As far as ZS was concerned different times were planned between the various RaDAR teams but I chose mine to coincide with the local QRP contest with the hope of being able to make sufficient contacts to make a few transistions on foot. Because there were different time frames involved I thought I would take young Eduan, my grandson, along for an outing to look out for active RaDAR operators – we would be RaDAR chasers!
I have an old military HF radio, the popular B25, and I made a plan to strap it to a frame from a “child carrier” which I bought right back in the days of SiaS (“Shack in a Sack”) and that’s a long way back! It worked PERFECTLY for the purpose and has now become a permanent fixture for RaDAR ops! I’ll make a plan with the DC / Battery wiring that it also be permanently mounted. This is so comfortable you could easily run with it! The cross strap is there for additional safety but not really required.
It was supposed to be the middle of winter but as you can see still hot but with a cool breeze. At the time of writing, today is Monday, two days later and the first real cold for the winter has finally arrived.
Eduan and I took a kilometer walk and did a deployment using the B25 and 7 A/Hr SLAB. The antenna was a fixed tuned 40m end fed with a short coax feed. Eduan did the antenna deployment using a nylon pull rope and rock to get it over a tree branch then hooking the centre of the end fed to the rope and pulling it up into the tree. We made three QSO’s before going back home. He couldn’t use the radio though and I had to do all the talking. A special QSO was with Pieter V51PJ in Namibia, an active RaDAR supporter. That proves too the strange 40m conditions at present, usually a NVIS band but far from being a NVIS band now!
Once we got back home I got ready to move out using my RaDAR pack and painter’s pole RaDAR mast. I walked down to the river at 14:00 local and set up the link dipole and FT-817ND using it’s new 7 A/Hr SLAB. Conditions were really not good. 40m has been skip for a few weeks / months now and the winter was still hot, like mild summer days. Nature is in turmoil!
Here I sat listening, calling and the only contacts were with Sid ZS6AYC also doing RaDAR and Herman operating the club RaDAR station ZS5HAC. ZS6 was skip to me … and seems other divisions too – I heard nothing. On 7.020 I heard one or two short transmissions on CW and that was all. Not even the AWA CW net was active – NOTHING!
So I waited for Sid to move again that I could be there for his last transition. They were on foot this time round, him and his wife Adele ZS5APT. What a team!!!
After that I realized it was futile to continue. I wasn’t even sure if anyone was actually even active in the SARL QRP contest???
I went home for coffee and milk tart totally disallusioned with amateur radio. I’d hoped for some real winter conditions in support of Julian who braved the elements, snow and ice rain in April. It was just another summer’s day for me …..
I changed my actual RaDAR ops times to include the chase having done it in real RaDAR fashion and in so doing making my total 6 and not just 3 for a four hour challenge with two transistions a two kilometer walk between them.
73 de Eddie ZS6BNE