RaDAR – The challenge is what it’s all about

Much has been mentioned about team work during the RaDAR challenge which brought about new ways of thinking in taking on the challenge of RaDAR. It must be noted here, that the challenge is not to compete against anyone else or any other team but it helps to share notes at the end of a RaDAR ops for self improvement and also to acknowledge the hardships many go through during such challenges.

My good friend Julian OH8STN wrote (edited), “The team aspect is certainly an interesting new perspective. Still there are some of us around who are doing RaDAR ops alone, and sometimes in much harsher environments. If this is going to be a team effort, perhaps a team category could be considered, to insure things remain balanced and fair.

Individual RaDAR operators in the field, regardless of their operating environment are always at a disadvantage compared to teams. What’s behind my opinion is the broad range of ease/difficulty, from operator to operator, during a RaDAR challenge. Teams may make it even more simple for an event which by its very nature, should actually be a challenge”.

Julian gave his feedback on the April RaDAR challenge via his Blog. “The entire idea of a RaDAR Challenge (from my perspective), is getting outside with your gear, trying to get your comms on in the most difficult operating environment for an amateur radio operator. That’s QRP (or QRO) Portable, far removed from the comforts of your ham shack. Everything that can fail, will fail in a RaDAR Challenge. So we spend most of the time preparing for a RaDAR Challenge, just to be successful, when it comes around. Incidentally, the same skills required for field communications preparedness, are right here in the RaDAR Challenge”.

Julian further commented, “WX Conditions were not bad at all. The temps hovered between -2c and 0 for the entire day. When there was plus temps, I had freezing rain. When the temperature dipped, I had snow. Snow would have been my preference since the wet gloves contributed to minor frostbite on my finger tips upon arrival back home. From my perspective, there is little difference between 0C and -20C. The thing which kills you is the humidity. Still it could have been worse. Some operators will ask why I didn’t start a fire. Great question, by the time I get a fire going, it could easily be time to tear everything down and head off again. RaDAR Challenge ops require you to move after 5 contacts. Had my PSK and JT65 ops worked as planned, I would not have been there any more than 20 minutes. So in this case, I needed to rely on my clothing to keep myself dry and warm while I did what I needed to do. You see, the RaDAR Challenge doesn’t just test your radio gear, it also tests you, your clothing, your skills to troubleshoot, your planning and coordination skills, … It really is a beast if you want it to be. It is also disaster comms 101”.

Julian says it like it is. The RaDAR challenge is there for exactly that, a challenge yet few go to the trouble of actually challenging themselves alone or even as a team effort for that matter. It’s all OK sitting in a comfortable shack but why not prepare yourself for the worst for is it not there where we may one day be needed?

The next challenge will be winter here in ZS. The extreme conditions that Julian OH8STN experienced is by far more difficult than what our winters are.  Be RaDAR active …..

73 de Eddie ZS6BNE


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