You're in the middle of a pile up and...........(a CW one)

A handful of times I’ve been busy answering callers when someone calls me up and starts to tell me their name - “Bob” , radio, QTH, aerial/antenna system…etc., then of course reply with…HW? expecting an answer to each item.

I try to answer very briefly (RST 559 TU 73 ) as that seems the polite thing to do

But last week after I answered by just replying with RST & TU -

The caller came back with:- “PWR ? K”
I told them.
Then they asked “ANT ?”
I told them.
Then they asked;- "QTH pse ?.

I guess replying with, " QRL with SOTA" and/or " PSE QSY"/ or “QRX later” would
go over their head.

How do you deal with this sort of thing in the early part of an activation when things are rather busy?



I’ve not had that happen but I would be tempted to send


and hopefully I’d be called by another chaser and the first station would get the message.


It probably wouldn’t be a problem for me as my limited CW skills don’t extend much beyond an exchange of callsigns and RST. Anything more would be a struggle, especially on a summit.

But as suggested, either ignore them and call CQ again or, if your skills are up to it, complete the QSO on their terms and move on.


That’s funny nothing like a bit of extra banter on the summit HI. Aren’t you a grumpy lot.
I think you just have to weather the storm and do your best to work through it. I have had the odd time like that but very rare here in VK, not many CW ops on air who would take a chance on an extended conversation when I am activating. Bank it as CW practice and be grateful he called you, its only a hobby you know.
Ian vk5cz …


Hi Dave

I would probably answer one question and then do as Richard G4TGJ suggests, finishing my brief over with 73 QRZ SOTA de G4OBK/P without listening too hard for the questioner to respond but listening for others who will be likely be calling me and then I would call the strongest station without further delay.



You have every right to be extremely brief in exchanges. But remember that the person on the other end has every right to ask you for a real RST, QTH and your name.
Not everyone does SOTA and there are many who want to know the performance of their stations by listening to the real RST, many who are looking for cities and others who are simply dense and heavy.
These types of operators are the exception and not the norm, so be patient and then carry on with your business.
73, Takeo


A few times it happened to me, too - but rather towards the end of an activation, when I was already calling CQ. In such cases exchanging details about equipment or QTH is no problem.
When it should happen in the middle of a pile up I’d use his name (which he already told me) and tell my QTH (“SOTA REF DM/BW***”), maybe twice. Next, I’d try to indicate politely that this is the end of the QSO (“TNX QSO 73 AWDH/CIAO/HEJ/AHOJ/DSW/…”) and continue with the next caller.

73, Roman


Of course… there are still HAM who don’t know what SOTA is… who happen to be on the frequency and who hear the CQ call or the pileup and answer it. Fortunately, the number of ignorant people is decreasing.

OK - it has also happened to me that someone tried to force a smalltalk QSO on me in the pile up. I then politely send my name and as QTH: SOTA and the summit ref. and then immediately TNX QSO 73 … I usually get 73 back and the matter is closed.

In my experience it is very important

  • to always use SOTA in the CQ call: CQ-SOTA, CQ-SOTA,… de…

  • Try to keep this QSO as short as possible without being rude.

  • Avoid queries that prolong the QSO!

73 Armin


If, exceptionally, someone at SOTA sends me the name in addition to the RST, or even more rarely, the full “list”, I always answer 1:1, at least.

Why? Because this reminds me of my beginnings in the 70’s when it was still common to exchange the full “list” - using a straight key at 80-100 cpm, and of course without any (perceived) hurry.

So why should we just shut up newbies or people interested in details on the frequency bands?

It’s not as if SOTA has recently also been used as an abbreviation for
Simplification Of the way To Answer?

73/44 tks, Heinz


My experience is that the first caller, who is often not a frequent chaser may do this. So perhaps this only happens 1 in a 100 qso’s

First rule, be courteous. This person may be that illusive 4th contact you need tomorrow.
Second rule, this is not a contest, take a little time and answer the q’s, then move on with QRZ…
Remember this is a hobby.

Kind regards


The downside is that SOTA activators may get the kind of reputation that a certain other scheme has got.

My thoughts entirely.

73, Gerald


Hi Dave,

Such situation is always a challenge for our patience. The best solution is:

By the way: no less annoying is when chasers are repeating their callsign several times during a QSO, usually these are recorded messages …

73, Jarek


Well said David!

Reading through the replies it looks like there’s no ‘magic’, reply - just be polite!




I’ve had similar situations to the one you mention in your post, but not exactly the same.

I always try to be courteous in all my QSO’s.

When a chaser wants a chatty QSO I am happy to oblige as long as I have got my 4 QSO’s, and there aren’t any other chasers calling me.

I always try to end a QSO with AR VA, so the chaser knows that’s the end of the QSO.

If you have a mini pile-up you could always end the current chatty QSO, and then immediately call the next station for a QSO.

Another option would be to end the QSO, then immediately go into your CQ SOTA call.

Sending QRL with SOTA seems another good one to me.

But at the end of it all, if you have a chaser who is really persistent, he may continue to call you.



They may have good intentions or they may be trying to control the QSO.
Being polite is of course necessary but a TU 73 QRZ VK? might extricate you.