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

Sunday, April 8, 2018

April 2018 RaDAR Challenge and Florida State Parks On The Air Contest.

The April RaDAR Challenge coincides with the Florida State Parks On The Air Contest. The FLSPOTA Contest is sponsored by the Lakeland ARC. Thanks to Matt NJ4Y who is one the organizers. RaDAR can play well with other events like the FLSPOTA Contest. My usual venue for RaDAR is a Florida State Park anyway. The first Saturday of April last year was perfect weather. This year the forecast for rain got worse the closer we got to the day. I even considered bailing out. However, why not start and see what happens. The forecast for rain was correct by the way.

The Chameleon vertical deployed quickly while it was raining
In Northwest Florida, we are blessed with many state parks. Since RaDAR encourages movement, we moved by vehicle and visited five parks along the coast in succession.  My buddy Dennis WA6QKN is on my RaDAR team so we braved the rain together. We operated out of the van. I call it Sonic Style because we are like the two guys in the Sonic commercials.

Greg N4KGL

Dennis WA6QKN

When it is raining, you want to minimize your antenna setup time. The antenna of choice for this situation was the Chameleon whip and the 5-to1 transformer. It was mounted to a four-foot pipe plugged into an umbrella stand base.The Icom 7100 in the van had an LDG IT-100 tuner that let us operate multiple bands the Chameleon vertical. Although we know this is not the best antenna for 40 and 60 meters, we still made contacts on those bands.

Grayton Beach setup

Here are some notes from our stops:

  • St Andrews State Park:. We made three CW contacts on 20 and one on 40. Then I called out on 60 meters SSB. We were heard by two locals, each named Bob, W5RE, and WB4BLX. We QSY and worked them on 40 CW. I did the SO-50 pass at during the light rain. I think I got Matt NS4Y operating as K4LKL.
  • Camp Helen State Park: It was raining pretty good. We did a quick setup with the Chameleon vertical. We go one 20 SSB and four 40 meter SSB contacts.
  • Deer Lake State Park; This park is small. It does have beach access if you walk. We operated out of the parking lot. Our first contact was KD8JA operating FLSPOTA Contest close by from Henderson Beach near Destin FL. In summary, we had two 40 meter SSB, two 40 meters CW and one 20 meters CW.
  • Grayton Beach State Park: We missed the entrance to this one and did some extra driving. The rain had thankfully passed by We set up the low 40-meter dipole and a resonant 20-meter vertical ground plane. We did CQ FLSPOTA mostly. We got four on 40 SSB and five on 20 SSB.
  • Top Sail Preserve State Park: We set up the low dipole for 40 meters and quickly make five CW contacts with SKCC stations.

Dennis and I felt we had a full day of ham radio fun despite the adverse weather. Thanks to chasers like Chris VA3ECO that tried but did not find me. We listened to a QSO Today Podcast on the way home. The podcast was Episode 168 with Dennis Verrecchia N6KI about Army MARS during the Vietnam War. Dennis WA6QKN in the van with me shared his own story of setting up phone patches for operators in Vietnam to the US while he was stationed in Guam.

Suzy's lunchtime

The sand dunes at Deer Lake
See more photos at https://photos.app.goo.gl/d2IWwcdlX1hPMXEd2



Thursday, April 5, 2018

Florida State Park Marathon for FLSPOTA Contest & RaDAR Challenge April 7th

Dennis WA6QKN and Greg N4KGL will start at St. Andrews State Park near Panama City, Florida, head West along the Gulf Coast activating as many Florida State Parks as we can in eight hours. We will try to get at least five and up to ten contacts at each park. Our kick-off will be the SO-50 satellite pass at 1300 UTC/ 9 AM CDT. While still at St. Andrews, we will try the HF bands below and 2 meter FM Simplex on 146.565. Then we will hit the road with stops at Camp Helen, Deer Lake, Grayton Beach, Eden Gardens, Top Sail and other state parks as time permits. We will be passing out the park info for FLSPOTA, POTA, and RaDAR at each park. watch our progress via APRS under callsign N4KGL on https://aprs.fi

40 meters 7.200 LSB, 7.050 CW
20 meters 14.250 USB 14.050 CW
15 meters 21.300 USB 21.050 CW
10 meters 28.450 USB,  28.050 CW
60 meters Channel 4: 5371.5 USB (Not for Contest or Challenge credit) 
We will monitor the AC4QB repeater at 145.330 ( Not for Contest or Challenge credit )
Although there are times and frequencies listed above, the better way to know where we are is to enter our calls as triggers in HamAlert https://hamalert.org/login Please register and you can also get the HamAlert App for Android. 
If you want to chat with us and other RaDAR Ops get the WhatsApp App. Go to this link to join the RaDAR Chat https://chat.whatsapp.com/BS1fAbRG2E5LTpeRGWzI8Q Spots are appreciated at https://www.dxwatch.com/

The RaDAR Challenge Rules are at http://radarops.co.za/index.php/radar-rules/ and FL State Parks On The Air rules are at http://flspota.org/rules/  Also see Parks On The Air (POTA) at https://parksontheair.com/

This replaces our previous plan to go to St George Island. Let us know if you will be out portable or chasing.us.

Good Luck and be safe,

Greg N4KGL

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

RaDAR Challenge and Florida State Parks On The Air Plans have changed


Please see newer post at http://www.n4kgl.info/2018/04/florida-state-park-marathon-for-flspota.html
.  
Please post on the Google+ RaDAR community if you will be active for the RaDASR Challenge.

Good luck and be safe,

Greg N4KGL