Worst ever SOTA video

This is grim. It’s not merely an uncomfortable and difficult watch, but also mind-numbingly boring. In fact just don’t bother watching it under any circumstances. I’ll even tell you what it is to make sure you’re totally convinced not to click the link (as for all you true real radio enthusiasts, this will give you indigestion).

It is - me qualifying a SOTA activation using WSJT-Z to run FT8. WSJT-Z is a mod to WSJT-X that makes the process fully automated. Press the button, sit back, watch the QSOs being made, watch the activation being qualified!

If you actually manage to get through to the end of the video, there is a light dusting of snow. That’s undoubtedly one of the highlights. But the real action probably comes when I switch apps to JT Sync and use it to measure the DTs of a cycle of received stations, and in turn use that to recalibrate the tablet clock. Such excitement - not.

Do not click this - you can’t say you weren’t warned…


I braved it Tom, looks like a perfectly natural thing to do on FT8. You showed great skill working the software and radio to its full potential out there in the snow. A steady flow of chasers is what you want to make it worth your while.
Ian vk5cz …

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Well I guess you could leave the radio there and nip back to the car for a while.
But it did make me think how much more comfortable than operating CW.

Set it going, get into the tent & sleeping bag, make a brew, have dinner. A cigar perhaps. No more cold fingers. Apart from packing up!

I suppose you could count the snowflakes to pass the time.

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David, I think you’ll find the activator has to be in the AZ for a QSO to count.


Hi Tom

-Off topic on-
Are you planning to make a music remix of these sounds? Maybe it could be used in a new scifi thriller. :joy:
-Off topic off-

It looks like you have more time for the important things on the summit, eating snacks, enjoying the view…

Nice to see an other type of activation.:+1:
73 Sabrina HB3XTZ

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The thing that everyone’s missing, is that like most (all?) SOTA activators, I operate the modes I enjoy - this is my hobby. So I enjoy FT8, it entertains, amuses and stimulates me. As such, when on a summit activating with it, I’m going to be watching what’s going on with interest - it’s why I went up there, the thing I was looking forward to spending my free time doing! For sure, it does make it a little easier to pour my next serving of lobster & sausage soup from the flask, but my eyes are mostly glued to the screen!

There are other conversations about unattended operation and such, but irrelevant really as I’m there. I think once on another activation, I had to get out of the bothy bag shelter for “some reason or other”, and returned to find I’d worked three more stations. But I was never more than ten feet away!

Still opens up possibilities on many summits with wide, flat activation zones, that have the parking spots within them - Crownborough G/SE-007, Cheriton Hill G/SE-015, Detling Hill G/SE-013, Wendover Woods G/CE-005, Bishop Wilton Wold G/TW-004, Normanby Top G/TW-005, Botley Hill G/SE-005, Hegdon Hill G/WB-023, Ruardean Hill G/WB-021 etc etc etc. However, I refer back to the point I made earlier about the point of travelling, preparing and setting up to do something you enjoy - and then not actually “doing” it! Also, who in reality is going to leave £1000 worth of radio kit out there to fend for itself? And thirdly, it could be argued that even if the car is in the AZ, as soon as you get into it - then you the activator are not!

That reminds me, on an activation of The Cloud G/SP-015 once, a passer-by introduced himself as a musician/composer and asked if he could make some recordings of my “noise” for him to use in an experimental music project. I gave him my contact details so that he could forward me anything he came up with, but I don’t think I heard from him again.

Personally no, I’ve no interest in doing that. But someone actually did have the very same thought as you Sabrina! I have been working on some new stuff though. Not new music - but new video production for some recordings we made a couple of years ago. These will be on my YouTube channel from next Wednesday.

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If you have FT-8 running in fully automated mode - do you even need the boring screen. Why not use a small RPi and QRP trx with two terminals to attach the dipole. Tape it to the top of a Squiddy turn on the power, hoist it up in the air. Get the kettle on, say hello to the passes by, take a few photos and then when ready to pack up, lower the mast, turn off the power switch, pack everything up, go home and take a look at how well you did in your SOTA log, while drinking your cocoa - I presume uploading a log in the correct format is no problem for WSJT-z?

The advancement of the Radio Art - NOT!

73 Ed.

P.S. look-up FT8 - spoofing - that is where unbeknown to the FT8 operators, their signals are repeated to the other side of the world via the Internet. Both parties are over the moon at the DX they think they made, when they actually didn’t. Large remote controled station networks are being used to do this.


Another fanciful theoretical idea - that we all know would never happen in reality. I’ve spotted the central major flaw - has anyone else? :smiley:

That you don’t like Cocoa ?
The hacked WSJT version is only for Windoze at the moment? (but RPi can run a version of Win10).

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I reckon most licensed hams would have trouble getting FT8 going.

Then gettiing it going in a portable sense like Tom and others have is done even more taxing. It looks easy but I reckon a lot of time is consumed gettiing to the point where you can make it work on a summit. Simple things like: is the time? is that cable correctly connect to my sound card? can take ages to sort out. Then having the confidence in the S/W and your setup to let it run in an auto mode, thats the next level. Good on Tom and many others for exploring this part of the hobby.

I didn’t watch the video as I was prewarned…


You dont like cocoa?

Couldn’t find anything about “FT8 Spoofing” Ed. Have you got a link?

I guess this type of spoofing is theoretically possible for all modes, not just JT modes.

This is answered in post #6 of the thread Ed.

I haven’t actually tried that out yet, would you believe? Everything so far on my FT8 activations, has been logged, live at the time, by me with my pencil and waterproof paper notepad. Then typed into a CSV file for upload some time later, at home, for submitting to the Database.

However, WSJT-Z does produce an ADIF file that appears correct and reliable, and I do intend (when allowed out again) to try to transfer that to my home PC without the need for handwritten logs in my notepad.

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Covered in the latest Soldersmoke Podcast from Bill Meara.

73 Ed.

Exactly. Any fool can say it’s easy and not real or proper radio. But until they have demonstrated that have setup and run FT8 on a summit time and time again, I will treat their comments with a healthy dose of contempt.


You are overselling it. It’s far worse.


Hi Compton,
My experience is that once the hardware interfacing (CAT + Audio) has been sorted out for one mode e.g. RTTY, PSK, SSTV adding an extra software package such as WSJT-x or JS-Call or even FreeDV is fairly straight forward - it is only a case of running the install and then run through the needed configuration steps.

Now if you are saying most licenced hams would have issues with setting up the hardware interface for any digital mode, I would not say most but perhaps a large number.

73 Ed.

Theory and practice Ed, theory and practice.

Have you had FT8 QSOs from a SOTA summit as part of an activation and been able to succeed in FT8 QSOs every time you have tried? If you haven’t then your words are just your opinion and opinions are like backsides in that we all have one. :wink:

If you read my comment - it was a reply to Compton about setting up FT8 in general. I realise everything is more difficult on a summit (even after it has been set up at home and worked perfectly). My attempts to run PSK31 from an Australian summit 7 years ago were very dis-heartening. After about 2 hours I gave up as one thing or another failed on the old Android tablet feeding the FT-817. Murphy was there that day and that tablet never worked properly afterwards.

Setting up digital comms in the comfort of ones home, I have found to be repeatable - as I said once the hardware link is in place and working, installing a new software package is (for most amateurs) achievable or have you had different experiences?


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