RaDAR – Hamnet 24 hour field ops June 2014 day 2

Day 2

Day two started from midnight. I had been giving feedback on the ops on Facebook sending photos of what was happening at tactical comms point – Molopo.

I needed to charge the smartphone. I used my Waeco battery pack as a supply. It has a 18 A/Hr battery inside and was my backup 12 volt power supply. I had a netbook DC to DC converter with a 5 volt USB port on it. I used this to charge my smartphone. This was about the worst mistake I made throughout the ops, the charger drained my battery! Better to carry a spare cellphone battery or two.


Being a cold winter environment was a good excuse to store my 7 A/Hr SLAB’s in an old video camera bag. It was an all round good idea, easy to transport and I carried other items like rechargeable penlights and general power cabling in it too.


I exchanged messages with Hibiscus and Taqua on channel 2 (3.695 MHz LSB) just after midnight. The band had quietened down and not much activity could be heard. I called a few times without response.

I thought it a good idea to get some sleep. The gas lantern had been running all night keeping the tent a little warmer while providing light (I still needed to use a headlamp though). I was warned by Jack, VK4JRC via Facebook that these lamps are killers and give off carbon monoxide. I did have one of the tent’s vents slightly open but would be a risk to have the lamp running while asleep – I may never wake up again! I slept till 06:30


At 07:01 I was active again working Morateng, Spaarwater, Waterberg, Secunda and Nigel on channel 2.

It was time to make breakfast before going RaDAR. I had some bacon, three eggs, a pan and gas stove. It was fun making breakfast for myself out in the field on a fresh winters morning.


Just before leaving to do a RaDAR deployment in the dense bush, I worked Hibiscus again on channel 4 (7.095 MHz LSB) 08:47 almost the end of the second last session.

The last three hour session

I used my Klaus mast again and “shortened” end fed antenna. I could deploy the antenna amongst the branches of a tree without the dangers of the antenna getting stuck up there. The mast, once again, was “bungied” to an available tree branch.


This was almost a “stealth” deployment in the dense bush. I placed my kit on the autumn leave covered ground as far from the end fed feed point as the 3 meter length of coax would allow.


I worked a few more stations on various bands. Hibiscus, Monateng and Secunda on channel 4, Vaaitjie on channel 6 (14.300 USB), and Nigel and Honingklip on channel 5 (10.125 USB).


The last session was the most fun while practising RaDAR in the bush. I was absolutely thrilled with the multi band capability of the simple 9:1 UNUN fed “shortened” end fed antenna tuned with the LDG z817 automatic ATU. The FT817ND worked well and 7 A/Hr SLAB had  enough charge to last at least for another session or two.

I walked back to base camp, sat in the sun for a while, packed up and went home.

What an awesome ops!

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