RaDAR – It is what it has become


Today became a day of truth. I was saddened to hear the comments from some of my ham friends while discussing the state of amateur radio in South Africa. The discussion moved to RaDAR and they were honest about their views. I respect them for that.

My friend Pierre, ZS6A asked, “Tell me how many R2R (RaDAR to RaDAR) stations have you worked?”

I replied, “Well there was John MW/ZS5J in the UK (Wales) – true inter continental RaDAR to RaDAR (Extraordinary) and yesterday with Andries ZS6VL on a hike near Heidelburg with two young radio amateurs. ZU6M and ZU6BV, practising RaDAR and having FUN! Mike ZS6AKU and Jaco ZR6CMG …… missing my usual friends in the list!”

Pierre commented further, “Working John ZS5J from the UK R2R now that is the real deal ….. Oh for me the “moving thing” that simply has zero appeal to me.” 

I replied again, “The “moving thing” is what makes it all that more FUN Pierre otherwise it’s just the same as anything else. That sense of URGENCY I experienced getting to the next point (3km on the mountain bike) to make contact with John ZS5J was an experience second to NONE! Hey Pierre, I’ll never forget the time you sat in your chariot and still supported RaDAR!!! (I had a QSO with Pierre while he was flying over Mozambique in his Boeing during the November 2013 RaDAR contest – true RaDAR ground to air comms!)

I commented further, “RaDAR is as wide as it gets and more! Yes, it’s sometimes a number game and chasing goals. I like RaDAR because it’s more than just the QSO’s it’s the whole thing from beginning to end.”

John, ZS5J commented, “Regarding RaDAR, I am with Pierre – I LOVE radio in the outdoors, and operating QRP from a field or the beach….I am just not keen on packing up after 5 QSO’s all the time. I would prefer to find a good location, deploy, and stay there for the duration of the contest.”

I was saddened from what I read but I have great respect for these two gentlemen. They are extremely good radio operators and ironically have given me some of the best experiences I have ever had while practising RaDAR!

I explained, “It’s that what makes RaDAR different otherwise it would be just the same as all the others – nothing different to what has been done for a 100 years. RaDAR has evolved into something where movements are the highlight. It is therefore more than just making QSO’s, it’s a challenge to quickly decide where and how to set up an effective station, prove it works by making 5 contacts, packing up making sure nothing is left behind. Sure it’s a different challenge. It’s still good to know you guys are there on the other side and of course that’s part of RaDAR too.”

I have chosen to travel the road that RaDAR has become. Many looking to practice amateur radio in different ways will see it’s value and the extreme fun it can be – daring to be different.

This was a summary of the conversation we had together. It highlighted the “moving” aspect of RaDAR which is what makes RaDAR different to all other amateur radio activities. John and Pierre are fortunately radio operators that still enjoy the great outdoors and the challenge of QRP – they just don’t like to have to deploy and redeploy which is a test in itself, RaDAR.

73 de Eddie
Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio

Daring to be different


One thought on “RaDAR – It is what it has become

  1. Hi Eddie. Unfortunately, I tend to agree with Pierre and John. Probably because of the extensive “RADAR” type operations I have done many times at work. I love portable operating, but no longer enjoy the “thrill of the chase” as you do. Having said that I must confirm my utmost respect for you and what you have and are busy achieving. I certainly hope there will be many more guys that catch the “RADAR bug”, as it certainly has its place in the hobby, and I am sure it is very rewarding.

    My main interests these days are “rag chewing” on SSB and CW with my friends in the USA and Australia / New Zealand. I also still experimenting with antennas, mainly on the lower bands. Unfortunately, and this is just me, I find myself avoiding spending too much time on local contacts on 40m and 80m due to the average poor standard of operating being experienced. Once again I think this is just me, and maybe I am becoming a little grumpy or possibly impatient. My latest interest is using older type equipment. I have my FT950 which is coupled via a Drake L7 amplifier to the antennas, but prefer these days to use my FT101EE (I have a beautiful, mint one), the TS520S and the Drake TR4C. There is just something about the older classic radio which makes operating a lot more fun.

    Good luck with your endeavors and keep up the good work. A lot of the local and international radio amateur operators look up to and respect you as an excellent operator, myself included.


    John ZS6BNS

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