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

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Our 2023 ARRL Field Day at Eastbank Campground, Georgia

Rick NZ2I and I operated 2B GA on Lake Seminole from Eastbank Campground, Georgia. We managed 127 CW, 2 PSK-31, and 112 FT8 contacts. These counted ten points each. Our satellite QSO on RS-44 was five points for 2415 points total. All contacts were QRP, five watts or a little less. The bonuses were 750 points. Among the bonuses were the satellite contact, ten natural power QSOs, and a message to the Georgia Section Manager via WinLink. 


Greg N4KGL

This is our setup at campsite C-33. It has lots of bonus green space we used for antennas.

The Buddipole Buddihex hex beam is a real winner for field day.

These solar panels help keep the voltage up on our two LiFEPO4 batteries. The smaller panel is a Bioenno 60-watt. It is lightweight and portable.

Our Quickset Venture shelter

A view of our two operating positions in the shelter. Rick was on the left on digital modes. I was on the right doing CW.

I enjoyed a visit from Micky Baker, the ARRL Southeast Director.

We look forward to Winter Field Day, likely from the same campsite.

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Field Day Countdown

I used to spend one day packing before ARRL Field Day, and that was it. This year I am getting a head start. Rick NZ2I and I plan to operate callsign N4KGL, Class B Battery, two-person, two transmitter station at Eastbank Campground on the Georgia side of Lake Seminole.  I chose campsite 33 because it has bonus green space. There is room for the Buddihex hex beam and a MyAntennas 130-foot Endfed. I know because I used campsite 33 for this year's Winter Field Day.

This is Campsite 33 we used for last Winter Field Day. It is just the ticket with bonus green space for antennas. We will be operating in the shelter next to the camper. Of course, the panels will be removed to help with the heat,

To QRP or QRO? ARRL is very generous with the QRP Battery multiplier. In simple terms, two QRP CW Contacts equals five 100W CW Contacts or ten 100W phone Contacts. One hundred CW contacts yield a decent score. The rigs are an Icom 705 and an Icom 7100. Note, the Icom 7100 does take eight amps on transmit even with five watts RF output. 

We are using two 40 amp-hour Bioenno LiFEPO4 batteries for the power source. I have a solar panel for each, one 100-watt panel and one 60-watt panel. I am very impressed with the Bioenno 60-watt lite panel for its portability.

I tested N1MM Logger + networking with two Toughbook laptops. The two laptops are tied together with an ethernet crossover cable.

We plan to use a Quadplexer to operate both transmitters simultaneously on the same antenna. The Buddihex deserves to be shared. Hopefully, it will make five watts roar.

Networking N1MM Logger + for two stations is a new challenge. It is easier than I thought. N1MM does take a bit of configuration for digital modes like FT-8 and PSK-31. 

A nice satellite station, the Icom 9700, Arrow antenna, and CSN S.A.T box.

But what about bonus points? The satellite bonus is always elusive. I do have the gear. Chris VA3ECO snagged a bonus sat contact with it at last Winter Field Day. So I had better practice. The sat station has an Icom 9700, Arrow dual yagi, and an S.A.T box. The S.A. T. box does much work, but it still takes some operator savvy to point the antenna and pull off a contact. I may go for the message bonus too. WinLink is a great choice; more prep and practice are needed.

What could be better than a view of the Buddihex at sunset over Lake Seminole?

Hey, does this sound like a lot of effort? It is worth it; However, the effort can be reduced by participating with your local club. The Panama City, FL, and Dothan, AL clubs have planned great group field days.

Rick, NZ2I

Rick NZ2I  and I expect to have a great time despite the heat. We are long-time friends.

Good luck at Field Day,

Greg N4KGL

Friday, May 19, 2023

A Dose of Alabama Parks On The Air

Linda, Suzy and I camped at Frank Jackson State Park near Opp Alabama. We were joined by Bob KK4DIV and his wife Carla. Bob, Carla and I followed through on our plan to activate Memorial Island for the US Islands One Day Getaway on Saturday.  I was pleased to do four POTA activations at Frank Jackson. I also drove over to Florala State Park K-1040 which was my 50th unique POTA activation. 

