SKCC 5123T----- FISTS 14979----- Flying Pigs 2331----- NAQCC 3610-----QRP ARCI 14176-----Polar Bear 257

Sunday, August 4, 2013

RaDAR Outing at Topsail State Park

The Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio (RaDAR) Challenge is in effect with new rules. The rules encourage combining a walk with your portable operations.  I decided to visit Topsail State Park while my wife worked a four hour shift a Miramar Beach, FL. I know from previous visits to Topsail there is a nice picnic area 2.6 km from the parking area. I decided to make the hike with my minimal pack up; KX3, Alexloop and external battery in my backpack. Upon arrival at the picnic area I discovered I forgot to include the camera tripod that supports the AlexLoop. This was scary because I did not bring any backup wire antennas. Well a search of the area did yield a stick that I could wedge between the slats on the picnic table see photo. The AlexLoop was cocked a bit but who knows this might be advantageous.

I also advertised this outing as a on-the-air meetup with hams in the RaDAR google plus community. I chose 17 meters as the band for the meet up. I did not snag any of them. But I was also bouncing around to try to get five contacts in any case. My SSB CQ did yield XE2YWB. He gave me a 57. Then K0BLT called. He gave me a 57 to 59. SSB played out and I went to CW and answered N1EP in Maine. He was QRP on a FT 817 so that was a two way QRP QSO. I called CQ on PSK with no luck but I did snag CO8LY Cuba on PSK. The final QSO was KW7D in NM on CW. BTW my minimal pack up does include the Ham Central Terminal HCT. I use it for PSK support and logging.

I was very pleased to get five QSOs. The time at the picnic area was limited to about 1.5 hours as I needed to exit the park before sundown and meet my wife. Being late was not an option you know. As far as the Radar challenge if you walk 1 kilometer and setup the QSOs are 2 contact points each. There are bonuses in the challenge 7 for at least one digital contact, 3 for at least one CW contact and 5 for at least one QRP contact. So contact points plus bonus is 10 + 15 = 25 total.

The RaDAR concept was originated by Eddie ZS6BNE. See Eddie's blog at this link. Marcus KD0JKM introduced RaDAR in America. See the site at There was a RaDAR contest in April and will be another in November. These parallel contests in South Africa. Meanwhile there is RaDAR Challenge. See this link for the updated Monthly RaDAR Challenge rules.

RaDAR encourages taking portable ops a bit further to include a hike. It helps to make sure you have all you gear in the pack up. I squeezed by on forgetting my tripod. I should have brought some wire in case there was no option to support the loop. If this RaDAR idea appeals to you checkout the RaDAR community on Google plus at this link You do not have to join the group to participate in RaDAR.

2.6 kilometer hike from parking to picnic area by the lake.