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Indeed. The way the process works is that spots are added continually to a database, and once a minute spots are read from that database and posted to SOTAWatch. In most cases, there’s only one or two skimmers having picked someone up - ergo, there’s never more than a minute’s delay from a skimmer picking you up to the spot being posted. If there’s more than one spot, I pick the strongest spot within that first minute window, but I won’t delay posting a spot simply because I’m waiting for a stronger SNR. If a higher SNR is found in a later window, it will not be posted again due to the duplicate spot lockout.

The question is really how to handle the situation where there’s multiple skimmer reports within the 1 minute window. Neither Median nor Standard Deviation are easy to calculate, even though I know you guys are half joking :slight_smile:

Use either ‘NoRBNHole’ or ‘RBNN’ in the comments of the alert, or contact me via PM or email to be added to the excluded activators list.


The wording “opt out RBN” as stated by Mark is not to be confused with “opt out RBNHole” :wink:

IMHO a very simple spot on SOTAwatch (whatever the S/N) is entirely sufficient to awaken attention.

May I (once again) propose to use RBN (Reverse Beacon Network) for a deeper propagation study of a current signal.
That could also help to reduce the many self-spots up and down to 10m for obviously death bands! :wink:

Some activators do also forward self-spots to a DX cluster. However, it seems that self-spots are rather unpopular among DXers. :upside_down_face:


Enough snow has melted around here that I was able to enjoy the beautiful spring weather and do an activation today!

The RBN Hole worked perfectly - as far as I can see. I got spotted by the RBN Hole on all four bands efficiently and without duplicate spots! I had chasers calling within a couple of minutes! Even though the solar flux was only 90, I had a fine activation.

I started out on 40M CW at about 1820Z - this is the acid test - near solar noon, getting closer to summer solstice, ionospheric absorption is high. It can be hard to get started on 40M with only 5W and no spot. I was almost 40 minutes early today, and that often means no chasers are looking yet. Instead things took off right away - W0MNA was the first, and more followed, so I knew I was spotted by the RBN Hole.

Andrew, thank you! I hope you keep it running - your new version works smoothly for me!




Thanks George, I had seen your alert comment, so I kept an eye on it in between meetings today and was also pleased to see it worked for you.




We went from heaven back down to earth today. When I left my house this morning, the RBN Hole was spotting regularly. It looks like the last SOTA spot was at 05/1720Z. I started my activation at 1752Z - and since I believed the RBN Hole was working, I decided to begin on 18.093-cw, per my alert.

I called CQ into the void for about 10 minutes, and never made a contact on 17M. When I got home I saw 5 spots on 17M, so it seems that the RBN Hole went down right before my activation. Of course I suspected this on the mountain, which was a lovely first activation.

I went down to 7.033 and started calling CQ again, per my alert. One of my sharp chasers, W0MNA, found me and spotted me - thanks Gary! There were 6 spots on the RBN for 7.033, but nothing made it to the RBN Hole. Gary’s spot started the ball rolling.

The chasers took it from there - when I QSY’d to 10.113, I announced the new frequency before I signed off on 40M, and K6HPX spotted my new frequency - thanks Ken! Once the chasers knew I was on, they listened on my posted frequencies and found me when I went to 30M and then 20M CW. At the end of the activation I had 30 contacts!

It doesn’t look like the RBN Hole is working now, but the RBN is and was OK today.

I’m not complaining! When the RBN Hole is on, it’s a wonderful tool. Thanks to the “professional chasers” who were on today, I had a really fun activation!

My real message here is this:

When we have the RBN Hole, let’s use it to the max. It helps both chasers and activators to connect with each other. Then it’s down, we often can realize that quickly, and then we can use our spots and alert info to help each other.

A good alert with specific information really helps your chasers find you - so it helps your activation as well. Connect the dots…




And this time it was entirely my fault. I made a slight modification to how it reconnects to RBN, forgot to commit to my repository, then pushed the repository live - complete with a bug that caused it to not restart properly.

The correct version is now pushed.

On the RBN side, it appears that they drop the connection after a certain amount of traffic passes through it, so on busy days like the weekend, it can drop prematurely.


Is there a chance that it runs tomorrow Friday, 10/06/2016?:pray:


It’s been running daily for the past few weeks with few hiccups, but I’ll do a special check for you later today.


Many thanks for all your Good Work Andrew.
vy 73 de geert pa7zee


It’s working (but I figure you know that :slight_smile: )


Thanks Andrew for the extra RBNHole sanity check!
It worked well before noon but unfortunately no longer in the afternoon. The reason for this seems to be a silence of RBN for some time (“but I figure you know that :slightly_smiling_face:”).


Thanks for the good job you did! :slight_smile:

RBNHole is one of the most useful tools for an Activactor!

73 de Pedro, CT1DBS/CU3HF


Hi there all,

Just been out activating G/TW-002, Cringle Moor, Drake Howe, using CW. I nearly always get reported as a spot by RBNHole, but didn’t today, and just noticed there are no RBNHole spots since 1150 today. Does anyone know if RBNHole is working?

Thanks and regards,



It reconnected at 1335 UTC, I didn’t get a chance to go deeper into the logs, but I will take a look later and see what I can find.


Many thanks.




On 11 Sep at 1607 UT, I began my activation and called CQ for more than 5 minutes on 7.033 MHz CW, with a perfectly good setup, and a good alert, and I got no calls. I was 53 minutes before my alert time, but that is within the window, I believe. I went on and had a fine multiband activation, with spots provided by my chasers.

When I got home, I had good RBN spots during the period when I called CQ but didn’t get spotted, so my rig and the RBN worked OK. I also saw no other RBN Hole spots during the time period when I was on.

The RBN Hole has worked so well for me the past several months that I have become completely reliant on it, and it has spotted me reliably - hundreds of times since the earlier problems and dropouts. Usually I get spotted within 2 minutes, unless there is no spot by the RBN.

I’m constantly amazed how reliable and efficient the RBN Hole has become, and I’m grateful during every activation that this tool is available to me out in the wilderness.

Thanks for keeping it going and for improving it!




Thanks. RBNHOLE is appreciated


With the increasing activity on FT8 mode, is there any way to also capture FT contacts in RBHHole? When I activate a summit using FT8, I call CQ in this format: “CQ ST W7GJ DN27”. If there were some way for the software to tag received FT messages that start with "CQ ST ", then that callsign could be compared with the ALERTS just like the CW “CQ SOTA” calls… Sure would be nice!

VY 73, Lance W7GJ


Hi Lance,
it depends on RBN. If RBN was decoding and reporting ft8 signals the rbnhole would have data to work with. Only a matter of time, i guess.
Nice to see you here.
73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH (vk9na team 2011)

RBNHole - Continuing
closed #101

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