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Sms spotting for North America

Is it down right now?? I have had no luck the last 2 activation with it not spotting. I heard yesterday from Ken ( ve6agr) was having the same problem.


It looks like the pnwsota.org server is down. Whilst it costs more, you can always send a spot to the UK, VK or OE numbers.

I’ll contact the nice ham who provides me with an account on there for free.


Thanks much – it’s for looking into this; it’s definitely systemic - VE6IXD is having same issue.

From some emails, it looks like pnwsota.org has been offline for about 10days and the owner maybe moving house. This means there could be some disruption for the service for an unknown period.

One of the choices available is for all US users to use the other numbers available. I’m not sure what international SMS costs are like from the US to Europe or Australia but one issue I am aware of is that many US users may not have international calling enabled.

Another choice is to do nothing and hope the server comes back in a day or so. It may well do that. Not being able to contact the owner means I have no idea when it may be back online. When you move, all sorts of problems arise and with the best will in the world, support ham services whilst trying to get somewhere to live sorted understandably take a very low priority.

The third choice and what I intend to do is buy another phone number from the people that provide the UK phone (it’s a US virtual phone company). A US number will cost $1 US / month plus the receiving message cost of $0.0075 / message. It makes the SMS system more expensive to run. However, we may need this number only for a short period. Currently the existing number is free from Google Voice and the message become emails and cost nothing to process as all other hardware/services is provide FOC by benefactors.

The major downside is it will not be the well known number ( 1-530-430-SOTA ( 1-530-430-7682 ) ) but a totally new number. And that number may not be supported by the popular spotting apps. This means a return to manual SMS spotting. I realise that’s a pain but I’m sure it’s a small amount of pain in order to have a local number working.

I’d normally do this now (even though I’m at work) but unfortunately my employer is expecting me to do some work today so it will have to wait until this evening (UK time) at the earliest! I’ll post the new number here and on the US SOTA group as soon as I know it.

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The MOST IMPORTANT feature to me for SOTA activations is sms spotting. On the donation page, I would like to see a checkbox for donations to be directed toward the out of pocket expenses to maintain the sms feature as needed.

I have never made a direct donation. I have made purchases from the SOTA store. On the donation page, the AMOUNT area could be better explained. How about an example? Is it looking for an amount in Pounds, Dollars, Euros? Can it be specified?

With enough donations, sms costs could be put under the control of SOTA - and this would not happen again. Excesses could be directed to the General Fund.

Are there any other users who see as much value in sms as I do, and would like to help support it? And I do mean worldwide, not just North America.

Glenn AB3TQ

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Hi, Andy - thanks for the full explanation and for your work on a solution. I agree with Glenn that we users ought to be willing to contribute a modest something to support the SMS spotting service. APRS2SOTA helps as a backup where cell service is not available but it’s no substitute for the SMS method.


Yes, where do I donate. Its a service for NA users. Lets pay up for this great service.


The site runs on UK Pounds.
I will see if I can incorporate your suggestions (directed donations) and, possibly, multiple currencies.

You can always add a note to your donation suggesting where it is directed (I did receive one which told me to buy myself a beer for doing the awards work - the individual must have a very inflated expectation of my capacity :joy:)

OK, preliminary tests work.

The new number is 1-424-373-SOTA ( 1-424-373-7682 )

That number is located in Compton, so no gangbangers please :wink:

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Kevin K4KPK has just done a real world test that has proved I’ve got things set up OK.


Wanting to have the right syntax in my text msg history with the new number, I just tried a test message, too. Thanks for arranging for a new number and getting the SMS Txt working again!

Dave, AE9Q

Yup. Works for my test text.


Barry informed me he had received some donations to help fund the US side of the service. I have just applied the amount to the SMS number provisioning account. The SOTA MT are very grateful for all such donations.


It seems sms is in the minority of total spots posted, yet I suspect it is one of the most expensive to keep operational. sms is my SOTA lifeline. I have now made my own donation to show my appreciation, and to keep the service alive and healthy. It is the SOTA community that owes the debt of gratitude to all who make the program possible.

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SMS has been my backup but I think that will change.

I think it runs to something like 4% of all spots are sent by SMS.

I see it as a backup as I only need it about 1 summit activation in 5 in Scotland. Normally my data connection works.

The ability to support Garmin InReach means that spotting from anywhere on Earth is reliable and straightforward. Very useful for activation in the real wild countryside where the population density is so low, even towns have patchy mobile coverage. And spotting yourself by banging a message off satellites is wonderfully geeky and over the top, especially as you leverage L-band mobile satellite links with real time internet connected messaging and push web services just to make having a Morse QSO on 40m easier :blush:

I don’t support the new SPOT X device. If someone has a SPOT X and wants to see if it can be supported email or PM me and we can see if it will work.


I also just made a donation. I encourage us as US users to find the service.

The sms service is less critical to me now that I operate cw primarily but still important to see if the rbn network picked up my signal and to see where other activators are. Where I operate in west Texas I often don’t have sufficient signal to access the website. I very much appreciate the Sms service.

Hi I tried a test for sms and it did not work on the phone number
1424 3737682
Maybe I did it wrong?

got it to work I guess it did not like xxx for peak number

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You didn’t post a valid spot. It was rejected.

"CC-XXX " is not a valid summit . There’s also a newline after mode and before the comment and TBH, I’m surprised that didn’t get rejected as well. Something I probably need to have a look at.

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