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

Monday, June 10, 2019

N4Y 2019 ARRL Field Day Operations

Dennis WA6QKN and Greg N4KGL will operate a category B one transmitter ARRL Field Day station on June 22/23 from Falling Waters State Park near Chipley, Florida. Our callsign will be N4Y. Our rig will be an Icom 7300 powered by Bioenno LiFePO4 batteries replenished by solar panels. Our primary antenna will be a 132-foot end fed extending into an adjacent field. We will attempt a satellite contact, five alternate power QSOs and pass NTS style messages. We hope for lots of contacts and camping fun. Good luck on Field Day!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

N4KGL RaDAR Challenge Report April 2019.

The first RaDAR Challenge this year was April 6th. For RaDAR, Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio, you make five contacts and move a prescribed distance to the next location. This is repeated as many times as possible during a four hour period. This year to try something new, Dennis and I used mountain bikes to move between locations. I had not been bike riding in many years. I rented a couple of mountain bikes for the challenge.We chose Topsail Hill Preserve State Park in part because it has nice paved trails around the park.

Our first location at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

I chose the Elecraft KX2 and the Alexloop magnetic loop to keep it light and minimize setup time. All the gear fit in our backpacks for the bike ride.I generally have good contacts with the Alexloop even on 40 meters. However, dismal band conditions made it a struggle to make the five contacts.

 At the first location I tried a AO-92 FM sat pass to no avail. This is not uncommon due to the congestion on the weekend passes. On HF, we picked up three Missouri stations, one on 20 CW and two on 40 CW. Fortunately, Glenn KD2JA was in the same park working the Florida State Parks On The Air Contest and gave us a local contact on 40 and 2 meters to finish out the five. Then, we did the two kilometer bike transition to the next location in the park. The bands were still poor. We got one QRP contact on 20 meters to Tennessee and two more contacts with Glenn KD2JA in the park. Our four hours ran out before we got five contacts. This is the first time we did not do at least three locations in the challenge  That's the way it goes.

To make the best of the day, Dennis and I took a ride after the challenge and went on an dirt trail. That was fun. Perhaps we will incorporate bikes in our RaDAR routine more often.

Click the image above for a panoramic view of the lake taken by Dennis.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Our April 6th 2019 RaDAR Challenge Plans

Dennis WA6QKN and I do the RaDAR Challenge together. We are going to use bikes to move between stops this time. The prescribed distance is two kilometers. I am not a regular bike rider. I did rent a bike last weekend and rode a couple of kilometers. I found out I am not in RaDAR shape as I huffed and puffed over the hill. However, if I stick to the flat roads I should be fine.

For a venue, the Top Sail Preserve State Park near Destin Florida is high on the list. The trails are paved. It has a beach and a lake for the scenic view. For the RaDAR challenge, you pick a four hour period within the 24 hour UTC day. It turns out we will overlap the annual Florida State Parks On The Air Operating Event. Our park will also be on the Parks On The Air POTA reference list. We will need all the help we can get to get our five contacts before each move.

The gear will likely be the Elecraft KX3 running ten watts.  The main antenna will be a Windcamp Gypsy adjustable dipole with fiberglass support poles. They get the antenna about ten feet above the ground. I can slip the support poles into my backpack as shown. Of course, we will also take an Elk antenna and an FM HT for the RaDAR satellite bonus.

Planning is half the fun for the RaDAR Challenge. Our plans can always be tweaked down to the last moment. Be sure to make your plans to operate the RaDAR Challenge in the field or as a chaser. Our call will be N4KGL. See the RaDAR Challenge rules at and also visit the MeWe RaDAR Community at

Get Ready for the April 6th 2019 Radar Challenge

RaDAR Is Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio

RaDAR Challenge Rules from

1. Aim
The RaDAR “Challenge” is a unique event aimed at promoting the use of Rapidly Deployable Amateur Radio stations. Categories (Fixed / Field / Moving) may be changed at any time during the challenge. The points system is so structured as to encourage portable RaDAR operations especially moveable RaDAR stations.
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.
2. Date and Time
RaDAR operators define their own operating time schedule. It’s up to each individual to plan his / her MAXIMUM, SINGLE PERIOD, FOUR HOUR ops. He / she should consider propagation with the ultimate goal of inter-continental RaDAR to RaDAR communications in mind.
00:00 UTC to 23:59 UTC on Saturday 6 April 2019, Saturday 13 July 2019 and on Saturday 2 November 2019. Twenty four hours will give equal opportunity to the international community of RaDAR operators.
3. Bands and Modes
All amateur bands are allowed including cross band contacts via amateur radio satellites. Modes – CW, SSB, FM or any legal amateur radio digital mode. As from 2019 the WARC bands will be INCLUDED. The RaDAR Challenge is not a “contest” as such, it’s an individual challenge.
QSOs via terrestrial FM repeaters should preferably not be used for the purpose of the challenge.
4. Suggested HF calling frequencies
See for the RaDAR Calling channels, the latest suggested international list of calling frequencies
5. Exchange
The RaDAR challenge requires more than a minimalistic information exchange. Accurate information exchange is considered more important than a large QSO count. Call sign, 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).
6. Scoring (For determining your own success rate)
1 point per QSO. Individual QSOs could be per mode, per band, per satellite, per grid location. 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 callers determine whether it is possible for a new contact with a previously worked moving RaDAR station
7. Categories and multipliers
The following multipliers are applicable to determine the final score. If category/mode of transport changes were made during the challenge, than calculate accordingly.
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.
8. Moving RaDAR stations
Modes of transport and required movement distances (moving RaDAR stations only)
Vehicles, motorcycles and motorboats (motorised transport) – 6 km
Bicycles – 2 km
On foot and paddle canoes – 1 km
Wheelchairs – 500 m
Aeronautical mobile stations are considered moving stations and can communicate at any convenient time.
Note (Changes for 2018) : Moving RaDAR stations need to make five QSO’s 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 can not be counted for points.
9. Bonus points (All categories)
Five (5) points for a minimum of one satellite OR digital modes QSO involving a computer, smart phone or digital modes device. (For clarity thereafter 1 point per Satellite / Digital modes QSO).
Five (5) points for the first successful same continent RaDAR to RaDAR QSO.
Five (5) points for the first intercontinental (DX) QSO
Ten (10) points for the first successful inter-continental (DX) RaDAR to RaDAR QSO.
10. Log Sheets
Log sheets must be submitted by 13 April 2019, 20 July 2019 and 16 November 2019 and sent by e-mail to Note: A photo of the station should accompany every log entry including each new location that moveable RaDAR stations visit. The results and photos are used to promote RaDAR and amateur radio.
Please visit and MeWe RaDAR Community for more info about RaDAR.

I encourage all hams to participate  Let us know your plans and results. Good luck and be safe!

Greg N4KGL

Thursday, January 31, 2019

N4Y 2019 Winter Field Day Fun

Our two transmitter Winter Field Day at Falling Waters State Park, Florida went to plan with the exception that Bob KK4DIV and Tom WD0HBR could not attend. The attendees included Phil N4STC, Marv KK4DKT, Melissa KK4SYL, Chris VA3ECO, Dennis WA6QKN, Bob WB8PAF, Greg N4KGL, and Greg's XYL Linda.  The temps were cool and dipped to freezing Sunday morning, but it was tolerable. We enjoyed pizza on Friday night. Chris VA3ECO brought Margot's Chili for Saturday night. Chris cooked breakfast each morning with eggs and sausage. Phil N4STC cooked Bubba burgers for lunch. We had a great time telling stories Saturday night around the campfire.

N4Y Falling Waters SP Campsite

Phil N4STC cooks burgers
Band conditions were good with plenty of WFD stations to work. We made contacts on CW, phone, and digital on 80, 40, and 20 meters. On 15 meters we got CW and digital contacts. Therefore our multiplier was eleven, Our contacts were 56 on digital, 46 on phone and 38 CW. We worked 40 states and Canada. Chris made a contact on the CAS4A linear satellite for 1500 bonus points. Phil ran an Icom 7300 with a loop antenna. Greg ran an Icom 7300 to a 80-10 end-fed antenna. Chris used his own laptop and Yaesu 857 for the digital contacts. The Winter Field Day event continues to grow. I am sure we will come back next year for more fun. There are more photos here.

Our Saturday night campfire

Greg and Dennis operating

Melissa Spinning

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

N4Y Winter Field Day Operations Jan 26/27

A group of my ham friends, their family members and I will camp and participate in Winter Field Day using call sign N4Y at Falling Waters State Park. The park is near Chipley, FL. We have three campsites reserved. Campsite 5 has plenty of space and borders a large field. We can extend an end-fed antenna into the field. Campsites 11 and 13 are adjacent which will make more room for antennas. We anticipate running two stations.  We will be 2O or 2 Oscar for two transmitters/outdoors. Our rigs will be on battery/solar power. We will use CW, SSB and PSK-31 digital. We will also go for the amateur satellite bonus. Temps will be in the 50s in the day and the 30s at night. That's is a Florida Winter.
Purpose: To foster Ham camaraderie, field operation, emergency operating preparedness, and just plain on the air, outdoor fun in the midst of winter for American, Canadian and DX Amateurs. Don’t let those winter doldrums keep you locked up in the house… get out and play some radio!! 
When: Winter Field Day runs for 24 hours during the last full weekend in January each year from 1900 UTC (2pm EST) Saturday to 1900 UTC (2pm EST) Sunday. For 2019, the dates are January 26th and 27th. Station set-up may commence no earlier than 1900 UTC (2pm EST) on Friday, January 25th.

We are hoping for a big on the air turnout. The event seems to grow each year.

Greg N4KGL

Falling Waters SP Campsite 5
Note there is limited parking. If you plan to visit please park at the main parking lot and hike in or let us know and we will shuttle you into the campground.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Watch Your Solar Cycles or a Solar Cycle is A Terrible Thing To Waste,

I reviewed how my lifetime lined up with the solar sunspot cycles this weekend. As we know, HF propagation is much better on 20 meters and up during the maximum of an eleven-year average cycle. I made a table of my life's solar cycles below. I am not sure if there is any significance that I was born at a solar cycle minimum. Cycle 20 was on the high side when I operated as a novice around 1967/68. I remember that the fifteen-meter band was very active. I also remember listening to phone stations running AM on 10 meters. My modest backyard vertical got me plenty of DX. I missed the maxes for Cycles 21, 22, and 23. In fact, I was off the air for twenty-five years and my license expired. In 2008 I got relicensed and that was the minimum for Cycle 24. The max came roughly in 2014. So I have experienced one cycle when I was more enlightened on what was going on with propagation. Now we are poised for Cycle 25. It may be lackluster or it may be better than the last one. We will see. Anyway, while we are at the cycle bottom we can plan for better times on HF. Being 65 now, it looks like I will be in my early 70s for this one. I hope to be retired and enjoying it to the fullest.