The view of Memorial Island from our campsite

It was good to exercise my gear including the Icom 705, Elecraft KXPA-100 amp. I used the N6BT V8 vertical for most of my campsite contacts. On the island and at Florala I used the Alexloop magnetic loop for portability. I mied the modes, SSB, FT8 and CW. Tom WD0HBR and Sandy dropped by on Saturday also. Tom cast a worm lure in the lake, but it was too weedy where we were..

Bob KK4DIV and Carla from Lynn Haven, Florida

I'll take any excuse to go to Frank Jackson. I consider it very scenic. Bob and I plan to return for next year's One Day Getaway.

Lake Jackson at Florala, Alabama

Monday, April 3, 2023

My RaDAR Rally Experience, April 2023

I have been doing Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio for a decade now. Thanks to Eddie ZS6BNE for coming up with the concept. It is portable amateur radio on steroids. I have introduced RaDAR Rally. This is just some fine-tuning of Eddie's RaDAR Challenge Rules. The RaDAR Rally is the first Saturday of April and November, but I revised the rules to allow the following Sunday as an alternative date.

This waterfall is the Falling Waters' namesake.

On Sunday, April 2nd, Chris VA3ECO and I did the RaDAR Rally. Chris was in Ontario. I chose Falling Waters State Park in Northwest Florida. Choosing a park on the POTA list is very helpful for RaDAR. Falling Waters State Park is reference K-1864.

RaDAR Rally allows all bands and modes, including a digital mode FT-8. Chris and I tried out FT-8 at our first deployment at 10 am. We found each other right away. We used a trick Chris discovered using the TX-5 message to exchange an eight-digit grid square for making it a RaDAR to RaDAR contact. 

Suzy is always game for RaDAR.

My basset hound Suzy has been my companion on most of my RaDAR adventures. She loves to take to a trail on the transitions. She likes even more to meet and greet the parkgoers. After five contacts, we move to the next deployment. On foot, the required distance is one kilometer. This time I did four deployments and three transitions. 

The HamPack packs up the Icom 705, Alexloop, and a laptop.

I have used my Icom 705 and the Alexloop for my portable operations lately. All the gear fits into the HamPack backpack Alex PY1AHD bundles with the latest Alexloop. The magnetic loop deploys fast and can quickly change bands as needed. This time, all my contacts were in the 20 meters band.

This Alexloop is my go-to antenna for RaDAR and POTA.

I used three different modes FT-8, SSB, and CW. I am a novice on FT-8, and the 20-meter band was congested. I spent over an hour making my five contacts. I had better luck at other times. At a second stop, I jumped on 20 meters SSB. I did hunt and pounce between POTA and Missouri QSO party stations. I had one reply to my CQ. I got five in ten minutes. At a third stop, I spotted myself on the POTA app; I had five contacts in six minutes. In the RaDAR Rally, you are working against the four-hour clock. After the third walk, I had a short time left. I got the last contact on SSB at the last minute. Even one contact at the last stop helps your score.

Contacts are one point except RaDAR to RaDAR which are three. Stop one was seven points with the RaDAR to RaDAR with Chris. Stop two was five, stop three was five, and stop four was one for eighteen total.. I did a total of four stops which is a multiplier. Therefore the score was seventy-two. I was surprised to learn Chris had the same score as I did.

Chris VA3ECO does RaDAR Rally in Ontario

Suzy and I went home thinking what a great day we had at the park. Par for the course, as they say.


