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Wot! No SSB?

A whole day has gone by without any spots for activations (in and around Europe) using the SSB mode. Is that quite unusual?

I must brush up on my CW!


In reply to 2E0FGQ:

It’s unusual but not unique. And yes, CW is the way forward!



In reply to 2E0FGQ:
Go the CW way, if only because it leaves a mouth free for drinking coffee.


In reply to G3CWI:

It’s unusual but not unique. And yes, CW is the way forward!

Odd, that, because from a historical point of view, CW is the way backward! :wink:

Still, you can’t blame QRP-ers for avoiding the challenge of SSB…


Brian G8ADD

In reply to 2E0FGQ:

It has been going CW for many months now and a lot of the UK SSB activators have turned to FM handhelds even those who use FT817 FT857 multimode gear.

You will hear activators say there is no one on SSB this is down to the activators not alerting and those that do alert never try SSB long enough to find out therefore the chasers get fed up and switch off.

It is the leemings efect of follow my leaders .

If you play with the data base results using the filters it shows an array of results .

The other thing is to find another award program that includes more SSB activity.


CW is a discontinued mode in most situations,can’t see it as the way forward.
I must admit to finding other things to do now and missing a lot of activations due to lack of posting.
We will hear of the purists who think that you should seek and find but I have another life and don’t wish to sit glued to a radio.G0RQL.

I would be interested to hear which awards programmes have more SSB activity than SOTA. There have been 1632 SOTA activations on SSB so far in 2012, with the numbers of QSOs into the tens of thousands. 342 of these activations have been in England. The UK total is 452 portable operations on SSB so far in 2012.

As an activator, my own QSOs (by mode) from the summits so far in 2012 have been as follows:

CW: 534
SSB: 382
FM: 48


In reply to G0TRB:

I have been observing the relative popularity of the various modes in SOTA. I just looked at the last 72 hours of spots and found 160 spots for CW, 115 for SSB and 48 for FM - plus a solitary data spot! This won’t be exact because of multiple spotting but as this problem afflicts all modes I reckon it is close enough for jazz. This included the weekend, but I also did a midweek survey last week at 12:00 on the 19th and counted 190 on CW, 46 on SSB and 23 on FM.

Superficially, CW has taken over as the most popular mode and might be thought to be displacing the voice modes, but it isn’t as simple as that. What appears to be happening is that SSB is remaining at about the level of recent years, FM is apparently diminishing, and many more people are joining in on CW. In other words the continuing expansion of SOTA is favouring CW but not at the cost of established SSB activity. FM is more interesting: I suspect that fewer people are spotting FM rather than it becoming less popular, because I know of several recent FM activations that did not get spotted.

OK, so much for the evidence of the spots, but what does the database tell us? Well, it is an amazingly different story! Go to the Activator Roll of Honour, click on All Associations, select 2012 and All Bands, and run through the different modes. This gives you 222 activators on CW, 330 on SSB and 468 on FM. Of course, the number of people activating isn’t necessarily the same as the number of activations, but it does suggest that merely counting spots isn’t giving a true picture either.

Obviously more analysis is necessary, but the present figure suggest that the voice mode enthusiasts (of which I am perforce one) have nothing to be despondent about.


Brian G8ADD

In reply to G0TRB:

“this is down to the activators not alerting”

What`s the point Roger when your alerts get censored ?

In reply to G1INK:

Hello Steve

You clearly see some point to alerting as I note that you have an alert on SOTAwatch!



In reply to G1INK:

“What`s the point Roger when your alerts get censored ?”

Alerts that follow the rules are never censored, in fact in the whole history of SOTA only a handful of alerts have ever been censored. These were alerts on behalf of people excluded from the reflector, alerts that included little digs at the MT or other activators, and alerts for other award schemes. Since there are several thousand alerts each year the simple odds against getting censored are in the region of thousands to one against, so censorship should play no part in this story.


Brian G8ADD

Hello all

CW is a great mode and of course in terms of effciency it wins hands down. However of course not everyone can decipher morse, however most people can speak! So SSB in terms of audience and effciency has to be the mode to go for.

I suppose that 2m FM is a popular mode because it is dead simple, a slim jim can be made for about 5 pounds and then with Chinese HH you can get a 5 watt rig for about £60 or you can buy a decent Japanese HH (Yaesu VX-150/170 whatever number they are now) for about £90. Its light-weight and in a densely populated area everyone normally has a rig for 2m FM.

I suppose as a chaser of 2m I should really consider putting an additional beam vertically polarised for FM chasing, but inevitably the neighbours would not be best impressed. Vertical beams are really not very good on the eye.

