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Use of remote controlled transmitter to chase SOTA activators


All chaser contacts made from anywhere count for points. If I spend a month in Europe and work a bunch of stations under the callsign M/NF1R, those all count the same as contacts made from my home station.

As long as there is not a geographic limit on where chaser contacts are made from, I see no reason why there should be a geographic limit on which remotely operated rigs can be used to make contacts for SOTA. There is no “merit” in the fact that some hams can afford to buy airline tickets to remote DX locations or have the time to tour Europe on SOTA vacations. Some of us are just saving aviation fuel, and travel time, by accessing remote HF rigs instead of going on vacation DXpeditions. For example, I made about a dozen chaser contacts as IT9/NF1R from the Remotehamradio.com site on Sicily. If I had spent $1200 on an airline ticket to Sicily, would that somehow have counted for more in the eyes of the anti-remote-rig folks? Would those contacts work more to the activators that I worked? If so, why?

I think a lot of the opposition to use of remotely operated rigs is that it has reduced the scarcity of DXing opportunities, and has thereby devalued DX accomplishments made under previous technologies. When everyone can log on to a remote rig feeding a 4-element monobander to work a remote DX station, it seems a bit too easy, at least to the old timers. But is the problem with the technology, or with an antiquated system where people with lots of time and money on their hands get all the good DX?

What we are seeing is typical conservative reaction to liberating technology. Instead of banning the technology, there are lots of other ways to make radio more challenging. Climbing mountains is what this program is mostly about, and remote rigs are never going to interfere with that. There’s no way that remote rigs are ever going to make that part of the program easy.

In any case, we are all doing this for fun, and the chaser rankings aren’t a contest, right? Right?



SOTA does not make a value or technical distinction between the Activator that makes a 6,000ft mountain climb and the Activator that drives up to a summit with the requisite YOYO on foot, so why does it matter if a chaser uses a remote station (legal issues aside)?
It’s ultimately a personal journey, despite our enthusiasm for equating size with power :wink:


Just made a contact with Mike 2E0YYY on Gun G/SP-013 using a remote SDR in Spain. I transmitted to Mike direct from Australia and received a 5x2, but could not copy direct so used the remote RX. I gave him a 1x1 :slight_smile: Never tried this before but it is one way to get around local QRM. I don’t regard it as a valid SOTA contact - just a bit of fun and to prove that it is possible.
Gerard - VK2IO


I’m an old timer but I think that we do need to adapt to technology. Oh how I would have liked to spot myself back in 1970 when on a peak 200 km from the big city and getting no response to my CQ’s on 2 m. Perfectly OK today.

I think it’s OK to use a remote station for SOTA chasing provided none of the local rules governing AR operation are broken. Also I don’t see why I can’t use my local clubs remote station. ie not my personal station but maybe I own 1% of it. And if the Club I join is in DL land it’s the same deal.

The airfare vs remote costs have been aired but surely that’s not relevant.

I can see why remote operation is not accepted for DXCC. But the basic idea of DXCC is different to SOTA where you can chase from anywhere. So why not from a remote?

As for remote receiving to overcome local noise issues I would accept that if the remote site were within say 100 km of my home tx site. Tx from home Rx from next door to the activator is neither fish or fowl and fair game to be stomped on.




This issue is considerably more important to some chasers than others and it is most definitely “a good thing” that we discuss it. There’s a lot more to the issue than a simple yes/no. My own concern is that any rules changes need to be well thrashed out and we need to ensure we don’t limit ourselves from some useful technological avenues.


I don’t think so, Clayton. Not in my case, anyway. In a hypothetical case where you can dial around the world to find a remote TRX that can give you access to an activation that you can not hear from your home station, it offends a certain sporting instinct. It is analogous to what is called a “browning shot”. For me the thrill of success is me and my equipment making contact with an activator and his equipment with or despite the conditions at the time. It isn’t about making contacts “by hook or by crook”, it isn’t about envy of people with better equipment, conditions or location, it is about me where I am, using MY equipment and antenna and the current condition of the Earth/Sun machine, my listening and operating skill to make contacts. For me using somebody else’s remote rig debases the achievement. It is on a par with an activator ascending a mountain by cable car and operating from a picnic table at the terminal - within the rules, perhaps, but dragging down a mountain by technology so no achievement…and I speak as one who has toiled up the slope below the White Corries cable car to skirt the skiing area and walk the Blackmount Range in Scotland. I could no more activate GW/NW-001 after a ride up on the mountain railway than I could fly to the moon. You might scoff at this as purism or being a Luddite but it is a deeply held conviction and I owe nobody any apology for holding it.



I tend to agree with you Brian, I am not competing with others, just doing it in my quirky way, enjoying little successes and learning from mistakes. I would not cry foul if others want to use remote equipment - as mentioned, SOTA is not a level playing field for lots of reasons, and is not a contest. So I don’t have a view on whether rules are needed in this area.
But to me, it does seem a bit like using a net in a stream where others are fly fishing :smile:

Edit: For those who cannot fit in an antenna, or have an impossible local noise level, using a single remote TX/RX is IMHO entirely valid whether they own it or not. The sort of circumstance that would make it very difficult to justify and enforce a rule…



(rant warning) Why don’t we just make contacts on the modern Internet and forget about grappling with an actual ionosphere and needing to launch antiquated signals into the air?. Jeesh. Why have any rules at all if it’s just about having fun? This is absurd. On the other hand, with so many able bodied individuals doing one drive-up summit after another after another, maybe SOTA “integrity” is a mirage.
(end of rant)

Sorry for the rant. Bottom line, MT needs to take a strong stand: Any amateur using a foreign remote radio needs to sign “/XX” to indicate the actual entity of the transmitter, and those chasing points needs to go in a separate account, not the chasers home account.

