What a Shame

What a Shame. not the best title I admit.

Reading in other threads the success from the Blackpool Rally and promotion of the Sota weekend it looked like a very busy event on all bands and new blood taking part both chasing and activating. So with chasers chatting on air about the event it was building up to a great event for all.

On the weekend the HF bands not being in the best conditions on SSB most used the CW shark pool as mentioned elsewhere so chasers went VHF to support the event and help the activators, but for some reason a lot of the old regular activators were missing from the event and also few chasers.

It was a shame that on the weekend of the event that there was over 350 spots and yet only around 10 per cent for the VHF bands which was the bread and butter bands for most people, with some activators not getting spotted and others having problems getting the 4 contacts required yet those who got spotted on VHF were chased by all on the band.

With some of the issues raised by others such as about being spotted some activators phoned a mate to let them know that you are about to start up the summit which is what used to happen this tells people that you have arrived safely and then can put a spot on with any details or weather report etc.

This was done this weekend by one of the top activators while chasing to let people know about a delay due to the weather conditions and has been proved to work for some time, just common sense it also saves all the time and effort of reaching a summit to find no chasers about.

As an example the lads who visited the Isle of Man recently to activate as many bands and modes were not spotted except for the one and only just managed the 4 contacts to get the summits claimed. There were plenty of chasers waiting on both HF and VHF but lost out on this great chance for all concerned.

I put a spot on asking for someone local to inform activators to turn the VHF beam towards the Midlands as people were waiting here and also from the South West and London areas.

The weekend was a successful event and fun was had by all, but some small minor issues about alerts and how to get spotted are being forgotten about in the excitement while making the preparations for the day out.

On behalf of chasers please alert and on behalf of activators please spot after contact extra contacts can always be removed but none at all is not helping others.

Activators need Chasers and vice versa so don’t be selfish and help each other reach their goals .

Thanks for having a read

In reply to G0TRB:
Hello Roger,

I agree with you 100%. Beside amateur radio gear on the mountain, spotting is very important for activator and helps activator to do successful activation and chaser to be informed about activity on the mountain. If I have a chance to spot a station, I spot it on SOTAwatch and on DXcluster. Period! And when I am high on the mountain I expect from other operators to do the same.

73, Milos S57D

In reply to G0TRB:

Interesting comments Roger. This was the first mass activation weekend covering all available frequencies and modes, so by the very nature of the event some aspects of the operation were going to be less than optimal.

I must say that I was pleased to be an activator and not a chaser. It must have been most difficult to keep track of what was happening and when. Everyone that used the alerts system used it in the normal way - alerting a start time and the bands to be activated. A problem arises when the activation period amounts to several hours and band order for one reason or another may not be as set out in the alert. I couldn’t even get the usual level of detail in my alert - there was not enough space to be specific and I had to rely upon indicating that I would be on my usual frequencies.

There are always going to be people that carry out an activation more or less on the spur of the moment. Some even prefer that. We are all different in that respect. Personally one of my aims is to contact as many chasers as possible and I organise my radio activities to that end. However, there were indeed several well known chasers absent from my logs on Saturday and contacts were rather slow due to the spread out nature of the activity. It was a time to have a bit of a chat and after many rushed 45 to 60 minute activations, it certainly made a pleasant change. Even the S2S contacts were very relaxed.

On the issue of spotting, I was sorry to read that some lost out by not getting spotted. My opinion is that chasers are not solely to blame for this. The activator should take responsibility for his / her operations and not rely on others. This is one reason why I run a little more power than the basic 817 so that I get heard a little more easily. I also try to have some form of Plan B in mind if contacts are not forthcoming. This can be the ability to self-spot, phone a friend or even to get onto 2m FM to enlist the assistance of one of the locals if there is no mobile phone coverage on the summit. All of these methods have worked for me in the past. No-one should expect to get up onto a summit and just make contacts even on an activity weekend - life’s not like that.

I can only speak from the point of view of an activator, but I take the points that you make Roger. I’m sure we have all learnt something new this weekend, even those that have been involved in SOTA since 2002.

