The new RaDAR

The “Evaluator”

The RaDAR Challenges / RaDAR Sport Sprint (Draft)

1. Aim

1.1 The RaDAR “Challenge” is a unique event aimed at promoting the use of Rapidly Deployable Amateur Radio stations. Options (Fixed, Field or Moving) may be changed at any time during the challenges. The points system is so structured as to encourage portable RaDAR operations especially moveable RaDAR stations.

1.2 RaDAR operators are encouraged to be self-sufficient during each challenge, with not only power supply and communications equipment but food, water, protective clothing and shelter.

1.3 The introduction of various categories starting from November 2021.

Category A – A twenty four hour RaDAR Challenge.

Category B – The standard RaDAR challenge. It’s up to each individual to plan his / her MAXIMUM, SINGLE PERIOD, FOUR HOUR ops.

Category C – A 2 hour RaDAR Sprint, starting time 12:00 UTC.

Category D – A RaDAR Chaser station.

All logs are to be recorded using the unique online logbook. A PIN is required for access and must be arranged a week ahead of the challenges. Contact Eddie, ZS6BNE via email on edleighton@gmail.com. The online logbook can be found at http://www.radarops.co.za/radarsport/RaDAR_Sport.html

2. Dates and Times

2.1 RaDAR operators define their own categories.. He / she should consider propagation with the ultimate goal of inter-continental RaDAR to RaDAR communications in mind.

2.2 00:00 UTC to 23:59 UTC on Saturday 3 April 2021

2.3 00:00 UTC to 23:59 UTC on Saturday 10 July 2021

2.4 00:00 UTC to 23:59 UTC on Saturday 6 November 2021.

3. Bands and Modes

3.1 All amateur bands are allowed including cross band contacts via amateur radio satellites. Modes – CW, SSB, FM or any legal amateur radio digital mode (Except modes like FT8, preferably keyboard to keyboard modes like PSK31 where the operator is directly responsible for the information exchange).

The WARC bands are INCLUDED – The RaDAR Challenge is not considered to be a contest but an individual challenge with a low QSO count and a simulation of emergency situations.

3.2 QSOs via terrestrial FM repeaters should preferably NOT be used for the purpose of the challenge.

4. Suggested (Non WARC) HF calling frequencies

See https://zs6bne.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/radar-calling-frequencies/ for the general RaDAR Calling channels, the latest suggested international list of calling frequencies

5. Exchange

5.1 The RaDAR challenge requires more than a minimalistic information exchange. Accurate information exchange is considered more important than a large QSO count. Callsign, Name, RS (T) report and Grid locator. The grid locator of six characters is acceptable but should preferably be accurate to 8 or 10 characters for higher position accuracy (especially for moving RaDAR stations). If the other station is unable or unwilling to give a grid location then the name of his town will suffice.

6. Scoring

One point per QSO. Individual QSOs could be per mode, per band, per satellite, per grid location. The online logbook has a facility for evaluating the accuracy of logs. For RaDAR even the grid exchanges need to be exact. If the times are within five minutes, date, frequency and grids match then two bonus points are awarded to both stations. This is done by the RaDAR Challenge online Evaluator.

It can be found at http://www.radarops.co.za/radarsport/evaluate_Sprint.html

If the moving RaDAR station has moved the required distance contact can be made with a previously worked station again. Suggestions have been made to call CQ including grid location, for example CQ RaDAR from grid KG34ACXXYY, to help chasers determine whether it is possible for a new contact with a previously worked moving RaDAR station.

7. RaDAR transisiton options and multipliers

7.1 The following multipliers are applicable to determine the final score. If the mode of transport changes were made during the challenge, then calculations take place accordingly. Ensure your mode of transport is correctly selected when entering your log into the online logbook.

x 1 – RaDAR Fixed station (in a building away from home)

x 2 – RaDAR Field station (camping)

x 3 – Moving RaDAR station – see modes of transport below.

7.2 Modes of transport and required movement distances (moving RaDAR stations only)

Vehicles, motorcycles and motorboats (motorised transport) – 6 km. Note motorised transport is only allowed for the twenty four and four hour challenges and not for the two hour RaDAR Sprint.

Bicycles – 2 km.

