Spotting frequencies

Why do spotters list centre of activity and call frequencies for activators.
Most move to a preferred frequency.
Most infuriating when a chaser lives well beyond like myself and by the time we have searched up and down the band for a week signal the activator has departed.Don.G0RQL.

In reply to G0RQL:
Agreed, Don, I couldn’t find Mike today - mind you, I found that was partly due to a rotator fault!


Brian G8ADD

In reply to G0RQL:


In reply to G0RQL:

Why do spotters list centre of activity and call frequencies for

Hi Don,

Perhaps it’s the activator’s fault for over-driving their linears!
That’s the way to get a centre of activity! …says he of DX voice natural trapezoid modulation fame… :wink:

73 and thanks for all the support on Saturday,


P.S. Not sure what Lee meant by ;-0 - woe is me?

In reply to G4OIG:
Sorry Gerald, its the blasted “Icon Speech” that seems to be taking hold of me and some others, but its a sort of “oops, someone is upset” or that sort of thing, thats all. It was taken in context of my spot this afternoon for Mike DSP, when he requested that I spot him in 10 mins for 144.300, which a duly and gladly did, personally I dont see a problem as I feel that searching +/- 100 around the centre frequency is no great chore and adds to the anticipation. I suppose a bit like my other pastime, deer stalking, if the ghillie said hey Lee theres a huge Sika stag just 40 yrds over this hill, and when I popped my head over the hill he was just there, then I would deem that an unsporting shot as I have not had the thrill of the stalk to go with it.

Just a personal opinion thats all …


In reply to M0LMP:

Hi Lee,

See what you mean. In the case of Mike, whoever worked him after his QSY would have been doing everyone a service by posting his frequency. Of course that assumes he worked someone sitting in their shack with SOTAwatch up and running.

I can certainly see where Don is coming from - when signals are weak and in the noise it is no fun trawling the band. All I can suggest is that regular activators adopt a frequency to use on their activations so that those looking for them have a good chance of finding them, even without an accurate spot. It certainly works for Richard G4ERP (144.320 / 432.220) and myself (144.333 / 432.222), but even this assumes a clear frequency.

73, Gerald

In reply to M0LMP:
If sotawatch is down, im just wondering how all the chasers find the activators, do they not search the band near to a calling frequency, As by now from what I’ve seen frequencies seem to be.
145mhz seems to be lower as far down as 145-325mhz, On the ssb mode I notice that all stations seem to be around 144-333mhz, so my self can’t see any problem.
I find being mobile every day brings the enjoyment of chasing by looking and not letting sotawatch find them, Just got the all clear to move house, (yipee) so looks like I will be chasing from my new home qth soon.
Steve mosgb

Hi Lee.
No not a dig at you in particular,just happened again to-day and has been an ongoing problem for a long time.

I quite accept that an activator would ask for a spot on the call freq or the centre of activity,what I do ask is that any chaser with the facility follow it up for the ones of us who due to distance or conditions are searching and listening for a break in a weak signal to call in,this is also an advantage to the activator as I would think nothing worse than activating a summit and falling short of the required number of chasers to qualify the summit for them.
When in the past the web has gone down we do revert to the search and find and not only a few kc’s but all the known bands.I also run mobile at times and have worked activators in the same way.

Thanks for the 2/70 contacts Gerald always a pleasure to work vhf/uhf,not sure what happened on the last one after working you on 5 vhf followed by the 4 uhf and couldn’t make the last uhf.Always another day. 73 Don.

In reply to M0SGB:

Some thoughts on your frequency list:
3.666 yes, quite frequent, but some operate 3.72 to 3.73, and 3.73 is the SSTV centre of activity so those activators are likely to be competing with a chorus of funny noises!
5.3985 is really the worst frequency on the 5 megs band for many: I never even heard GM4YSS/P today under something that sounded like S9+ ignition noise that was audible even on the channels each side. On other days I get an equally powerful burbling sound!
7.060: really? My log shows 7090 to 7098 and 7118 to 7125 as the commonest frequencies.
on 144 SSB stations most frequently show up on 144.310 or 144.320 but my log shows that the French favour the bottom of the band and people can pop up almost anywhere. What also shows up is a plethora of carriers , waterfall sounds and bleeps, including a cluster around 144.280 and another smack bang on the calling channel. I also have some directions where white noise at about S4 makes weak signal work impossible. The carriers continue through the FM band making about half the channels unusable except for local working, in fact I abandoned FM chasing a couple of years ago.

SOTAwatch is a boon: I monitor 5.3985 and 144.300 whenever I’m in the shack and monitor SOTAwatch for the other bands, you just can’t continuously monitor all the places where SOTA activators might show up, but it is most important to watch 144.300 as they won’t stay there long!

I hope your new QTH does not suffer from the urban racket that I have to put up with!


Brian G8ADD

In reply to G0RQL:

Hi Don,

Using 144.333MHz regularly I have found that chasers that are late sometimes wait to see whether I return there after working 70cms. For this reason, I am keen to sort out a dual band horizontally polarised antenna fed from a single feeder so I can do this easily before going QRT. It would also enable me to release people like yourself by making consecutive contacts on 2 and 70 rather than two separate contacts spaced by several tens of minutes.

Regarding 70cms from Wentwood, I see the contact with Frank was the first from the summit on the band… perhaps that says it all. Hope you got the picture I emailed you.

