The RaDAR Contest is currently twice a year, the first Saturday of April and November. We are lucky in Northwest Florida that those two days are possibly the best weather days of the year. Just because it is good weather here does not apply to Canada and England. But they participated as well.
I took advantage of the St Andrews State Park for the November 2nd Contest as I did last April. St Andrews State Park is one of the most popular State Parks in Florida. You just can't beat white sand beaches to operate from.
|St Andrews State Park with 1 kilometer markers|
I decided to start from what I labeled The Dock. It is not exactly a beach but has shoreline with tall grass. The unique aspect of RaDAR Pedestrian Mobile is deploying making five contacts and then redeploying to another location at least one kilometer away. This year I used a cart that doubles as a table.
|A beach cart that doubles as a table.|
It is a great cart but frankly nothing pulls that easy in loose sand. It slowed my one kilometer transit time by 7 minutes. I had all my gear on it. So next time I think I will spread the gear between the backpack and the cart.
I had spent the prior month experimenting with using a LNR 40/20/10 End Fed matchbox with a custom length of wire. The matchbox will work any band if you cut the wire for a half wave. So at Location 1 I wanted to focus on 40 meters. I deployed a 66 foot wire with two 31 foot Jakite poles. The top section should help with NVIS contacts.
|Location 1 with 40 meter half wave|
|gear on the cart table|
I had three 40 meter CW contacts; Tom WD0HBR in Dothan AL, Bob WB4BLX and Don KK4QAM in Sweetwater, AL. I then took advantage of 2 meter Simplex. I had a SlimJim on a crappie pole. I worked Junior KG4ITD in Bristol FL and Frank W4IMH in Fountain Florida. That is pretty good DX for simplex.
Next was the one kilometer transit to Sandy Point in the park. It has saltwater view over most of the azimuth. So if saltwater is an advantage I would have it there. I deployed a 33 foot wire almost vertical to a 31 foot Jackite pole. I flipped the cart to use as a table.
|Location 2: Sandy Point with a 20 meter half wave vertical|
I was very pleased to work immediately Steve KF5RYI in Texas. Steve is a new ham that is embracing CW and RaDAR. This was followed by three more CW contacts and one PSK contact. The extra box that I have is the Ham Central Terminal, lets me do keyboard PSK without a laptop.
Time is a factor in RaDAR. I had just used up three hours of the four. So I packed up and traveled one kilometer back toward the dock. I setup the Alexloop but no luck in the final minutes.
|Location 3: no luck with a few minutes left|
Ten contacts and one of them PSK is a good outing. Of course last April I got 15 and was more mobile with the Alexloop and the backpack. The tradeoffs are what you ponder and learn from in RaDAR.
RaDAR is Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio originated by ZS6BNE. The Monthly RaDAR Challenge is on-going. If you are interested in RaDAR visit the RaDAR Google Plus Community.