RaDAR – The way forward

RaDAR, much like other similar initiatives, is designed to get hams out of their comfort zones and to look for new ways to practice their hobby. “New ways” are the keywords here. For many years hams have been doing the same things over and over again, field days in particular.

During the recent “One contact per kilometer moved” test exercise, the only RaDAR operator that took part was Eddie, ZS6BNE. The idea was widely advertised and there were lots of positive comments on the concept but why was there no other participation? Is it that difficult to walk one kilometer and do a quick deployment of antennas and equipment, then make a quick QSO or two and move on? The “rules” were set out as a guideline for the experiment. What happened to the passion of the experimenter?

The rules for the “True RaDAR” operator specify walking one kilometer before taking part in the RaDAR contest. Even here there are few that take on the “challenge”. Is it really that difficult? In less than a month, the 3rd of Novemeber 2012 to be exact, is the next official SARL RaDAR contest. It would be most satisfying to see more participation than we have seen since the initial contests that took place a few years ago.

Sure, there are situations where  hams are confined to wheelchairs and sickbeds. They are an exception to the rule. The rest of us need to get off our comfortable chairs and do things differently. We need to update the image of ham radio operators!

How do you see RaDAR? It may have a hint of the military or emergency communications? If that puts you off, don’t let it, RaDAR is none of these. RaDAR is there to practice amateur radio in a fun way and if you want to do it the Rambo way don’t let anything stop you. Be an inspiration to others.

As demonstrated in the “One contact per kilometer moved” exercise, fixed stations form the framework withing which RaDAR operators can operate. A RaDAR operator would find it difficult without a known communications point on the other side. Lukas, ZS6LH excelled that day by being there, listening out for the RaDAR operators and making contact that the RaDAR station be allowed to move to the next point. This was much fun and no doubt tiring but very satisfying!

Advertisements for the next RaDAR contest were posted amongst the various ham radio groups on Facebook and the SARL Forum today and there appears to be a positive response in joining in for the contest. This is really good news.

The Gauteng RTA saw the last of the RaDAR presentations this year. Clubs have enquired for RaDAR presentations to be done at their monthly meetings. This is also really good news.

RaDAR Contest – Summer 2012

1. Aim

An event aimed at promoting the use of Rapid Deployable Amateur Radio
(RaDAR) stations and antennas, preferably without relying on normal
mains power (Eskom). This contest is for everyone, at home, mobile or in
the field. Any mode can be used CW, SSB, AM, FM or any digital mode.
Any amateur band or Satellite can be used. The points system is so structured
as to encourage portable operation. Score multipliers are used to
reward and favour the Portable / RaDAR stations using temporary antennas
and alternative power supply sources.

2. Date and Time

First Saturday of November (3 November 2012), starting at 12:00 UTC and ending at 18:00 UTC (14:00
CAT to 20:00 CAT (6 hours = Approximately 4 during the day and 2 at

3. Bands and Modes

All amateur bands allowed including cross band contacts via amateur
satellites. QSOs via terrestrial repeaters will NOT be allowed. Modes –
All amateur modes.

4. Suggested HF Calling frequencies

Band CW Phone Notes
160 m 1836 kHz 1845 kHz Class A1, A2 only
80 m 3560 kHz 3690 kHz Class A1, A2 only
40 m 7030 kHz 7090 kHz Class A1, A2 only
20 m 14080 kHz 14240 kHz
15 m 21080 kHz 21350 kHz
10 m 28060 kHz 28360 kHz Class A1, A2 only

5. Recommended digital modes frequencies

Refer to (GR 16)
The South African Radio League
The 2012 SARL Contest Manual – Blue Book, Issue 10 Page 43 of 73

6. Exchange

Call sign, Name, Report (RST), QTH and grid locator
If the grid locator is not known, then some other information that could
describe the location, e.g. Mabula Lodge, 40 km west of Warmbaths

7. Scoring

1 point per QSO
1 QSO per mode, per band / satellite, per call sign.

8. Multipliers

The following multipliers are applicable to determine the final score.
Category multiplier:
X 1 – Home station
X 2 – Field station
X 3 – RaDAR station (Refer to Para 10 below)
The definitions listed in the general section of the SARL rules define the
above stations types accurately;
A mobile station will be treated as a field station
A portable station not meeting the requirements as a field station will be
treated as a home station.
Power multiplier:
The power multiplier that applies is determined by the highest power
output of any of the transmitters used during the contest.
5 watts or less the power multiplier is 6.
6 to 50 Watts, the power multiplier is 4.
51 watts or greater, the power multiplier is 2.
The South African Radio League
The 2012 SARL Contest Manual – Blue Book, Issue 10 Page 44 of 73

9. Bonus points for Portable and RaDAR stations

5 Points (Equivalent to five QSOs) for a minimum of one satellite or any
digital mode QSO involving a computer. (For clarity: Thereafter 1 point
per Satellite / Digital modes QSO)

10. What constitutes a true RaDAR Station

To be considered as a true RaDAR station, the entire station equipment,
radios, batteries, mast, antennas and refreshments must be easily portable
and hence the need to carry the equipment for at least 1 km prior
to setting up.
For the sake of safety, it will be acceptable to carry / backpack your entire
station for a distance of at least 1 km and end up where you started
from – your home, campsite, picnic site, motor vehicle or wherever you
choose to operate from.

11. Log Sheets

The Lichtenberg Amateur Radio Club (LARK)
PO Box 410, Lichtenburg, 2740
E-mail entries – edleighton[at]gmail.com
The closing date for logs is 18 November 2012.


Note: A photo of the station (JPG format) MUST accompany every log

73 de Eddie ZS6BNE
SARL member. Radio ZS Contributor. Licenced since 1975
Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio