Really SOTA?

Last weekend a few activators used the CQWW-cw Contest to increase their 10m Challenge score. This was done in part without a single sign of smoke to the SOTA chasers and - of course - away from the commonly used frequencies for SOTA.

Do not know how others think about it. I myself feel this way score hunting a little too self-centered.

May be that this way score hunting is not quite in the sense and spirit of the original SOTA Programme!?

BTW, I was a participant of the 12m Challenge and that’s enough for me, hi.

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The “spirit of the original SOTA Programme”, as I remember, was that SOTA activity could be on any band, any mode and any operating style that was in accordance with the participant’s own licence conditions. There was never anything about an expectation to target activities at existing chaser participants - that is something that has grown up since amongst some quarters of the SOTA community.

Of course, if you want to be successful as a SOTA activator, it makes good sense to be able to work the existing SOTA chasers. But it is also beneficial to work others too, and this is also good for the wider promotion of the SOTA scheme.

I did go out activating on 10m CW on both the Saturday and Sunday, but only made a combined total of 61 QSOs. It was difficult to take any significant advantage with a QRP portable set-up amidst a crowded band of powerful contest stations.

Tom might have added that the challenge is partly based on the number of unique stations that you work, so that the value of working established chasers diminishes as the challenge progresses and the activator can find fewer chasers that he hasn’t already worked:

For every unique summit you activate on 10m or 6m you get a multiplier.
For every unique chaser worked you get 1 activator challenge point.
Your final score is activator challenge points * multipliers.”


Hi Heinz,
As long as the SOTA activator station conformed to the SOTA requirement of no fossil fuel power and no assistance from a vehicle, I can’t see a problem with activators working “non-SOTA” stations - I have had to do that in the past to qualify a summit where I had no cell phone access and hence no way to self-spot.
Once a SOTA chaser comes across an activator (CW or SSB), there’s nothing stopping the chaser spotting the station on SOTAWatch, to give other chasers the information. With the CW mode, there’s also the reverse beacon network that can spot the activation anywhere in the CW section of the bands.


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One of the problems with a Challenge is that it morphs into a competition which isn’t in the spirit of a non-competitive personal achievement scheme. When that happens it gets “serious” and the rule book is examined in detail to find an edge.

There is nothing to stop an activator chasing others on the band. When a contest is on it is hard to find a clear frequency and hold it long enough to get 4 contacts when you are QRP. Been there tried that on 20 m, gave up went to other bands. Even getting heard by a contestor on “his” frequency against the other callers is not easy. I would go so far as to say it would be possible on 10 m only because of the vagaries of propagation on that band.

Yes it would have been friendlier (to regular SOTA participants) if they had also spotted themselves on a relatively clear frequency but as mentioned this doesn’t necessarily work well.

The answer to contests for SOTA is surely the “WARC bands” and 6 m.


I’m not sure how many people went out to work CQ WW contest stations this weekend to boost their challenge score, it was a no brainer to me do that if the WX hadn’t been so dire.

I did see lots of spots for Tom on 28MHz CW, I looked out at the mix of horizontal rain and snow and thought either the WX was much better further South or Tom was somewhat deranged in trying to increase his score.

I wish it was all based on this game and main SOTA idea mentioned here many times “SOTA is not inherently a competitive activity, it’s about individual aspirations and working towards a goal at your own pace…”.
But the challenge is a challenge and points are points, that’s what almost everybody works with and then - suddenly - SOTA is VERY competitive activity.
That’s how it goes with everything that gives points…

73 Karel de OK2BWB

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Lots more than intended due to a spotting problem that I had with SOTAgoat. It said the spots were failing while in fact they were getting through. I found that Spotlite was also having a problem (I suspect SOTAgoat uses spotlite). In the end I deleted 6 of the 7 spots quickly before the “spot police” started a complaining thread.

Eek. Reminds me of something I often see in my mirror when driving home late from gigs, or driving out early for activations… :confused:

MM0FMF said:
I’m not sure how many people went out to work CQ WW contest stations this weekend to boost their challenge score…

i can tell 6 activators within the 10 first chalenge score.

Myself F6HBI/P very proud about this activity in CQWW, with the same condx as usual (qrp 5 watts + inverted V).
I have set an alert on sotawatch and I sent a lot of CQ on usual Sota frequencie 28.062, and have been spoted many time by Chasers and RNB.
I got few chasers in the log (VE1WT, N4EX, DL2DXA…) and i also lay down in the log some very nice DX on 4 continents (missed NH2 ZL VK6 VU2 and some more).
The sota i was on F/AM-617 is not a rare one, i activated this summit 8 times with 295 Qso on 9 bands. I guess no chasers need this one any more. (in this case i will manage a sked).
So, even if that look a bit selfish, i dont feel guilty at all.

