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

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Awesome RaDAR to RaDAR QSO

Chris VA3ECO and I both participated in the Spring RaDAR Challenge on Saturday. We had radically different venues. Chris was on foot on a frozen Canadian lake, and I walked in my Garden District neighborhood in Dothan, Alabama. Finding another RaDAR op is challenging. However, I contacted Mike WB8ERJ doing POTA in Ohio on 20 meters SSB. I needed Mike's grid square, which he pulled right up on his Raspberry Pi. His next contact was Chris VA3ECO. I could hear Chris. Then Mike let us make our RaDAR to RaDAR contact. We exchanged our respective grid squares. Chris and I both entered our contact in the online RaDAR log that Eddie ZS6BNE created. So we got the QSL checkmark for having matching information, including the grid square. Communicating effectively is one goal of RaDAR. Chris had a phenomenal five stops in four hours with a one-kilometer walk in between. I made two stops. I did not think HF conditions were very good. I wonder what Chris's secret was for making all those contacts. He said his legs were aching when he was done.

Chris VA3ECO doing on-foot RaDAT on a frozen lake in Ontario.


Chris VA3ECO is operating RaDAR on the ice.

Greg N4KGL's set up in Solomon Park in Dothan, Alabama

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

RaDAR: Get Ready to be Challenged!

The next RaDAR Challenge is April 2nd, 2022 UTC. RaDAR is Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio fostered by Eddie Leighton ZS6BNE. The RaDAR “Challenge” is a unique event aimed at promoting the use of Rapidly Deployable Amateur Radio stations.  RaDAR is a step up from how you have been operating portable. Also, there is no limitation on your outdoor venue. Please give it a go, the more participants we have, the more fun it will be. Chasers are very helpful and now a RaDAR category. 


The rules have been refined after some new ideas were tested in the November 2021 Challenge. Be sure to give the rules a careful read. Also, please see the How-To for RaDAR Online Logging 

Here are some highlights from the rules:

There are four categories:

  • Category A – A FULL 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 Sport sprint, starting time 14:00 LOCAL TIME. This is a physically demanding challenge.
  • Category D – A RaDAR Chaser station. Without these stations, RaDAR operators will find difficulty in maintaining quick QSOs per deployment.

There are multipliers based on your portable situation:

  • 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.

Options (Fixed, Field, or Moving) may be changed at any time during the challenges.

The Moving category has specified transition distances:

  • Bicycles – 2 km.
  • On foot and paddle canoes – 1 km.
  • Wheelchairs – 500 m (The four-hour challenge only).
  • Vehicles, motorcycles, and motorboats (motorized transport) – 6 km.

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

Note: Motorized transport is only allowed for the twenty-four and four-hour challenges and not for the two-hour RaDAR Sport sprint. The RaDAR Sport sprint is more of a physical challenge.

Moving RaDAR stations need to make at least 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. 

Exchange: 

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

Logging may be done online during the course of the event. Logging by all participants is encouraged because matching QSOs will receive a bonus point.

Good Luck and stay safe,

Greg N4KGL

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Riding the Classic Exchange Time Machine

I had a great ride on the Winter CW Classic Exchange (CX).Time Machine. As a Novice in 1967, we were limited to crystal control CW transmitters and 75 watts max. The Drake 2-C was my Novice receiver. If I had been ham in the 50s, I might have started out with the Hallicrafters S-38. They were famous broadcast and shortwave receivers but not the best for ham radio because of the wide bandwidth. The  Ameco AC-1 two tube crystal controlled transmitter would be similar to the homebrew transmitters the early hams started with. The CX Exchange has a multiplier equal to the total age of the gear you use. I had to get at least three contacts to count the radio's age in the multiplier. Transceivers count double their age. My equipment totaled up to 336 years.

The Classics Operating Position

The bands were kind to me for the QRP contacts with the Ameco AC-1 and the Heathkit HW-8. I got some 589 reports, and QRPers were calling me back. Crystal control is a challenge, too, since I have a limited number of crystals. I can't match their frequency unless someone lands on my spot. So I called CQ or hoped they would hear me. The most exciting part was using the Hallicrafters S-38C with the Ameco AC-1. That is the oldest combination. I listened to a dozen stations in the bandwidth, and I had to pick out which ones talking to me. Thanks to Bobby AK4JA for my third AC-1/S-38C contact.

