SOTA Watches

I have the feel that the thread MTR-3 User Report started by Heinz HB9BCB had been hickjacked by the SOTA Watches topic after Guy N7UN asked about Heinz’s and we all followed…

As well suggested by Colin M1BUU, I will start a new thread to speak and show our SOTA Watches.

It might be an interesting topic for a cold, windy and rainy/snowy weekend with no possibility to carry out any SOTA activation. At least over here, near to the Pyrenees.

I wrote in the other thread that I wonder why SOTA activators use clocks like the one Heinz showed as I see a risk of it being blown off if activating on a windy summit or simply of falling
down a hill by accident.

Personally I use an old CASIO digital wrist watch which I only use on SOTA activations and it’s permanently set with UTC time. For some unknown reason I have the maniatic habit of looking at it and writing down the exact time while I’m logging each and every QSO I do, no matter the speed.
This is the one.

I bought it maaaaany years ago and I’ve only had to replace battery once or twice (not sure):
I wear it on my left wrist and I use my left hand to hold the Palm Radio minipaddle together with my log notebook, so the watch is almost in front of my eyes while I’m working on the paddles and writing callsigns on the log with my right hand.

Heinz HB9BCB told us he uses an iROX Travel-M,

Colin M1BUU uses this wrist watch:

Adrian G4AZS is another wrist watch user but he hasn’t shown his yet.

Paul HB9DST uses this clip clock:

So far, it looks like the HB9 activators prefer clocks rather than wrist watches.

I’d like to read about the reasons why you like using clock instead of wristwatch and I’d ask you to tell us whether you have ever had your clock blown off in a windy summit.

Thanks to all who have contributed so far and thanks in advance to all future contributors.

Best 73 de Guru

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Hi Guru,

maybe I have some kind of Switzerland influence… I use to take a spare clock that my daughter is no longer using. It was formerly a wristwatch but its wristband was broken and she intended to put it in the bin.
Instead I removed the band, settled to UTC (as you) and I put it next the logbook (I love recycling).

Model is Decathlon Geonaute.

See an example of it in use in the next two pictures:

Just in front of FT817 on a dbad weather day.

Over the log pad.

Depending on the weather I lay it over the rucksack or in my wooden pad to hold the paper log.
So far no problems with the wind, and if I loose it somewhen I think I won’t worry much.

If I forget it then I will use my actual wristwatch, but for me it’s more comfortable have it in front and don’t need to move my wirst. When wearing gloves it is bad…

73 of HB/EA2BD ;o)

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I have a cheap ‘travel alarm’ like this:

Only sort of luminous green, so I don’t lose it :smile:

It does have a thermometer of sorts too.
I think it was about £5 last year via ebay…

Here it is on top of a trig next to my 857

It has large numbers so I can see it!

Watch-wise, I just have my ever so boring Timex explorer one.

So far… I haven’t lost either… yet!


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This is my choice of time piece for use in the hills - cheap and cheerful

73 Glyn

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Here’s mine. Nice and bright. Attaches with velcro, powered off the radio battery.

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A permanently visible clock - well fixed to the setup! - allows an ergonomic work and is particularly useful when operating with gloves and/or jacket.

And, of course, it is also very useful when “looking at it and writing down the exact time while I’m logging each and every QSO I do, no matter the speed” Up to what speed in your case? :wink:

I use this clock. It is pretty danged expensive, but it comes with a nice radio. And it won’t blow away.



In a CW activation the usual speed while dealing with a well disciplined pile up is between 1 and quite often 2 QSOs per minute. However, I remember some few times having logged 3 QSOs within the same minute.

A different story is when in a contest or practising with the Morse runner program. There I can log 4-5 QSOs per minute quite frequently. The main reason for this is that SOTA contacts are warmer, as we exchange 73’s, GL and say QSL or other nice things like the name of the operator, while there’s nothing of this in a contest QSO, just 599 TU and that’s it.
I also find that I’m faster when typing callsings on a keyboard than hand writing them on a paper log in a summit.

Best 73 de Guru

The FT-857 and that bright clock would kill my batteries in a summit in a couple of minutes :wink:
Best 73 de Guru

Hi Guru, I use and old Casio wrist watch on my home brew leg mount for my CW paddle. I am naturally right handed but many years ago I got tired of setting my pen down to send then having to pick it up again to write. As if learning to send CW with a paddle once wasn’t enough torture, I decided to start sending with my left hand thus freeing up the other one to write, nowadays I would struggle to send with my right hand! On SOTA activations it’s very easy to see the time without having to find a place for a separate clock, I’ve attached a photo:

Victor GI4ONL


At the shack I also have this clock:

I got it many years ago and it used to receive a radio signal from some place in Frankfurt (I believe) in order to always get the exact time.
For some reason it stopped picking up that radio signal, which was indicated by those sort of radio waves coming out the top of a small vertical antenna represented on the top left side of the clock screen and mine only shows the vertical antenna now but no waves at all, so the time is not radio controlled any more.
Do any of you have one of this type and are still getting that radio signal from Frankfurt?

Thank you.

Wow, that’s really impressive, Victor. I have sometimes tried to send with my left hand and the feel (also the code sent) was so horrible that I immediately gave it up.
I do work the paddle and write both with my right hand (despite having being born left handed) but I manage to hold the pen between my right hand fingers in a way that I find no problems to operate the paddle.
See these pictures:

Best 73 de Guru

I get 3-4 activations from a charged LiFe battery, so 3-4 hours of operating. Power drawn by the clock is negligible.


I am surprised that I am the first with this reply - I use my GPS, because it is already with me, running continuously through every hike and SOTA activation. It has a screen called “Alarm Clock” that shows time.

GPS time is incredibly accurate. If you have a watch or clock you like to use, you can check it and set it with your GPS time.


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A homebrew SOTA clock in the shack, a gift from my daughter. It’s a one of a kind.

Andrew VK1AD


Hello All, My watch is also Altimeter and dual time display; as you can see on photo, like Victor i’am right hander but do CW with left hand!


Thinks am in need of an upgrade :scream:

Time for up grade I thinks :open_mouth:


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Hi everyone,

Here’s a photo of my SOTA watch… an old Timex Expedition, this was taken on Brightsone Down G/SE-012 on the Isle of Wight.
Rig is a MTR-2 20/30m bands.
Keyer is a ultra lightweight ‘Mini Blue Racer’ (my favorite paddles).
which are kept in the Tobacco tin along with the 1800mAH LiFe battery.




My new £115 clock also came with free 5 band QRP radio :smile:

73, Colin M1BUU


Hi Guru, yes, I have exactly that model at home, and it still receives the timing signal - though I think in my case the signal comes from Cumbria in the UK.
The inverter has failed in mine, so no back light!