Greg N4KGL

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Introducing the RaDAR Rally

 Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio, or RaDAR, was conceived by Eddie Leighton ZS6BNE in South Africa. Eddie has promoted RaDAR for many years. Eddie still sees value in RaDAR but has terminated the RaDAR Challenge rules as of 2023. I am introducing the RaDAR Rally event on the first Saturday of April and November. Please see for the rules. The first RaDAR Rally will be on April 1st, 2023

The following video was recorded during our March 20, 2023, Beginner's Academy Zoom meeting.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Get Ready for the New RaDAR Rally, April 1st 2023

Background: Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio, or RaDAR, was conceived by Eddie Leighton ZS6BNE in South Africa. Eddie has promoted RaDAR for many years. Eddie still sees value in RaDAR but has terminated the RaDAR Challenge rules as of 2023. I am introducing the RaDAR Rally event on the first Saturday of April and November. The RaDAR Rally rules streamline RaDAR contacts and minimize administrative effort.

RaDAR Rally Rules:

Dates:  The first Saturday of April and November

Time: Choose a four-hour operating period during the UTC day. RaDAR is available to announce your outing and coordinate with other RaDAR operators. Note that the four-hour duration creates an urgency that demands optimized equipment and operating strategies.

Where: You may choose any venue where you can legally and safely operate. Parks are a natural choice. RaDAR can be combined with Parks on the Air, POTA. You may also be interested in the POTA Roving Award.

Goal: RaDAR encourages a challenging and rewarding portable operating experience by promoting the rapid deployment of your station and physical exercise while moving between deployments. 

Deployment & Movement: RaDAR deployments are at fixed locations of your choice. Your movement between deployments must be non-motorized, such as walking, bicycling, canoeing, or similar conveyances. Mixed conveyances for an outing are allowed. The minimum distance for walking or canoeing is one kilometer, and bicycling is two kilometers. You must make at least five contacts to move to the next deployment. A deployment location can be reused during an outing. 

Contact Exchange: If you call CQ RaDAR, the exchange is both station's signal report and location. RaDAR to RaDAR contacts will exchange a maidenhead grid square of at least eight digits. If you are hunting contacts, the called station's activity determines the exchange. You may work a station on multiple bands/modes at a deployment location and work them again on another deployment. You can use any means to spot your activity.

Bands and Modes: All amateur bands and modes are allowed except terrestrial repeaters.

Scoring: The QSO points are three for RaDAR to RaDAR contacts and one for others. Up to five contacts count at a deployment' The number of deployments within four hours after your first contact is used as a multiplier. The final score equals the total QSO points times the number of deployments. The last deployment must have at least one contact. Your score is for your satisfaction and monitoring improvement. Please share your experience on social media, including RaDAR

Logging: A log should be kept, but it is unnecessary to be submitted. You may use the online RaDAR Log to share your activity.

Chasers: RaDAR Ops appreciate ham friends who help them get those five contacts required to move. Since RaDAR ops bounce between operating and moving often with low power and compromise antennas, they are like rare DX. Please chase them. The QSO will make their day and yours.

Point of Contact: Questions or comments can be directed to Greg Lane N4KGL; my email is good on 

Monday, March 13, 2023

N4KGL's 2023 Novice Rig Roundup Report

I operated the two weekends of the Novice Rig Roundup. My rig was the Drake 2-NT transmitter on crystal control and the Drake 2-C receiver. The output power was about 30 watts to my 130-foot 80-10 end-fed about 35 feet up.

My Drake 2 Line

I was pleased to work 26 other NRR stations among the 41 total QSOs. I enjoyed their chirp, and they heard mine. 15 Meters was the best with 22 contacts, 40 meters with 17 contacts, and 2 contacts on 80 meters. Those hams were all around the US, in 28 unique states.

The Nye Station Master key and some crystals

CW is a fun mode still. At least 200 hams were nursing their novice rigs for the event. There were Drake, Heathkit, and Eico, among others. Most use tubes.

This year I enjoyed working friends Tom WD0HBR in Dothan and Bobby AK4JA in Georgia. Classic Exchange is another fun event where the multiplier depends on the age of your rigs, 


Greg N4KGL