On foot and paddle canoes – 1 km.

Wheelchairs – 500 m (The four hour challenge only).

7.3 Aeronautical mobile stations are considered moving stations and can communicate at any convenient time.

7.4 Moving RaDAR stations need to make five QSOs before moving to the next deployment point thereafter they are required to move to their next destination. The move needs to cover the required distance before further contacts can be made. This requirement tests the ability to rapidly and successfully re-deploy your amateur radio station. If it be gentlemanly to make further QSOs before moving, then please feel free to do so but the QSOs in excess of five per deployment point cannot be counted for points.

8. Log Sheets

8.1 Log sheets must be entered / uploaded using ADIF by 23:59 CAT by the end of the day but preferably entered directly after each QSO. It is no longer necessary to submit a log as it already exists in a database within the online logbook. This is what makes the online logbook quite unique.

RaDAR – Testing for NVIS

I had built a QRP Labs U3S and run it on 40m and 20m. My main interest is in NVIS communications (Near Vertical Incindence Skywave). Many years back I visited a facility in Hermanus, South Africa where they test for various HF propagation conditions. The term Ionosonde comes to mind.

Well I made my own system that seems to work very well using WSPR as the source on the U3S and WSJT-X together with a SDR-IQ as the receiver. Allow me to present some further detail.

In KG34ac (Lichtenburg) I run the U3S using a 40m / 20m trap inverted vee. I built the simple traps myself on tiny pieces of PCB using a 30 turn winding on a red toroid with a parallel 47 pF capacitor. On 40m the U3S puts out 200 mW and on 20m, 50 mW approximately. The WSPR sequence is repeated every six minutes.

In KG34ac (Molopo), 29 km away as the crow flies I run WSJT-X in WSPR mode talking indirectly via virtual audio (Software) and Spectravue (RF Space’s SDR software) to the SDR-IQ SDR HF receiver usually used as a CW monitor for the RBN (Reverse Beacon Network) when appropriate..

These two options allow some pretty interesting observations. I use WSPRD at http://wsprd.vk7jj.com/ to accumulate the data and create an appropriate graph from that data using LIBRE Calc (Freeware office software).

The results coincide with real world propagation opportunities for NVIS communications. I drew this graph from recent data.

Now that’s using WSPR for a purpose! The SNR values are usually well into negative values for example -27 or nothing at all. Anything above the zero line is a very good indicator that suitable conditions exist.

73 de Eddie ZS6BNE

RaDAR – WSPR our propagation tool

I had built the QRP Labs U3S WSPR transmitter and expanded it for two bands namely 40m and 20m. My interest is 40m as most of my RaDAR operaions take place locally although during the challenges it’s always good to cross the oceans and access other continents and make contact with other RaDAR operators around the world.

For quite some time (A few weeks) I have been WSPR’ing from my RaDAR playground in KG34ac but I started to get irritated by the slight QRM I was experiencing on my CCTV cameras which I use as “The poor man’s trail camera”. Seeing my grandson was returning to school after almost a year attending on line schooling due to Covid-19 my wife and Eduan had to go back to town in Lichtenburg and only join me on weekends again. I had to do a few chores there yesterday and took the U3S into town and set it up there. I had built a trap dipole for the purpose and got it up at about five meters above ground in an inverted vee format. The antenna was fed with a length of RG215, better than it was here at home.

I had to update my 6 character TX grid to KG33bu on the WSPR database after I found it was only registering 4 characters on the WSPR database. I had conflicts with duplicate call signs in different locations so the RX side I renamed to ZS6BNE/p which is what it is actually. I use a RF Space SDR-IQ SDR running on its software typically Spectravue. I use a virtual audio cable (Software) to channel the audio to WSJT-X running in WSPR mode. Here too I have an inverted vee on 40m for reception. My main concern obviously is 40m.

This opened up some interesting facilities. ZS6BNE TX in KG33bu and around 30 km away as the crow flies the ZS6BNE/p RX in KG34ac. This is my own NVIS alert / testing facility and has already shown some interesting results!

