RaDAR – Chicken challenge

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The expedition idea became a reality in a way today but there was no local response to my quest and the chance of someone being on the other side, NVIS wise, was rather slim.

So, I decided to do an APRS excercise at the very least using APRSDroid, it made no sense carrying a heavy load for a long distance without anyone listening out for me. Then this morning I received an email from an old ham friend, Brian ZS6BKW now G0GSF discussing QRP in South Africa. I was inspired that someone actually cared!

I quickly went into the back room and stripped everything I had put together for the RaDAR kit. The gel cell was too heavy, I could use the mic as a morse key, stripped the z817 ATU from the FT-817ND and put the rig into the small worldpouch once again. All that was required for shortwave comms was – the rig, mic, coax flylead, Fuchs end fed, notepad and pencil – a much lighter combination.

I packed the rig and equipment into the car’s boot just in case I would use them. My backpack had already been checked for the 21 km journey, the two litre bladder being disinfected during the night and filled with clean drinkable water (Hot water from the geyser).

The journey to the “ops area” required that I fill the petrol tank. After that, I went into the local grocer store and bought eight high power penlight cells fro the FT-817ND – Back to penlights …………

Just before the run / walk I activated APRSDroid on my Android smartphone. The results can be seen here http://aprs.fi/#!call=a%2FZS6BNE-10&others=1&timerange=43200&tail=43200

APRS with smart beaconing gives a very average picture. Here is a link to the Garmin track a much more accurate record of movements. http://connect.garmin.com/activity/375820720

It was a tough journey, way undertrained (around four to eight km per week – last, three weeks ago) but I took on the challenge in this condition to prove that even the unfit are capable of “walking the mile” during a RaDAR ops – even many miles! Temperatures were around 29 degress celcius which was pretty hot for spring.

I finished in a time of just under four hours which is really pretty slow but it was an awesome journey. I saw a giraffe, many buck, zebras and many inquisitive blou wildebeeste.

I made no attempt at shortwave comms but this was good physical training for the RaDAR contest in November.