Rapid qsy's

I’m noticing a trend lately . . Activator is spotted (even self spotted) on say 20m , I get there (maybe I’m not in shack) 2/3 mins later and he’s gone. So a minute later he self spots another band … rush back to shack or maybe I’ve been a bit slow to check SotaSpotter on my phone every 30 secs and yes … he’s qsy again.
I think maybe it would be nice (depending on weather of course) if activators stayed on a band for 15/20 mins to give a chance for the Spot to work it’s magic. Often it seems to be a case of 1 x CQ … no pileup … out of there :slight_smile:

I also will try my best to stay on the band for a while after the spot hits the screens



When you are on a summit, waiting 5 mins after a spot before you get a reply feels like a lifetime. I can understand people jumping about as I’ve done it myself. But now I do try to spend a minimal amount of time on my selfspot frequency before thinking the sky is broken.


Hi Declan, I agree with you in principle. I don’t know if it was me you were ‘chasing’ round the bands today - if so I’m sorry I missed you. I confess today was a bit of a struggle on the bands. I was pushed off frequency a couple of times (especially on 40m) and struggled to get 4 (even hearing one chaser try to call me, but unable to hear me back).I admit to doing some band hopping trying to get contacts whilst also wrestling with my bothy bag but think I was on frequency for more than a couple of minutes each time.
73 (and thanks for trying).

Hi Andy,

no it was not you or anybody in particular. Just confined to quarters today and barred from our contest station as I’ve a very heavy cold :slight_smile: so doing some chasing between mugs of LemSip and missed a few as they were gone off the spotted band within a minute or two of the spot arriving. Been noticing this a lot lately so a trawl through a few pages of spots showed several stations self spotting on 3 bands within 3 mins, and yes on a cold windy summit a minute seems a lifetime without callers but the posse does need a chance to get there. I’m hoping to grab a forecasted 2 hour weather window myself tomorrow to try out my new Emtech ZM-2 atu so I’ll try practice what I preach HI



Hi Andy…well it must have been difficult for you today as I heard you a few times but also you had to put up with folks whistling and calling CQ maybe they were looking for a dog…Anyways catch you next time


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Hi Declan,
Sorry to hear of your cold. Get well soon.

Of course the rule is always the activator does what he (or she) wishes to do. This is especially important for safety reasons at this time of year! You may find that in summer stations stick around a bit longer on each band as they’re also enjoying the view and the sunshine.

The fact that a chaser is not located actually at his/her station but is monitoring SOTAWatch via a smartphone does add the problem but is, honestly, not something the activator will have high on his list of priorities.

As you quite correctly noted, weather can be a big factor. Last Thursday at Auerberg, an easy access summit but still bitterly cold, I worked 48 stations in 30 minutes, but it felt like 2 hours in the temperature I was in. (no bothy bag here - but it might be a good idea in minus 10 degrees!). I could have just worked the first 5 or 6 and then packed up and left but I didn’t.

Another thing that can cause an activator to shift bands (or at least frequency within a band) is when another amateur comes on, or very near to, the activators frequency and starts calling CQ or calling his mate without even checking if the frequency is in use. Unfortunately this is happening more and more and not just in situations where the DQRMer can claim to not have heard me - as other stations near him have given me true 5-9+15dB reports (I run a bit of power from summits sometimes…).

What I have started trying to do is notify chasers of when I plan to be active from the summit. Often this will be 20-30 minutes before I call CQ. Of course that spot can’t give an accurate frequency but at least you know to be back in your shack ready for when the “real” spot comes in.

Something else - if an activator is spotted by someone else he or she could already have been on that band from the summit for 30 minutes (with no cell phone coverage) and so after working the person who spotted him/her may decide it’s time to try a different band as no one is coming back to his CQ calls any more.

The spotting system is great when you have access to it from a summit! It makes the activators life a LOT easier! After sending a spot and seeing it come up on SOTAWatch, I will normally have at least one person calling me within the next 30 seconds! SOTAWatch doesn’t need 15/20 minutes to work its magic - nearer to 15/20 seconds!

A solution that you may want to look into, if you are so inclined, is to run your rig remotely from your smartphone. There is a fantastic free (or $5 without Ads) app called PocketRxTx which can enable this for a whole range of rigs (over WiFi, USB or Bluetooth) - I actually use it as an activator to get a large readable screen on my portable rig as the small 2" OLED screen is totally unreadable in sunlight. If you set this up you’d be able to stay wherever you are when you see the SOTAWatch spot and call the activator. (send me a reflector PM (Private message) if you are interested in trying this out - the Smartphone has to run Android though - this software is not available for iPhones).

