RaDAR – April 2017 – What went right

The first RaDAR challenge has come and gone. Personally, I did a few things differently seeing I was unable to move around on foot or even ride a bicycle. I chose to do a field deployment and used higher power which made things a little easier no doubt! There is no limit on output power other than the legal limit as far as the RaDAR challenge goes.

I used my Yaesu FT-897d. It hadn’t really been taken on such an outing before as the 817 always takes preference as far as moving RaDAR is concerned. My power supply consisted of two 7 A/Hr Gel cells wired in parallel both contained within a plastic lunchbox. The batteries held out throughout the four hour period and the 897d gave full cooperation at all times. I did have a spare single SLAB just in case the dual SLABS went bad on me, they never did!

As far as the antenna system was concerned I put up my multiband link dipole with the painters pole mast. Even band changes were easy only having to lower the pole at an angle and doing the necessary link changes. It took less than two minutes to do a band change!.

Greg, N4KGL had set up a sequence starting at 10m and ending at 20m including the WARC bands to attempt an international RaDAR to RaDAR QSO but propagation was not favourable. John ZS5J did however make contact with Greg. John had used 100W and a Steppir beam from his home. Wire antennas were just not effective enough in these conditions. I did however hear John on every band even being only 800 km away including the LU station Greg worked at around 539. I gave John a call too but he could not hear me.

I just managed a satellite QSO with Harry ZS6AMC via FOX-1A (AO-85). Somehow I have great difficulty with this satellite using a 70cm uplink and a 2m downlink. SO-50 is very easy in comparison but there was unfortunately no SO-50 pass during the selected four hour period. The ultimate goal was inter continental R2R.

The weather was great, like South Africa normally is. Julian OH8STN battled through the snow and ice rain while Pieter V51PJ braved the high temperatures of the Namib desert! I ran the station until darkness set in. I was able to make three JT-65 QSO’s on 20m. A little rusty with choosing the right sequences and replies but contacts were made from the field!

I still prefer moving RaDAR, after all that is what it’s all about but had fun being a portable field station looking out for the moving stations. We need each other, I’ve always said that.

It’s worth mentioning that the International RaDAR WhatsApp group kept the world in contact, inspiring each other with neat photographs and information on activities and frequencies. It can be used for day to day uses too  and still we should try when we can for those elusive internation R2R QSOS’s.

73 de Eddie ZS6BNE

Looking forward to the July challenge!!!

My Log

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