RaDAR News – July 2020 challenge

Not everyone submits a log or report (It’s not a requirement) but here are a few highlights from around the world.

Greg N4KGK and Dennis WA6QKN

Dennis and I got in three stops and 15 contacts under some toasty sunshine at Opal Beach on Santa Rosa Island. Thirteen of those contacts were on 17 meters. Hearing 17 open and making contacts with ten watts and a magnetic loop was fun. It helped to spot ourselves on the Parks On The Air Site. The rig was an Icom 703, and the antenna was the Alexloop. That meant we had a light pack up for our one-kilometer walk between stops. There were a fair number of folks having fun on the Santa Rosa Sound beach. They were curious about our operations and seemed impressed. 

We worked Bud W3FF, a notable ham in California. Our best contact was stumbling upon Chris VA3ECO. He was doing RaDAR from his motorboat on the big lake where he lives on an island in Ontario. Chris winters here in Panama City Beach and is a member of Panama City ARC. So RaDAR outings are still a blast, and my bet that we could get by with lighter gear paid off even at the solar cycle minimum.This is a sign the high HF bands are on their way back

Chris VA3ECO’s You Tube video can be seen here https://youtu.be/zaaPzoxe68A

Chris VA3ECO

I managed 20 contacts at 4 locations, bonus points for some PSK31 and a RaDAR to RaDAR with Greg! I think my total is 90 points, for what it matters.
The ITU contest kind of mad 20 meters busy, so I took Greg’s advice and spent most of my time on 17 meters phone. I had quite a few long QSO’s, talking about RaDAR, antennas, and even one half hour chat about sailboats.
I’ve already sent you a link to my youtube video, but here it is again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaaPzoxe68A

Andy DL2DVE/p

Heard recently about the RaDAR Challenge and wanted to give it a try.

·        Living in a small town (14k people) east of Munich in South Germany, we have a nice countryside close by – called “Schwabener Moos” – some forest / fields / meadows / grassland.

·        Starting from home, using bicycle for transportation, so minimum distance is 2km to each site

·        To find enough QSO-Partners, had initially the idea to combine it with GMA Activations, then I learned  the IARU HF Championship Contest runs in parallel

·        Using the IC-706 (100W) and the Diamond C-Whip antenna (~2m) – this set was created in 2006 for quick deployment of a SOTA-Activation Station, see: 

http://sota-dl.bplaced.net/articles/SOTA_equipment_DL2DVE.pdf

·        Overall backpack weight: 8kg (incl. VX-6 for VHF/UHF FM and Garmin GPSmap64s)

Defined the following targets:

·        Wanted to find out how many sites can be activated within the 4 hours:

·        2km by bike should be possible within 10min.

·        The station set-up and 5 QSOs in Contest shall be possible within 20min.

·        So one cycle shall be done in 30min.

·        This would result in 8 deployments within the given 4 hours.

Result:

·        6 sites were deployed

·        It took almost 40min in average for one cycle

·        Reality vs. plan:

o   Moving: it took always a few additional minutes to find a suitable place to set-up the station.

o   Operating time: Even with 100W, my signal was too weak vs. competition in the contest, many stations did not copy me. Others with Beam + PA were much stronger, so it took in average 12min to complete the 5 QSOs.

o   Noting the 10 digit locator and taking a few photos per site also needs a bit time.

o   Certainly the time for deployment and disassembly can be more optimized in future.

·        Overall I’m somewhat satisfied with 6 deployments and one DX-Contact to Japan, resulting in 105 Points. 3x (6 x 5 +5).

It was Fun !

Where will you publish the results?  Even it is non-competitive, I’m interested in the activities of the others.

Kobus ZS6BOS 

My RaDAR Challenge in cold weather went well. This time I used my bakkie to do the challenge and combined it with a sota on ZS/GP-019 Jagfontein as the 3rd and final location. Left my QTH at 09h40 utc and stopped transmitting at 13h40 utc.Did the challenge on 70cm, but tried some 40m at the Sota peak. Was rather disappointing with only three hf contacts. Made a nice 70cm contact to Bethlehem. It was very windy and cold. Could not get the yagi up at the last location, but luckily I had a J-pole as a backup. 
Completely forgot to take photos. I think it was the wind and cold and the problem of getting the antenna up. Maybe next time……

Tom KC3TOM

Had a great day out despite the weather.  I put a little effort into making a video.  I was on foot and made 39 contacts, although I only would get credit for 15, as I was only at 3 locations, but I had some pile-ups and didn’t want to cut people off.

