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SOTA Watches


Do you find that the moon phase indicator is accurate enough for EME tracking? At the full moon position I can bounce a cracking signal on 550nm from the hall into the kitchen


OK, got my “U8 Smart Watch” for Christmas and for a €21 device, so far I am quite impressed! If you want to order direct from China, they’re as cheap as US$17 and buying in Europe can cost you up to €50 for the same watch - so shop around.

It has a built in altimeter (relevant to where you have set it to zero), a temperature sensor, barometer, step counter, sleep monitor, calculator and calendar - all of which appear to work fine. Of course it has a clock (unfortunately settable only to one time zone, but it can be a digital 12 or 24 hour display or an analogue clock face) along with a stop watch and an alarm - again all of which appear to work fine.

Where it gets interesting is when you connect it to your (Android) Smart phone. You can answer or call using the watch. You can remote control the camera in the smart phone - that could be useful when wanting to take a photo of you operating when you are alone on a summit (not video, just snapshots unfortunately). You can listen to music (or podcasts) from the speaker in the watch. You can receive and send SMS text messges from the watch including the use of the address/contact book on the phone.

All of the items in the last paragraph require the addition of the Bluetooth Notification service on the Smart Phone. There are other Android apps being developed to further extend what messages can be sent from apps on the phone to the watch and what input can be returned. I have yet to find a SOTA spotting app that can push the received spots out to the watch, but there are some programming APIs that allow some extended messaging between the devices.

One other handy function is that if you leave your phone somewhere and walk off, the watch will ring an alarm when you go out of Bluetooth range.

As I said for €21 this is a nice toy - whether it will become my SOTA watch, I can’t say yet. If I can get one of the SOTA spotting apps to send new spots to the phone, then I think the answer will be yes.

73 Ed.


Ed, the problem with these watches is the display goes to sleep.
Maximum timeout is 50 seconds, which probably isn’t long enough for most activations :grinning:

You can get them for around £5 however, so worth it if you want to play around with some of the other features.



I agree Pete, the screen going off is a pain - by the way, the maximum timeout is 3 minutes not 50 seconds, at least it is on mine. I would hope however that the screen will come on again once an alert is pushed to it from the phone. It’s enabling apps on the phone to work with the watch, that could be difficult though. Still researching this point. I’ve just come across “Smart Phone Helper” which appears to have its own platform for apps that can be made to talk to the phone - Yahoo Weather being one example.

What I have found is that it IS possible to send and receive phone calls with the U8 - something that apparently the much more expensive Samsung Gear watch can’t do!

I’ve worn the watch all day today simply as a watch (no incoming calls or SMS messages happened today) and I’m getting used to having to press the button to see the time.

I haven’t seen the U8 as cheap as GBP5.00 - the best I have found so far is $US17 from China.

73 Ed.


My Sota clock with key and logsheet
The watch is from Pearl.ch.
I cut the bracelet and screwed the clock onto the board.
Now I just changed the battery, after two years without any problems.

vy 73 es HNY, Hans


Andrew K1YMI shows SOTA Spots appearing on his MOTO360 smart watch in this thread: SotaWatch Feed to Telegram Messenger


And here is that software working with my €21 Smart Watch:

Sorry the pictures aren’t great, I took them with the smartphone!

I also need to see how to make these messages pop-up on the main SmartWatch screen - these pictures are after opening the BT messages icon in settings. It should be possible as SMS messages are directly displayed.

73 Ed.


Whilst on the subject of SOTA watches, let’s not forget the chasers :smile:
On my Windoze 7 machine, where I do most of my logging, I always have on display one (or 2 when we’re on BST) clock gadgets showing the current time.
As an ex nostalgic sparky, I modified one of the faces to display a ships radio room clock complete with SP quadrants.
With an idle few minutes today, I also added a SOTA clock.
If anyone’s interested I could write up the process to create these, although you’ll find details already online if you search!



After hesitating for a long time I have now switched from the Palm Mini to the Pico Paddle on my KX3 SOTA setup.
The Paddle cable protection was built in such a way that it can serve as a holder for the station clock.
Note: The PP-MK-KX3 bracket was bent back at a right angle for that purpose.

The clock module used is the Radio module Euro Time from Conrad. It fits exactly in a TEKO enclosure 58x35x16 mm.


I was never happy with the “U-08” digital “Smart Watch” and how difficult it was to see the alerts. This was a cheap experiment in any case.