As suggested by a friend on our local WSPR WhatsApp group I use http://wsprd.vk7jj.com/ to do queries on the WSPR data. From this data I intend pulling it into Libre-Calc and drawing graphs from the results. Here you can clearly see a NVIS opening and to prove it I made contact with Andy ZS6ADY who is usually skip to me!

I’m looking forward to those graphs and seeing the interesting results!

73 de Eddie ZS6BNE

RaDAR News – The end of 2020

Andre ZS6CO was the first to submit a log for the November 2020 RaDAR Challenge. Andre worked from home as a fixed station and filled an important role. He worked three moving RaDAR stations, ZS5AYC, ZS6BNE and ZS6MSW. This support is what RaDAR operator like to see.

Tjaart ZS3DR ran a mobile station from his Landcruiser. Tjaart enjoyed the RaDAR movements. He managed to activate seven individual grid locations.

Christi ZS4CGR a supporter of many ham radio activities also joined in on the RaDAR Challenge. His plan was to travel using his bicycle but I believe the wind was excessive so he travelled using his bakkie. Christi activated eight different grid locations.

Andy DL2DVE joined in the RaDAR Challenge again. Andy wrote, “For the 7th Nov 2020 challenge I decided to walk, and selected a few places beforehand close to my QTH. Main target was to contact other RaDAR operators and to try R2R DX, so I took with me not only the IC-706 (100W) and the 2m long (high) Vertical, but also the 10m long vertical EFHW for 20m with a 12m mast. Spent quite some time to figure out how to contact M0NOM after I left house without e-mail…   Finally we got a very nice R2R QSO on 20m SSB.  Could hear N4KGL on 14.062 with 229…339 with the short antenna – this motivated me to assemble the large one. It was my priority so I gave up to walk to the 3rd site.  But could not copy Greg at his 2nd stop on 20m SSB as there was European QRM.  Have two sites activated (less than my plan), but the main target R2R was achieved, with Mark M0NOM/P.  Temp was 5 deg C, no rain. Two deployments, one EU-R2R and one DX-Contact to US, resulting in 60 Points. 3x (2 x 5 +5 +5). 73 Andy DL2DVE”

Hoping 2021 will see the dark clouds of 2020 disappearing. 73 and hope to hear you all on the bands soon.

Sid’s RaDAR Challenge – November 2020

Sid ZS5AYC and his wife Adele ZS5APT are regular SOTA activators and take part in all the RaDAR Challenges too. This is Sid’s report ……

Saturday morning for Adele and I started at 04:45, the summit we had decide to activate was between Kokstad and Underberg, we had deciding to first activate the summit ZS/KN-145 Belfast and then start the RaDAR challenge to coincide with the other RaDAR operators, this was the first time in South Africa that there would be so many RaDAR ops and we were excited to be part of the challenge.

We misjudged the time it would take to reach the summit and after hiking up we were 19 minutes behind schedule. After the first few minutes we realized that this would have to be our first RaDAR station, because the temperature was already 26°, we needed to keep operating because the chasers were piling up, within an hour we had made 17 contacts, with Eddie ZS6BNE being our first RaDAR to RaDAR contact.

I set off for my kilometre walk, but once we had descended our friends asked if we were still up on the summit, we then went back into the activation zone and set up to make contact with them, unfortunately they couldn’t hear us, so we broke station, and I continued with my walk, with Adele making her way down in the Toyota.

We quickly set up station and started calling, making 4 contacts, one with Denise (ZS1DS) who was participating in the Day of the YL.

As we had spent so much time activating the summt, we decided to drive 6km, big mistake ……. the trip down on the farm rode took us nearly an hour to reach the 6km distance, I would have walked the 1km faster.

After the 5 contacts we drove the next 6 kilometres but by the time we had set up we only had 5 minutes to make 5 contacts. We managed 3 contacts before our time was up.

All in all we had so much fun, making contact with three of the other RaDAR stations.

Looking forward to the RaDAR Challenge in April 2021.

Rethinking RaDAR

IC-7200

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

Python on the Pi – My trail camera

My old Pi – Too slow as a desktop PC

I’ve had this old Pi for quite a few years now. It’s so slow that it can’t be used for much other than playing around with it but it’s ideal for the purpose of being a trail camera. I fitted the PiCam module and also a WiFi adapter. This model, unlike the latest models, was pretty much a bare bones computer.

