I had the most fun I can remember in Ham Radio. RaDAR America is a new contest that originated in South Africa. Marcus KD0JDM brought it to America. The emphasis is Rapid Deployable Amateur Radio. The most unique part is the mobile and pedestrian mobile require you to move after 5 contacts. Pedestrian mobile requires you to move .6 miles or 1 kilometer after making 5 contacts. There will be a follow-on contest the first Saturday in November.
For this contest it all came together with an outstanding site St Andrews State Park near Panama City FL and perfect weather, clear skies and 70 degrees. We had a cool breeze that made it nice. The park has lots of white sand beach.
I started at 9 AM at the Jetties where there is a pass from the Gulf of Mexico to St. Andrews bay. This was grid square EM70DC. NVIS 0 to 400 miles on 40 and below get bonus points so I chose 40 meters. I figured I better use a NVIS antenna so I used a 88 foot NorCal Doublet made from ribbon cable. Now it was a bit funny signing /PM with antenna that size. I had forwarned some buddies of mine and they showed up including Tom WD0HBR in Dothan, Kelly K4UPG in Orlando, Jim K4LIX and Bob WB4BLX in Panama City. Jim was mobile participating in RaDAR also. Then I also worked Diz W8DIZ in Dunedin FL. The sixth contact I did not count was Allan W4MQC in Pine Island FL.
Then it was time to move and I went up the beach one kilometer toward Sandy Point EM70DD which is low and lots of bay front. This means salt water. I got as close to the water as I dared with the KX3. I setup the Alexloop and tuned up on 20 meters. The QRP ARCI contest was in full swing. I worked two TX stations K5HDX and WA5RML. Then I ran into K4LIX in Panama City followed by NG2T in NY and W4MPS in NC. Now time to walk one kilometer back to the Jetties.
I checked in with Marv KK4DKT president of the Panama City ARC. He was operating RaDAR portable fixed. Harold KD4YDO from the club was there also. Anyway it was lunchtime and I had about 45 minutes left. I chose to operate from a gazebo overlooking the Jetties. I decided to try 15 meters and I snagged EA2LU as first contact. This was followed by K3MD in PA, N1HFE in NH and WD7Y in NV. I wanted to make the fifth contact in the last few minutes but it was not to be.
So four hours of sun and fun. It is great when time, place and a hobby all come together. I certainly enjoyed it and thanks to Marcus KD0JDM for making this happen. Also thanks to Elecraft and Alexloop. The KX3 and the Alexloop are a perfect combo for rapid deployment.
BTW, I found a nice Android app RunKeeper I used to measure the distances. Who knows maybe I'll start a walking program. It was nice that some club members here Marv KK4DKT, Jim K4LIX, and Bob WB4BLX got involved. QRP and outdoors are a great part of the hobby. I am looking forward to future adventures. I'd like to have a gathering of QRP ops here. St. Andrews State Park is a great venue for that. I did not make it to the pier and the Gator Lake and so on. Enjoy the pictures below. There are more at this link
|88 foot ribbon cable doublet for 40 meter NVIS|
|N4KGL and Alexloop|
|As close to the salt water as I dared|
|The Elecraft KX3 is a FB rig.|
|Alexloop in Gazebo. Worked Spain from there on 15 meters.|
|The crowd gathered at the Jetties|