Maybe you’ve heard of DX spotting. There are web sites that list frequencies and times when a ham from a rare country has been spotted on the air. If you chase DX, you might watch one of these sites so you can pounce on a DX operator when he shows up.

SOTA has something like this too. There’s a web site where chasers will post your frequency and your summit when they hear you. This helps other chasers to find you when you’re on the air. Posting an entry to this site is known as “spotting” you. The entry itself is called a “spot.” (You have been spotted/observed/seen/heard.)

In fact, some activators even spot themselves. In some ham activities, spotting yourself is considered poor form. In SOTA, it is allowed and common. Don’t spot yourself in advance. Spotting means you are on the air right now. If you are planning to be on the air later, you can post that as an alert. An alert says, “I’ll be on the air at this time, on this frequency, from this summit.” A spot says, “The ham has been observed to be on this frequency from this summit right now.”

To spot yourself (or to spot another ham), go to

When you are spotted (whether you do it, or a chaser spots you), you can expect an immediate pile-up.

Hey coach… How can I spot myself if I don’t have Internet access on top of the mountain?

Here are some of the ways to get spotted: