- Application permissions
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Spots list
- Alerts list
- Summit details
- Find summits
- Summits database
This documentation is a work in progress, and may not be complete.
SOTA Spotter is a simple application that retrieves spots from SOTAwatch3 and displays them in an easy to read manner.
Summits on the Air (SOTA) is an award scheme for radio amateurs and short wave listeners that encourages portable operation in mountainous areas. You can learn more about it at http://www.sota.org.uk/.
SOTA Spotter uses the following permissions:
- precise location (GPS and network-based) – In order to calculate distance and bearing to summits
- read the contents of your USB storage – Required for downloading and updating the summits database
- modify or delete the contents of your USB storage – Required for downloading and updating the summits database
- download files without notification – Required for downloading and updating the summits database
- read sync statistics – Required for the proper operation and progress indication of spot data synchronization
- create accounts and set passwords – Required for setting up the spot data synchronization account
- full network access – Required for fetching feed data
- control vibration – Required for triggering vibration notifications
- prevent device from sleeping – Required for keeping the device awake while downloading updates to the summits database
- toggle sync on and off – Required for enabling/disabling spot data synchronization
You can read the F.A.Q. here.
This is the first screen shown when you start SOTA Spotter. It displays the received spots in a list; if you want to see the Alerts list, you can click on Alerts at the top of this screen, or just use a swipe left gesture.
The following information is available for each spot:
- The spotted call sign
- The frequency and mode of operation
- The summit reference code
- The date and time (UTC)
- Any comments by the spotter
- The number of points awarded for this summit
There is also a button in the lower-right part of each spot which allows you to expand the spot view and get some additional information:
- The name of the activator
- Some information about the summit
- Who posted the spot
The current time (UTC) is displayed on the top of this screen.
This is also where you can access the main menu of the application, which allows you to go to Find summits, Settings, Help and About.
You can open a context menu by tapping and holding on a spot; this menu offers three options: Summit details, Edit spot and Delete spot. The Edit and Delete options are also available in the details section for each spot (visible if the spot view is expanded). Please note that you can only edit/delete your own spots!
Tapping on one of the spots will open the Summit details screen for the summit being spotted.
In the lower-right part of this list (not seen in the screenshot above) is a floating action button which allows you to open the Send spot screen.
While this list is visible, it is refreshed automatically. Once you exit SOTA Spotter new spots will only be received if the Background sync option is checked.
Here you can post new spots to sotawatch. With the exception of the Comments field, all the other fields are mandatory.
By checking the Remember spot data check box you can instruct SOTA Spotter to keep the form data and recall it the next time you open the Send spot screen. This is useful to SOTA activators, who may want to re-spot themselves quickly, without re-entering all the data from the beginning.
You can also choose the spot delivery method, which can be one of the following:
- Internet connection
- SMS gateway
Next to the SMS gateway option there is a small area where the currently active SMS gateway is displayed. In case a gateway is not selected, a warning appears instead.
By tapping on the active gateway or on the warning you can quickly get to the SMS gateways list and change the selection. No gateway is selected by default, and the selection is reset when the SMS gateways list is updated (this is done automatically over the internet, no action is required on your part).
If you use one of the SMS gateways set up by Andy MM0FMF (SMS_NA, SMS_VK, SMS), you can use some special characters in the Call sign field:
- ! (exclamation mark) – when entered instead of the call sign, causes the gateway to insert the callsign that is associated with the telephone number that sent the SMS text, followed by “/P”
- $ (dollar sign) – does the same thing as ! but without the “/P” suffix
- . (period) – when appended to the spotted call sign (any call sign), it suppresses the “/P” suffix
The following information is available for each alert:
- The activator’s call sign
- The planned frequencies and modes of operation
- The summit reference code
- The planned date and time (UTC) of the activation
- Any comments by the poster of the alert
- The number of points awarded for this summit
There is also a button in the lower-right part of each alert which allows you to expand the alert view and get some additional information:
- The name of the activator
- Some information about the summit
- Who posted the alert
You can open a context menu by tapping and holding on an alert; this menu offers three options: Summit details, Edit alert and Delete alert. The Edit and Delete options are also available in the details section for each alert (visible if the alert view is expanded). Please note that you can only edit/delete your own alerts!
Tapping on one of the alerts will open the Summit details screen for the corresponding summit.
In the lower-right part of this list (not seen in the screenshot above) is a floating action button which allows you to open the Send alert screen.
Here you can post new alerts to sotawatch. With the exception of the Activator name and Comments fields, all the other fields are mandatory.
By checking the Remember alert data check box you can instruct SOTA Spotter to store the form data and recall it the next time you open the Send alert screen.
This is where you can get some information about the summit:
- Summit code
- Summit name
- Number of points
- Association name
- Region name
- Geographical coordinates (latitude and longitude)
- Maidenhead grid square
- Distance from present location
- Bearing (degrees from north)
You can also easily send a spot for this summit and you can get some navigation directions in order to reach the summit.
There’s also a map which shows the summit’s precise position (the green marker) and its immediate surrounding area. You can choose to display your current location as well, by clicking on Show my location – a blue marker should appear on the map. If you need turn-by-turn directions on how to get to the summit you need to click on the green marker first, and then click on the icon. Google Maps should open and guide you further.
This feature uses your mobile device’s Location Services which may not be accurate. Be aware that hiking trails or other accessible paths may not be mapped correctly. If you feel that SOTA Spotter or Google Maps:
- provide you with erroneous directions for reaching a certain geographical location, or
- instruct you to perform an unsafe or illegal action, or
- places you or others in an unsafe situation, or
- directs you into an area that you consider to be unsafe
This is where you can find information about the summits from the SOTA programme.
