Twitter and QRPSPOTS

Even as my new smart phone continues to prove its worth, new justifications for its purchase keep trickling in.

I’ve been using QRPSPOTS (on the computer, in the shack) for a while now to find out who’s operating afield but will soon need a way to post spots from afield myself. From Guy N7UN’s tutorial here, Martin VA3SIE’s here and from a recently-downloaded app for Twitter called Seesmic, I think I’ll be good to go in short order.

The reason for all this is for my upcoming stint as K6JSS/5. For part of my time using this callsign I plan to be operating afield myself, using an Index QRP+, Elecraft T1 autotuner and an inverted V antenna from an area park.

Once set up, I’ll post my freq to QRPSPOTS.

All this is theory at the moment – I have to be “followed” in order to be able to send a direct message. I guess that will happen soon enough, then I’ll test the procedure, or rather my interpretation of it.

As for the QRP+/T1 rather than my KX1 with its built-in tuner – frequency agility. The higher bands have been in decent shape lately and I’d like the option of operating on them. I’m thinking 15, 17 and 30 meters.

Apologies in advance for the test spot(s) I’ll be posting/twittering/tweeting…..



  5 comments for “Twitter and QRPSPOTS

  1. January 16, 2011 at 8:17 am

    GM John,

    Just approved your “following” QRPSPOTS on the group Twitter account!
    You’re set – go test!

    As a side note, I’d be interested in your feedback about how much time you
    spend with the new smartphone. My interest is around time management
    effectiveness, i.e. just what do I gain by being “more connected”? I myself
    am overloaded with too much information (on line, near real-time, “news”) in
    comparison to just a few decades ago of “daily” news. Some “news” does save
    me time, like the QRPSPOTS system, e.g. no longer do I have to scan/monitor
    frequencies for sought-after activity. But other “news” sucks up my
    available time (“timesink”) and detracts me from what I would rather be
    doing/accomplishing/learning. Your thoughts? Guy/N7UN

    • January 16, 2011 at 8:34 am

      GM Guy and thanks!

      My test spot made it thru – did that happen automatically or with human intervention? I’m asking because it looks like formatting would be required to put the data into the appropriate fields (Time, Callsign, etc).

      Regarding the smartphone, I don’t see it as having *more* data, but rather as having the same data more portably. Access to my email wherever I go, etc. I was even able to hear audio from the ISS on 145.800 due to having a satellite tracker app in my phone and a 2m rig in the car. That was pretty cool.

      I’m underwhelmed by Twitter and made a post to that effect then put it on hold for now – it often happens that I’m wrong and I want to give myself a bit more time to learn my way around! but apart from the utility of making QRP spots, Twitter seems to be a superficial glob of nonsense. Yesterday, I started “following” a NatGeo photographer whose work I admire only to see page after page of what he had for breakfast, how the traffic is, etc. Other people seemed equally mundane in terms of what they want to share with the world. Isn’t there more to it than that?!

      But I do like it for QRP spotability.



      • January 16, 2011 at 9:54 am

        Oh, I more than agree about the triviality nature of Twitter. Same with Facebook. I really don’t care what someone is doing right now. Twitter offered a free service (national connectivity via SMS and a msg forwarding service to cellphones) that made it attractive as a self-spotting tool for field QRPers.

        What does interest me about these “social” networks is the how and why people are using them. Which is another, much different, discussion. Have fun! 72, Guy

      • January 16, 2011 at 11:25 am

        Hi, John.

        > I’m asking because it looks like formatting
        > would be required to put the data into the
        > appropriate fields (Time, Callsign, etc).

        There is no human intervention. The QRPSPOTs twitter integration script that I wrote looks in your tweet to find something that looks like a callsign and something that looks like an HF or 6m frequency. It looks for both kHz and MHz frequencies. It then ‘spots’ the callsign it found and the frequency it found at the current time (ie. there is no need to add the time to the tweet).

        If you’re twitter account is a callsign (such as yours is) you can also leave out the callsign in a self-spot. So for you, the minimum spotable tweet (which is a self-spot) would be this direct message: “7040”.


        There’s also some hard coded mappings so that even hams whose twitter account is not their callsign can leave their callsign out of the tweet (but that requires me to add them to the mappings).

        I added a link to this comment to a previous blog posting of mine which shows the system diagram of qrpspots, for interest.

        Good luck with K6JSS/5 – I hope to work you QRP Afield QRP Afield!!

        For the other topic (the usefulness of twitter) I have found it invaluable for both spotting (both QRP and SOTA), for letting folks know when I add blog posts or youtube videos, for finding out whats happening locally on the QRP scene (for example ‘I’m packing my QRP gear for a walk to Pig Island for a CISA activation, anyone want to join me?’ – that one Sunday morning and I ended up being involved in a super fun event which I would have missed otherwise). I also use it to keep folks up to date when I am doing a SOTA activation (driving to the mountain, hiking up, setting up antenna etc).

        Last night a friend uploaded photos of wolves which crossed into his campground (he’s winter camping) – I thought that was super cool. And I enjoy keeping up with family on facebook/twitter most of my family are abroad.

        But QSL on the minutae of random peoples lives… totally pointless. And as for spam and advertising which is creeping into twitter … yuck!!

        Then there’s the ‘high tech criminal’ to consider…


        Good article John! … as always.


        So in short – as a ham radio tool… invaluable.

        • January 16, 2011 at 11:45 am

          Thanks for that info Martin – and for the ton of work you’ve obviously put into making “afield spotting” possible.

          I can see the benefit of Twitter in specific cases – but a random perusal of tweets from hams and photogs makes me realize the value of “everything in moderation”.

          I’ll be listening for you Jan 24-30…



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.