So the CX time machine took me back to my teenage ham days and even before my time as a ham. I definitely got a kick out of it, as did all those who participated. No SDRs were used in this event. I like to say the ionosphere does not care how old your gear is. 

I am looking forward to the Novice Rig Roundup from March 5th to March 13th. 

73, Greg N4KGL 

The Hallicrafter S-38C, I estimate 70 years old. It works well


The Ameco AC-1, I estimate 52 years od.



Heathkit HW-8 Transceiver  2-3 watts 39 years X 2 = 78 years
Drake 2-NT Transmitter, 75 watts Crystal, Controlled 55 years
Drake 2-C Reciever 55 years
Ameco AC-1 Transmitter Crystal Controlled  3 watts 52 years
Icom 703 Transceiver 10 watts 13 years X 2 = 26 years
Hallicrafters S-38C Reciever 70 years
Multiplier Total Years = 336

Drake 2-NT and Drake 2-C 5 contacts
Heathkit HW-8 Transceiver 5 contacts
Ameco AC-1 and Drake 2-C 3 Contacts
Ameco AC-1 and Hallicrafters S-38C 3 contacts
Icom 703 Transceiver 4 Contacts
Total contacts = 20
Bonus = 500 points for using Ameco gear
Score = 336 years X 20 contacts + 500 point bonus = 7220 



 

Monday, November 8, 2021

Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio (RaDAR) Challenge November 2021

I used a dog cart to ferry my gear for this challenge. This was a choice among many ways to carry my gear. The dog cart does minimize the packing and unpacking and the weight of the gear was not an issue. I packed the Icom 7100, LDG IT-100 tuner, and a 40 AH Bioenno Battery. So you could say it was Field Day on wheels. I used the SOTABeams 40-30-20 link dipole on two stops and a Chameleon vertical whip on the other stop. 

RaDAR Rover

Eddie ZS6BNE has done an excellent job of creating online real-time logging for RaDAR. This gives everyone a clue of who is doing RaDAR and where they are on the bands. Chasing RaDAR ops is indeed a challenge as is operating in the field. I absolutely love the Panasonic CF-19 Toughbook because I can read it easily in full sunlight, unlike my phone. 

A snip from the online RaDAR logging System

Through the planning process, I discovered Forever Wild Trails in Dothan, Alabama. It has bike/hiking trails. However, I took advantage of the open area at the Beaver Flats area. That was best for the cart idea. I think it is a nice area nearby for portable ops in general.

One of my one-kilometer transitions at Forever Wild Trails in Dothan, Alabama

There are not as many chasers for RaDAR as for SOTA and POTA. Therefore it helps to recruit friends to look out for you. I was helped out by Tom WD0HBR, Al N4IDH, Doug WB4JPG, and Bobby K4AGR. Ken KB4XT in Enterprise, AL also looked for me. Likewise, it was nice to have contacts with Florida friends Jack N1HQ and Bob KK4DIV. They were operating RaDAR from the field. I also enjoyed RaDAR to RaDAR with Mickey N2MC who was doing POTA/RaDAR from New York State.


The weather was nice for being outdoors, cool and sunny. Suzy soaked up the sun on the stops. However, she is always ready to make a transition. She ran into some admirers along the way.


Eddie ZS6BNE has enhanced the rules with new categories for doing RaDAR like a two-hour sprint. I stuck with the four-hour challenge I have been doing for years. I see an uptick in interest this time. You may want to check out the RaDAR Group for more reports.


Friday, November 5, 2021

N4KGL's RaDAR Challenge Plans for Saturday Nov 6th

I plan to start on Saturday, Nov 6th at 1600 UTC, 11:00 CDT and continue for four hours. will be using the New RaDAR rules available at https://zs6bne.wordpress.com/2021/10/11/the-new-radar/

My venue will be Beaver Flat Trail part of Forever Wild Trails on the West side of Dothan, AL I will be making five contacts followed by a one-kilometer walk and repeat. I will be off the air while walking.




