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S2s exchange


A SOTA pile-up is simply a joke: any activator who’s previously done a contest or two should be able to sort things out in 5 or 6 minutes, including all the calls from fellow activators (S2S) and other QRP stations.

I think that any attempt to suppress chasers with big guns in order to work a barely noticeable QRP station first could be just counterproductive in terms of the activator’s efficiency…




A nice target for any activator would have to be 1 SOTA QSO per minute.
At that speed the pile-up gets fully worked within few minutes, the exchanges in each contact can be warm enough, not just the contest style 2x599 or 2x59 and the chasers perceive that their chance to get the QSO will come at a reasonable time, which usually implies more disciplined and patient chasers, shorter times needed to work every chasers and greater satisfaction on both activator and chasers side.



That sounds about right to me, Guru. One of the attractions of SOTA is that warmth that you mention, the regular participants rapidly get to first name terms - even me, and I am notorious for forgetting names!:grinning:


Indeed, Brian, despite being rapidly increasing in number of participants all around the world, the SOTA pile ups at each activation are still far small enogh and their participants regular and well known enough as to have the warmth and the feel that we are members of a small family. I have worked quite a good number of contests and special event stations exchanging just 599’s and the pleasure of saying Good morning Brian, pleased to hear you again at the begining of the QSO and wishing you a nice day and gratefulness for the contact made at the end of it is something special and particularly nice. Each SOTA contact is a human to human contact and that’s nothing to do with the nearly inhuman contest style or DX-pedition style of making QSOs.
I’m also bad at remembering some names.
Calling each operator by his/her name is something nice that I like. Everybody enjoys being called by his name. It tightens any human relationship. I try it although I sometimes confuse names and I call one by some other’s name. Even making such mistakes, add a nice anecdote to a SOTA QSO.



Not to mention the JT and FT modes…


Nothing wrong with any of it. In SOTA, you can ragchew on FM, SSB or even CW, or you can operate quickfire DXpedition style on SSB, CW etc. Having achieved the QSO rate of one per 5/6 minutes on FT8 yesterday, I wouldn’t included that in the “quickfire DXpedition style” bracket!

I don’t have one activating style. I use CW, FM, SSB, C4FM, PSK31, PSK63, RTTY, JT65 and FT8. I operate fast at times, and relaxed “ragchew” at other times. SOTA can be any of these things and we shouldn’t try to suggest that any style of operating is any superior to any other.


Not that a style is superior to other, but I usually feel the need to go quicker when there are many chasers waiting their turn.
I don’t see it’s fair otherwise.
Of course, when activating on less crowded bands/modes, it’s a pleasure relaxedly chatting with our fellow chasers.



I just wanted to say that the modern digital modes are not very suitable for expressing SOTA brotherhood feelings that Guru talked about. Of course, all the operation modes and styles are welcome to SOTA, the more so the happier activators and chasers they make…


I fully agree Guru,
About one minute for an Activator to Chaser contact is about my norm, however S2S takes longer, up to 5 minutes on occasions. I have experienced few chasers who do not respect that the S2S will be taken first from the pile-up. Once the activation is underway, I tend to give my summit ref. on alternate QSO’s.

Regarding the signal reports. We must never slip down into the ways of the contesters. Real signal reports are a valuable indicator as to how things are working. I have transmitted with the wrong links in place in the dipole, had the pole fall over and had the peg holding the dipole taught come out of the ground. These were all manifested in poor signal reports and a local solution.

One other suggestion, for CW QSO’s, tune off the Activators QRG a hundred Hz or so to avoid the pile-up sounding like a wall of incoherent noise. G4SSH is very skilled with this technique and as a consequence easy to pick out.

David G0EVV


Exactly this. Worth reading over and over.

Well, except the meetings part. Meetings are for quitters. :smiley:


Often, the most effective way to get rid of QRM from a persistent, bad-mannered chaser who keeps calling over the top of QSOs in progress is to work him as soon as possible! That will shut him up. (Of course, you might then forget to record the QSO in the activation log! Oops!)

Walt (G3NYY)


A very bad idea, Walt, IMO. The other chasers will register his success and try to emulate it and things will quickly spiral out of control!


It’s good when the general chasers back off to let the summit-to-summit contacts through. I’d hope that folk familiar with the cut-throat pile-ups of other schemes but new to SOTA would soon pick up on that SOTA-specific politeness…


To be frank, I find the tone in this quite harsh. I assume you are talking of CW activations - now, there are a lot of people who started learning CW because of (1) the joy of it and (2) its efficiency for SOTA. Quite clearly, they are CW learners, and I am one of them. So we make mistakes, for instance, if hoping to at least qualify a summit that was difficult to climb accept a caller that was not asked or behaved improperly. As for closing the QSO, I typically just do “TU E E”, and most chasers understand that. If no chasers stand by, I first try “?” and then a 2 x 2 CQ. I think that injecting the CQ from time to time helps chasers to make sure they get the activator right.

But again, let’s not use strong language in here but rather help newcomers to become better operators with actionable suggestions (and maybe polite private communications). SOTA has brought a lot of new interest to CW to people, and I think that is a good thing.

Some SOTA activators have a strong contest past and slowly start walking up simple summits. Some others have a mountaineering past and slowly start managing CW QSOs. Very few were born being both strong mountaineers and CW contest pros. So let’s enjoy the journey.

73 de Martin, DK3IT


I do take your point, Martin, but actually I don’t operate CW at present, so you can take all my remarks as just referring to phone operation. My point about the activator shouldn’t assume that everybody can hear everybody else is less important in CW where the customary final “dit dit” is a go ahead to callers, on phone the callers need an equivalent definate go ahead such as a QRZ, if that is omitted then the calling can get out of control.


I have been operating on CW for more than 58 years, and this is the first time I have heard that “dit dit” is a go ahead to callers!

Walt (G3NYY)


New one on me too Walt. But as Brian says, he’s not a CW op.


Walt and Tom, you are teasing our old friend Brian, aren’t you?


Cut some slack, guys, I’m not one of the club. That “dit dit” is a cheerful sound and it seems to come at the end of a contact, but perhaps you ought to abandon your superior smirks for a minute or two and explain just what it does do? I’m probably not the only one in the dark!