So I did a little Python programming to talk to the camera module and just recently included a facility to send me a mail whenever a photo was taken.

In this case too, I use an external infrared movement detector which has a normally closed contact. The contact is wired between ground and pin 17 on the GPIO port. Contact bounce has been handled within the Python program. A simple solution with exciting possibilities.

Here is my latest Python code.

from picamera import PiCamera
from pygame import *

screen = display.set_mode ((640, 128))
display.set_caption ('Eds trail camera INITILIZED  - Press q to Quit')

import smtplib
import time
import RPi.GPIO as GPIO

GPIO.setmode(GPIO.BCM)
GPIO.setup(17, GPIO.IN, GPIO.PUD_UP)

camera = PiCamera()

stop = False
counter = 0

def my_callback(channel):
    snaptime = time.strftime('%A %d %b %Y %H:%M:%S')

    smtpUser = 'yourmailaddress@gmail.com'
    smtpPass = 'yourpassword'

    toAdd = 'yourdestinationaddress@gmail.com'
    fromAdd = smtpUser

    subject = snaptime
    header = 'To: ' + toAdd + '\n' + 'From: ' + fromAdd + '\n'+ 'Subject: '  + subject
    body = 'Eds trail camera was triggered through movement detection. '

    print header + '\n' + body

    s = smtplib.SMTP('smtp.gmail.com', 587)

    s.ehlo()
    s.starttls()
    s.ehlo()

    s.login(smtpUser,smtpPass)
    s.sendmail(fromAdd, toAdd, header + '\n\n' + body)

    global counter

    # DEBOUNCE Code

    if (counter >= 10):
        counter = 0

        camera.annotate_text_size = 30
        camera.annotate_text = snaptime

        time.sleep(0.1)	    # Allow 100 ms for IR LED's to switch on (At night)
        camera.capture('/home/pi/snapshot_' + snaptime + '.jpg')

        print ('Camera was tiggered on ' + snaptime)

camera.rotation = 180

#camera.start_preview()

GPIO.add_event_detect(17, GPIO.RISING, callback = my_callback)

while (stop == False) :

   time.sleep(0.1)
   counter = counter + 1    # Allow for trigger contact bounce

   for e in event.get():
       if e.type == KEYDOWN:
           if (e.key == K_q):
               print ('Trail camera stopped')
               stop = True
           else:
               print('Press q to Quit')

#camera.stop_preview()

Python on the Pi – Sending mail

Set to ON

I’m busy experimenting with the Rasberry Pi and doing a little Python programming. One of the goals I had was to be able to send an email for status messages.

First things first, make sure your Pi is up to date and upgraded to the latest versions

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get upgrade

When all is complete you need to do two installs

sudo apt-get ssmtp mailutils

Note the double s

Note on GMail you will need to open a new account and set it that non google applications be allowed to use it (Less secure). Note your privacy on this mail account shouldn’t be an issue.

Once your account is created and signed in on line, click on your profile icon, then click on “Manage your Google Account“. Click on “Security” and scroll down to “Less secure App access” and switch it ON. That’s it, now you’re ready to play!

Simple python code. Substitute your own mail addresses.

import smtplib

smtpUser = 'yourmail@gmail.com'
smtpPass = 'yourpassword'

toAdd = 'towho@gmail.com'
fromAdd = smtpUser

subject = 'Python mail send test'
header = 'To: ' + toAdd + '\n' + 'From: ' + fromAdd + '\n' + 'Subject: ' + subject
body = 'From within a Python script'

print header + '\n' + body

s = smtplib.SMTP('smtp.gmail.com',587)    

s.ehlo()
s.starttls()
s.ehlo()

s.login(smtpUser, smtpPass)
s.sendmail(fromAdd, toAdd, header + '\n\n' + body)

s.quit()

Works pretty well. Now to implement this facility in my home brew rasberry pi based trail camera!

ZS6BNE – My Morse Code (CW) Journey

My good friend Mike ZS6MSW, promoter for CW in South Africa, asked for stories like this. This is my story, a forty six year old story.

I was in high school and discovered ham radio through listening on a valve shortwave radio to the South African Radio League’s weekly bulletin transmitted on Sunday mornings using the AM mode.

