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

Monday, July 15, 2019

Radio Camping at Kolomoki Mounds State Park

Linda and I camped at Kolomoki Mounds State Park near Blakely, Georgia for two nights starting on July 2nd. The campground is next to beautiful Lake Kolomoki. We did not have any cell coverage for our AT & T phones. What a shock!



I did a Parks On The Air (POTA) activation for K-3726 with 33 QSOs. I used the Elecraft KX2 with 10 watts in the beginning and later with the 100-watt amp. I ran across Bobby AJ4KA in Newnan on 40 meters CW by chance. He was running a homebrew tube rig on a dummy load by accident he said. I gave him a health and welfare message since we had no internet.



The campsite had liberal space for an antenna. I used the SOTAbeams Band Hopper 40/30/20 link dipole. I also did a SO-50 sat pass using callsign W3ZM/4 for the AMSAT 50th Anniversary Celebration. I got three contacts including Jim K4LIX in Panama City.



I took a couple of bike rides up steep 80-foot hills. It almost killed me on the way up but coming down was fast and sweet. Linda and I also took in the park museum and learned what the mounds were all about. They are pretty neat unless you are getting sacrificed at the Chief's funeral.



So we had a successful trip and gave the Georgia gnats something to do. I recommend this park for a getaway.

44/72/73,

Linda & Greg N4KGL

Saturday, June 29, 2019

N4KGL July RaDAR Challenge Plans

The next RaDAR Challenge is July 13th, 2019. I am planning to transition between stops via bicycle. The prescribed distance is 2 kilometers. Port St. Joe Florida has a system of trails through the city that is perfect for RaDAR. I will likely start at the Florida Constitution State Park. It will be valid for RaDAR and Parks On The Air (POTA) credit. There are plenty of good stops at other city parks.


I am exploring options for carrying the radio gear on the bike.  I now have bags on the rear for the KX2 and accessories. I also have a sling to wear across my back for a Jackite pole. The pole can support the SOTAbeams 40/20 link dipole. Of course, the details will be hashed out as we get closer to the date. The date in July was chosen to give those at high latitudes some better weather for their RaDAR outing. Let us know your plans guys; John, Julian, Fred, and Mickey. Post on the MeWe RaDAR Group. RaDAR is Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio.







N4Y 2019 ARRL Field Day Report

On June 22-24 we had successful camping and ARRL Field Day adventure at Falling Waters State Park near Chipley, Florida. Dennis WA6QKN and Greg N4KGL operated a one-transmitter, two-operator, category B Field Day station using emergency power. Contacts came easy using the Icom 7300 and the myantennas.com 130 ft end-fed antenna. Conditions were good. It was just a matter of staying in front of the rig. Us old guys did take time off to sleep and run over to Chipley for meals. The heat and humidity were challenging. We had no rain this year.

Dennis WA6QKN




We had 131 contacts on 40, 20, 15 and 2 meters. We also got 750 points in bonuses, including alternative energy contacts and message passing. Phil N4STC parked about 20 miles away and received out messages via packet radio. Thanks, Phil!



We enjoyed visitors, including Tom WD0HBR and XYL Sandy, Dan K4MDA, Rick NZ2I, Richard KN4OQT, and Patricia KN4PLT. We had three non-ham visitors from the campsite next door. Linda, Greg's XYL, came for the event.

Dan K4MDA on right and Dennis WA6QKN.

We will likely return to Falling Waters for the 2020 January Winter Field day and the 2020 June ARRL Field Day.

Linda at the camper door


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 http://radarops.co.za/index.php/radar-rules/ and also visit the MeWe RaDAR Community at https://mewe.com/join/radarrapiddeploymentamateurradio

Get Ready for the April 6th 2019 Radar Challenge

RaDAR Is Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio


RaDAR Challenge Rules from http://radarops.co.za/index.php/radar-rules/

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 https://zs6bne.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/radar-calling-frequencies/ 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 edleighton@gmail.com 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 http://radarops.co.za/ zs6bne.wordpress.com 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
www.N4KGL.info