RaDAR – Historic first RaDAR to SOTA contact

A few stations in South Africa had plans to do an all time first SOTA to SOTA contact in particular Pierre, ZS6A and Dennis, ZS4BS. The sked time was 09:00. I thought it an ideal opportunity to make it a first RaDAR to SOTA too.

I always have my RaDAR kit packed and ready to go. At 08:40 I picked up the pack and Klaus mast and walked down the road, the destination behind the nearby primary school. There is quite an embankment on the edge of the sport field. I don’t have a mountain nearby.

By 09:00 I was deployed and ready. I heard nothing on 7.090 MHz LSB or 7.020 MHz CW.

CQSOTA

While sitting and waiting, I heard Derek ZS5DM calling and we had a QSO from 09:09 to 09:26. He had a good signal and I received a good report from him too. He later tried 1W QRP and I could still hear him RST 519.

At 09:14 I had a QSO with Monk ZS4SF we also had 599 signals both ways but there were still no signs of Pierre, ZS6A on CW ?

At 10:07 I heard Dennis ZS4BS in QSO on 7.090 MHz LSB and as he signed I called him. He was at the SOTA peak ZS/FS-012 overlooking the Sterkfontein dam with the Drakensburg mountains on his right. A little windy he said. He was running 30W into a dipole using his FT857. I gave him a RST 51/55 with QSB and he gave me a RST 57

Dennis and Jaco were equipped with a flask of coffee and some rusks. I can only imagine what a fantastic time they were having on the mountain!

I used my FT-817ND running 5 Watts into my “shortened” end fed held high in a tree using the Klaus mast strapped to the tree trunk. The bungies barely made it around the tree!

KlausMastStrappedToATree

A SOTA to SOTA did take place – first summit to summit between Willie ZS6WBT on ZS/MP-005 and Dennis ZS4BS on ZS/FS-012

I had another short morse code (CW) contact with Monk on 7.020 at 10:20 then it was time to pack up and walk back home. I celebrated by taking Elrika and Eduan out for brunch.

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