73 everybody from Gerald and cu tomorrow from a summit in F/AM- zone

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I don’t see anything wrong with this. The option is there to be competitive or non-competitive, the choice is yours. It is hard to imagine any human activity that cannot become competitive. If you choose one option you should not criticise anybody who chooses another option, that is what choice is for. If you choose not to be competitive then it is solely up to you to avoid being drawn into a competition. If you choose to be competitive then even that can occur on your terms.

I just looked on the database, in terms of chasing on SSB my position is 9th in G. I don’t need to know that, but the information is there if I choose to look. So what? Do I carry on bumbling along at my own rate of points acquisition or do I buckle down and chase harder? The choice is mine, nobody else has to know what my choice is, unless I want them to know and I start posting progress reports. That is one of the good things about SOTA, you tailor it to what you want out of it.

Isn’t complaining about lack of spots and lack of chances to work an activation in itself evidence of competitiveness?



The same happens in cycling. When cycling I consider it my duty to overtake any other cyclist that I see. They are not in a race (at least not until I pass them). At that point they have a choice…


Many of the details and implications are imperceptible at first glance (when the end justifies the means).
I just wrote that I wished it - it was no criticism.


I can’t comment specifically on the challenge as I haven’t participated in that however on the subject of working SOTA chasers…
Last week I activated a Scottish hill. I gave an alert, but found the 40m band to be packed and impossible to find a clear frequency (with no phone signal at the summit to self spot). Even the WAB net were absent. I ended up “chasing” 3 of the 4 QSOs I managed in over an hour. None of my QSOs were with people interested in SOTA, but I had some great conversations!
My point is that sometimes we don’t have a lot of choice who we talk to and are grateful to whoever works us.


It’s relaxed QSOs with people who don’t do SOTA that get them interested in it. Lots of people are put off by contest style exchanges so it’s good to hear that other ways of operating are still possible. Not everyone wants to be descended on by a hoard of hungry chasers solely intent with getting a report.


From my point of view this is an error in reasoning. There is not only this aforementioned option for you when SOTA is becoming a race and thus the battle for points.
Points and score achieved are a temptation for us. Many of us like to compete. But as soon as we decide to compete with others, we must adapt our style to meet the very basic and logical requirement “in shortest time as many points as possible”.
Then we have to forget (it is not our free choice here at this stage of the decision-making process) about the long hikes and climbs. If we want to succeed, we usually must choose the legal but always the quickest route.
Maybe that’s just the kind of thinking on a rainy day :smile:

73 Karel

Don’t get me wrong, my remark was meant for people taking part in a 2-day contest for 5-10 hours per day under the flag of SOTA, more or less “hidden” for SOTA chasers, exchanging 50-100 contest QSOs per day at cw speeds of 30 wpm and up.

BTW, hard to imagine that a SOTA summit reference (if ever sent …) would appear in the automatically created contest logs. The hoped-for SOTA promotion is thus probably wishful thinking and it’s all about the publicity of the activator.

I understand.
I was thinking about it in terms of sporting philosophy. What direction are we going in?
How everything changes, starting with an automatic spotting robot.
What is SOTA QSO today?
What is the minimum requirement for a valid QSO here?
Nowadays many times it happens that activator’s callsign, the most important information, are taken only from SOTAwatch website - working on the principle of remote radio. Is it correct? A valid RST still needed for a valid QSO? Really?
Climbs are faster and faster and radio contacts are shorter and shorter…
Radio architecture or circuit design is relatively simple for me and issues mentioned above are not…

As usual, it’s better to go and ventilate the head on the summit!


Only CW operators get the benefit of automatic spotting, everybody else has to do it the hard way. Should we request that the robot gets turned off? Its no skin off my nose, I only operate SSB!

Many activators are at fault in being very sparing with their callsigns, this is very bad operating leading to stations trying to break in asking “callsign please” and causing QRM. This is why some chasers assume that the Spot is correct, do you ask for a callsign or hang on in the hope of hearing one when there are other activations to chase?

RS(T) is still required even if it does not go into the database - any activators that streamline to “XXXXXX, you are in the log, QRZ” will find their logs removed from the database and that is a promise!

Climbs are faster? Really? Well, its nice to know that some are fit but now I am in my seventies my ascents are a painful plod! :wink:

Asking “what direction are we going in” assumes that there is a single direction, but in reality there is a wide range of capabilities and methods, we all go our own way within the rules - and there is always somebody ready to blow the whistle on rule breakers!

SSB operator also gets benefit of spotting or alerting (not automatic, I know) - after being spotted by the first chaser.

Yes, I would definitely prefer “pure” radio QSO without any spotting, but I understand that many chasers do not have time to carefully “scavenge” the bands. Nowadays it is mainly about watching, not listening. However, I realize that it also helps activators (both CW and SSB) to be successful in bad weather.

Climbs are faster but shorter: Shorter trip and climb is often chosen to successfully fight for points.

“What direction are we going in” assumes the mainstream dynamics is under question.

I am sorry if my thoughts do not fit into the acceptable patterns.