RaDAR – The ultimate goal

Greg, N4KGL published his plans for the long weekend and we’d made a sked for Saturday afternoon to attempt a R2R QSO on 12m.

I took all my gear along with me for the weekend to assemble an acceptable kit for the RaDAR challenge on the 2nd of April, main items being the FT817ND, z817 ATU, mic, paddle and ZS6BKW antenna.

On the Saturday, Greg let us know by email that he had very bad lightning storms and won’t be able to make sked but I let him know I was going to go for a walk anyway to test the kit. Like most passionate hams would do, Greg decided to use his magnetic loop antenna from beneath a shelter. Indeed it was our destiny to actually hold a conversation on 24.906 MHz CW and to have a inter continental RaDAR to RaDAR QSO – the ultimate goal!

Greg used the RaDAR chat facility to confirm – I’d forgotten all about it!

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I used my two painters poles to hold the ZS6BKW around  four meters above the ground. I had to trim the antenna so it would resonate nicely on 12m without a tuner. I had the tuner switched in though so I later found out.

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The “trimming mechanism”.

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After the QSO, I packed up the radio leaving the antenna behind, I was already late for supper and jogged slowly back home with the backpack strapped firmly to my back.

I went back later to fetch the ZS6BKW and found two young boys there who were most interested in what was hanging in the air. They pounded me with questions and I found myself presenting “RAE lectures” at a very fast pace ….. I was exhausted but happy!

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