73, Gerald

In reply to All:

Hey come on guys, the spirit of SOTA was about the adventure, the anticipation, the struggle, the acheivement, the way you lot are talking we might as well text each other about time, place, location, frequency etc !!! Sotawatch ?? it may as well be called “Netscheduler” some of you wont remember the good old days of Sota, where it REALLY didnt matter who was at the top of the roll of homour, and in true SOTA spirit its not about the points, the accolades, the trophy etc its about having a bit of fun and playing radio. In the afore mentioned good old days, when there was a day when the weather was fine, I and many others used to go to our favourite high spot and listen and work and scan the bands looking for the SOTA activators, that was all part of the pleasure and excitement.
Correct me if I am wrong but the way some of you would like it seems to be, that you want all the information force feeding into you so that there is nothing for you to do, thats not SOTA !!!

IMHO of course


In reply to M0LMP:
Well for me it is still not about the points, accolades or trophy - I have never claimed any certificates or the trophy for my chasing score!

In the beginning, before SOTAwatch, there were co-operative ventures. It used to be real fun when I started, listening to the “Birmingham Mafia” at work, passing on info and alerting each other. The same happened and still happens elsewhere. Is there a Chaser who hasn’t received help towards completing a difficult contact? Ultimately it is the Activator that profits, it is heartbreaking to hump a load of gear up a summit and not qualify it. With all our aids it still can happen, particularly if you are well off the beaten track. Propagation is still a challenge even with SOTAwatch, I dipped out on GS0OOO/P again today (sigh!).


Brian G8ADD

I’m with Lee on this one although I suspect many would disagree with my solution.

SOTA is meant to be a challenge. Its not meant to be easy. Especially for the chaser who gets the easy end of the deal in the first place.

In the “good ole days” (tic) working a summit to summit was a bonus, due to not having easy access to spots. You either printed the alerts or memorised them. Now with mobile access to spots, they are actually easier than working many chasers (talking vhf) due to both participant advantagious positions.

One solution (puts tin hat on) would be the removal of the spots system altogether. Not the alerts but just the spots. Find it yourself, thats my motto. People used to worked DXCC and other award schemes before the internet and dx cluster type things came along.

The one downside is that an activator may not qualify a summit due to a lack of a spot. With the current trend of reports saying “I worked 84 on the summit today”, I’m not sure this would be a problem.

I’ll go and cower behind a large building now :slight_smile:


In reply to G7ADF:

With the current trend of reports saying “I worked 84 on the summit today”

The day I work 84 on a summit from up here is the day I’ll buy you a bottle of Scotch!


In reply to MM0FMF:

I’d best apply for 82 more callsigns then :slight_smile:

1 Like

In reply to G7ADF:

In reply to all,

Bearing in mind that my activation was not alerted, I asked Lee to spot me on 144.300. There was certainly nothing wrong with my signal, I have bought and was using the SB5 and it was a simple case of nobody monitoring 144.300.

Is 144.300 not the SSB calling frequency? and of course, there is the added chance of at least getting a Non-sota chaser on that frequency if none of the "regulars were about.

Whatever happened to “the activator is King”? hi. Certainly not an issue to be argued over.



In reply to GW0DSP:
Nothing wrong with your signal or proceedure mike I just wanted to make a point which is to the advantage of both activator and chaser,yes 144.300 is the call frequency as is 145.500 and others but activators normally qsy to a working frequency as you do.
In many occasion in the past the correct qsy frequency follow up has not been spotted unless the activator has self spotted his working frequency.
This is not about being top dog in the points and searching just protocol.
Normal proceedure when followed after the activator has alerted or self spotted on the call frequency is to spot the correct working frequency.
The activator is king ok,without them there aint no sota.Don.

In reply to GW0DSP:

The chaser is often using a high gain beam on VHF, and unless he is beaming in the right direction he will not hear a weak activation. In my case if I am beaming towards the North Pennines I may not hear a station in North Wales and certainly won’t hear one in Central or South Wales. My setup with an FT857 and a TS520S enables me to monitor no more than three channels at once (using dual watch on the 857) so I am usually monitoring both calling channels on 2m and 7118, or 144.300 + 5.3985 + 7118. Spots covers the rest for me.

I missed Mikes last activation simply because I was monitoring with the beam in the wrong direction.

We live in anarchistic times. I am sure that if spots were discontinued, some independant soul would start up another one!


Brian G8ADD

In reply to All:

Gotta say Ian that I think its a wonderful idea to get rid of spots. It would certainly put the meaning of achievement back into SOTA !! KEEP ALERTS OF COURSE !

Lets look at it in a simplistic form;

You switch your radio on, you wiggle your mouse so the PC comes out of sleep mode, you click on the fast icon for SOTA watch in your browser, you are now on the page, look down a list, aha ! I can works that, that, him, her, off you go to turn the VFO tune in, swap a radio report and a few flowery comments, done, next one, repeat as many times as posible, throw in the odd twiddle of rotator, pushing of band/tune button etc etc. WOW what an amazing achievement !
Radio for lazy, unambitious people with no spirit of adventure.

As far as spots are concerned there is no protocol or rule as they are not published anywhere for us all to see, so thats out the window for a start, spot what you want when you want ! But ultimately I am definately in favour of killing the spots facility and bring back the “Good Old Days”


In reply to G8ADD:

In reply to GW0DSP:

I am sure that if spots were

discontinued, some independant soul would start up another one!


Brian G8ADD

Called the DXCluster? ;o)

I don’t have broadband and rely on printing off a copy of the Alerts page in the early morning (Sotawatch2 doesn’t print off as nicely for me as the original). That gives me an approximate schedule for the day. With many other things taking up my time sitting in the shack playing radio all day only happens when the WX is poor…
Fortunately, if I’m out in the garage/garden etc. one of the local 2m FM net frequencies is very useful for gaining information on an activation - thanks mainly to Stewart G0LGS, Matt M3WDS and Frank G3RMD.

73 Graham G4FUJ