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

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Rainy Mobile RaDAR Challenge Day

A unique aspect of the RaDAR Challenge is moving from one deployment to another. This can be by foot (>1 km) or vehicle (> 3 km). On December 14th, I had the day available since I took my wife to work in Apalachicola, FL about 60 miles from home QTH. The only hitch was that the chance of rain was 100% with heavy showers and thunder showers. Therefore by vehicle was the better plan.The nearby St George Island has a Lighthouse and a state park. By the way, this Saturday was the ARRL 10 meter Contest.

First thing in the morning, I setup at the Battery Park in Apalachicola with the KX3 and the Alexloop. I had better get some contacts before the rain starts. I got the following; 40 meters CW: K2OO OH and KK4SGF GA. 10 meters CW: G4BJM NN7ZZ AZ and SP4Z. There was just a few light sprinkles there. With five QSOs it was time to move!

I headed to the St George Island Lighthouse. I setup the KX3 and the Trail Friendly end fed off the back of the truck. I worked; 40 meters CW: KE4COH NC10 meters SSB: F8EMH, W1SJ VT, IK2YCW, K2JMY NY. Hey this Ten meter Contest is fun! It was now time for lunch at Subway.

The next stop was St George Island State Park. This was just in time for the rain. First light then heavy and then the thunder started. I did scope out a future setup location on the North side of the park by St. George Sound. I waited for the rain to stop and after a few hours decided to head back to Apalachicola thinking operating was done.

Fortunately, just before sunset the rain stopped and I remembered yet another park in Apalachicola. I setup quickly with the KX3 and the Trail Friendly end fed. I got  K6AM CA, NC0B CO, VE2GSO QC, KP4RSO, K0RF on 10 meters SSB. It was sweet to take advantage of the contest.

This completed ops and I had 15 contacts, three locations with five contacts each. If it had been better weather I could have done several more locations. It was fun despite the rainy weather. I picked upLinda and we had dinner before heading back to Panama City, Florida.

EM79MR23 Battery Park in Apalachicola FL

 EL79NP69 St George Island Lighthouse

St. George Island State Park on the sound. A future location since it was raining.

EL79MR12KL Liberty Park in Apalachicola, FL

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Poles for Portable Ops

I use two types of telescoping fiberglass poles for supporting lightweight wire antennas. The first is often called a crappie pole. They are available in lengths up to 20 feet extended and are 4 feett long collapsed. I bought my 20 foot poles from Kansas Winds They don't give the brand name on the site but I recieved the HT SHOOTING STAR WITH HT LINE WINDER CRAPPIE POLE 20 FT TELESCOPIC POLE ( SS-20LW). I combine the crappie pole with a plastic electric fence post that has a spike on the end. These are called step in electric fence posts. They are about $2.50 and I find them at Tractor Supply. The spike will support the pole in most soils without any guys. The fence post is four feet long and is taped to the first section of the crappie pole.

The second type of pole is the Jackite 31 foot pole. This pole more substantial and expensive running about $70. It has the advantage of extra height and it can even support the center of a dipole with RG-8X running up the pole. To plant this 31 foot pole in the ground, I use a sand spike made for fishing. I found a good deal on the sand spike on Ebay. Search for Two Custom Fabricated Heavy Duty 44" Sand Spikes. $44 for a pair.

Of course, you can make good use of one pole for verticals, sloping wires or inverted vees. Two or three poles can get more wire higher. If the ground is too hard you can strap a pole to a fence or whatever is available.

31 ft Jackite pole with sand spike for support

20 ft crappie pole with step in electric fence post for support.

31 ft Jackite pole supporting 33 ft end fed half wave for 20 meters

Three 20 ft crappie poles supporting a Norcal Doublet

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Looking at the RaDAR

In November, I had fewer RaDAR outings due to weather and Thanksgiving Holiday. Below is the month in reverse order. Definitely, the highlight was the Nov 2nd RaDAR contest. See details here. I operated at two locations in St Andrews State Park near Panama City FL. It is fun to operate a few feet from the surf. I was taking advantage of the saltwater effect. As I had experimented with end fed half waves in October, I wanted to get back the the Alexloop as you can see below. I also pulled out my Wilderness SST 20 rig and made a compact RaDAR Kit.

