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

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Awesome RaDAR to RaDAR QSO

Chris VA3ECO and I both participated in the Spring RaDAR Challenge on Saturday. We had radically different venues. Chris was on foot on a frozen Canadian lake, and I walked in my Garden District neighborhood in Dothan, Alabama. Finding another RaDAR op is challenging. However, I contacted Mike WB8ERJ doing POTA in Ohio on 20 meters SSB. I needed Mike's grid square, which he pulled right up on his Raspberry Pi. His next contact was Chris VA3ECO. I could hear Chris. Then Mike let us make our RaDAR to RaDAR contact. We exchanged our respective grid squares. Chris and I both entered our contact in the online RaDAR log that Eddie ZS6BNE created. So we got the QSL checkmark for having matching information, including the grid square. Communicating effectively is one goal of RaDAR. Chris had a phenomenal five stops in four hours with a one-kilometer walk in between. I made two stops. I did not think HF conditions were very good. I wonder what Chris's secret was for making all those contacts. He said his legs were aching when he was done.

Chris VA3ECO doing on-foot RaDAT on a frozen lake in Ontario.


Chris VA3ECO is operating RaDAR on the ice.

Greg N4KGL's set up in Solomon Park in Dothan, Alabama

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

RaDAR: Get Ready to be Challenged!

The next RaDAR Challenge is April 2nd, 2022 UTC. RaDAR is Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio fostered by Eddie Leighton ZS6BNE. The RaDAR “Challenge” is a unique event aimed at promoting the use of Rapidly Deployable Amateur Radio stations.  RaDAR is a step up from how you have been operating portable. Also, there is no limitation on your outdoor venue. Please give it a go, the more participants we have, the more fun it will be. Chasers are very helpful and now a RaDAR category. 


The rules have been refined after some new ideas were tested in the November 2021 Challenge. Be sure to give the rules a careful read. Also, please see the How-To for RaDAR Online Logging 

Here are some highlights from the rules:

There are four categories:

  • Category A – A FULL twenty-four-hour RaDAR Challenge.
  • Category B – The standard RaDAR challenge. It’s up to each individual to plan his / her MAXIMUM, SINGLE PERIOD, FOUR HOUR ops.
  • Category C – A 2-hour RaDAR Sport sprint, starting time 14:00 LOCAL TIME. This is a physically demanding challenge.
  • Category D – A RaDAR Chaser station. Without these stations, RaDAR operators will find difficulty in maintaining quick QSOs per deployment.

There are multipliers based on your portable situation:

  • 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.

Options (Fixed, Field, or Moving) may be changed at any time during the challenges.

The Moving category has specified transition distances:

  • Bicycles – 2 km.
  • On foot and paddle canoes – 1 km.
  • Wheelchairs – 500 m (The four-hour challenge only).
  • Vehicles, motorcycles, and motorboats (motorized transport) – 6 km.

Aeronautical mobile stations are considered moving stations and can communicate at any convenient time.

Note: Motorized transport is only allowed for the twenty-four and four-hour challenges and not for the two-hour RaDAR Sport sprint. The RaDAR Sport sprint is more of a physical challenge.

Moving RaDAR stations need to make at least five QSOs 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. 

Exchange: 

Callsign, 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

Logging may be done online during the course of the event. Logging by all participants is encouraged because matching QSOs will receive a bonus point.

Good Luck and stay safe,

Greg N4KGL

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Riding the Classic Exchange Time Machine

I had a great ride on the Winter CW Classic Exchange (CX).Time Machine. As a Novice in 1967, we were limited to crystal control CW transmitters and 75 watts max. The Drake 2-C was my Novice receiver. If I had been ham in the 50s, I might have started out with the Hallicrafters S-38. They were famous broadcast and shortwave receivers but not the best for ham radio because of the wide bandwidth. The  Ameco AC-1 two tube crystal controlled transmitter would be similar to the homebrew transmitters the early hams started with. The CX Exchange has a multiplier equal to the total age of the gear you use. I had to get at least three contacts to count the radio's age in the multiplier. Transceivers count double their age. My equipment totaled up to 336 years.

The Classics Operating Position

The bands were kind to me for the QRP contacts with the Ameco AC-1 and the Heathkit HW-8. I got some 589 reports, and QRPers were calling me back. Crystal control is a challenge, too, since I have a limited number of crystals. I can't match their frequency unless someone lands on my spot. So I called CQ or hoped they would hear me. The most exciting part was using the Hallicrafters S-38C with the Ameco AC-1. That is the oldest combination. I listened to a dozen stations in the bandwidth, and I had to pick out which ones talking to me. Thanks to Bobby AK4JA for my third AC-1/S-38C contact.

So the CX time machine took me back to my teenage ham days and even before my time as a ham. I definitely got a kick out of it, as did all those who participated. No SDRs were used in this event. I like to say the ionosphere does not care how old your gear is. 

I am looking forward to the Novice Rig Roundup from March 5th to March 13th. 

73, Greg N4KGL 

The Hallicrafter S-38C, I estimate 70 years old. It works well


The Ameco AC-1, I estimate 52 years od.



Heathkit HW-8 Transceiver  2-3 watts 39 years X 2 = 78 years
Drake 2-NT Transmitter, 75 watts Crystal, Controlled 55 years
Drake 2-C Reciever 55 years
Ameco AC-1 Transmitter Crystal Controlled  3 watts 52 years
Icom 703 Transceiver 10 watts 13 years X 2 = 26 years
Hallicrafters S-38C Reciever 70 years
Multiplier Total Years = 336

Drake 2-NT and Drake 2-C 5 contacts
Heathkit HW-8 Transceiver 5 contacts
Ameco AC-1 and Drake 2-C 3 Contacts
Ameco AC-1 and Hallicrafters S-38C 3 contacts
Icom 703 Transceiver 4 Contacts
Total contacts = 20
Bonus = 500 points for using Ameco gear
Score = 336 years X 20 contacts + 500 point bonus = 7220