If you are new the chasing SOTA using CW like me, then you know there is a lot to learn. Here is a quick tip that I found helpful. In addition to using SOTAwatch, pull up a Reverse Beacon Network (RBN) spot report for the callsign you are chasing. These two tools together will help in making the contact.
Unlike SOTAwatch, the RBN spot report will continue to update giving you more information such as if the activator is continuing to call CQ on the frequency or if they have moved. I use it as a second data source helping to find the station I am trying to chase.
For example, I often chase Dan NA6MG (a Mountain Goat with 650+ summits activated). Recently he was up in the Northern Desert region of California activating numerous summits but his spots were only occasionally making it onto SOTAwatch. Using the RBN spot report was a great additional tool to help find him on the bands.
This is the base URL to use:
The key information is the callsign “na6mg” towards the end of the URL. Just replace “na6mg” with the station callsign you are chasing. Make sure to use lowercase letters only and the “&t” must stay in the URL. So using my callsign, KX6A, it would be:
I make a habit of bookmarking the searches so I can pull them up again. If you are new to chasing SOTA using CW hopefully this will help you as much as it has helped me.
Update – if you don’t like hacking URLs you can use the RBN spot search function. Make sure to select search for a DX station.