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SOTA summit identifying on FT8!

I am planning on trying out an activation via data mode FT8. To make it even more fun I will be on 6m! This will be my first data mode and iC705 activation (so what could possibly go wrong :joy:)

In all seriousness, I’ve read through multiple threads and I am still not clear on the proper way to identify the SOTA summit or call CQ SOTA in the FT8 text fields. What works for those activating via FT8?

Thanks in advance!



I’m sure others will have opinions, but I have seen a fair amount of POTA FT8 activations without ever giving the ID. It is rare to give out the SOTA ID when on CW or SSB anyhow, so not sure why FT8 would need to be any different. They just call “CQ POTA CALL GRID” and carry on like a normal FT8 QSO. If you need to know the park then you just go to the POTA spotting webpage and look it up. I would think it would be the same for SOTA. People would just go to the SOTA spotting websites and look up where you are spotted. Though, like in M1EYP comments (MM0FMF post above), adding the ID to the RR73 could be done.
My $0.02.
Have fun! 73

I always like to bask in the reflected glory of others! However, those are Tom M1EYP’s words not mine. I just reposted a link.

Actually, I don’t say that. You need to click on Andy’s link to see what I said - the important bit isn’t on that excerpt that is visible above.

Basically, complete the FT8 QSO as normal, then after you (the activator) has sent RR73 and the other stations (chaser) has sent 73, click to send the Free msg field with the SOTA ref in “SOTA G/SP-015”. That might then be acknowledged by the other station, or might not be - but at least you’ve sent it.

The other technique I used is if repeatedly CQing with no replies, I start alternating the Free msg with the SOTA ref with my CQ calls.


I would modify Tom’s approach for your use. In the free message I would send only W7I SI 215. You are limited to 13 characters I think so you can not include SOTA in the message. I would also avoid using the “/” since WSJT tries to encode the information into a callsign with a suffix and it may not appear properly on the other end. I modify the first message to be CQ SOTA KF7NP DM33. Also change your WSJT setup to include the grid for the summit you are activating. This has worked for me for almost 300 FT8 QSOs from summits.


I do like Tom send my Ref either VKFF or SOTA after the other qso stn sends 73 from line 2 free msg. Another thing change locator grid in software to suit your location at the summit.

The 13 character limit can be an issue in some associations. For instance, if I cross the border into Wales (GW), I tend to omit the “-” in the SOTA reference to stay within that limit:

Eg; “SOTA GW/NW044”

I prefer to keep ‘SOTA’ in, as it gives important context to what sort of reference I’m sending. If I had to lose any more characters, I would get rid of the association prefix, as that is clear from your own callsign anyway - here. I appreciated that is not necessarily the case in W7I!

I’ve never had any trouble with the /.

Thanks all for the input! Looking forward to trying out the suggestions on my first Data mode activation.