SOTA - QSL'ing

The way SOTA is structured around on-line logs etc. etc. there is of course no need for QSL cards to confirm the contacts. To me that is another PLUS-point to the whole structure of SOTA.
However, with the increasing international participation in SOTA the point about no QSL cards required appears to have got lost somewhere. Today I received a batch of QSL cards through the bureau, and some 2 dozen cards were from SOTA activators plus a few from SOTA chasers; several activators have in fact sent cards for each of their summit activations.
I shall of course respond to those who have requested a return QSL card, but I really do not see the need for any QSL’ing at all.
What do others think?
73 de Ken

In reply to GM0AXY:

I just send a QSL card back to anyone who sends me one. If they have gone to the trouble of sending a card, sometimes producing a special card for the individual summit, then I assume they want one back. They are not necessary but but maybe it is an interesting part of the hobby for someone.

73 John GW4BVE

PS I am am a bit behind with my bureau cards, but all the direct ones are up to date.

In reply to GM0AXY:
Hi Ken
Yes, of course QSLing is unnecessary for SOTA - but I too reply to any card received. This is mainly because I can still remember the pleasure of getting cards from those in countries which would now be trivial to work, so by progression I always put myself in the shoes of those who send me cards now - they are usually wanted!

On a slightly different note, how many SOTA enthusiasts have put their logs on LoTW?
I am a total fan of the system and have gained many DXCC confirmations which otherwise would have been very costly to get, let alone the time spent in waiting for them to arrive via the bureau.

And on another different note (!) - having used the SOTA database for a few months now I wish to complement to the highest level all those involved in its design and operation - it is quite simply awesome! (if only other award schemes could be run on similar lines - another award named with the letters ‘OTA’ comes to mind!).
73 de CRIS

QSL’s - On this subject, I now have finally got some printed so anyone who sent me one should have mine winging its way to you soon. An example can be seen on

…and referring to 'OTAs I’m still looking for a castle on a mountain on an island with a lighthouse to activate during Jamboree on the air. CQ CASHOTA SOTA IOTA LOTA and JOTA… Imagine how long it would take to give out the reference numbers!

Steve GW7AAV

In reply to GW7AAV:
Like your card Steve - also like your taste in authors (Tom Sharp!).

Hi all,
the online-database is a big plus in sota.otherwise i think,some of us activators needs a qsl-manager and a sponsor for the qsl-cards ;-).For every new call in my sota-log i send a qsl-card for every new band with this new call.but only if i received a qsl-card via januar i became qsl-cards from a chaser in dl for every worked summit in 2006 i activated :wink: Nice,but what should i do with all the cards ? ;-)…so all,pse no qsl for sota,i´m no collector since a few years,sorry…

vy 73 Klaus DF2GN

tommorow evening qrv from the Lupfen DM-BW-057 only in cw on 144mhz in agcw-dl-cw/vhf-contest

In reply to DF2GN:
Perhaps QSL cards for special occasions for chasers or activators is reasonable? Mountain Goat points or Shack sloth for example?
Rob G4RQJ was good enough to send me a card for my 1st 5megs qso/sota, John G4YSS for my first CW/sota and I was hoping Klaus would indulge me with a qsl card for my shack sloth points. I will send it via the bureau Klaus, if thats best for you.
Cheers all

In reply to GW3BV:
Hi Quentin,
sure,for so special QSO´s and every first-contact two qsl´s from me comes via the standard and my sota-qsl.

hpe cu agn

73 Klaus

Hi everybody,
after 29 years of amateur-radio I still like qsl-cards.
of course there is no need of them for sota, but in my opinion
the answering of qsl-cards is still part of ham-spirit.
like df2gn wrote, if you activate many summits you have a lot of
paper(pc)-work, in fact thats trough. but even if you go to a rare
dxcc-entity thats part of the dx-pedition (without or with sponsor).
of course lotw is phantastic , but I´m always very pleased to get a
beautiful qsl-card from g4yss, gx0ooo, hb9afh, hb9bab, etc.
Vy73 Fritz dl4fdm,hb9csa

In reply to DL4FDM:
100% agree Fritz - answering QSLs is part of ham spirit.
73 Cris

In reply to DL4FDM:
hi fritz,
do you received my qsl via bureau ?,
because last times we have problems with our qsl-manager :wink:
Pse info !

vy 73 Klaus DF2GN

Hi dr Klaus,
sri, no qsl yet.
we had the same problems with our local-qsl-manager some years ago.
so I had to overtook the job…hi I´m sure now the qsl´s arriving
in baunatal (darc-qsl-bureau)…hi
vy73 fritz dl4fdm

In reply to GM4FAM:

On a slightly different note, how many SOTA enthusiasts have put their
logs on LoTW?

