RBN hole for the morse challenged?

I would like to use the RBN hole to self spot but do not know morse. Will using an app on my phone and transmitting in SSB with the phone to the mike work?

Sorry for the dumb question but I am completely ignorant when it comes to CW.


Probably not as most skimmers don’t listen in the SSB portion, and the spotted frequency would be out by your morse tone offset.

I’m open to any suggestions :slight_smile:

I should have mentioned I’m running an FT-817ND.


Skimmers also do typically listen to the lower voice portion of a band. If you go too high in frequency you will not get picked-up. You can plug a micro paddle or similar with a programmed CQ call into a FT-817 (or similar) onto the lower portion of the phone band and you will get picked-up by RBN. I have tested that with a friend.

Then in order to get picked-up by RBN Hole, I believe there are a few things you need to do beforehand. As long as there are no programmatically induced frequency limitations on what RBN Hole picks-up then it should be feasible (to be checked with Andrew). As mentioned by Andrew, you have to be mindful of the frequency offset. You’d also have to switch back to SSB after a few calls but may end-up with operators calling back in CW :slight_smile: . Still worth trying though.


In decreasing order:
Regular spotting via cellular data
SMS spotting if you don’t have a good enough data connection but still have cellular coverage
APRS2SOTA if you don’t have cellular coverage
Calling CQ around regular SOTA frequencies if you don’t have APRS coverage
Prayer and goat sacrifices if you don’t hang around regular SOTA frequencies.


Have a SOTA chasing/spotting friend listen for you on a local repeater (or at distance via Echolink or IRLP repeater.)

Learn to key “CQ de KG7VLX pls reply via SSB” by rote. :grinning:

Use your phone to actually complete QSOs in CW (via Wolfi-link or something similar and an Android or iPhone app) and ask (the last) chaser to spot you on SSB.

Hit your alert time and ask Tommy to spot you. :smirk:

Learn CW?


I agree with M1EYP’s suggestion. Morse challenged? Accept the challenge!
Need a big carrot at the end of the stick? How about 3 extra S-units?

Just do it! Good chasers will slow down for you.

All best,


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Since it is so much easier with CW, surely the REAL challenge is to do it with phone?:wink:

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Wow, it took less than ten posts for this to turn into a Morse versus ssb debate.


As far as I am concerned there is no debate. Those who like CW claim it is more efficient than phone, and they are right, it is. I don’t know if it is equivalent to three S-points but I am prepared to concede that it is substancial. If efficiency was the only objective in ham radio then we would all be pounding brass - or using computer modes! As a challenge CW is one amongst many challenges open to us, if we prefer other challenges then we are entitled to engage with them. I prefer to hear the voices of the people that I contact, if that involves a penalty of 3 S-points, then so be it.

That being said, I have a couple of suggestions to offer. Firstly, the FT817 has a CW identifier, you can find it in the second menu, number 31. This might help. Secondly, if you trade the FT817 up to an FT857 then you can use the beacon mode, second menu number 11. As Arnaud said, you may get called by CW operators, and of course the FT857 weighs twice as much as an FT817, but you also have the option to increase output power for difficult contacts.

Indeed, Brian.

A good SOTA opertator with a microphone will always beat a bad SOTA operator with a paddle.


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I had not looked into the cw identifier so this interested me. I found it was an option related to a service called ARTS (Auto Range Transpond System) and when enabled, it transmits the programmed callsign in morse every 10 minutes.

This all sounds unlike a cw identifier for use on hf. Has anyone used it?

Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

Interesting. There is no mention of this in the menu item, just instructions on programming in your callsign. Looking at the ARTS page it seems the identifier sends DE (callsign) K every ten minutes of ARTS operation so it probably isn’t much use except in search and rescue situations!

The beacon mode of the 857 will store up to three messages up to 40 characters long and send them every 1 to 255 seconds when enabled, this might be more useful.

This subject rears its head regularly.

The RBN system was designed for CW users’ benefits. It so happens it’s not too hard to extend RBN to give SOTA CW users a great facility for SOTA spotting. But that’s because a system designed for CW contacts is being extended to further support CW contacts. For everything else you are pushing against closed doors to get around the design limits.

But isn’t pushing against closed doors the only way of advancing technology? Looking at the facilities available in rigs and finding new ways of using them is an ancient and honourable ham tradition!


It’s nothing to do with features in the radio though is it Brian. The question was can I use an app to send CW via the mike and will it let me get spotted. The answers are yes and with some limits, yes. And at the basic level it’s not a stupid question either.

That’s not the problem. The problem is how you convey to a system designed for handling CW contacts that this is not a CW contact? Capisce?

Easy, comment on the alert page that a preliminary CW transmission for RBN Hole will precede phone operation. The system doesn’t need to know, the operators do.

That should work. You could even put a ssb placeholder in the alert for RBN hole to pick it up. Not sure if feasible though. Paging Andrew again :slight_smile:.

Even if the alert shows CW, if it is on a typical ssb qrg, then as a chaser that should give me a hint already. Once I turn the knob and hear a voice CQ then I am not going to answer in CW, but that’s just me.


You must have missed the fact that the overwhelming majority of Skimmers don’t listen to SSB frequencies.