RaDAR – April 2019 challenge

Kobus Boshoff ZS6BOS took part in the RaDAR Challenge for the first time in April 2019. His results were pretty good managing four deployment points moving as a mobile station but deploying out of vehicle.

Kobus ZS6BOS

Kobus used manual logging but sent in a logbook in Excel format which looked very professional as it should be.

According to his first page declaration he used his FT-857d and dipole antenna. He also used VHF and UHF simplex frequencies. modes SSB and FM.

Eddie ZS6BNE tried to combine his RaDAR challenge with a trip to Potchefstroom initially starting out as an on foot RaDAR operator but only managing two satellite QSO’s using a TH-D7A and SA AMSAT Satellite yagi but had to walk back anyway to be in time to drive through to Potchefstroom. The plan was to continue satellite comms from the university but the stop/goes along the way didn’t allow for the planned time frame and the opportunity was missed. Lesson to be learned, RaDAR challenges cannot be combined with other activities. Dedicated attention is a prerequisite!

In the meantime John ZS5J was trying to call RaDAR stations from Kenya using various antennas including magnetic loops. Conditions were not favorable for HF DX.

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RaDAR – A weekend of fun with my X5105

It’s been a while since I’ve had the time to really play ham radio. It was also the Easter weekend and the kids came to visit for a few days.

I put up my 40m end fed wire using a six meter fibreglass mast to keep it in the air in the form of an inverted vee. I also built a bungi shock into the “Third guy rope” to protect the antenna from damage in windy conditions.

The bungi shock absorber

My home brew end fed tuner works well. It has a LED tuning indicator but I used the SWR indicator on the Xiegu X5105 to fine tune for zero SWR.

The end fed tuner

The fun started while chasing SOTA on the Friday where Johnathan ZS1ARB and Markus ZS1MTB were activating ZS/WC-845. I initially could not hear them at all but fortunately left the rig on as I browsed around the area where I was deployed. I heard ZS1OB. He had a strong signal. Shortly thereafter I heard the two SOTA activators and we could make contact! That made my day for sure.

I felt the need to make a CW QSO or two on the Sunday afternoon so I took a stroll into the veld where my end fed was deployed. I had a QSO with Eric ZS5EL. Then a little later I found myself in the middle of a local sprint contest. It came as a pleasant surprise so I was able to make more QRP contacts than what I’d imagined! That was fun too!

My comfortable shack – Well more comfortable than a RaDAR deployment!
A mixture of SSB and CW contacts – All QRP
WSPR App

Pierre, ZS6A and I were having a discussion about WSPR on our Facebook group Zone 38 and I thought it a good idea to try this Android WSPR App again. I last did the same a long time ago with my FT-817ND but never with the X5105.

I set up a simple SDR WSPR receiving station at the house using the SDR-IQ reciever, SpectraVue and WSJT-X software linked through a virtual audio connection (Software). The antenna was a short piece of wire hanging over a picture frame.

Intitial tests didn’t confirm my WSPR transmissions were working but after going back a second time I saw success!

SpectraVue and WSJT-X running on Windows 10
5W WSPR’s being heard a long distance away – Possibly even long path too!
Stats from the WSPR website
A stroll on my trail – Happy after achieving a little success!