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

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Introducing the RaDAR Rally

 Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio, or RaDAR, was conceived by Eddie Leighton ZS6BNE in South Africa. Eddie has promoted RaDAR for many years. Eddie still sees value in RaDAR but has terminated the RaDAR Challenge rules as of 2023. I am introducing the RaDAR Rally event on the first Saturday of April and November. Please see for the rules. The first RaDAR Rally will be on April 1st, 2023

The following video was recorded during our March 20, 2023, Beginner's Academy Zoom meeting.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Get Ready for the New RaDAR Rally, April 1st 2023

Background: Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio, or RaDAR, was conceived by Eddie Leighton ZS6BNE in South Africa. Eddie has promoted RaDAR for many years. Eddie still sees value in RaDAR but has terminated the RaDAR Challenge rules as of 2023. I am introducing the RaDAR Rally event on the first Saturday of April and November. The RaDAR Rally rules streamline RaDAR contacts and minimize administrative effort.

RaDAR Rally Rules:

Dates:  The first Saturday of April and November

Time: Choose a four-hour operating period during the UTC day. RaDAR is available to announce your outing and coordinate with other RaDAR operators. Note that the four-hour duration creates an urgency that demands optimized equipment and operating strategies.

Where: You may choose any venue where you can legally and safely operate. Parks are a natural choice. RaDAR can be combined with Parks on the Air, POTA. You may also be interested in the POTA Roving Award.

Goal: RaDAR encourages a challenging and rewarding portable operating experience by promoting the rapid deployment of your station and physical exercise while moving between deployments. 

Deployment & Movement: RaDAR deployments are at fixed locations of your choice. Your movement between deployments must be non-motorized, such as walking, bicycling, canoeing, or similar conveyances. Mixed conveyances for an outing are allowed. The minimum distance for walking or canoeing is one kilometer, and bicycling is two kilometers. You must make at least five contacts to move to the next deployment. A deployment location can be reused during an outing. 

Contact Exchange: If you call CQ RaDAR, the exchange is both station's signal report and location. RaDAR to RaDAR contacts will exchange a maidenhead grid square of at least eight digits. If you are hunting contacts, the called station's activity determines the exchange. You may work a station on multiple bands/modes at a deployment location and work them again on another deployment. You can use any means to spot your activity.

Bands and Modes: All amateur bands and modes are allowed except terrestrial repeaters.

Scoring: The QSO points are three for RaDAR to RaDAR contacts and one for others. Up to five contacts count at a deployment' The number of deployments within four hours after your first contact is used as a multiplier. The final score equals the total QSO points times the number of deployments. The last deployment must have at least one contact. Your score is for your satisfaction and monitoring improvement. Please share your experience on social media, including RaDAR

Logging: A log should be kept, but it is unnecessary to be submitted. You may use the online RaDAR Log to share your activity.

Chasers: RaDAR Ops appreciate ham friends who help them get those five contacts required to move. Since RaDAR ops bounce between operating and moving often with low power and compromise antennas, they are like rare DX. Please chase them. The QSO will make their day and yours.

Point of Contact: Questions or comments can be directed to Greg Lane N4KGL; my email is good on 

Monday, March 13, 2023

N4KGL's 2023 Novice Rig Roundup Report

I operated the two weekends of the Novice Rig Roundup. My rig was the Drake 2-NT transmitter on crystal control and the Drake 2-C receiver. The output power was about 30 watts to my 130-foot 80-10 end-fed about 35 feet up.

My Drake 2 Line

I was pleased to work 26 other NRR stations among the 41 total QSOs. I enjoyed their chirp, and they heard mine. 15 Meters was the best with 22 contacts, 40 meters with 17 contacts, and 2 contacts on 80 meters. Those hams were all around the US, in 28 unique states.

The Nye Station Master key and some crystals

CW is a fun mode still. At least 200 hams were nursing their novice rigs for the event. There were Drake, Heathkit, and Eico, among others. Most use tubes.

This year I enjoyed working friends Tom WD0HBR in Dothan and Bobby AK4JA in Georgia. Classic Exchange is another fun event where the multiplier depends on the age of your rigs, 


Greg N4KGL

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Drake 2-C Repair Just in Time for the 2023 Novice Rig Roundup

Novice Rig Roundup is March 4-12 this year and is now underway. My Drake 2 Line, the 2-NT transmitter, and the 2-C receiver is my go-to novice rig. I used a Drake 2-C as a Novice Class ham in the late 60s. I get to recreate that novice experience using crystals for the 2-NT. It is challenging when you have a few choices of frequencies, and you can't move around with a VFO.

The Drake 2-NT transmitter and Drake 2-C receiver work smoothly together like a transceiver.

Sadly I let my original Drake 2-C go, so I bought a replacement from eBay. Phil N4STC now SK did a partial recap for me when I got the receiver. However, a hum developed that I lived with, but eventually, it was overwhelming the audio. The usual suspect is electrolytic capacitors, which was the case this time.

This is the 12-volt DC power supply circuit board in the Drake 2-C. The large electrolytic caps were the issue. 

There is a sidebar to this story. I bought a digital storage oscilloscope for my birthday. The good news is you can get a lot of bang for your buck these days. I purchased a new Instek GDS1102B two-channel 100 MHz digital storage oscilloscope for less than $300. The scope is a great value considering we hams may spend $300 on an antenna analyzer.

The Instek 1102B. Note I had not compensated the probe.

The scope came in handy. Sure enough, the 12-volt DC power supply in the 2-C had a six-volt 120 Hertz AC component. There were two 1000 uF capacitors to do the filtering. One failed open they both had a cracked case. I ordered replacement caps from Mouser, and they arrived the day before NRR started. So a little soldering and mechanical maneuvering did the job. Yet the scope still shows one volt of AC on the 12 volts DC. That causes a minor hum, and I choose to go with it and get on the air for NRR.

Before: This is a terrible output for a DC Supply. 

After: Replacing the caps improved it, but there still is about a volt of AC.

I have eighteen NRR contacts from Friday night and Saturday. Among the contacts were friends Tom WD0HBR in Dothan, Alabama, and Bobby AK4JA in Newnan, Georgia. Most of these hams share my love of vintage rigs and the Novice days. This may inspire me to dig into other vintage rigs I have that need work. The scope is not required, but it sure is helpful. Note I am a novice at using a scope, but it is intuitive. I am pleased with my purchase.