Here you’ll see a list of summits that are nearby (in a roughly 100km radius around your current position). In order to use this feature you must first enable the Location services – SOTA Spotter will prompt you to do so if not already enabled. Tapping on a summit takes you to the Summit details screen, which also offers some navigation directions.
If you like, you can see all the nearby summits on a map. The colors of the markers on the map indicate the number of points assigned to each summit (red for higher point count). The blue marker indicates your current location on the map. Open the menu and select View on map.
Here you’ll see a list of summits from the selected association and region. Tapping on a summit takes you to the Summit details screen, which also offers some navigation directions.
If you like, you can see all the summits in the selected region on a map. The colors of the markers on the map indicate the number of points assigned to each summit (red for higher point count). Open the menu and select View on map.
The Settings screen is the place which allows you to configure SOTA Spotter. From look and feel to filters and notifications, everything is in here.
This is where you can set some general parameters for SOTA Spotter.
Allows SOTA Spotter to receive spots via push messages in the background (when the app itself is not visible to the user). This is useful for the notifications.
Note: Some Android settings may interfere with push notifications. Please check the F.A.Q. for a few tips if you have problems receiving spots in the background.
This section allows you to customize the way SOTA Spotter looks.
Choose the application colour theme. The available themes are:
- Blue Grey
You can adjust the font size for the texts throughout the application:
Choose the system of measurement used throughout SOTA Spotter:
- Metric (meters, kilometers)
- Imperial (feet, miles)
The SOTAwatch3 account allows you to use the service at https://sotawatch.sota.org.uk/ to send new spots. If you do not want or need to send spots you may skip setting the SOTAwatch3 user name and password.
Use the SOTAwatch3 account instead of the old SOTAwatch2 account. Your account may have been migrated from SOTAwatch2 to SOTAwatch3 automatically – please make sure you can login to SOTAwatch3 first.
The user name is the callsign you used to register at https://sotawatch.sota.org.uk/.
The password you chose for your SOTAwatch3 account.
This section gives you access to filters and notifications. Use the filters to drop (block) spots that are of no interest and the notifications to make the ones that do peak your interest stand out.
The filters and notifications are evaluated sequentially, in the order in which they are defined. For example, if you have defined a filter to drop spots from the 20m band and a sound/vibration notification for spots on the 20m band, the notification will never be triggered.
There are several types of filters and notifications: band, mode, callsign, association, region and summit. Any or all of these types can be set for any filter or notification.
The filters allow you to drop (block) or accept spots based on some criteria that you define for each filter.
Spots can be filtered by:
- Band: 160m, 80m, 60m, 40m, 30m, 20m, 17m, 15m, 12m, 10m, 6m, 4m, 2m, 70cm, 23cm
- Mode: AM, CW, DATA, DV, FM, SSB, Other
- Call sign
Any or all of these criteria can be used for a filter.
- The order of the filters is important. You can tap and hold and then drag a filter to change its position in the list.
- An incoming spot is checked with each filter until a match is found. The action of the matching filter is then applied to the spot (accept or drop) and the rest of the filters are skipped. If no match is found, the default filter action will be applied.
- You can only enable the Filter by region if the Filter by association is enabled and one association is selected. Similarly, Filter by summit can only be enabled if Filter by region is enabled and one region is selected.
This is the default action that will be applied to incoming spots that have passed through all the user-defined filters. By default it is set to accept all spots.
An incoming spot can trigger a notification based on certain criteria (the same as for filters). A notification can be accompanied by vibrations, by a ringtone, by a pulsing LED light and by a Text to Speech announcement.
- Vibrations: the phone will vibrate in a specific pattern – transmitting SOTA in morse code 🙂 – for notifications with Vibrate enabled
- Ringtone: a user-selected sound will be played whenever a notification with Ring enabled is triggered
- Pulsing LED: the device’s LED (if it has one) will pulse for notifications with Pulse LED enabled
- Text to Speech: the spot data (activator call sign, summit reference, frequency and mode) is read aloud for notifications with Read aloud enabled
- An incoming spot is checked against each defined notification until a match is found. If a match is found, a notification is triggered for the spot and appears in the notification area and the rest of the notifications are skipped.
- The notifications are only evaluated for spots that have been accepted after passing through the filters chain (either by a user-defined filter or by the default filter).
This is where you can choose the notification ringtone – for those notifications that have Ring enabled.
This section gives you access to settings related to sending spots. For now, a list of SMS gateways for spotting via SMS is available.
The SMS gateways allow you to send spots by sending a SMS to a certain phone number. The message contains all the information needed to send a spot to sotawatch. SOTA Spotter can compose the SMS automatically and send it to the selected gateway.
This list is read-only, meaning you cannot add a SMS gateway yourself. If you are the owner of such a gateway and you would like to have yours added to this list, please contact me.
In order to use a gateway, you have to check it in this list (by tapping on the corresponding bullet to its left). By tapping on the name/number in the list you can access some more information about the gateway, like the carrier and country, as well as a short description written by its owner and a URL for extra details.
Sending SMS may incur additional costs. The price for sending an SMS may vary based on the carrier to which the SMS is being sent. Please check with your mobile carrier for the relevant fees for sending SMS to the countries/carriers of the gateways.
Here you can decide how to handle the summits database updates. You can either have it update automatically or you can update it on demand.
By default this option is enabled. When enabled, SOTA Spotter periodically checks online to see if a newer version of the summits database is available. If there is, it is updated automatically.
This feature uses your mobile device’s internet connection to download a file which is at least 18MB in size. If you have a limited data plan you should leave this option disabled and only perform manual updates when your device has internet access through a WiFi connection.
Note: If you use a VPN, it may interfere with the download process and the summits database update may fail. If you’re experiencing issues, try disabling your VPN and then retry performing a database update.
This is where you can manually check for and download the latest summits database.