RaDAR – The reality

That’s one thing about these RaDAR challenges. They are not easy. There are many things to contend with, logistics, propagation, weather, participation. If you try the movements that adds a whole new set of challenges, fitness, working against time, and each deployment is a new puzzle especially if you’re in a place you haven’t been to before.

Then it’s grid determination, good voice procedures to get the info sent and received without errors. Safety in unknown environments against man and beast. Food, hydration and protection against the cold and rain.

Then try to make 5 QSO’s from each position. In South Africa we don’t have extreme weather but certainly a challenge to get sufficient QSO’s. RaDAR even makes provision for participants to sit in their shacks listening for the RaDAR stations out there but sadly that doesn’t often happen.

RaDAR also puts the operator into a real world scenario where all these things are a daily reality. If you’re out there alone and you need to communicate with someone quickly using what you have (Hopefully regularly practised) then you will come up against these obstacles too but RaDAR operators will know how to handle it … through experience

73 de Eddie ZS6BNE

Over forty two years ago …..

3 thoughts on “RaDAR – The reality

  1. I know we like to focus on the Man portable moving aspect of RaDAR, but let me point out how unrealistic it actually is in certain locations, at certain times of the year. If you need to build up heat and shelter, then tear it all down again after 5 QSOs, move then start again, the only thing we achieve is a frustrated operator. The operator needs to put up a shelter, assemble the wood stove, build a fire, setup radio and antenna, … Now this isn’t really a problem because we have this fixed Field Station category. To be fair, I would much rather risk freezing to death, than be attacked by Mad Dogs without a weapon. That’s the reality of RaDAR 👍
    Still, keeping it real, and giving you honest feedback, it crushes me every time the challenges of Arctic RaDAR are belittled.

    Last July was so incredibly easy (and fun) that I didn’t even bother to make the after Action Report. July is that one time a year where my challenge is like most of the other operators around the world. Warm weather light backpack shorts and a t-shirt, … not that there’s anything wrong with it. In fact it was so easy, I hiked 15 km to my start point, set up, got my 5, then moved to the next place, … where I became an ambassador for amateur radio and RaDAR, explaining to the crowd of people wondering what I was doing. Then I hiked the 15km back home. All because it was so easy. Of course I wouldn’t want to do that in the Alps, (or maybe I would ) but my kilometers traveled on foot, just to make it more challenging, is what brought the excitement and challenge to the fair wx RaDAR Challenge.

    I had hoped to be out in the field during the November RaDAR, but critical equipment didn’t arrive in time. I’ll definitely be out there in April as an Arctic RaDAR fixed field station, feeling thankful that I’m not going to be attacked by some wild beast.
    April 2017 radar challenge is what started me on the quest to build up a functional man portable field station. So even when I’m grumpy about the environmental differences for each operator, I hold on to the idea that RaDAR brought me here.

    • Wow Julian, I really like your honesty and telling it like it is. RaDAR pushes the limits even though each limit is different but it’s there because it’s different, it’s not a cosy environment in many cases but promoted to be a “fun” activity but with very serious points we need to include for as amateur radio is advertised, “When all else fails, amateur radio will still be there” ….. will we?

      If we’re used to comfortable environments where everything is within arms reach and it is no longer the case we’d not be in a position to adapt if it wasn’t regularly practised.

      It’s really good to see, after each challenge, every one of us come back with a story of learning something new and RaDAR is that too, a test, a learning tool and it’s fun while learning. At least we are able to come back and share our “war stories”. I really love reading each and every one.

      As far as wild dogs go, after my experience of being attacked and bitten by a large dog, it has changed my lifestyle somewhat, I don’t freely roam the open spaces anymore. While out alone in the veld about a month ago a dog looking much like a wild dog / hyena came charging towards me …. I had a penknife in my pack ….. but a small handgun may be a better choice which, quite honestly, I’m considering!

      Kit weight vs power out is still on my agenda ….. just can’t get the weight down!!!

      73 de Eddie ZS6BNE

  2. Hello Eddie, really nice article about the challenges of RaDAR. I still am testing my equipment and try to get the weight down before I will participate. I tried once, but technical problems did end it very soon. I hope to take part in the April event as well. I did some portable operations in the field before so have some experience. Luckely we do not have much wild animals here…73, Bas

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