73, Gerald

In reply to G0TRB:

350 spots and yet only around 10 per cent for the VHF bands

Possibly due to it being ‘International SOTA Weekend’ most people were doing HF. The alternative being either doing East coast summits or going QRO on VHF with a huge beam to try and get EU chasers. Most of the guys and gals who did HF were also doing VHF and a lot were heard by me working summit to summit contacts but were not spotted because I never found them on their own VHF frequencies.

I put a spot on asking for someone local to inform activators to turn the VHF beam towards the Midlands

Easier said than done when they have a pile up, have already worked me so they don’t want to work me again, are beaming away so can’t hear me in the pile up, are not using a beam, have low batteries because they have been at it all day, have already gone QRT or I am trying to work other activations through their pile ups.

On behalf of chasers please alert and on behalf of activators please spot after contact

I spotted Eleri MW3NYR/P on GW/NW-028 at 1607 and I finally got through the pile up and worked her at 1637. On Saturday I spotted several station who I never got to work because they had pile ups, turned their beams or went QRT before I could work them, please don’t assume that because someone spots an activation they can easily ask them to turn their beams

don’t be selfish

…and don’t assume we have worked someone because we spot them.

More than 10% of the spots yesterday were from me, Mike G4BLH had his fair share, there were a few from Richard G3CWI, but most of the others seemed to be from ‘phone a friend’ or self spotting. You have to ask who is really chasing and who is just following the Spots.

Regards Steve GW7AAV Who had a fantastic SOTA chasing weekend.

Glad you enjoyed it Steve, I did too. I agree with your comments Steve. To me, the increased amount of activity brings a proportionally increased amounts of “getaways”. In my case, I saw loads of VHF and HF S2S opportunities spotted, and heard loads on the bands. I failed to work many of them - but still ended up with far more S2S QSOs than your average weekend!

On Saturday we pretty much successfully self-spotted every band/mode change we did. On Sunday, we continued, until halfway through the day when the GPRS network suddenly deserted Kinder Scout! It was still possible to make a normal call though, and so this method was employed to phone Richard G3CWI to spot Jimmy on 3.610MHz SSB. Another way around the problem was working on 2m FM (as you suggested Steve) until getting a “known SOTA person” - in this case Charlie G0PZO - and requesting a spot for myself to go onto 3.557MHz CW. Many thanks to Richard and Charlie.

It only took an hour at the start of Saturday morning to realise that SOTA was going to be so busy that you couldn’t possibly work everything. Steve makes another excellent point, in that many S2S QSOs took place, but the QRG belongs to only one of those two stations - so a spot for the “visiting” activator isn’t appropriate.

As an aside, I have just noticed that Jimmy made 94 activator QSOs over the weekend - seems his rehabilitation from being SOTA’s most notorious “four and run” activator is complete!


In reply to M1EYP:

As an aside, I have just noticed that Jimmy made 94 activator QSOs over the weekend - seems his rehabilitation from being SOTA’s most notorious “four and run” activator is complete!

Helen and I were commenting on the same thing here, it is great to hear how confident and efficient an operator he has become. Jimmy’s ruthless put down to a chaser who just wouldn’t wait his turn had us ROFL and mopping coffee off our computer keyboards and monitors yesterday. Great stuff Jimmy, keep it up!

Regards Steve GW7AAV

In reply to GW7AAV:
I missed that! Good thing my keyboard is not next to the operating position ;o)

When I could get on the air (due to other activities), mainly on Sunday, I had a thoroughly enjoyable time chasing. I knew there was no chance to work everything, so mainly concentrated on UK (to help the WAB claims).


Hi Chasers,

The reason why I use to only make 4 contacts from a summit was because it use to be the law to keep a log book of everybody you would work if you were at home or signing portable. This was why I only ever use to make 4 contacts only because I found I annoying having to copy all the contacts I worked in a log book. I’ve started making more than 4 contacts since it wasn’t the law to keep a log book of all stations you worked when signing portable.

Jimmy M3EYP

In reply to M3EYP:

Or do it the easy way… keep one log book for “main station” operation and a separate one for portable operation.

Log on paper or whatever on the summit and then enter that into the database. Save database CSV data to “disk” at home for portable log.

Only one transcribing operation needed.