Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio, often referred to by its acronym RaDAR, is concept for operating an amateur radio station anywhere, anytime and even in adverse environmental conditions. This concept supports the amateur radio service’s emergency communications mandate.


Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio (RaDAR)
What is RaDAR?
The evolution of RaDAR
What constitutes a “True RaDAR” Station?
It is desirable that the RaDAR operator is able to
RaDAR Contests
External links


Radio amateurs from South Africa, came up with a concept (one used for many years by the military and others) to build a comfortable portable radio station capable of operating for extended periods while walking or stationary after walking to a specified site. The idea was discussed in an open forum and ideas gleaned from many of the local hams, some prototyping was done, the “Shack in a Sack” (SiaS) concept was born.

Subsequently it was decided to include the SiaS in one of the South African Radio League Mobile HF Radio competitions. Some simple ground rules were laid and off everyone went to build and set up a station to operate /ss or portable /p. The first team of “Shack in a Sack” hams who took part were: Deon, ZS1AFU/ss, Johan, ZS2CX/ss, Eddie, ZS6BNE/ss, Kevin, ZS6KMD/ss, John, ZS5J/ss, Tienie, ZS6MHH/ss, Stephen, ZU6ET/ss, Nico, ZS6SNH/ss, Charles, ZR5CBT/ss, Doug, ZS1DUG/ss, Club operator ZS1WRC/ss, Hennie, ZS1HR/ss and Renier, ZU1RDU/ss.

August 2008 – Submitted logos uploaded to ZS6BNE’s QSL.Net website. Special SiaS photograph submissions by Deon, ZS1AFU/ss, John, ZS5J/ss and Kevin, ZS6KMD/ss.

September 2008 – SiaS Operators also took part in the “Blockhouse project” organized by ZS4SRK, the Sasolburg Amateur Radio Club.

August 2009 – RaDAR – “Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio” initiative was launched. SiaS was a concept and needed a name. Unfortunately, all the discussions that took place via the SARL Forum on SiaS, no longer exist.

August 2009 – The launch of the RaDAR business card. Subdivisions, “On foot,” “Mobile” and “Fixed”. The RaDAR station can carry a business card with his call sign and RaDAR subdivision logo. Good for Amateur Radio public relations.

August 2009 – First query on RaDAR from outside South Africa from Jack, VK4JRC in Australia.

November 2009 – Deon, ZS1AFU’s historic SiaS photo published on the front page of Radio ZS and article included discussing the RaDAR concept and how the name evolved. (Radio ZS September – October 2009)

April 2010 – 1st SARL RaDAR Contest (Winter). Over a 100 individual stations were logged during the April 2010 RaDAR contest. Most stations took part for fun.

May 2010 – Dutch radio amateurs take RaDAR to the next level. The Lowlands 5×5 RaDAR group was formed by two Dutch radio amateurs, Elmar, PD3EM and Peter, PD1AJJ.

September 2010 – French radio amateurs take RaDAR to the next level.

November 2010 – 2nd SARL RaDAR Contest (Summer).

As from January 2011, official SARL RaDAR contests held every year in April (Winter) and November (Summer).

April 2012 – The introduction of an official contest logbook specifically designed for the RaDAR contests. It can be downloaded at http://www.nwinternet.za.org/zs6bne/RaDAR/files/RaDARContestLog07April2012.doc

April 2012 – Proposal by ZS6BNE to practice rapid re-deployment. The concept of “One contact per kilometre moved.” GPS coordinate information to be passed together with signal reports.

November 2012 – RaDAR diagram updated to accommodate the new rule structure. The new rule proposals can be accessed on https://zs6bne.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/radar-contes-proposed-rule-changes-for-2013/

What is RaDAR?

RaDAR is a concept. RaDAR is not an organisation, nor does it compete with any organisation. RaDAR is a way of setting up an amateur radio station quickly and having fun. RaDAR is a “mindset” or a “methodology” about being flexible to enable operations under difficult conditions without external resources. RaDAR neither has nor needs a command and control structure.

The evolution of RaDAR

RaDAR has somewhat changed a little expanding from an “On foot” operator to include other stations but emphasizing rapidly deployed, easily movable (objects), Amateur Radio stations.

What constitutes a “True RaDAR” Station?

To be considered as a true RaDAR station, the entire station equipment, radios, batteries, mast, antennas and refreshments must be easily portable and hence the need to carry the equipment for at least 1 km prior to setting up.

It is desirable that the RaDAR operator is able to

Operate an amateur radio station away from any building or vehicle although this is not a prerequisite.

Carry equipment, radios, antennas, masts, food, water and shelter to the final destination, in a vehicle , on foot or wheelchair.

Determine accurate position and grid square to 6 digits.

Provide power without relying on any third party.

Communicate in a professional, accurate and effective manner.

Be self-sufficient.

RaDAR Contests

The RaDAR contest operates under the rules of the SARL.


ZS6KMD (2008). “SiaS”
Radio ZS, September – October 2009
Netherlands radio amateurs (2010). “Lowlands 5×5”
French radio amateurs (2010). “France 5×5”
South African Radio League (2011). “Contest information”