RaDAR – Challenge July 2019 review

I eventually found the time to write my review. Being recently retired I found I’m quite a busy man and wonder where I ever got the time to go to a “saltmine” for eight hours a day!

HF conditions are really a challenge nowadays and even under less strenuous timelines than the RaDAR challenge it’s days or weeks that I go without a QSO! That determined my strategy for the day.

Usually I don’t rely too heavily on satellite communications and I hadn’t done RaDAR SatComms in quite a while. Choosing my four hours I had to make the first attemt a test. I had a great QSO with Tom ZR6TG via the AO-91 cubesat.

In the background, my RaDAR training ground – a full 1.6 Hectare of dense bush.

Then the four hour challenge started. I made no attempt at setting up any HF antennas but there were two permanently in place in my RaDAR training ground, a 40m / 20m delta loop (In the background above) and another two hundred meters away, a linked dipole.

I at least walked to new locations for the satellite QSO’s deploying quiclky and making quick pass evaluations for direction and elevation. I used the SA AMSAT satellite antenna which is very lightweight and effective. It’s a wonder antenna as the theory behind it goes well beyond that of a straightforward yagi and diplexer.

A low elevation pass but three good QSO’s ZS1LEM, ZS1OB and ZS2BK . As could be expected it’s difficult to near impossible to get the full quota of five QSO’s as per RaDAR movement specifications, so I just returned to “base” after each successful deployment.

ISS Detector Android app for pass predictions

Three QSO’s via SO-50 with ZS2BK, ZS1OB and ZS6GL, Graham is very involved with the RAE and inspiring young people to become radio amateurs.

An area I cleared using a bush cutter and standard petrol lawnmower modified to handle the rough environment.

I had included the last hour for possible CW QSO’s through a local CW sprint that takes place every Saturday and Sunday between 4pm and 5pm. I managed one QSO using my X5105 Xeigu and the linked dipole.

Not a true RaDAR challenge but I had lots of fun and that what it’s all about.

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