RaDAR News – Lockdown

Our president in South Africa presented a plan of action to limit the effects of the Corona virus from spreading quickly. As from Thursday the 26th of March 2020, midnight, everyone is to stay at home for 21 days with the exception of medical, police, security and army personnel. This is serious stuff!

The whole world is affected but our symptoms are only starting to show. Registered infections seem to be doubling each day. Not everyone is taking this seriously, yet!

My family and I are voluntarily locked down out of town with only a small amount of permanent residents in the vicinity. On hearing the news we started calculating whether we’d be able to survive for three weeks. We will need to ration what we have. Hopefully things will look more positive in three weeks time and that the outbreak will be under control. It may not be! We’ll have to reevaluate the situation then.

I’m already thinking about doing some fault finding on my 817’s finals again for it’s really now I need to have a working radio. I’m OK for the FM satellites if I really need to have communications with someone at least in South Africa. I’m RaDAR ready in that regard.

Tomorrow it’s my 62nd birthday so no chores for me to do, not even washing the dishes! I’ll spend my precious birthday time delving into the insides of the 817 I think. It did blow my battery’s fuse while doing an ATU tuneup on 15m. Then there was a short to ground on the supply path to the finals which disappeared by itself! I never really took it further after the initial repair, totally disgusted with the situation but now this is part of RaDAR survival getting something operational because it’s needed! Maybe a good exercise under real conditions.

Many things will change socially and psychologically. The whole world will feel the financial pressures too but nothing can be worse than the loss of your loved ones.

Hoping that we all stay safe and healthy and that we emerge from this disaster relatively unscathed but it will take time we don’t know how long …..

The end of the line

Elrika, my XYL, and I were talking last night and the subject of ham radio came up. This year in October we will be married for forty years and in not one of those years did she ever have a love for ham radio, my “hobby”. I see her point.

Ham radio requires attention and does not fit in well with interruption. I too get very “mission driven” when practicing ham radio that it would almost come across as being irritable. I enjoy ham radio and the challenge but it’s always a battle really.

A little over a year ago I made a really bad decision to trade in all my equipment to go the Xeigu route, typically the X5105. If it was a KX3 or even close things may have been different but it wasn’t. Replacing the equipment I once had is really not worth the cost and the second hand market is very limited, hams holding onto what they have (I don’t blame them) or asking brand new prices for them!

I retired officially a year ago and invested in a 1.6 hectare piece of land next to a home I built a few years ago on which I am creating a nature trail and within that space the trail is a kilometer long. I also saw this area as my “RaDAR training ground” and also used for trail running (Even at age 62). I spend hours there practically every day working like a gardener but it gives me a lot of pleasure and a sense of achievement. Elrika refers it to be my new “hobby”.

Ham radio had served me well throughout my entire career. I celebrated my 45th year as a ham just last month on the 17th of February. Even during my service as technology manager with a large company in my home town I once suggested that the technicians reporting to me do the RAE (Radio Amateur’s Examination) and at least get a recognized qualification. I was told by my immediate superior to leave my “hobby” at home. It still saddens me but maybe many see ham radio as a hobby. I like to see it as a professional ability.

To be honest, the most fun I ever had was with a single frequency (7.023 MHz) 49er CW transceiver running 300 mW. To me ham radio must serve a purpose. That is why I developed RaDAR that through RaDAR ham radio could serve a purpose. I’d like to think I have made a difference throughout my ham radio career and will continue to do that where I can.

I’m still active on the FM satellites with my very old Kenwood TH-D7A(g) but I find the “Five nine” thing to be most boring. I’d love to see the RaDAR concept actively present within the satellite community. It would fit in extremely well there. On the 4th of April 2020 the first RaDAR Challenge for the year takes place. I’ll be RaDAR active using SatComms and moving on foot.