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SOTAwatch spotting via SMS is working now

despite the database outage, SOTAwatch spotting via SMS is working now according to my test spot

73, Barry N1EU

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I made few attempts to use SOTA SMS spotting on January 29, 2018, and was unable to spot myself. When I reviewed my SMS messages later, it was my fault - I missed ‘$’ at the beginning of my SMSs.

4 messages received at

Sun Jan 28 23:40:58 2018:
Sun Jan 28 23:59:35 2018:
Mon Jan 29 00:39:16 2018:
Mon Jan 29 00:45:05 2018:

All had malformed content and were dropped as invalid.

I did a little checking before replying, and then my suspicion was confirmed by Andy’s reply. You did it wrong. I rely exclusively on SMS for spotting, though I have been aided in an AZ by fellow activators with smart phones at times.

SMS is a wonderful tool for those of us who refuse to get a smart phone, but it does require you to form your own text spot - and it DEMANDS following the format rules precisely. A few of which are not at all obvious, learned by me through trial and error testing after failures.

As such, I believe I have compiled the most authoritative SOTA SMS Manual ever written. Would anyone like a copy? It is buried here on the Reflector somewhere, but it doesn’t seem to get much attention.

Glenn AB3TQ

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Yes Please!

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I’ll see about getting that doc on the SOTA website with the rules and FAQs.

Yes please!

How do we find it? Or please email me at chris.caviezel.fire@gmail.com I have capabilities for all forms of spotting. By app, SMS, Inreach, APRS, asking for a SPOT. I believe that spotting is important if for no other reason it shows activity and people know you are out there.

I would like to see this posted to the FAQ, but for now I will just point to it again. Any comments or updates always welcomed.


Glenn AB3TQ
Good on QRZ

It’s in the queue of things to be uploaded on to the FAQ Glenn.

And now it’s published…




Someone following this thread contacted me and indicated it might be a good idea to at least mention the inReach two way satellite communications devices in my SMS Manual compilation (now listed in the FAQ). I had sort of heard the name (inReach) before, but had never actually paid any attention to it. I am not even sure what I would say about it. I don’t have one.

There are subscription charges for satellite access through the inReach, but if you really need to send a text message when cell service is totally out of the question, an inReach will do it. There are also a few other things it can do, but that satellite text capability is the core feature…

Supposedly it can be linked to SOTA alerting and spotting, but I know no details about how that might work. If this sounds interesting to anyone, there is a lot of information on the web.

Is there anyone using one of these that would like to tell us a bit about how they make use of it?

I have used an inReach frequently to spot.

Absolutely fabulous device and couldn’t imagine going into the wilderness without one!


Support for InReach and Iridium based devices has been available since 2015. Yes there is a subscription cost to use the satellites but you can spot from anywhere on earth. For my home rolled Iridium system it takes under 25secs on average to get a spot via satellite to Sotawatch.

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I use an Android smart phone and iOS/Apple has APPs as well. In my contacts/directory/phone-book or notepad, I create one entry for: SOTA SMS
It has a working example of a Spot that I have tested as well as some other usage notes.
This way I have less to remember. I use raw SMS or RRT (Rucksack Radio Tool) which has a form that can send SOTA formatted SMS texts.
APRS2SOTA is another option that I recently added by my bag of tools. It also has an entry with notes in my phone’s directory.

73, Bruce W2SE