It seems that the latest cheap smart watch out of China is now the “GZ-09” - which as well as Bluetoth connecting to your smart phone, actually takes a (2g I think) SIM card and operates as a phone on it’s own (or via your smart phone). It also has a low-res built in camera and a voice recorder which records to a microSD card (not supplied).
I wonder if anyone has tried one of these yet? at between Euro11 and Euro25, again, this is likely to have limited use, however with the Android SOTA Spotter app putting out alerts in an SMS like form, I’m wondering whether THIS might be the “SOTA Watch” I’ve been looking for …

If not a SOTA watch, it’s a fun “Dick Tracy” like present for someone…




Sorry Ed, no enthusiasm on my part, hi.
After a few disappointments with such hightech gadgets (incl. my above mentioned Euro time radio module) at temperature extremes outside 0-25° C, I keep it strictly simple again on all my portable setups. Well, the price of the small blue Swatch (CHF 60.-) can not compete with all these chinese offers…


Actually I agree, but just for a bit of fun I’ve ordered one, so I’ll see how it does. It amazes me that for 11 Euros (including shipping), I can get a functioning watch, phone, camera and audi or video recorder. The quality of each of these components will not be up to current standards but probably those of about 5 years ago.

A bit of “Dick Tracy” (spy character) fun in any case.

Depending on how the bluetooth works, I might even leave this “watch-phone” in the car and use it purely as a phone with the cars multimedia device, which has a built-in bluetooth hands-free capability.

That’s a lovely, tidy board for SOTA operation by the way!

73 Ed.


Using Applewatch

73, Hans PB2T


Hi Hans,
Apple Watch, too expensive in my opinion as is the Samsung one - by the way you don’t drive a Tesla do you … more exploading Lithium batteries!



No Tesla Ed, but the lithium batteries that I use for SOTA are still OK.


The batteries in the Samsumg Note 7 that have been exploading are Lithium Ion I believe. We tend to use lithium polymer or lithium iron phosphate in SOTA which I believe are somewhat similar to lithium ion, but thankfully I also have not had any explode on me.

I’m not sure what the batteries that make the floor up in the Tesla are. Horrible situation though as there was no way to rescue the two people in the Tesla as they were sat on top of the burning/exploading batteries.



Well the €11 watch that I ordered from the Philippines arrived from Taiwan a few days ago…

I’m actually quite happy with it. It works on it’s own as a telephone/SMS messenger (I put a pre-paid SIM in it and it worked straight away). Of course it’s also a digital or analogue (look) watch, a pedometer, audio player and video and audio recorder, Then … when linked via Bluetooth to my Android Smartphone, it receives alerts from programs (such as SOTA Spotter - see below) as well as being able to remote control the camera in the Smartphone, use the smartphone’s contacts list, call/SMS through the Smartphone (or direct from the watch). And a few more features that I’ve forgotten! For the price an interesting addition to the SOTA kit.

The watch isn’t out of focus my smarrtphone camera set it’s focus on the background! Here is a SOTA Spotter alert for Mike 2E0YYY that had just come in. No fiddling down through menus to find the alert as on the old U08 watch, this simply works and displays alerts from whichever apps on the Smartphone you allow.

Oh yes the watch itself also has a built in browser that it can access the Internet with via the 3G SIM card - the display is somewhat small though, to say the least!.

The watch doesn’t run an operating system but there are already free tools to change the firmware yourself on the Internet (e.g. to add your own clock faces).

73 Ed.


I don’t need a watch or clock - I simply read the label that I stuck on the edge of my little Acer’s screen; it’s marked, “SAVE!”

So I “SAVE”, and Digipan records date, time, callsign, and that’s it, lovely jubbly!



Casio PRG-500. She isn’t cheap, a few years ago they sold new for about $2,400 USD, but they can be had much cheaper since they have been discontinued by Casio. They now make a visually different protrek lineup. Mineral Crystal Bezel, High Visibility orange indicators, Atomic Timekeeping, Second Hand as a compass mode, temperature, barometer, Barometric Altimeter, 24 Hour weather trend, differential altimeter, count down, count up, data logging, multi lap stopwatch functionality, etc etc etc - and it recharges itself from sunlight (the bezel is a solar panel.) Check around for used ones, I got mine for $700 a few years back. Analog timepieces (with hands) are a win for bush use, because any analog timepiece can be used to find true North if the rest of your equipment is lost or destroyed. This just makes it that much easier by having a compass function as well. Just say no to using a shadow stick. This thing puts the Apple Watch to shame, and does so without any external infrastructure.



I use a Timex Iron Man Triathlon watch. I can set 3 different times on it and with a push and hold of a button change to utc. Works for me.

Roland KG7FOP


Of course if you want to make sure you are safe then there is this one. It also tells the time.