RaDARLogoOrangeOnBlackbNoURL640 So now that we know without a doubt the world is going to piss, let’s quit the self loathing and do something. As I said before, the time for pontificating is done, as it solves all of jack and shit.

RaDAR- Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio is a sort of hybrid between being an RTO, Summits On The Air (SOTA), National Parks On The Air (NPOTA) and your standard, “Have Another Meal” contesting everyone knows and loves/loathes.

It’s a radio contest of sorts that requires getting out and moving with the equipment you’ve brought to the party/ plan on running as an RTO. Because what you’re doing is exactly what you’ll be doing as a prospective RTO in the near future.


Here’s a link to the rules, and they’re fairly simple. Here’s a link to the suggested SOI– it’s a little out of date, as this started out as a South African deal, but even if all you have is a lowly GP5 and a roll of speaker wire, you can at least listen on the given target frequencies.

As a matter of fact, even if all you have is a Baofeng and a few batteries, you can still make simplex contacts on the standard calling frequencies. Build a Moxon Beam and see what you can do. The name of the game is running your equipment, figuring out what’s going on with it, what needs improvement and what works outside of pretend land that most preppers on the internet live in- Quit playing at it. You’re only fooling yourself.

When is all of this going on? Next Saturday, 16JUL16, and future dates TBD.


17 thoughts on “RaDAR

  1. s6cnrdude

    I’m in (Lord willing)! This is great training. Anytime you operate portable, it reveals the shortcomings very quickly (maybe you forgot to bring something critical or need a better antenna system for example). Afterwards, do a personal AAR and fix the problems.

    BTW, I believe there is a VHF contest that weekend. It’s the CQ VHF contest so there will be VHF ops on 50 and 144 MHz.

    1. Another great opportunity to let 2m SSB shine.

      As we keep approaching the depths of the Maunder Minimum, HF will become less reliable over longer distances (although this is another topic of discussion) but VHF may become an interesting animal.

      Recently one of the local repeaters has been keying another repeater with a shared frequency clear across the state, causing some confusion. Interesting properties…that shouldn’t be happening.

      ETA: This is why I don’t tell anyone to dump the venerable 817 in lieu of the new(er) KX series or any of the other QRP HF rigs. The 817 is STILL the only QRP rig is capable of all-mode VHF and UHF, in addition to HF. All-mode VHF/UHF rigs are getting fewer and further in between, and the utility of those extra modes often goes overlooked. So while it may be becoming a dinosaur in the receiver and interface department, it still offers a versatility unmatched by any other rig on the market.

      1. Keypounder

        Dear Brushbeater: I expect that while upper HF may be a challenge for longer haul comms, 160, 80, 40 and 30 will be very active. It is true that these bands, especially 160 and 80, require more sophisticated antenna setups for long haul low angle communication, but a dipole and a BOG ( Beverage On the Ground) will do the job nicely.

      2. I agree in full. 40 is usually my go-to band in the field, and usually, while up and down at times, is the most consistent, with 80-160 being best at night.

        That being said, there’s more ears there too than say, 2m SSB for local use. It’s all mission dependent. So if I’m trying to obscure what I’m doing, or at least work off the beaten path, those might be routes I’d look vs the standard “plug n play” routes.

        But then again, this requires a competent signal section gaining that experience NOW, not OTJ later on.

  2. Coldwar GI

    I’m in with my limited equipment. It will definitely be a learning experience for me. Kinda like AMRRON’s Trex. I only was able to get one of the messages and that was by relay.

  3. s6cnrdude

    Went out w/ a GPS and APRS in my planned AO this afternoon as I did not know the 6 digit grid locator for the area.

    According to the rules, you will need to exchange: call sign/name/RST/QTH w 6 digit grid locator for participating stations. Drop the grid locator for non-participating stations.

    2.59 miles round trip on a hot afternoon.

    1. It’s most likely maidenhead coordinates. I prefer MGRS, but most amateur stuff is done in maidenhead an/or Lat/Long.

      The best bet if not sure is to listen and see what participants are using.

  4. Pingback: Brushbeater: RaDAR | Western Rifle Shooters Association

      1. s6cnrdude

        I thought I saw that it was 00:00 UTC 16 July – 23:59 UTC 16 July. That would be (in the eastern time zone for example) 8 pm local 15 July – 7:59 pm local 16 July. Maybe I missed something? Let me know if I’m wrong. I also try to recheck the info.

        I’m planning to try to get out Sat morning and operate as long as I can.

      2. I got that from ZS6BNE’s blog, which is a bit out of date.

        On the RaDAR reflector, it states that it the even is indeed 24hrs.

        In any case, I’ll be on.

  5. s6cnrdude

    RaDAR report: I went out Saturday morning and got on site (a state heritage preserve in SC – very similar to a wildlife refuge) and was on the air by 1310 UTC after a 30 setup. I was humping about 20 pounds of gear and it was a 25 minute hike in. I operated about 1.5 hours before tear down and hiking out.

    It was a bust for me as I did not make any contacts. I did monitor a regional net on 40 meters and heard a NPOTA station out of PA. I tried 40 and 20. Heard some other stations also but NO RaDAR stations. I had a broken contact on 2 meter FM simplex with a mobile station. I got his callsign but he did not get mine then he disappeared.

    My equipment: FT-817, LNR trail friendly antenna, gel cell battery and solar charger. Also, Radio Shack HTX-202 2m FM w/ 1/2 telescopic antenna and a VX-8R for APRS. I also had a Sony ICF-SW7600 but did not use it.

    Conclusion: With marginal HF band conditions, 5W on SSB does not cut it unless someone is listening for you on a specific frequency or you have a sked setup. I did not have my antenna set up very well so I could improve there. SWR was in an acceptable range.

    I’m thinking CW would be better but I don’t know it. I could tap out a short message but no one going 20 – 30 WPM is going to comeback, only someone listening specifically for me (my XYL for example if I’m having to hump it home in a grid down scenario). So maybe the Sony for listening and a mountain topper CW rig (you could cut out the gel cell and solar charger and run off of a 9V transistor battery in the above scenario)? BTW, I’m not a stranger to portable ops, I just don’t get on HF much. Thoughts? – I will do this again!

    1. Great work bro. My setup was similar- 817nd with LDG tuner. I have an LNR trail friendly on the way now actually- but they’ll be more on that later on.

      I got the NPOTA guy, and a few others, but didn’t hear anyone calling CQ for RaDAR. That’s ok though, it’s relatively new in this part of the world.

      CW really is the way to go if minimalism is the aim.

      1. s6cnrdude

        Thanks and great job yourself working that NPOTA station as there was quite a pileup while I was listening.

        I think you will be pleased w/ the trail friendly.

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