14 May 2013

Thoughts on the definition of /PM for RaDAR

I have been a member of HFPack for several years as my major interest lies in pedestrian mobile operations with a backpack/ manpack radio.

During one of my hunts for information on the internet on pedestrian mobile operations, I came across the RaDAR concept as outlined by Eddie ZS6BNE.

What is surprisingly hard to find is a definition on what /PM operations really are. For some it seems to be limited to operating ones (HF) transceiver while actually walking, for others it seems to include any operation where the radio gear is transported repeatedly by foot to a different QTH within short time periods, or in other words: one may take the backpack/ manpack off for a rest, erect an antenna with whatever means, an operate.
One could argue that the latter in essence constitutes /P portable operation, but does /P operation (as during Field Day) not imply that I transport my gear by vehicle to a location, setting up a semi-temporary antenna and operate usually high power, possibly with the aid of a generator?
And what is with all /M mobile operators? Are they "only" portable operators when they are not in motion with their vehicles?

Given these thoughts, it might be worth a closer look at the definition of how someone defines for themselves what /PM is.

In the context of the RaDAR contest and the RaDAR program, a /PM portable mobile operator is any Amateur Radio operator who transports his radio gear by foot with frequent changes of his QTH.

This, depending on the climate and current weather conditions, can be a physical as well as mental challenge and also draws upon all of the operators technical knowledge and experience.

The SOTA program certainly brings this to an extreme and respect is certainly due for all those who operate from the highest mountains. For those who either live in a non-mountainous region, or who do not feel the desire to climb mountains and instead prefer to operate in the valleys, there is the RaDAR-Program.
For those who operate from valleys, there is certainly the added challenge of getting their signals across the mountains!

So, are you up to the RaDAR-Challenge?!

03 May 2013

Revised RaDAR-America Program Rules

The RaDAR Program Bonus Point Rules are hereby revised and simplified with immediate effect.

1. Aim

The RaDAR Program is aimed at promoting the use of Rapidly Deployable Amateur Radio stations and is for all licensed radio amateurs. The points system is so structured as to encourage portable operation, especially pedestrian mobile stations, be it for fun or in preparation for EmComm. 
CW operation, Net participation and ragchewing is rewarded.
The use of Maidenhead and especially USNG/MGRS locators is encouraged through it's point structure as to facilitate Search and Rescue operations (SAR).
Please also see the following links for more information on USNG:
For more insights, tips, and configuration information for some of the mobile apps currently available, follow this link.
Please also consider Mission Manager - FREE Software for SAR for your next ARES and non-ARES Public Service deployments.
The RaDAR rule structure is close to that formulated by the founder of the RaDAR contest idea: Eddie ZS6BNE 

2. Date and Time 

Every calendar month from the first day of the month at 00:00 UTC until the last day of the month at 23:59 UTC.

3. Bands and Modes

All amateur bands 6m and lower, as well as any satellite bands, are eligible for entry.

Modes – Any.

4. Conduct

All operators are to follow the Radio Amateur's Code:
as well as all legal requirements.

5. Exchange

Call sign, type of operation ( /portable /mobile /maritime mobile /pedestrian mobile" etc., as applicable, as defined below under "#8 Categories"), Name, Report (RST), QTH using USNG/ MGRS or Maidenhead grid locator (at least 6 digits).
Note that the grid locator can change as RaDAR operators are allowed to move to the next destination at any time.
Note that several SmartPhone apps support these advanced grid locator features (e.g. HamLog or Theodolite for the iPhone).

6. Scoring

Total score per month is the sum of all daily scores.

Daily score calculated as follows:

Per call sign: 1 QSO point per contact per every 5 minutes of contact (i.e., if your QSO is over 5 and up to 10 minutes = 2 QSO points, over 10 minutes and up to 15 minutes = 3 QSO points, etc.. Rag chews are encouraged!).

Per participation in a EmComm Net or round table discussion Net: 1 QSO point for every 5 minutes (i.e., if you participate in your Net over 5 and up to 10 minutes = 2 QSO points, over 10 minutes and up to 15 minutes = 3 QSO points, etc.. Net participation is encouraged!).


1) Moving RaDAR stations can move at any time but are required to move to the next destination after five QSO points have been made. The move needs to cover the required distance before further QSO points may be documented.

2) Moving stations may also operate while in motion, but need to have covered the required distance for every 5 QSO points.

Note: safety and all (traffic) laws take precedence at all times. All operators operate at their own risk at all times.

7. Bonus points  (Are added to QSO points before applying category and power multipliers)

1 Bonus point for every digital (including CW) QSO.
1 Bonus point per QSO documented with Maidenhead locator for your own position. 
1 Bonus point per QSO documented with Maidenhead locator for your contact's position. 
2 Bonus Points per QSO documented with USNG locator for your own position.
2 Bonus Points per QSO documented with USNG locator for your contact's position.
RaDAR operators may look up the locators themselves, no need for the contact to relay it. 
1 Bonus point per QSO if QTH is documented on an online APRS map. Screen photo of RaDAR operator's location on an online APRS map may substitute for a photo or video for mobile or portable RaDAR stations, as proof of QTH change.

8. Categories multipliers

Per day:

x 1 - Stations situated within a building may ONLY log points if their QSO was with a field or moving RaDAR station

x 1 – "Portable" RaDAR Field station (any place exterior to a building in which people live, locations as balconies and patios count as portable operation sites). These stations log themselves as /p ("portable"). At least one photo or video of the station MUST accompany the day's log entry (APRS beacon may not substitute photo in this category!).

x 2 – "Mobile" Moving RaDAR station, Car / Motorcycle / Bicycle / Maritime – Minimum 3 miles (approx. 5 km) per 5 QSO points. These stations log themselves as /m ("mobile"). A photo or video of the station MUST accompany every QTH (to document relocation by required distance, see below for substitution with APRS beacon). 

x 4 – Moving RaDAR station, on foot – Minimum 0.6 miles (approx. 1 km) per 5 QSO points. These stations are to log themselves as /pm ("pedestrian mobile"). A photo or video of the station MUST document every QTH change (see Bonus points for substitution with APRS beacon).

9. Power multiplier:

The power multiplier that applies is determined by the highest power output of any of the transmitters used per day.

5 watts or less, the power multiplier is 6.

6 to 50 Watts, the power multiplier is 4.

51 watts or greater, the power multiplier is 2.

100 watts or greater, the power multiplier is 1.

10. Entry details:

A) Log entries, images, videos, total daily and monthly QSO points should be posted on the operator's preferred website, preferred website service or else; link to this with Calculated Monthly Points is then to be sent to radaramericacontest AT gmail.com by the 3rd of each following month.

B) The monthly winner will be entered in the program's roll of honor.

11. Sample calculation of RaDAR Program Points:

QSO + QSO time/duration points + Digital Bonus + Maidenhead Bonus (your QTH) + Maidenhead Bonus (contact's QTH) + USNG Bonus (your QTH) + USNG Bonus (contact's QTH) + APRS Bonus = total contact points per QSO made.

Add up all QSO contact points made per day.

Total contact points per day x Category Multiplier x Power Multiplier = Total RaDAR Points per Day.

Add up all "RaDAR Points per Day" obtained during a month and submit.