What has happened to the RBN Hole?

As far as I can tell, the RBN Hole’s last spot was on Thursday at 10:38Z.

John N0TA and I activated a wonderful 3621M summit on a fine fall day today, but we had to call CQ on 20 and 30M CW today, with perfectly good equipment, for 15 minutes before we got a single contact.

Our chasers were so busy chasing other activations that they took forever to find us.

Yesterday I had a similar slow start on another wonderful high summit - a first activation - it was very slow to get spotted on SOTAWatch - but by the end I made 58 contacts - propagation was awesome!

Does anyone else notice the loss of this major tool?

We’ll be out tomorrow again - please hunt for us on the RBN and spot us if you possibly can.

Thanks and 73,


I’ll take a look later. It should auto restart, but I was going to add monitoring sometime soon to help answer the “where’s RBNhole?” questions.

Well, that was unexpected. The underlying database had exited of its own accord, probably after my last patching session. Restarted now.

Hi Andrew,
I know you only set up RBN-Hole as a temporary fix until the old auto-spotting RBN system could be set up again. Has recovery of that system now been abandoned? I know that its owner went SK, but there was talk of getting the code and running it somewhere else initially.

It’s great that your “temporary system” has been running so reliably!


Basically, RBNHole is as permanent as most ‘temporary’ IT fixes tend to be. After a rewrite I began to feel more confident with it’s reliability (while not 100%, it’s usually there), and from there it was a toss up between bothering Eric’s widow to look harder for the code, or to go with what we’ve got. Given the stress his widow was/is under, I think we can live with RBNHole.



Thank You!

John N0TA and I were out in South Park, Colorado, activating today, and the RBN Hole worked just great for both of our activations.

We really appreciate your effort to improve your version and to keep it running! We had a tight schedule today, with two summits, and the “Hole” saved us valuable time. We were up on one particularly windy summit at 9500 feet - my guyed pole was singing, and the wire was flying around - yet we got spotted quickly, so we were able to do our activations more efficiently.

Your current version has been working really well for a long time!

Thanks again!



Totally agree Andrew. The last thing a widow wants to be bothered with is looking for something for her deceased husband’s old hobby friends.


An issue I might add is propagation from where you are to the RBN receiving station could be dodgy, if its not an IT problem.
Here in vk5 most of my RBN spots are picked up by a vk4 station probably 1000km away or more, I forget his call sign but i have seen my spot put on by a vk4 station.
Glad you are still out and about George i do listen for you but conditions are way down on a couple years ago when i used to work you quite frequently. I am up to 571 activating points now so all going well I should be about 2 more seasons away from Goat.
regards Ian
CZ e e

This is more an issue in Asia than elsewhere. Here we basically have VK4CT and occasionally Andrew VK3JBL’s skimmer up and about, plus ZL2HAM. For a while there, it basically was VK4CT. There’s a few more in Japan for the JA SOTA folks, but even they seem a bit hit and miss. Most of the European SOTA activators get picked up by 3 or 4 skimmers on average :slight_smile:

Of course, you can always check if you made it to the RBN at their website, and if you weren’t spotted after that, then it’s either an RBNHole fault (likely) or an operator fault (no alerts, alert window wrong, etc)


The RBN Hole might be down again now - last spot I see was Monday at 10:42 Z - over 24 hours ago.

I’m going out again today - with other activations competing for chasers at about the same time - might be a rough start.



Yep, something is causing the database to crash semi-regularly. I will investigate, in the interim there may be a bit of up and down.

Should be back up for now. I’ll dig into it a bit more later.

Edit: Out of memory, applying various tuning fixes now to reduce expanded query sizes.