SOTAWatch: Is RBNHole Capable of Learning ??

On March 22, KX0R posted an Alert for 1800Z with his Summit listed as W0C/XX-XXX since he was unsure which summit he could reach in the snow. At 1708Z, his first RBNHole spot appeared. It showed KX0R on 10.113 MHz on Summit W0C/XX-XXX. I should mention that during his activation KX0R was constantly giving chasers his correct Reference as W0C/PR-082.

At 1710Z, AA7OY posted a Spot showing the correct reference, followed by two more RBNHole spots showing him at W0C/XX-XXX (as per the Alert). Then at 1741Z, KX0R was spotted on W0C/PR-082 by RBNHole. ???!!! A few minutes later, I posted a Spot for KX0R on W0C/PR-082. This was followed by six (6) more RBNHole spots showing him on W0C/XX-XXX. There were also two more spots posted by WY7N and KJ9X showing the correct Reference. The last spot at 1912Z was by RBNHole showing KX0R on W0C/XX-XXX.

My question is about the Spot at 1741Z, which correctly showed KX0R at W0C/PR-082 — posted by RBNHole. Is RBNHole capable of learning ???

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No, it’s almost as stupid as its author.

Almost certainly the spot was edited by a member of the MT shortly before he worked him via CW.


Someone, in another thread recently mentioned that RBN-GATE used to watch for recent spots with a matching call and frequency and if it found one it would not spot that call until it’s own recency timeout expired.

Does RBNHole look at recent spots at all or does it just keep it’s own recent spot list from RBN?

It might help avoid some confusion if it did watch the recent SotaWatch spots list and not generate spots that matched recent ones already there…

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RBNHole | VK3ARR's SOTA Blog is a good guide.

There’s a 10 minute spot lockout on spotting on the same frequency (+/- 2.5kHz). Changing band or moving more than 2.5kHz will trigger a respot as soon as RBN finds you.

…which it does already.

Source code is also available from GitHub - vk3arr/rbnhole where you can check and see how it’s supposed to work.

What I do tend to find is there’s a lot of assumptions about how RBNHole works and not a lot of people actually reading the instructions, despite them being posted in most threads over time, but hey, work in software development long enough and you’ll be forced to assume users must either be blind or illiterate.


I am aware that the RBNHole to SOTAwatch is not an official SOTA service but would it make sense to include the instructions in the Joining-In FAQ section here:

Specifically the

  • basic functions
  • the alert comment syntax “S+XX” or “S-XX”
  • and the wildcard summit feature?

That’s the place I would expect to find infos as a newcomer

73 Joe


Thanks for the note. In these days I would not be surprised if an Artificial Intelligence version was capable of seeing the third-party spots and substituting the correct Summit Reference in future RBNHole posts. It still amazes me when RBNHole spots me within a minute of starting my CQ.
Stay well & 73!
Mike, WB2FUV

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To clarify, the activator can change the XX spot and so can an MT member… no one else.
The other way is for a good samaritan to post an alert after the start of activation.

Elliott, K6EL


I just noticed this, and this is wrong. The spot is posted under the RBNHOLE user, so the activator does not have permission to update the spot. Only a member of the MT - who have the ability to edit or delete any spot - can edit RBNHole spots.

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Thanks for the clarification Andrew. 73! Mike, WB2FUV