Saturday July 14, 2018 is the RaDAR Challenge. I’ll be participating in the RaDAR Challenge as I do every year. Previously I had operated as a fixed Field Station. This was true during the April 2017 RaDAR Challenge. During July of the same year, I switched back to being a man portable roving station for the July 2017 Challenge.
Each time the radar challenge rolls around we learn something new from the experience. In April 2017, I realized I needed a heated shelter for the winter conditions we have during that time of year. During the July 2017 challenge I realized in order to be effective, I would at times, need to run more power. Perhaps something between 20 and 35 Watts would be sufficient. I didn’t want to carry an amplifier like many other operators, which led me to the Yaesu ft-891 I operate today. Carrying a bigger radio, batteries, solar panels, charge controller, and now with the inclusion of the Raspberry Pi, I need more carrying capacity. That’s where this RaDAR Go Kit comes in.
The point of the radar challenges to test your ability to Be an Effective radio operator. Operators are expected to be completely self-reliant, carrying their radio gear, camping gear, food, water and everything else we require for sustained rapid deployment in the field.
Here is my comms loadout.
- Yaesu FT-891
- LDG Z100+
- PowerFilm Solar 120W Panel
- PowerFilm Solar 20W Panel
- Genasun GV-10L Charge controller
- 10ah LiFePO4 battery pack
- Raspberry Pi 3B+
- ZLP MiniProSC audio interface
- PackTennna Mini EFHW 20M
- Super Antenna MP1
- 10M telescopic mast
- Samsung Galaxy Tab Active
Living at 65 degrees north, it’s also important to carry your shelter and all the other necessities to make radio communications possible in any type of weather.
Here is my food water and shelter loadout
- NorTent Lavvu 6 Tipi Shelter & center pole
- Jetboil and gas canister
- 2 liters of water
- Sawyer mini water filter
- Fire kit
- Rain poncho
- Days food & spork
- First aid kit
Video & blogging Loadout
Naturally I want to document the entire experience for YouTube and the ham radio community.
Here is my production loadout
- Head mounted GoPro
- Samsung S4 & Selfiestick
- 2x 32gb Samsung SD Cards
- Band: Since the WARC bands have been excluded from RaDAR Challenge, I’m going to stay around 20 meters.
- Modes: Digital modes & SSB
- Time: I’ll be operating between 0900-1300 UTC
- Category: On foot as a roving station.
Forecast says we’re going to experience light rain and some thunderstorms during the day. I need to play it by ear to avoid the thunderstorms, but I’m not concerned very much about the rain. If the thunderstorms become bad enough, I’ll sit out to that part of the challenge in safety. If we experience heavy rain getting a pass on the thunderstorms, I’ll simply operate as a fixed Field Station to complete the challenge.