Enjoy the video :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNIvz22F_Q4

Tom G0SBW

A difficult day for the challenge with the IARU contest.  Also I had family visiting under the Covid19, lockdown “bubble”arrangements.  Following test on Friday I decided to operate for a couple of hours in the morning on 40m before the start of the contest at 12:00 UTC.  This would give me time to be back home before my visitors arrived.  I also planned to operate on 17m in the late afternoon to try to give a RaDAR to RaDAR QSO to  operators in N. America.

So, was at my first station at about 07:30 UTC. After about an hour I had my five QSOs and made my way on foot to station 2, one kilometre away.  Here I managed four QSOS before deciding to head back home to meet my guests.  Actually thought I had made 5 QSOs – clerical error!.

I got home a few minutes after the guests arrived.

My experience on 40m was mixed.  There was  lots of European  activity.  Many  QRO + nets and long chatty QSOs going on.  My QRP SSB CQ calls  did not attract any takers.  I found the best qso chances with Flora and Fauna stations.

I did venture out for an hour late afternoon to see if I could work any RaDAR stations on 17m.  17m was very flat – no intercontinental stations whatsoever and only two or three audible European stations.  I had QSOs with two of them.  They gave me surprisingly good signal reports in view of my 10W to a 3 metre vertical backpack mounted antenna.

Eddie ZS6BNE

Today was International RaDAR day …….. The CuddeBack trail camera was my photographer.

All contacts were via satellite. I tried some QRPp HF CW at the end to no avail.

Point 1 – Grid KG34ac19do Worked ZS4CGR, ZR6LJK, ZS6EMS, ZS1TA and ZS5AYC another RaDAR station in grid KF58cwo8gw80 via the AO-92 cubesat.

Point 2 – Grid KG34ac19eo Worked ZS4CGR, ZS5AYC and ZS5APT in grid KF58cw03bu56, FR5PF on Reunion island (He battled to make out my call sign even phonetically) and ZR6LJK via the AO-91 cubesat.

Point 3 – Grid KG34ac19el Worked ZS2BK and ZR6LJK via PO-101, ZS2BK and ZR6LJK via SO-50.

HF ZERO.

Sid ZS5AYC and Adele ZS5APT

Saturday was a FUN day, although the weather forecast for the South Coast was supposed to be a sunny day, we woke up to dark skies with a promise of rain, we had decided to combine the RaDAR challenge with activating the Umtamvuna Nature Reserve ZSFF-0405 in Port Edward.

However when we arrived there the gates were locked. We backtracked to Clearwater’s hiking trails and had just enough time to set up for AO-92 satellite,

Point 1: Grid KF58CW08GW80.

Sid worked ZR6LJK, ZS6BNE, ZS4CGR and ZS1TA but missed ZS1OB for the log via the AO-92 CubeSat. We quickly set up the portable station made another 3 contacts, ZS4CGR, ZS4MG and ZS5QI.

Point 2: Grid KF58CW08BU56

We set off for the viewing deck, but as it was only 400m, we walked the trail to left of the viewing deck, returning to the viewing deck and then still needed to walked another 300 m to complete the 1 km required, we had 2 minutes to get ready for the AO-91 CubeSat Sid worked, ZS2BK, ZS4CGR and ZS6BNE, once again we had to set up the portable station to complete the required 5 contacts, logging ZS4CGR, ZS4MG and ZS6AKW.

We walked back to the UTE where we first enjoyed a hot cup of coffee and rusks.

Point 3: Grid KF59CA21HI93

We drove 6 km and set up station, working ZS4CGR, ZS4MG, ZS6BRB, ZS5QI and ZS6PRO, band conditions were not good and reports were 5.1

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