My priority on the HF bands will be 40, 20, and 17 meters, CW and SSB. I will also be on 146.52 FM simplex.  I like 7.031 and 14.061 on CW. For those in Panama City, 40 meters, NVIS is the best bet.

Note your grid square is part of the RaDAR exchange. Please give me six or more digits like EM71gf.

I plan to use the online RaDAR log in real-time at http://www.radarops.co.za/zsportal/  Option 2  Chasers can enter a RaDAR log online also and we both get credit. You need a PIN to enter your log. Contact Eddie ZS6BNE at edleighton@gmail.com for the PIN. 

You can check my RaDAR log for my most recent frequency. On CW, you should also see me on Reverse Beacon Network http://www.reversebeacon.net/srch.php. Ham Alert can help too. See https://hamalert.org/about

RaDAR is challenging for the ops and chasers! RaDAR Chaser is now a RaDAR category.

If you have plans to chase or operate in the field let me know at lanekg@gmail.com The more ops and chasers there are, the more fun the RaDAR Challenge will be. 

Good Luck, 

Greg N4KGL

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Why RaDAR?

You will have more options in RaDAR for the upcoming Nov 6th RaDAR Challenge according to the new draft rules. Note there are new categories and online logging and evaluation. Eddie ZS6BNE is in the process of finalizing the rules and his online web pages. So please standby for updates. Below is a slide show entitled Why RaDAR? It includes some of the new RaDAR ideas coming.


Thursday, October 14, 2021

More Camping, POTA and SOTA

Linda, Suzy, and I made a camping trip from late September into October; FDR State Park, GA, Unicoi State Park, GA, and Cheaha State Park, AL. On our way to FDR State Park from Dothan, AL we had our first blowout on a trailer tire. This was disappointing since I replaced all the tires with Goodyears recently. The good news was we were safely back on the road in a couple of hours. 

Dowdell's Knob SOTA Summit

At FDR state park, I did a POTA activation with seventy-seven contacts. I also did a SOTA activation from nearby Dowdell's Knob WG4/CE-004. It is an easy drive-up summit. I had good success with the Icom IC-705 and the Alexloop. I was running five watts because I set five watts as the max and forgot how to raise it to ten watts. Even at five watts, I got contacts on 40, 30, 20, 17, and 15 meters for a total of twenty-one. I also used the IC 705 for a two-meter simplex contact on 146.520 MHz.

The activation stats for our stops while camping

Always a joy when my buddies chase me.

Unicoi State Park in North Georgia was a change of scene. Unfortunately, it rained for most of our stay. I got in a POTA activation. Also, the Peanut Power Sprint, a two-hour QRP event, was on October 3rd. I was Nut 113 and I worked twenty-one other QRP Nuts mostly on 40 meters. I had to bring the rig into the trailer to escape from the rain. When camping, I look for other parks in the area I can do POTA from. I found Smithgall State Park. I went during a brief break in the rain. To speed my setup I went with the Alexloop again. I was pleased to get seventeen contacts and four on 40 meters SSB. 

A view along the trails in Unicoi State Park, Suzy enjoyed the trails.

Our last camping stop was at Cheaha State Park. I had no internet to spot myself on the POTA Site. I did hunt & pounce taking advantage of the SKCC WES and several QSO Parties for a total of nineteen contacts. I ran ten watts and the Alexloop yet again. Due to a calendar miscalculation, we had to leave the park a day early. So I missed doing the SOTA summit right there in the Cheaha State Park. Oh well, a reason to go back.

Sunset at Cheaha Mountain, the highest mountain in Alabama.

So the next event for me is RaDAR on November 6th. Eddie ZS6BNE has come up with New RaDAR Rules. I will likely go with the IC 705 and the Alexloop mag for a manageable pack up, quick setup, and rapid band changes. 

Suzy stays dry at the Smithgall State Park POTA activation.