RaDAR – ZS6BNE November challenge plan

This Saturday will see the third and last RaDAR challenge for the year 2016.

A good friend, Rickus ZS4A may be able to make a FM SO-50 satellite contact with me and I’ve used two reasonable passes to determine where my four hour RaDAR activity should take place. It is also later in the day making DX QSO’s possible.

Another important point is that there is an unusually high percentage of snake sightings these past few weeks in my RaDAR playground with my wife and grandson almost tramping on a puff adder just after dark the other evening, a highly venomous snake!

There are also harmless snakes like this spotted grass snake but it’s not worth taking a chance. A very dangerous snake, the boomslang, looks very similar and they have been seen there too. I regard all snakes as dangerous and keep my distance but in the dark they are not always that visible!


Starting at 15:00 local time or CAT  (13:00 UTC) and ending at 19:00 CAT (17:00 UTC)

15:00 local (1)

15:03 to 15:15 – SO-50 Satellite

Minimalistic RaDAR (40m – end fed)

16:00 local (2)

Lightweight RaDAR (40m / 20m – two band linked dipole)

16:42 to 16:55 – SO-50 Satellite

17:00 local (3)

QRO (Higher power) RaDAR (All suitable HF bands – Seven band linked dipole)

18:00 local (4)

QRO RaDAR Digital modes   (All suitable HF bands – Seven band linked dipole)


Return home before dark ………..

RaDAR – The nitty gritty facts


RaDAR has awakened the excitement of many hams throughout the world. Some shy away from it but keep one eye open and are aware of it’s “dangerous” potential. Exciting videos have been made, “The radio ham” by ZS6BNE and his son Edwill was the start. Many hams throughout the world are now making their own exciting videos on RaDAR. Indeed it flies the flag of good example to newcomers to this amazing technology, ham radio.

RaDAR changes the way hams see their purpose in the world of amateur radio, there must be a purpose, right? RaDAR offers an alternative to large sophisticated fixed radio stations to those that are movable, in fact the very essence of RaDAR is movement. It tests the ability to set up and successfully man a radio station under difficult conditions, conditions that one day may take many by surprise except the highly trained and practised RaDAR operator.

RaDAR makes the radio operator aware of what is required to to be an effective communicator, a healthy and fit individual that adds simple survival skills to his / her portfolio. RaDAR is forever evolving, essentially different in many ways. It promotes many forms of communications from morse code to advanced computerised digital modes. RaDAR promotes the use of space technology in every way possible. RaDAR is, daring to be different.

RaDAR – A little history from way back then

I was asked to write a CV of my amateur radio career in less than 500 words so here goes, I hope I can remember the important details! Maybe I should write it as “the third person”.


Eddie Leighton took interest in amateur radio way back in 1974 and, after many weekly night classes, wrote the November written technical and regulation RAE. Morse code was required for an unrestricted ZS licence and, although largely self taught, Eddie managed to pass the 12 w.p.m. test. Eddie was issued with the call sign ZS6BNE in February 1975. He was still in high school until he matriculated at the end of 1976.

Eddie was called up to do national service in 1977. It was not until basic training was completed was he transferred to Wits command signal unit in the middle of 1977 where he spent another 18 months as a signaller also manning the Hamnet military station ZS6VT. On clearing out at the end of 1978 Eddie joined the Post Office as a pupil telecommunications technician. He was married in 1980.

Eddie was for many years the chairman for the Lichtenburg amateur radio club. On a few occasions he presented the RAE and morse classes in Lichtenburg where he stayed. When his own son was old enough he also became a ham and was issued with the call sign ZU6AAI. Eddie spent many hours in the “shack” with his son which proved quite beneficial in later years.

From the year 2000 Eddie actively wrote articles for the SARL’s publication, Radio ZS. This included general stories and later articles on digital modes, satellite communications and Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio.

Since attending the first “Radio technology in action” presentations of the SARL, Eddie decided to give something back in the form of touring South Africa firstly giving satellite communications presentations and the following year presentations on RaDAR which has become his passion from the year 2007 till now.

In 2010, Eddie earned the radio amateur of the year award.This award recognises someone who has made a major contribution to promoting activities and technical excellence. Eddie received the award on two counts. He promotes amateur radio satellite operation through articles in the South African Radio League’s publication Radio ZS. His second project is the development of Rapid Deployment of Amateur Radio (RaDAR).

RaDAR was recently presented and accepted at the IARU region 1 meeting. Eddie continues to promote amateur radio and especially the rather unusual concept of RaDAR in the form of short promotional video content and Blogs. He is in constant contact with interested hams via the various social media.


RaDAR – Final challenge for 2016

2016 saw important changes to the RaDAR challenge again ensuring that the rapid side of RaDAR stays key. The last challenge for the year takes place on Saturday the 5th of November 2016. You define your own four hour challenge within the time frame of twenty four hours. If you wish to include DX contacts then you’ll need to take into account the time of day and best choice of band to suit your needs. It’s all about planning and that’s a good thing.


RaDAR is not limited to any amount of power to the antenna or even the antenna itself. You make your own choices. You also don’t have to move around if you prefer to work from a fixed location. If you choose a specific moving category, you choose how you would choose to move. It can be your microlight, car, motorcycle, bicycle, canoe or even a wheelchair. These methods can be interchanged during the challenge. All you need to do is to take into account the distance you need to move after every five QSO’s depending on your type of transport. The various distances are there to make the challenge fair amongst the various ways of moving. The most basic movement is on foot which is generally the preferred method and the distance to move, one kilometer.

The challenge is really there to challenge yourself within a not so perfect world. The four hour challenge will put some pressure on you and that’s good. If you have practised RaDAR before you will know what you need and how effective your station can be. Of course propagation can be your friend or enemy but we still have the choice of where and how.

You can use SSB, morse code, any legal digital mode, in fact your first digital mode QSO could get you five bonus points! You may be even lucky enough to have a satellite QSO and that will give you five bonus points for the first QSO too. Satellites are easy to plan for but challenging to carry a reliable infrastructure with you. But, it still remains your choice.

Four hours is not a long time but ensure you stay hydrated on a hot day, take some snacks along with you and in general stay safe out there. Choose a safe environment and note, at least in South Africa, the snakes are already out there …..

See http://www.radarops.co.za for more detail.

RaDAR – It’s nothing new

The majority of hams will have, or have had, a special place where his / her equipment is / was stacked on shelves or on a desk, permanently wired and placed for convenience to the ham radio operator. Some may have ventured to placing these items in a “go box” or flight case for easy transportation to an alternative place. Sounds much like RaDAR, rapid deployment amateur radio, doesn’t it?


Some may have ventured into the outdoors taking part in “Field days”, “Summits on the air” or “Parks on the air” activities. Now this is really starting to sound like RaDAR!


Many people enjoy an adventurous and healthy lifestyle. Walking on a trail or climbing a mountain! Now that’s even closer to RaDAR!


RaDAR is just an acronym, a summary of what this unique amateur radio activity entails. It’s more than just amateur radio, it’s a survival activity too. You need to carry, water, food, suitable clothing and sometimes even shelter with you. You may even be alone, in fact you’ll be out in the wild mostly alone!


As we hone our skills as a survivalist and communicator, we should share our knowledge with others that they too become survivalists and good communicators. RaDAR operators! Ideal training for newcomers to the “hobby” of amateur radio.

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Practice regularly, change what you need to change, forever improving. Share your knowledge.

See http://radarops.co.za/index.php/radar-rules/