Barry N1EU


And there is the dilemma in a nutshell. Many would agree that using a single remote to overcome impossible limitations at the home QTH would be acceptable, but again many would agree that opportunistic hopping about as a guest on a multiplicity of remote stations is not playing the game. How do we decide on acceptable limits, or even if there are acceptable limits - and how do we police them?



I think the remote station is already forced by local laws to sign XX/OperatorCall or in a similar way.

As I see it, there is absolutely no way I could operate legally from a remote station in another country and sign as YU1WC. The rules are same as if I am being physically present at the remote station location. Depending on remote country regulations, the license I hold and my preferences, I could sign with my call issued by the authorities of that country, with the call of the remote station or just with XX/YU1WC (xx is the country prefix).

This issue has been discussed in detail by the contesting community, and the final conclusion is something like this (part of CQWW rules):

Remote operation is permitted if the physical location of all transmitters, receivers, and antennas are at one station location. A remotely operated station must obey all station license, operator license, and category limitations. The call sign used must be one issued or permitted by the Regulatory Authority of the station location.
Remote receivers outside of the station location are not permitted.

MT could adopt a similar stand, and decide whether the chasing points go to a separate account or not.

Fric YU1WC


Yes but in this case you were signing IT9/NF1R and I have no issue with that (as long as it’s allowed by the Italian authorities). If you had been transmitting as NF1R from a station in Italy, this is where things become a little grey. The (EU) activating station believes he has worked DX into NA, which is not the case.


Barry (N1EU):

I understand your position and you may be surprised to hear that I agree with some of the spirit of what you’re saying.

I thought, from a legal standpoint, it was obvious that you had to sign with the callsign of another entity. I thought that was always the rule for reciprocal operation.

I’d have no problem with adopting a rule similar to DXCC’s, which seems to be what you’re proposing. There should be separate accounts for all chasing that is done from separate countries. When I started doing SOTA I was surprised to find that all chaser contacts from anywhere count for points. We could basically adopt a home-radius rule like Worked All States, but that would mean that many S2S contacts and chaser contacts would have to be recategorized for chasing-points purposes. And the whole organization is run by volunteers.

I think the sporting advantage that remote radios provide is overstated. About 90% of my QSOs have been from two stations in NY and a station in San Joaquin, CA that propagation-wise is only a stone’s throw from my HOA-limited home QTH. Other than allowing me to work western stations on long skip and one-hop propagation to the East Coast stations, it’s not some huge advantage. The number one thing that seems to set apart the Super Sloths (who I still have no chance of catching) is really excellent ears and lots of time for ham radio. Even with RHR it would take me a decade to catch up to their current standings.

I agree with G8ADD that there is less “thrill of the hunt” from these contacts than others. For the same reason that contesting has gotten boring (with much of it consisting of “point and click” on an RBN-generated band map), it’s more fun and usually a greater challenge to work stations from one’s own station that one has put work into. On the other hand, it is also sometimes a lot of fun to be able to sit at my kitchen table and run stations on 20M CW using a tribander located on the other side of the country, or to hear what SOTA pileups and local propagation sound like from EU.

Overall, I’d like to see room (and credit) for both in the hobby and SOTA.



Hi NF1R,

Good to hear from some one who has some experience using a remote station rather than the arm chair theorists.

I’d just like to repeat my earlier statement. DXCC has a different objective and different Rules to SOTA. Operating from multiple summits and summits in other countries would not cut the ice with DXCC. Lets focus on what the objectives of SOTA are.



Well said Brian, that is the spirit of SOTA.



The SOTA rules already say:

Both Activators and Chasers must at all times operate within the terms of their licence.

For activators there’s additional clarification (in section 3.7.1) which makes it clear that activators must operate under the same conditions as their own licence.

If chasers were likewise required to operate under the same conditions as their own licence would that clarify the remote station issue? (I assume a remote station would have its own licence, but I don’t know nearly enough about the licensing of remotely operable stations to say under what circumstances a remote station might be operating “under the same conditions” as the person using it.)

I suspect a rule requiring TX and RX at the same site may need adding, too. The bit from the CQWW rules quoed by Fric @YU1WC may make a good starting point.

I’ve chased SOTA (not always successfully) from several DXCCs on three different continents so far. I see no point in requiring chasers to keep contacts made from different DXCCs (or whatever) in different database accounts. One of the aims of SOTA is to encourage folk to go places other than home and operate from there, and I don’t see why that should only apply to activators.

73, Rick M0LEP


Hi Rick,
In the situation where a US station operates a remote station in (e.g.) UK - he (or she) should certainly NOT operate under the same coditions as his/her licence as in this case the bands are smaller and the allowed power is less. He (or she) needs to operate with the licence conditions of where RF is beng emitted, and use the correct call sign (here the question of whether the CEPT reciprocal agreement and the call sign to be used applies here is still open).



Each to their own. SOTA is a personal challenge.
For me though, operating a remote Tx via the Internet is in the same category as using a terrestrial repeater or echolink. They all have their place as means of communicating, but I don’t think they belong in SOTA.
That’s my personal view and I won’t die in a ditch if the MT rule it’s valid


I guess I assumed that unless the chaser is licenced to operate from the country in which the remote station is situated then the chaser shouldn’t be using the remote station anyway, and from that it follows that conditions apply to their activity in that country, and the remote station must operate within those conditions…

Yeah, that’s a perfect example of a situation where the transmitter in the remote location falls under a licence which is most likely not the same as the chaser’s own. (Then again, most of the accessible Echolink nodes I’ve heard of have been repeaters anyway.)