RaDAR – Equipment and purpose

Once again my amateur radio equipment has been refined keeping the purpose of minimalistic RaDAR in mind. I now only have a few rigs – each with a purpose.

B25 Ex-Military HF only radio – I use this radio at home running off batteries. It can easily be packed and transported to an alternative QTH. Although it was initially designed as a manpack for the military, it’s pretty heavy to carry. I use two 7 A/Hr SLABS wired in parallel as a power supply.

Smart Charger – Needed to charge sealed lead acid batteries (SLAB’s). No other charger is suitable. This charger ensures a decent charge without damaging the batteries.

HB1A CW Only 40m/30m/20m QRP radio – This tiny radio works well and although it was designed to be trail friendly I use it at home for ad hoc CW contacts from home. I use it with various hand keys depending on my mood or a Bencher BY-1 paddle for faster speeds. This radio always impresses me for it’s simplicity and what it can do. It has excellent audio!

40m End fed tuner and 20.2m long wire – My antenna of choice for 40m communications from home. Pretty slealthy too so it doesn’t attract any complaints and works extremely well. The tuner is fixed outside and fed with ten meters of LMR400 coax (It’s what I had).

TH-D7A(g) dualbander – This is the radio I use for duplex FM satellite communications and APRS. I use the plug in mic and headphones. APRS isn’t that popular in South Africa so it is seldom used. I power the rig externally using 12 x NiMH rechargable penlights which is a cheap and reliable solution.

Garmin Legend GPS – Used occasionally with the TH-D7A(g) for APRS or carried in the backpack for reliable navigation in unknown areas.

Philips MP3 recorder – Used together with the TH-D7A(g) for recording the fast exchanges while doing RaDAR SatComms.

YOTA 2018 Dualband yagi – Used for RaDAR SatComms while in the field. It’s compact and very lightweight. Designed and built in South Africa.

Arrow dualband satellite antenna with built in diplexer – Used on a tripod for fixed station RaDAR SatComms

Xiegu X5105 Multimode HF only QRP radio – This radio is a compact solution for RaDAR operations in the field. It excels here but only in the outdoors. It has a built in rechargeable battery and ATU. It has a built in microphone so the plug in microphone always stays at home. The audio quality of this radio leaves a lot to be desired but not quite that noticeable in the field where the wind mostly blows and the sounds of nature take preference. The communications audio with either SSB or CW is quite acceptable. Headphones CANNOT be used with this radio unfortunately the audio quality demoralises the operator!!!

40m to 10m link dipole fed with RG58cu coax and dual painter pole mast – My antenna of choice in the field. Quick and easy to deploy and strong enough to hande moderate winds using bungi’s as shock absorbers.

That pretty much wraps up my amateur radio kit. I am QRP only but from experience there is not much difference between 5W and a 100W if conditions are good. They should be good anyway if any effective communications need to be made.

73 de Eddie ZS6BNE

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