The Rapid Deployment Amater Radio Community continues to grow to 148 members.. We are blessed to have Eddie ZS6BNE in South Africa, Tom Robinson and Lucy in the UK, John Corby VA3KOT in Canada and Manfred DJ1SJ in Germany not to mention the state side hams.  Visit the RaDAR Google Plus CommunityRaDAR is Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio originated by ZS6BNE.

On December 7th we are having a RaDAR On-The-Air meetup on 14.342.5 MHz, 16:30 UTC, USB. Adjust for QRM. Call CQ RaDAR. Home, mobile, and portable stations are welcome. Suggest using /M, /P or /PM if allowed in your country. Exchange grid squares. Just for fun not a contest.

Greg N4KGL

Nov 29 N4KGL had RaDAR Lunch at EM70CE82. On 20 meter s CW I worked AE0SL in Hugo, MN briefly, then KE7GKM in Boise ID. The rig was a Wilderness SST 3 watts and End Fed Half Wave. WX was Sunny 58 degrees F. 73s!

Nov 23 RaDAR kit. Rig is Wilderness SST 20 I built. It is 14.058 plus or minus 7 khz. Antenna is half wave and tuner is Hendricks SOTA. Key is french made and rumored to be type used by South African Army. Contesting going on right now. Very simple and will fit in small bag. N4KGL

Nov 17 N4KGL EM70EG21 Lynn Haven FL at park by the bay. 17 meters SSB WB8DDV in MO, WB8DDV in MI, W8EQB in IL, On 17 CW KK4EIS in VA QRP and 10 meters CW W8BHS in AZ. Nice outing with KX3 and Alexloop.

Nov 14 EM70CE RaDAR Lunch FB day working Larry W2LJ at lunch in NJ and Pete N0OY/PM in KS both 14.060. Enjoyed it! N4KGL

Nov 11 EM70DF90RB N4KGL 1st QSO was 45 min long with Al W0ERE in MO on 18.125 KD2JC NJ on 21.050 and 14.052 XE3ARV on 10.108 KC4HCH on 7.050 and happily RaDAR Pat N5VMO TX on 7.050 The Alexloop did great job today 73 N4KGL

Nov 2 RaDAR Contest EM70DD21HV  WD0HBR AL WB4BLX FL KK4QAM AL on 40 meter CW and KG4ITD FL W4IMH FL on 2 meter simplex.

Nov 2 RaDAR Contest EM70DD31KK K5RYI TX AC0DK KS W4VSP VA WB4BLX FL on 20 meter CW and N0GES IA on 20 meter PSK

Monday, December 2, 2013

RaDAR at the Park

Sometimes all the factors tilt your way in doing portable ops. Sunday, I went to a bayside park in Lynn Haven, Florida. I decided to strap a 31 foot pole to an existing post at the park. A 33 foot  wire (half wave at 20 meters) sloped to the shore where I setup. I used the Hendricks SOTA Tuner with a 17 foot counterpoise I laid on the sand. The saltwater of the bay was to the West.

The 20 meter band was not very crowded. I called CQ on 14.340 SSB and was pleased I was getting answers. I got two contacts with Arkansas and a SOTA operator in Texas. I felt like I was getting a boost from the salt water between us. I also worked MI NJ and NC. They were not so strong but solid contacts.

I got a visit from local ham Harold KF4YDO. While Harold was there I checked into the Maritime Mobile Net. Harold knew the net control who was 6Y5RP Rooney in the West Indies.

The rig was the KX3 at 10 watts. There is a mindset for some that you need to run CW to have QRP success. I would say give QRP SSB a try. This was somewhat a dry run for a meetup by the RaDAR community. It is planned for Saturday December 7th at 1630Z to meet on 14.342.5. That Saturday I will be at the Samson, AL launch site for the SouthEast Alabama Rocketry Society. It is not by the bay but lots of rich soil there. I plan to use the same half wave setup. As a bonus I am including my rocketry video below. It is my claim to fame on YouTube. It has over 740 thousand views. See

RaDAR is Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio originated by ZS6BNE. Visit the RaDAR Google Plus Community.