RaDAR – Not quite in the field

Icom IC-7200

Yesterday I took part in the SARL CW Contest, a three hour contest on 80m, 40m and 20m.

I had to quickly build and tune a section for my link dipole for 80m. I’d already added a 60m section so it was simply a case of adding seven meters of wire on each end and tuning for low SWR. Within a half hour I had a working 80m antenna, quite RaDAR’ish I might add.

I sat in the back room which is only two meters from my RaDAR Playground in the bush. Just recently I installed AC power but no lighting yet.

What a comfortable way of working a contest other than sitting on the ground in the cold winter fields running QRP! This was an absolute pleasure. I was heard on every call running between 60 and 90 W from the icom IC-7200. What an awesome radio!!!

I had bought some cheap headphones which sounded Hi Fidelity and I could not help myself but to compare it to the Xeigu X5105 I once had. It was absolutely AWFUL using headphones even when I turned the audio right down it still sounded like a ships engine room. The Icom was quiet!!!

I made more contacts in one session than I have done in quite a while.

As darkness and cold set in I packed up early not trying 20m. I still want to get my 20m end fed vertical up again. Maybe a goal for this week. I need to have something to do being an early pensioner (Hate that word!!! 🙂 )

RaDAR News – September

There is a new challenge being created abbreviated as the Fox Mike Hotel POC, the “Portable Operations Challenge” designed by Frank K4FMH. Frank and I share a little history which involves Xeigu but not Xeigu themselves. Frank and I met up through a Xeigu Facebook group controlled by a UK ham. Both Frank and I were banned from this group for petty reasons and so I started my own Xeigu X5105 group that was more “balanced” than the other Xeigu group which also became known as “Wayne’s world”. When frustration took it’s final toll and having me “giving” my X5105 away I left the Facebook group I had created in the capable hands of Frank and Jonathan ZS1ARB. I’d had enough of the politics! Frank took an interest in RaDAR and already then he had an idea of promoting his POC. Many interactions with the rest of the world have taken place since although I took a back seat with this one but it does sound promising. I’d suggest you read about it on Frank’s website at https://foxmikehotel.com/challenge/

Another very interesting RaDAR enhancement is the mixing of RaDAR within POTA (Parks on the air) activations promoted by Geg Lane N4KGL and Jason Johnston W3AAX. Andy Wragg G1AW / 2E0UAW / M6UAW is also actively involved promoting the idea within other countries. Dennis Green ZS4BS is the POTA administrator for South Africa and is in contact via email with the above mentioned gentlemen. Certainly combining RaDAR with POTA can only be lots of fun. Awards are available for successful operations. I’d suggest you browse the POTA website at https://parksontheair.com/pota-awards/

This would be great if we could do the same here in ZS. I will become the administrator and awards manager for ZS. Dennis Green, ZS4BS is the administrator for POTA in ZS. I’m back with renewed energy to take Jason and Greg’s initiative and promote it here in South Africa. They are presently busy taking it to countries like Chile, Argentina and Russia.

Rethinking RaDAR


My quest for “Minimalistic RaDAR” came to a dead end through bad decisions. I still believe it’s possible though but using radios like the KX2 or KX3. But, they come at a price.

I was very fortunate to find an Icom IC-7200 in absolute mint condition at a very good price and from a very trustworthy seller. In my 46th year as a radio amateur I feel quite fortunate to be able to continue my hobby again.

The radio came with the optional carry handles. Not a sign of dust or scratches. I’m almost afraid to take it for a walk! Tonight I applied power, it switched on nicely and the the speech facility worked too reading back the frequency and mode.

I gave my “RX Only” FT-817ND and Signalink USB to my grandson, together with a book on “First steps to amateur radio”. One of his school subjects soon will be electrical technology. With the COVID-19 outbreak we’ve enrolled him in online schooling. He was quite positive about the idea of learning electronics / electricity.

So, I’m no longer a minimalistic RaDAR operator unless I go satellite hunting using my TH-D7A duplex handheld but FM sats only.

The IC-7200 can be backpacked but will require bigger batteries and a bigger pack. I did try this with the FT-897d I once had but lost it to a Xiegu X5105 trying to go “Minimalistic RaDAR”. Although heavy, it was possible to backpack the 897d. At least I’m back to 100W capability! Sometimes higher power helps. QRP only with recent conditions were quite a challenge!

My friend Andries ZS6VL asked what was I to do with all the Watts? I’ve been mainly QRP only for well over a decade.

Looking forward to getting some calls back in the log, at 100W it will make my life a lot easier. At least I still have the RaDAR playground and it has been developed as a nature trail. I maintain it myself using standard garden machines like a bush cutter, petrol lawn mower (Modified to take on the dense bush) and a petrol chainsaw.

So my outlook on RaDAR has changed. The movements make it special and different to anything else and very challenging. Now that I’m on my way to 63 years of age, the physical challenge gets more difficult. I never thought it would happen so quickly.

Have fun!!!

73 de Eddie ZS6BNE