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

Monday, October 26, 2015

RaDAR Warm Up Weekend at Port St Joe, Florida

Suzy leads me down the Bay Walk path for my RaDAR warm up Saturday in Port St Joe, Florida. I did two transitions of about 1.5 kilometers. When she was younger, it was hard to make much forward progress on walks but at 11 months old she gets the idea.

N4KGL with Suzy leading the way for a RaDAR transition

RaDAR by the way is Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio. A RADAR operator on foot moves at least one kilometer after making five contacts to the next location. I started at Pate Park and made five contacts, walked the Bay Trail to the Jetty Park, made five contacts and walked the Trail back to Pate Park. To finish I went out to a pavilion over the bay at Pate Park and made the last five contacts. I pulled a beach cart along with many antenna options.

Port St Joe has ample parks and trails for RaDAR

You may find the antennas I used interesting as they are handy for RaDAR. At the first location I used the Chameleon Hybrid Micro with the 60 foot wire in an inverted L. I started on 40 meters but with the tuner in the KX3 I can switch to any band quickly. I took advantage of a pine tree to support the wire.

Chameleon Hybrid Micro with the 60 foot wire and an Inverted L.

Chameleon Hybrid Micro with the 60 foot wire and an Inverted L.

At the second location there were no trees. I used the Chameleon Hybrid Micro again but with a vertical whip.

Chameleon Hybrid Micro with the MIL Whip.

Chameleon Hybrid Micro with the MIL Whip.
At the the third location which was a pavilion over the bay. I used the Alexloop magnetic loop.

The Alexloop at the Pavilion
View of St, Joseph Bay from the Pavilion

For RaDAR antennas with ease of setup and band flexibility are advantageous. A dipole is an excellent antenna but it can take more time to setup than you would think.

On Sunday, I chose the South Forest Park in Port St Joe. I chose to slim down to just the backpack for an RaDAR Excursion. I can pack the Alexloop in my backpack and store the tripod on the back of the pack.

My backpack with the Alexloop inside and the tripod on the back

I also packed the LNR Trail Friendly End Fed. It is the lightest antenna I have. I deployed it instead of the Alexloop and worked some of the DX on 10 meters.

The lightweight LNR Trail Friendly End Fed Antenna

Suzy and I did a one kilometer walk on Sunday. Here is a view along the way.

The view at South Forest Park

There is more to this story. On Saturday I was joined by Ron KK4DWE at Pate Park. He was able to check into his MARS nets late in the afternoon using his Buddipole. Also Mac W4NFG dropped by and chatted with us.

Ron KK4DWE Buddipole Setup

Ron KK4DWE Operating

RaDAR is a cooperative activity. Fixed and other portable stations can help you get your five contacts so you can move to the next location. I had several of my contacts with Ron KK4DWE between parks, I also had several contacts from friends in Panama City including Bob WB4BLX and Mike KM4ELJ. On Sunday Bob WB4BLX went portable in Panama City and gave me some contacts.

WB4BLX portable setup with 88 foot doublet

Bob WB4BLX operating portable

A final note Tom WD0HBR of Dothan, Alabama was portable in Niceville, Florida. He found me on 40 meter CW. He was running 5 watts to a random wire. About the same time Bob WB4BLX came on. We had a super three way QSO with all stations deployed portable. That is hard to beat.

I thoroughly enjoyed the long weekend. I got in plenty of practice packing up and hiking between locations for RaDAR.  The RaDAR Challenge is November 7th.