My QSOs go to LoTW and I reply to eQSLs. My photo QSL from the summit is more like a postcard from a short journey. It is also a proof that I was on the summit. I do not expect reply, but you are welcome to send me your QSL if you want. eQSL might be an alterantive to the printed card, but then I would need to pay for that service.

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL

In reply to F5VGL:
My original posting about SOTA & QSL’ing appears to have created a fair amount of traffic, hi! More than I had expected, and I shall continue to answer all QSL’s received.
Several people have mentioned LOTW in their postings. I regularly update my DXCC status etc through LOTW, but so far I have not computerised my SOTA logs to the same extent. I could easily do that. However, has anyone found / developed an easy way of extracting the required dataformat for uploading to the SOTA Database from the ADIF format? The ADIF format is the basis for LOTW-uploads as well as for transfering logfiles between logging programs? In the same way as IOTA etc is used as a KEYWORD in many logging programs, SOTA could be the KEYWORD for extracting the records from the ADIF file before formating to the required SOTA database format.
I use Turbolog 4 for general logging and MixW for all digimode contacts. The ADIF-output from MixW loads into TL4 no problem. If I had a way of extracting the correct format from the ADIF-files to feed the SOTA database it might open up another avenue; afterall having to retype the same data several times over in order to get it to the right format for different databases seems to be a bit at variance with the general trends towards computerisation … !!!
So, has anyone got a ADIF-to-SOTA data extraction facility handy?
Ken - GM0AXY

In reply to GM0AXY:

Hi Ken

I wrote such a soft
You can load it at
and have a look at SOTA France, with Google Earth summits
and now Google Maps

Abt QSLing, I’m 100% (send and reply)
I think the QSL card is a polit form for a QSO
but I’am an Old ham…!!

Best 73 all
Alain F6ENO

In reply to GM0AXY:

If I had a way of extracting the correct format from the ADIF-files to feed the SOTA database

Whenever I am faced with this kind of conversion problem, I write a Perl script to do it. Perl is an interpreted language which is very good for knocking up quick format conversions and the like. In particular it has powerful pattern matching primitives.

The “guts” of an ADIF parser is about half a dozen lines of Perl.

The language originated in the Unix world but it runs perfectly happily under Windows, either as a native application (check out ActiveState Perl) or as a tool under Cygwin, which provides a Posix environment under Windows).

Of course you do have to know the language, but it’s actually quite easy to learn if you have some background in programming and haven’t been too corrupted by learning Basic.

As a service to the SOTA community I’d be happy to help out with any SOTA-related data conversion tasks people might want to do. Obviously I can’t install Perl for you, and I can’t undertake to do regular conversions. But I’d help out with the programming of conversion scripts and maybe do “one-offs”.

Rekeying of data is almost never necessary!

In reply to GM4FAM:

On a slightly different note, how many SOTA enthusiasts have put their logs on LoTW?

I upload my logs to LoTW monthly. My “hit rate” of confirmations is about 7.6% overall, but almost zero for SOTA-related contacts (I can only see 2 of my activator contacts confirmed).

I also upload my “fixed station” logs to eQSL, but unfortunately this system does not handle /P operation very well. Unless you are prepared to give bogus location information, each activation requires a separate “linked account” with a (rather short) date/time range. I find this just too tedious to contemplate. I entered into a discussion with the eQSL people about improving support for operation from many different locations, but nothing seems to have come of it.

In reply to DH8DX:
Fine Dan !
Many thanks, my QSL sure too…

In reply to M1MAJ:

unfortunately this system does not handle /P operation very well.
Unless you are prepared to give bogus location information, each
activation requires a separate "linked account" with a
(rather short) date/time range.

I upload all my logs to eQSL. All /P contacts go to my /P callsign.
The actual QTH and other info are included in the comment field.
I see no problem with this approach, my “hit rate” is around 30%.

I don’t use LoTW. Maybe someday…


In reply to HA5CQZ:

If you want to give the chasers also grid squares, you should probably create new call sign HA5CQZ/P with new QSO start and end dates for each activation at that QTH. I did not try if that works in eQSL however. This information is needed for the awards, if one of the chasers wants to get one. In LoTW you need also to create separate call sign, for example in my case HB9/F5VGL/P, and then you create new QTH for each activation with the new grid square and ITU/CQ zones.

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL