call over and over and don’t slow down even when asked.

Put it down to experience Don. To see if I can cheer up a little I’ll see if I can find a unique for you this weekend. It won’t be “VP8 unique” but it should still be a unique!


In reply to G0RQL:

I would also miss your chasing, you are often one of the first in my log and your signal has always provided a reliable assessment of propagation.

From an activators point of view I sometimes wonder why I still climb mountains with radio gear to put up with poor operating…especally from the stations who say 5/9… what is your call??? even after giving it out regularly. Maybe I’m also beginning to become a little disallusioned

Carolyn (G6WRW)

In reply to M0YHB:

Maybe I’m also beginning to become a little

There are so many different bands and modes to try I can’t imagine not enjoying an activation. Last weekend I had a great time and, with poor conditions on 40m, I didn’t have a huge pile up and only polite operators called. I was not disappointed in the least; less QSOs to enter into the database and more time for sunbathing.

If you are QRV on HF from VP8, a pile-up is almost inevitable. On the plus side it increases awareness of SOTA in different parts of the World.



In reply to G0RQL:
Quite civilised this evening Don - but unlike last night I can’t hear him :frowning:
Don’t know which cluster John (BVE) is watching :-

EA1PP 18153.0 VP8DMM/P 1835 01 Jul Falkland Islands

Only this one so must not have been noticed.

Roger G4OWG

In reply to G4OWG:
Just workable here at times Roger but cant get through the Acomm 1000 amps.Don.

In reply to G3CWI

If you are QRV from many a location similar to VP8 irrespective of its activity I would most certainly expect a massive pile up and agree it is inevitable.
I have worked some of those pile-ups to gain the country or island and given it up as a bad job because of the poor operating procedures of the chasers which is why I turned to Sota, if that had been my first encounter or awareness of Sota I would have discarded that immediately.

73 Don.G0RQL.

In reply to G0RQL:
Congrats, Don.
I think that was you getting him on 14342 a couple of mins ago!
I had to wait until virtually the end on 17 Mtrs before he heard me at 42. Christine then made one call and got through with a 54 report. Her voice is worth more than a linear, hi!
73 de Ken

In reply to GM0AXY:
Yes Ken we all did it evetually.73 Don.

In reply to G0RQL:
VHF SOTA would be inconceivable without you and Roger G0TRB. It was lovely to have a QSO with the pair of you last week [and I have to disappoint with no sightings of deviant practices around dusk on G/WB-010]. I was delighted to hear you when on Firle Beacon last month - the only familiar chaser in 4 summits.

Well done for getting through to VP8 land, Don.
I’m simply happy to hear my friend Robert saying his callsign, Mount Alice and a few words to John BVE by straining my hearing into the headphones with the FT-101 and dipole. 4 hard won points for my SWL log methinks.


In reply to G0RQL:

Glad you managed to work Robert in the end Don :slight_smile:

I’m also glad I took a trip out to work portable, I could hear Robert just above the noise at times last night from home but on phone he was unwrkable with my antennas & noise level. If signals were down a bit tonight then I made the right choice going to some local high ground with a resonant dipole & 100 Watts :slight_smile:

Thanks to John GW4BVE for the earlier alert & of course to Robert for a superb set of activations :slight_smile:

More to follow, including some video of my reception of Robert on both bands this evening :slight_smile:


Mark G0VOF

Tom (M1EYP):

You must have been listening to different people calling the DX than me then. When there is DX to be worked you can be almost certain that the pile of aligators will be calling over each other and the DX itself !

Carolyn (G6WRW):

Whilst I have not (yet) heard a SOTA activator failing to give his/her own call frequently enough to know who they are, I have on a number of occassions listened to DX stations work 5, 10 or more stations and not give there own call once !

Yes I have worked a station before now when he really was 59+ and had to ask them for their call simply because I had not heard them give it at all.

I had exactly that with one station in the last 6m Tuesday UKAC event who was peaking at 59+40dB with me - he worked at least 5 stations before I called him without giving his own call once - he hadn’t even been spotted on the Cluster at that point either (the last thing you want to do in a contest is sit on a frequency for 5 minutes or more waiting for someone to give their own callsign only to find you have already worked them).

Stewart G0LGS