RaDAR News – July 2019

It’s almost that time of the year when the mid year RaDAR Challenge takes place. A good place to start if you have not already done so, is to download the SARL Contest manual, alias “The Blue Book”. The URL is http://www.sarl.org.za/public/contests/contestrules.asp

The section to look out for are the RaDAR Challenge guidelines. The times and date are 00:00 UTC to 23:59 UTC on Saturday 13 July 2019. You are free to choose your own four hour time within the twenty four hour window. Conditions have been really bad lately so it’s going to be a challenge of note!

A few months ago the author opted for the Xiegu X5105 all mode compact QRP HF radio for RaDAR ops but it is badly in need of reliable firmware. Fortunately one can revert to the last known good version but is pretty old already, November 2018! Unless some miracle happens, that would be the only route to success.

There is a massive drive in ZS for CW (Morse code) which is really ideal for RaDAR and with present conditions that may be the most effective way of getting your grid square through to the other stations. Keep your speed down to about 12 wpm with good spacing between the characters for easy copy.

South African Morse Code
Contact ZS6MSW to join the Movement !!!

Try to negotiate a common four hour time that we all operate within the same time frame. Advertise your intentions and others may follow and visa versa. We need each other, the challenge is not only a physical one, it is about communications and sharing accurate information while working in difficult conditions. We need those shack bound stations too. Don’t use too much power, if QRP stations can hear each other then the channel is open. A hundred Watts or more isn’t going to make it easier.

Of course there are also options for satellite communications but from experience The tight pass schedule is sometime detrimental to the overall plan unless it’s somewhere towards the end of the challenge. Note, you always need at least five QSO’s before moving and satellite communications may not always provide a full quota!

RaDAR Challenge exchanges are simple, the most important being an accurate grid locator. An awareness of more than 6 characters to a possible 8 or even 10 will make copy easier. The RaDAR challenge requires more than a minimalistic information exchange. Accurate information exchange is considered more important than a large QSO count. Call sign, name, RS (T) report and grid locator. The grid locator of six characters is acceptable but should preferably be accurate to 8 or 10 characters for higher position accuracy (especially for moving RaDAR stations). Various smartphone apps are used for this or pre-planning using maps is an alternative.

Here’s hoping for a successful RaDAR challenge – Have fun!!!

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