I have a few questions regarding S2S practices.
First of all, what is the best way to CQ for S2S contacts, i.e.
which format to use when calling CQ (like “CQ S2S DE mycall ON summit ref K”?)
which format to use when trying to contact another activator you are hearing so that he/she knows I am S2S?
which timing? Do you first do a few QSOs to qualify and then chase for S2S?
Second, what happens if there is an S2S, but both operators do not realize it until back from the trip? Does the database notice S2S QSOs automatically if matching callsigns report QSOs from two summits?
Or do we need to confirm the S2S character during the QSO and then take manual action?
I am asking this because as a CW newcomer, boilerplate QSOs work best for me on summits, so any sudden rag chew can irritate me when under time-pressure.
What is the best format to point the other party to the S2S nature of the call?
Most often, S2S contacts occur either by arrangement with a known other activator, or unexpectedly when a happy coincidence of your activations occurs.
The arranged S2S contacts don’t need any special calls or procedures. It is good practice to confirm your summit codes so that both operators are in no doubt that the contact is S2s.
The unexpected contacts usually occur when an activator has called CQ or QRZ, and one of the callers will either give his/her callsign and add “Summit to Summit” or “S to S” or in CW will add “S2S”, or will possibly just say “Summit to Summit” as traditionally priority is given to such contacts.
Unless it is one of those special days like the 1st of January, when by tradition in Australia, for example, there is an “S2S-fest”, there is usually no point in calling CQ for S2S contacts. But that all depends on the level of activity and whether you know there are likely to be other activators on summits at the same time as you are. Calling CQ S2S when no other activators are visible on Sotawatch would be optimistic.
In the SOTA contacts database, you need to record the contact as an S2S contact in your chaser log. That’s where S2S contacts are recorded. Both summit codes need to be recorded on S2S contacts, otherwise you won’t get S2S credits. Note that the contacts are also recorded in your activator log. The activator entry adds to your activator score, the S2S/chaser entry adds to your chaser score and your S2S score.
Good information that I had not seen before as a new SOTA participant. Should be included somewhere in FAQ
> In the SOTA contacts database, you need to record the contact as an S2S contact in your chaser log. That’s where S2S contacts are recorded. Both summit codes need to be recorded on S2S contacts, otherwise you won’t get S2S credits. Note that the contacts are also recorded in your activator log. The activator entry adds to your activator score, the S2S/chaser entry adds to your chaser score and your S2S score.
When you enter a chaser contact by hand you get tickbox asking you if it is an S2S, SWL or normal contact. When you enter a CSV file of chaser contacts, the description page explaining the file format (link on the upload page) explains how S2S contacts are entered in the file. Likewise, the page detailing the format of the file for uploading an activation explains how to enter S2S data.
The only thing missing is something on the manual activation entry page to explain where to enter S2S data. I can add something next update. It will be interesting to see if anyone reads it.
I can only speak for SSB and most of your questions have been answered already. But perhaps some additions are helpful:
As S2S is still much more seldom than regular Activatior - Chaser QSOs normally explicitely calling CQ S2S from start is not very effective. Typically the 2nd activator comes back to the general CQ of the 1st activator. A leading or tailing “Summit to Summit” the 2nd Activator’s call eases up breaking the Chaser pileup.
Of course once you are aware another activator is calling in, asking explicitely for S2S is good pratice. Either you have heard the magic “S2S” or a “/p” or some kind chaser informs you about the S2S calling.
Normally when starting an activation I at first check SOTAWatch for possible S2S. If there is another activator calling CQ already, I try to get the S2S. Once all possible S2S are done, I start calling CQ. Often other activators now come in who were not workable first because of band or mode of operation. When the pileup is done and nobody comes back to my CQ calls I again check SOTAWatch for S2S. While taking some photos, enjoy the view, or thinking about doing another band I monitor SOTAWatch for some time.
No, the QSO has to be logged in SOTA Database explicitely as S2S.
Callsigns, reports and confirmations are in principle enough for a valid QSO. But it is good pratice to exchange summit references on band, at least for SSB.
If you don’t log with a phone or PC and you only have 4-5 QSOs to enter it is faster to use the web interface. I also did it like that for my first two activations, but now that I installed VK port-a-log I find it easier to log with my phone. (But then you also need to remember to bring an extra portable power and a USB cable, otherwise…).
P.S. Need to correct a log? Use the ‘Uploads Manager’ (Menu → Submit Logs → Manage Uploads). This will allow you to remove an entire log including S2S contacts with one click. Then you can fix the log and upload a new CSV file!