November 2nd 2013
The ops area I used was close to the Molopo river around 35 km north west of Lichtenburg. I arrived at least an hour before 14:00 UTC which gave me enough time to do an initial deployment.
I put up my Fuchs end fed for local NVIS comms hoping to make a PSK31 contact early in the contest and claim 5 bonus points.
Pierre, ZS6A mentioned on our local forum that he will not be able to take part in the RaDAR contest because he has to work but will give a point or two away from the “saltmine”. He pilots one of the latest Boeings! Pierre would call on 14.240 MHz around 14:00 and 15:00 UTC.
I had tried to contact him in this way once before with limited success and I did not want to see the same “failure” so I hoisted my link dipole into a tree and orientated it east / west. The antenna resonated perfectly.
14:00 UTC arrived and at this stage a QSO with Pierre took priority. I switched to 20m and heard him calling. I answered but he did not hear me! I tried a few times more and was rather relieved when Pierre came back to me, his receiver had been on AM mode. Pierre was experiencing a lot of static flying at high altitude over Mozambique (C9) but we managed to have a successful QSO.
AWESOME! Thanks Pierre, you made my day!!!! RaDAR (QRP) to aeronautical mobile from a Boeing!!!
I switched back to 40m and using my netbook and signalink connected to my FT817, called on 7044 kHz. Francois ZS6BUU and Nico ZS4N came back to me. Signals 599 both ways. I claimed 5 bonus points for the first digital contact with Francois. Thanks guys!
I made two further contacts with Pieter ZS6BOB and a popular QRP’er Dick ZS6RSH. Dick was the first to submit a log together with photos and a write up on his blog!
Pieter was doing his first contest. He had practised the day before and experienced much frustration getting his antennas tangled up and “losing” his tent pegs. He was very pleased with himself during the contest, he improved his deployment time from 45 minutes to 20 minutes! Well done Pieter!
I moved to my next position after these 5 contacts. I passed some friends and had to stop and explain why I was walking around with a backpack carrying poles in my hand the conversation lasted quite some time but it was worth it – RaDAR public relations!
I made no further contacts from the second deployment point. 40m was not good. I watched the sun set and listened on the DX bands for the slightest chance of hearing signals from across the oceans.
After dark, I packed up and hiked back to where I had parked the car meeting up with more friends and having to explain again ……