I think I would work alot more in SP and NP if this was the case, it seems as if 2m SSB is barely used up there, such a shame because there is such a good legion of chasers on 2m SSB in the West Midlands, London and the South West!

Still if i can hear them and understand them I will work them!! That’s ultimately what its all about, perhaps when I have more free time I will put the effort in and learn some CW

73 all

Matt G8XYJ

Correct Brian. The ratio of SSB activity might be diminishing, but the raw number certainly is not.

Spots are a poor way of sampling the distribution, because CW spotters are much more active in using SOTAwatch Spots than SSB or FM spotters are. Also, CW activations tend to attract multiple spots, much more than phone activations do.

I disagree with Don that CW is something that is “discontinued”. That is only the case with professional use, but not with amateurs, where it remains extremely popular due to its efficiency and enjoyment.

In terms of activator QSOs, CW accounts for 44% of all SOTA activity, while SSB represents 28% of the total. With FM showing as 27% and other modes statistically negligible, we see that phone modes are accounting for just over half of all SOTA activity, and CW for just under half.


It is only polite to post an alert of a forthcoming activation. After all, many chasers have things to do during the day other than sit in front of a radio listening. I’m not a chaser, but I would imagine it would be extremely frustrating to get back from doing the weekly shopping to find the last summit you needed to complete a region has been activated and you could have worked it had you been warned in advance.

As for whether as a chaser you should arm yourself with a knowledge of CW, well that’s entirely a personal matter. According to Tom’s statistics you are potentially halving the opportunity to work activators… but that’s simple maths and life is not like that. :slight_smile:

73, Gerald G4OIG

In reply to G4OIG:

According to Tom’s statistics you are potentially halving the opportunity to work activators… but that’s simple maths

Far too simple. So simple as to be wrong!

My numbers were numbers of QSOs. But CW activations tend to have more QSOs on average than phone activations. CW might account for 44% of all the on-air activity in SOTA, but it only accounts for around 20% of the activations taking place.

Around 80% of all summit activations include a phone mode.

Thank goodness life is not like simple maths. :slight_smile:

The impression that CW is dominant, or “taking over” is false. The impression arises because (a) CW activations have lots more QSOs on average than phone activations, and (b) CW activations are more consistently spotted (and repeat-spotted) than phone activations.

If a summit is going to be activated, chances are it’s on a phone mode. But in the unlikely event it’s on CW, then it will have loads of QSOs and spots!


In reply to M1EYP:
It’d be interesting to see how those ratios have changed from year to year, both for activations and for total numbers of QSOs. Chaser logs would probably need scanning too, as not all activators log all activations. Clearly, as some activations cover multiple modes, they’d count in all the appropriate columns so the total’s going to exceed 100%. :wink:

I’m only using phone modes at present. From my QTH using the antennas I have available, I can only reach at most a dozen summits with VHF and higher. My HF rigs and antennas expand the range considerably, but I’ve yet to contact any SOTA activations outside Europe, though I have once or twice been able to hear North American activations on HF SSB.

To get any further using phone modes I probably need to put some beams up, but I think I’ll let the neighbours get used to my current antenna array first…

Meanwhile, Morse is presenting me with a learning cliff that’s far more challenging than the Advanced exam was…

73, Rick

In reply to thread:

With regard to repeat spotting, at times when the activity is high and repeat spots are bulking up the red highlighted (or active) spots to the point where on the spots page you have to scroll to see the older active spots, then I intend to delete the older duplicates. The idea is to keep all active spots in view without having to scroll down, this will benefit the people who do not keep the spots page on screen full time and I hope will decrease the reaction time of people clicking to the spots page, which will help activators get more contacts.
In other words, don’t worry if spots start vanishing at busy times.


Brian G8ADD

I would have thought it makes more sense to delete the repetitive spots that are unnecessary telling us the activator is 59 in somewhere, at least the original spot gives the approx time of activation.G0RQL.

In reply to G8ADD:

Logged activator QSOs by mode and date.

2012 : CW = 51552, SSB = 33990, FM = 26915 ****** (only to Apr-24 )
2011 : CW = 167276, SSB = 111151, FM = 85220
2010 : CW = 120006, SSB = 66247, FM = 45650
2009 : CW = 108158, SSB = 53133, FM = 40130
2008 : CW = 92977, SSB = 41068, FM = 42073
2007 : CW = 43771, SSB = 38965, FM = 37493

Distort to fit whatever propaganda you wish to promulgate! :wink:


In reply to MM0FMF:

Hi Andy . Your list shows QSOs per mode which can fit any table as some SSB operators make a lot more contacts each activation over CW or FM thus adjusting the balance,

So can the numbers for Activations and not total contacts be shown as CW SSB FM , then that will may show that there are more Activations using CW than SSB or FM ,