I joined the SARL, did a nighttime RAE course and wrote the written technical and regulatory exam in November 1974. Morse code was compulsory then for a ZS licence. My younger brother helped me by drilling me constantly on the letters and numbers and their dot / dash equivalents. I bought a hand key but can’t recall what I used as a tone generator. I could send well and pretty fast too BUT the method of learning was not as it should be. I had no mentor. I took the 12 words per minute test at the post office in Johannesburg. I battled with the receiving side but passed. Having passed the RAE and the Morse code test I applied for my ZS licence and got it after swearing an oath of secrecy in February 1975. By then I was in standard nine.

My dad helped my buy my first transmitter, the Yaesu FL-DX400 and I had a second hand KW77 communications receiver. I actually lost my first CW QSO with a Rhodesian ham after he asked me to QSY to a different frequency, I wasn’t sure how to read the dial exactly! Working with a separate TX and RX made it even more difficult.

I had to complete a whole year on CW before being allowed to use SSB. That was a good thing of course. I had met up with a friend, John Smith ZS6BNS and we had regular QSO’s. John was at Wits university at the time. We became such good friends that we alternated having Sunday lunch at each other’s house most weekends.

I even had my station set up in the cupboard while in matric to make a hidden QSO now and then. I used my bedroom window frame as an antenna but of course the transmitter wasn’t happy with that and I destroyed the finals. I eventually gave the transmitter to Norman, ZS6ASL a technician that worked for the SABC if I recall correctly. Norman home brewed the most beautiful valve equipment. We lost touch over the years but John is still a good friend of mine and we still occasionally communicate via Facebook.

All school leavers in South Africa then had to do compulsory military training. I filled in the questionnaire and was glad to see questions like your ability to send and receive Morse code. I was convinced that my abilities would be used by the SADF when called up. I was called up to Kimberley One maintenance unit, nothing at all to do with radio or the Morse code. After basic training I was sent away to an ammunition depot and spent my days there packing ammunition boxes into storerooms the size of halls! Consignments to support the border war also needed to be packed regularly and sent off secretly.

Sometime I had purchased a FT101EE and was paying it off with my monthly army pay which wasn’t much at all. I took it with me to the depot and set up station there for weekends off time. I sometimes used the FT-101EE’s mic PTT button as a Morse code key and this impressed another soldier there who was a “doggy”. They stood guard at night walking with their dogs and R1 rifles. This soldier was Vincent who later became a ham and got the call sign ZS6BTY.

I happened to have a QSO with Brian Austin, ZS6BKW, famous for his BKW open wire fed antenna. Brian was a captain in the citizen force. Within a week he had me out of the ammunition depot and I became a signaler, a radio operator. Initially being called up for a year gave me six months being in signals, that six months became another eighteen months as legislation changed and everyone had to do two years national service.

After the army I went into the post office and trained as a telecom technician. I took my station to the Post Office college at Olifantsfontein where I stayed for three months at a time doing practical in between. I met up with a ham and his wife who lived close by and was often invited for supper. Hostel food was good but something different is always better.

In 1980 I met my wife and we were married later that year. I couldn’t get a transfer after qualifying as a technician so had to resign and in 1981 started work in Lichtenburg where I still stay now, with a cement company as an instrument technician. The workshop was well equipped for building PCB’s and it was here where I built an electronic keyer and a paddle using a hacksaw blade with perspex handle. I can’t recall whether I used a proven design or designed it myself. Logics (TTL / CMOS Gates) at tech was one of my main subjects. The keyer and paddle lasted me till way after 1995 – fifteen years later, together with the FT101EE I bought while in the army! I sold the keyer after buying an Icom IC-706mkiig which changed my ham radio world drastically. It of course had a built in keyer.

By the mid 1990’s I had done a career change away from a technical field and into computers doing systems programming and database administration on a mainframe system.

Many of our local ham radio club members wanted to upgrade to a ZS so I started giving Morse code lessons and after a few months many passed their morse code test. A few are my good friends Gert ZS6SMI, Dave ZS6DDU and Kobus ZS6RPJ. We lost some of our friends along the way R.I.P.

To be continued ……

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