All that had been done since the RaDAR Challenge started was similar to most amateur radio field day operations. It was time for doing some real RaDAR stuff. This would be something that young Eduan would enjoy doing. He’d been looking forward to this opportunity the whole week!
We took two backpacks along, one carrying his military Fuchs B25 manpack and a open wire fed , random length dipole. He also took his “painters pole” mast along. His kit was heavy but he insisted on carrying it. I took my standard kit, the FT817ND and 40m, fixed tuned, end fed and my dual painter pole RaDAR mast. I carried a 7 A/Hr SLAB too.
After walking a kilometer, we found a place to set up station. We used a large rock on which to place the B25 and battery. I was hoping his antenna would work so we got it up into the air but had no success. The B25’s ATU could not load the antenna. Time was running out so we took it down and I put up my 40m, fixed tuned, end fed and painters pole mast. There was a short length of RG58cu cable between the matching unit and the B25. I’d never tried this configuration before.
Around 09:38 we made contact with Rudi, ZS6DX and ten minutes later contact with Pieter, V51PJ. This was an awesome QSO with Pieter as we have been battling for a very long time to have a conversation via HF. Conditions were never favourable. Now this is what makes RaDAR special. We needed three further contacts before we could move position. Pieter notified other hams via 6m and asked them to come onto 7.090 MHz. Eduan was already getting hungry. A full count of 5 QSO’s would allow us to continue. Gert, ZS6GAS called us just after 10:00 local time. We still needed two QSO’s, Eduan now quite agitated, he started jumping between the rocks to pass the time. Then we got a call from David, ZS1DAV and Nico ZS4N.
It’s worth noting that the RaDAR challenge is different to any other competitive amateur radio activity in that instead of competing against each other, we support each other to reach the goal. Being on foot, scored us 3 ponts per contact. The points are there simply as a measurement of personal goals during any RaDAR Challenge. Points can be compared with other participants to identify ways for personal improvement and the evolution of RaDAR itself.
We packed the kit, made our way to “base camp” and enjoyed a good brunch!
To be continued …. “The next excursion”