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RBNHole update

I’ve just done some code tidying up on RBNHole which has been bothering me for years, and have been testing over the past few days. It appears to be running well, so I’ve disabled the old version and enabled the new version now. I’ll keep an eye on it over the next few days and will switch back if I see any instability or bugs


Are there any new features / upgrades? Thanks for writing that program, it is incredibly useful and a well used tool of activators for a reason.

Nothing really visible to an activator - other than hopefully better stability. The main difference is I’ve rewritten it entirely in Rust to get away from the hacks built on top of hacks. I’ve also altered the way the logging occurs so that it will actually rotate the logs properly once a week, which it occasionally failed to do and filled the disk resulting in RBNHole not working.

I also moved it to a new server co-located with the API2 servers so that those requests close quickly, and also in the SOTA MT-managed server group, which means I’m no longer paying for it myself. This also allowed an OS upgrade which I was slow in doing, plus testing my Disaster Recovery process for RBNHole

Source available here (but don’t run a server without MT permission - it’d result in double spots appearing and annoying other users):


We should all be very reassured to know that the RBNHole code is stored as part of Github’s Arctic Code vault, meaning in 1000 years time, it can be faithfully resurrected by whatever of humanity is still left. Rumours of RBNHole forming part of Skynet are unfounded.


Thank you for uploading the source code for the RBNgate so it may continue without your direct involvement.
As we have discussed the retaining of critical systems in the hands of individuals can leave a significant gap if no longer available.

That said, I’m still holding the code for VK port-a-log as there are other third party apps around that can fill the void should VK port-a-log cease to function after my demise.

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Thanks for producing, running and supporting this.

As an activator who mainly uses CW, RBNHole makes such a big difference to the activation experience.



Thank you for the upgrades! The RBN Hole feature of SOTAWatch makes my CW activations much easier - I use it almost exclusively for my spots. When activating summits at high altitude, often with limited time, the last thing I want to do is to self-spot.

I know my chasers like it too. These spots are very reliable, especially with the upgrades. They also seem to be very quick!

The only remaining problem is that some new activators don’t know how easy the RBN Hole is to use, and some are not posting alerts, so they’re missing out. Lately I’ve made several S2S contacts with new activators who are not spotted at all, for various reasons.



I also want to say “thank you” for maintaining RBNHole. We have plenty of summits in the Southeast that have unreliable cell service, especially if you have the wrong cell carrier. Before I learned to use RBNHole I had summit trips without a single QSO; since I started posting alerts, that has never again been a problem. Thanks very much!

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The astute might notice that RBNHole now listens to the RBN’s FT4/8 feed and will post an FT-8 spot if it matches the same criteria. Hopefully this helps for the rare FT-8 activations out there (S5730D nicely came up just after I pushed it live and got spotted!)

I’ve also pushed a fix to the spotting window to actually make it 10 minutes as documented.


What are the criteria for an FT8 spot? Is it the need to post an alert which mentions “data” or just a normal alert with your call sign?

Any alert, and being spotted via RBN are the only criteria


More thanks for your RBNHole. Recently I was monitoring 14.063 mHz to hear KX0R make his initial call CQ CQ CQ SOTA de KX0R K. Before I had time to send my reply it was posted on RBNHole !! Amazing !! Stay well & 73! Mike, WB2FUV


Hi Andrew, the FT8 spotting worked FB for me yesterday. I was on a summit where I didn’t expect cell coverage and I was spotted correctly by RBN → RBNHole → SOTAWatch. Thanks very much for this. I don’t expect to do very many FT8 activations, but it’s great to know that I will have the same support for FT8 that I’ve enjoyed on CW.

Malcolm VE2DDZ


it works great for FT8 !
thanks a lot +++
bruno F6HHK

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Does RBNHole work with wildcard spots, e.g. W6/CT-XXX?

I was on some summits today without service and a spot like that, and RBNHole never spotted me. I checked at home, and RBN did hear me calling CQ. I used the S+ and S- to make sure the spotting window covered the entire time I was going to be out. Thankfully, some helpful 2m chasers were willing to put up some HF spots for me.

I think it needs to be capital-S S-7, as I’m looking at your alert and the window is unchanged. All the RBN spots seen were between 1700 UTC and 2100 UTC and your alert window started at 2200 UTC

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That would explain it. Guess I have to stop being lazy and hit that shift key.