RaDAR news – Horses for courses

Testing the RaDAR Satcomms gear

I always like to think amateur radio should serve a purpose. I often imagine a hiker out in the wilderness far away from anything modern society is used to using. This hiker has one thing that can save him from possible life threatening danger and that is amateur radio. Usually this hiker would carry with him, at minimum, a ham radio transciever that in the event of having to make contact with someone it will be possible. This hiker needs to practice the scenarios regularly that he knows what is possible and what is not.

Ideally this hiker should have a ham radio friends that he can rely on having regularly practiced through activities like contesting, SOTA, POTA and even regular contacts with guys using satellite communications. Knowing the Morse code and also knowing who could possibly be listening out for a weak signal could only make your chances of successful communications even better.

Sometimes you need to do things a little differently like using manual control while using a SSB satellite. It may be your only chance but you need friends to practice these things with and regularly too. Amateur radio is a team sport and if you don’t support each other, even if doing things a little out of the norm, then there is no hope of success when you need to communicate in an unusual way where there are no other options.

Amateur radio communications can be made using various modes via shortwave, sometimes digital communications may make it easier. They can also take place on VHF and UHF and usually a combination of the two using the satellites.

Tools used for satellite pass predictions usually reside on a computer or cell phone. A cell phone is a useful tool not necessarily used as a phone but as a small computing device. It should be reliable and up to date! It may be a good idea to make hard copies of times and frequencies as a backup as the phone can be lost or fail when you need it most!

On Saturday the 2nd of November 2019 the final RaDAR Challenge for 2019 takes place. My friend Greg N4KGL assured me that the RaDAR wave in the USA is still strong and that is good to hear. I have tried to promote the challenge via large QRP based groups on Facebook. Strange though, a group can have over six thousand members but you only really read input from a few regulars.

Try combining SOTA activities with RaDAR. Sid ZS5AYC and Adele ZS5APT are doing exactly that and my four hours will coincide with their plans. If there are satellite passes within that time frame I will certainly make an effort to do some RaDAR SatComms. Otherwise there is a ZS CW sprint that takes place from 10:00 UTC that I may be able to fit in depending on the SOTA time frame.

RaDAR is all about planning with regular practice and being ready to communicate at any time. My batteries are charged and the pack is packed with all I need for a successful challenge. We need to support each other whether you’re a rag chewer, a high power fixed station, a regular computer controlled satellite station operator or a FT8 operator. We need each other.

73 de Eddie ZS6BNE

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