Ham Radio Biathlon Prepping for the RaDAR Challenge

Hello Operators

My passion for man portable field communications it’s no secret. In preparation for the RaDAR Challenge, I decided to challenge myself with a sort of amateur radio biathlon.

I chose a location just over 11 km from my home. It’s a small sandy beach with open spaces for my solar panels, and enough trees to hang an antenna if required.

I used the Yaesu ft-891, the Raspberry Pi 3B+, and PackTenna Mini EFHW setup for 20m on a telescopic mast. This is the same setup that I’m going to use for the radar challenge.

Portable power for this excursion was based on my Portable Off-Grid Battery & Solar Power for Amateur Field Communications series:

In addition to my radio gear, I’ll also carry:

  • Tipi tent Shelter
  • Jetboil
  • 2L of water
  • Food
  • Extra clothing

As radio operators in the field, we’ve been used to carrying heavy backpacks with radio and camping gear. I am no longer a 20 year old buck humping the backcountry of Camp Pendleton, so I needed a better way to carry all the equipment I required. Then I needed to do this without creating too many additional limitations. To achieve this, I started using a hiking trailer to augment my load carrying capabilities.

Now just because there’s a hiking trailer augmenting the weight we carry, there is still I need to adjust our mentalities to stop carrying heavy, useless or redundant gear. In the survival preparedness and emergency communications communities, we often over-estimate our load carrying capability. Many of us have a military mentality in regards to humping a large backpack. The trick to Mobility when man portable is being able to carry all of the gear we require, and extending our ability to carry that gear over great distances. With a hiking trailer, we can carry the same or even more weight, and we can do that for greater distances.

The following images show you a few of the training sessions I’ve had in preparation for the radar challenge, and the X days off grid series.

Now you know why I haven’t been posting so many blogs and videos this month. As I mentioned earlier in July, I’m preparing my mind and body for the X days off grid series, and the radar challenge. The radar challenge is kind of a test run leading up to more complex man portable deployments off-grid and in the field.

73
Julian oh8stn
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