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.

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