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SOTA etiquette?

The best way to explain what happened is as follows.
There are people who do not understand the difference between email and a letter transported by classic postal service.
To my understanding email was invented to allow fast communication between people. If there are people who check their email only once a week, well in that situation email is useless.
So now I explain how I deal with email:
I check my normal email at least 4 or 5 times a day. My email can be handled from my PC, my smartphone and my tablet.
For advanced security email I use protonmail email provider.
If I want some personal touch I sent a letter through postal service and I do so in handwriting.

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I am surprised at the response of the club President. I would have forwarded the email to my club’s list and hoped for the best. My experience with remote parts of Colorado is that the locals (if you can find them) are friendly and happy to make a 2m FM contact. It sounds like you found the Grumpy OM Squad. Yes, 8 hours is not that much notice, depending on people’s email habits. Also, nothing wrong with asking for a simplex contact on a repeater. I only do that as a last resort because the difference between repeater coverage and simplex coverage can just cause a big pile of confusion.

So I don’t think you did anything “wrong”…this is a hobby after all.

I am happy to discuss this further off list: bob at k0nr dot com.

  1. Which repeater?

  2. If it was an open repeater, no notice was necessary, though it would probably be better received if you were on it occasionally or your call sign was recognized.

  3. If it was a closed repeater, I would not expect to be welcomed unless I was a club member. Even then, I’d reach out on a club mailing list a few days before hand.

  4. I have requested use of a repeater when it would be heavy or exclusive use, for example using N6NFI for Scouting Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) for several hours on a Saturday.

  5. I would have contacted the repeater trustee rather than the club president.

I have often begged for simplex contacts on the N6NFI repeater in the SF Bay Area. No advance notice, just pop on and explain what is going on. That repeater has wide coverage, is busy, and is especially friendly to new hams. In the East Bay, I wouldn’t have any qualms about using W6CX. But I wouldn’t use the W6TI repeater, even though it is “open”, because all the operators there are coordinating DX chases (operated by the NorCal DX Club). They might help me, but it wouldn’t be in line with the purpose of the repeater, so not especially courteous.


I did that a few times and repeater hams were delighted to give me a small pile up.
What Guru did is great. y not 73 Richard

I have done that. it is fine. It is only a hobby and supposed to be fun.
So keep having fun.
73 Richard

As VP of a Ham club with a website and e-mail to contact the club I will say that sometimes the email isn’t seen for several hours, and sometimes in minutes. Depends on when we check our e-mail which is usually daily. That does not make such a request ‘wrong’ or a nuisance, what it does is generate a “Sorry we missed your activation this time, if you can - please give us a day to circulate to our members when possible. Our repeater is open and you may also use to spot yourself in your activations.”

I see an e-mail like that as a way to grow the club! Living in LA, surrounded by mountains, we have a lot of V/UHF SOTA activity (mostly 2M) so by being welcoming we either get new members or a good reputation. Also, having SOTA activators and chasers in our club adding new friends (even if not members) is a good thing for the SOTA program and our members.

Eric, you have shown yourself to be courteous through your posts asking for guidance on doing things right. Glad to hear of your success in the Bay area. If your travels bring to the LA area give me a shout or email at ELMER@W6HA.com or check out our Website at W6HA.com - which will also give you repeater info and other means to contact the club.


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I’m getting more and more discouraged about ham radio. I am seeing more and more rudeness, empire building, egomaniac, and people forgetting that this is a bunch of folks, wanting to share experiences, learn, make new friends and get better. There is absolutely no excuse to be rude or ignore a fellow hams request. There should be no proper protocols for a simple request. I’m getting closer and closer to throwing in the towel and take up something more friendly, like WWF wrestling.

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Thanks to all who responded! Here’s odds and ends. I need to correct myself the grouchy guy on repeater was the club IT support person not the club president. To the one who asked about the repeater, The repeater is an open one. K0NR your writings are what got me started on the SOTA road, Thanks! And to the one ready to “throw in the towel” negative people only take your joy if you let them. I hope you keep at it!

As a relatively new ham I will say 99% of all hams I have contacted have been nothing but nice courteous people. I travel for work all around the USA, setup and listen from my hotel room and of course conduct SOTA activations. In my short time I have covered many areas geographically operating 2m. Last night I met a trail runner on top of W6/CC-060 while setting up to activate and he was very interested in what I was doing. I spent 20 minutes answering questions while he wrote furiously what I said! On top of that in demonstrating how to make a contact I was immediately met by a very positive ham, reinforcing the instruction. Meeting curious people has happened several times and I love it!

Today a very positive ham in the Bay Area said “good on you guys for keeping 2m alive.”

The other night on Bellyache ridge near Vail has been my first negative experience while conducting an activation. It sure put a damper on the evening. I reiterate, I ended on a good note with a ham from Rifle full of questions and curiosity about SOTA. I came here to the Reflector in order to get opinions about the technique used and appreciate all the input. In the future I will try to give more of a notice if notifying a club or just use the local repeater to attract QSOs.



Luckily there are nice people in every avenue of life. Even wrestlers.

Hey Ron-

One time I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out. Then it became really interesting.
Greg, W7GA

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