73 Ed.


I stayed in 18.100 FT8 for 3h today and did not change my qrg a single time. :rofl:

Yes, I’ve seen this, too. It really doesn’t seem too sensible unless some of the spots are getting held up in transit.

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mea culpa

yes i changed the band quickly, too

I called cq in cw on 20m for long minutes and nobody answered. I noticed that I wasn’t spotted on rnb even after minutes cq.
Then I decided that the band was closed and changed to 40m and called cq. While I was serving the first stations at 40m, I saw my 20m spot via rnb on the smartphone on SOTAgoat … and now?
it happens…
sorry for that …

73 Armin

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Good point. I’d be grateful if a convention developed on this point. I like to cover 4 to 6 bands each activation to give everyone a chance to chase. When a band goes silent I’ll call CQ a dozen or so more times then qsy. If y’all said “15 minute minimum” I’m good with that. What would be a good practice? Thanks again,
Scott kw4jm

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I think an activator should remain on one band for more than 5 minutes
after SOTA announcement.
And do not claim announcement in DX cluster if you intend to QSY
within a few minutes.
As an activator I call for half an hour or longer - until there are no more callers.
73 es cu on SOTA de Mike, dj5av


It’s common sense and in activators’ interest to give a spot a reasonable chance to pull the chasers in. Setting an arbitrary compulsory time wont work. :poop: happens. Equipment breaks, weather deteriorates, Self spots take time to appear, QRO stations take the frequency…etc

Declan’s achieved his purpose of reminding us of good practice.

Even if no chasers come after a spot has been raised on SW, I usually try to remain CQing for 10-15 minutes because I know chasers are often busy trying to chase other activators or doing other things away from their radios and it’s not always possible for them to come and call the activators right away after the spot has been raised.
Weather conditions and time availability are often limiting the activator presence on the air.
I think it’s better for an activator working less bands for longer time each, rather than more bands for too little time on each.
Two bands 15 minutes each is better than 6 bands 5 minutes each.



Normally this is not my way of operating, but sometimes things don’t go as planned. There’s usually a good reason for everything. One example is my activation today of HB/VD-023. Self spotting was a bit of an issue with a shaky cell coverage and I had the feeling no spots got in or out. After 10 minutes on 30m when I got my qualifying QSOs, I QSY’d to 20, only to experience QRM levels suddenly rising to S9+ after 2 or 3 CQ calls. So much about testing my new trapped EFHW. I then QSYd to 40, only to get pushed off the QRG by contesters. Since the temperature and windchill at 2000m altitude was not really snuggly, I called it a day and packed up.
So I plead guilty as well for this activation, my apologies to all chasers who couldn’t work me due to the circumstances.

73 Jens HB9EKO

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Perhaps we have a new award in the making: QSY every 30 seconds.
73 Matt

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For me, I’ll self spot with comments like “Here for 10 minutes then QSY 20m”
or “Here for 10 minutes then QRT”

I’ll then check my self spot and when 10 minutes has passed, if there are no more callers, I’m gone.

I have only 2 accessible summits within 1 hour drive from home so any other summit I’m on time is important.

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While we all want to help each other get more enjoyment out of our small part of the hobby, in answer to your question Scott, defining what an activator should or should not do when you can’t know what the conditions are (both weather, summit and foot traffic) on a summit is not good practice in my opinion.

In short we don’t need more rules.

Remember the activator is the one investing his time and money in activating possibly needing a lot of physical effort, the chaser sat at home in his warm shack should not be telling the activator what to do.

The activator is BOSS!

At least as both an activator and chaser, that’s what I think.

73 Ed.


I fully endorse Ed’s comments - if I wrote my own response it would be less polite :smile:


Ah sure say what you want to say, we’re all friends here :slight_smile: Actually today I had to make a rapid QRT when a snow blizzard hit the summit, despite the weather forecast saying the sun would shine at midday. Now to dry out all the equipment :slight_smile:



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Hi Scott,

Sometimes the idea of remaining on a band for 15 mins after a spot may seem feasible, but when you find you are on a dead band with no activity heard, there is little point in it. Everything changes when the first contact is made, but if there are no contacts in 5 minutes the band is starting to sound dead. 15 mins on 4 dead bands is a lot of wasted time and battery power. And at this point in the sunspot cycle the only reason to try the higher hf bands is the possibility of sporadic E. If it’s not happening, move on.

I think the activator has to weigh up the band conditions and their own time and weather constraints.

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH