RaDAR – Learning through failure

I had prepared my kit and logistics and was ready for the RaDAR challenge for November the 1st, 2014.

I built this interesting antenna two weeks prior but due to family commitments I could not get out to test it. I hoped that it would work well as a multi band antenna using a tuner, at least down to 40m. Although designed as an effective “DX radiator” for the higher bands it certainly could not load on 40m! The antenna is way too long to be an effective rapid deployment antenna. Probably ideal for the DXer though. See http://www.hamuniverse.com/sloperlongwire.html


In desperation, I went to 20m and broke into a conversation to make a QSO or two. I got a RST 56 from both gentlemen but did sense a slight irritation after passing my grid info. I’m sure they wanted to carry on with their conversation uninterrupted.

Screenshot from 2014-11-03 09:56:49

I took advantage of the rule, “A RaDAR operator may move at any time”. Part of my strategy was to operate from a canoe on water. I’d never done anything like it – this was a first for me! I packed up and walked down to the local river and jetty. My canoe was placed there earlier.

Well the blue painters poles certainly made some people wonder! One chap asked me if I’m going to catch fish.


I didn’t even bother to pack the kit into the waterproof bag and just loaded my pack on board. Since I was last on the river doing a recce, the water level had gone down and I battled through a sand bank before reaching deeper water. I went downstream, the wind blowing strongly from the north.

It was a battle to get the other end tied to the reeds and the antenna tensioned. I got to the other side and maneuvered the canoe amongst the reeds so I could tie the end of my end fed to it and moved back into the middle of the river.


The end fed loaded OK but no one could hear me. I had to break into 59 nets for QSO’s but difficult as they aren’t listening for a weak QRP signal. I heard the VOX of a friend drop out and called his name – he heard his name but didn’t hear my call ….. I made no contacts from the river.


Homeward bound – in the name of RaDAR. Rather disappointed with my results. It was a challenge that I had set for myself. I will do it differently in the future. Of course, I’ll be back and try again until I get it right!

I’m sure a buddipole or similar antenna would work much better. There was nothing rapid about getting this antenna in place but I took on the challenge for fun. It was fun on the water especially as the sun set. I’ll be back with a better plan – for sure.


My RaDAR movements. On foot and on the water.

I went back inland and put up my “Fuchs” end fed and manual tuner as a sloper and called CQ.


I even went to the WARC bands. It made me think that this must be one of the rule changes for the RaDAR challenge – to include the WARC bands. RaDAR is more of a challenge than a contest! I was spotted in Brazil on 12m running 5W CW.  Rules ….. to be revised.



My last attempt.

The SARL Contest rule book revision submissions need to be in by the 10th of November, 2014. I will be submitting a few changes. RaDAR adapts and changes where changes are needed. Next year will be even better.

Learning through failure.


2 thoughts on “RaDAR – Learning through failure

  1. Eddie, you’re an inspiration! I like it that at you go for a BIG challenge with every RaDAR Contest day! Your day sounds highly energetic and not without some risk to you and your radio gear, it’s exciting, it’s adventure radio for sure! It’s not about volume of contacts and connection, it’s about the challenge. Well done Ed, keep it up, you’re pushing the envelope! Hats off to you 🙂

  2. RaDAR fascinates me, but why don’t you use the WARC bands? Also is 60 meters permissable? These would seem, to my newbie eyes, to be almost ideal for this sort of operation. Thanks for your time.
    Al Short

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s