Aug 16

The Hill Country Amateur Radio Club, located in Kerrville, TX, invites you to our next meeting on September 1, 2016.

We meet the first Thursday of each month at the American Red Cross building, 333 Earl Garrett (corner of Earl Garrett and Jefferson) in downtown Kerrville. Meet and greet from 6 – 7 PM; business meeting beginning at 7 PM followed by a monthly program. Visitors are welcome!

The Hill Country Amateur Radio Club has over 90 members and is a general interest club. We have a full HF and VHF station (N5HR) located at the American Red Cross which is available to club members. We also operate an open repeater (N5HR) 146.98- (PL 162.2).

For more information call 830-257-0073, email k4dg@arrl.net or visit our website at www.kerrhams.org or our Facebook page.

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Aug 16

When: Four Saturdays beginning September 3, 10, 17 and ending September 24th. Classes will run from 9 AM until 3 PM, with a 45 minute break for lunch.

Where: American Red Cross building, 333 Earl Garrett St., Kerrville.

Cost: $30 for the course, plus $25 for license course book. We will use the ARRL Ham Radio License Manual, 3rd edition. It is available from ARRL.org and Amazon.com. Or I can purchase it for you. The $30 course fee will be waived for any public service employee or active/retired military.

Deadline to Sign Up:  August 28, 2016.

Content of Course:   The course will cover everything you will need to know to pass the FCC Technician Class Amateur Radio License Exam. The course book includes all informational materials, and all the questions that may be on the exam. No Morse code is required for any amateur radio license, only the written exam. I will email a copy of the syllabus of the course to registered students when we get closer to the first class date.

Additional Licensing Information: You will have an opportunity to take the FCC amateur radio license exam immediately following the conclusion of the last class on September 24th. The cost is $15 and is payable at time you take the exam. This fee is not included in the course fee. As part of my course, I will go over the exam process, what to expect on the day of the exam, and the paperwork you will need to bring with you. You will also have the opportunity to take several practice exams as part of the course.

Information on Your Instructor:  Dale Gaudier holds an Extra Class amateur radio license, call sign K4DG. Dale has over 48 years experience as a ham radio operator. He has a background in physics and electronics. He is a registered amateur radio instructor and license examiner.

Need more info? Call Dale Gaudier at 830-257-0073 or email at k4dg@arrl.net for more information on these classes.

Sponsoring Organization: This license course is sponsored by The Hill Country Amateur Radio Club located in Kerrville, TX.  The Hill Country Amateur Radio Club meets the first Thursday of each month at 7 PM at the American Red Cross in Kerrville. Visitors are welcome!

 

 

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Jun 29

GENERAL CLASS COURSE

Where:  Christus Santa Rosa Medical Center Hospital, 2827 Babcock Rd.   (West of the Medical Center, between Medical Dr. and Hamilton-Wolfe Rd.), in the Kingman room. (As you go in the main entrance, turn right past the information desk.  The room is at the end of the hall.)

When:   Saturdays, August 13, 20 and 27, 9AM to 5PM.  Attendees should attend all three sessions.  Test will be given Saturday,  August 27 at 3PM.

Cost:      $15 for VE exam

Recommended study material:  Gordon West, W5YI General Class Book.  (Available at  www.w5yi or 1-800-669-9594.  Cost, about $25)  Amazon has it also, click here.

For additional information, please contact Bob Rodriguez at (210) 887-6618 or bobrod@flash.net .

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Jun 22

AARO will be holding their Field Day event at Raymond Russell Park, on IH-10 west near Camp Bullis exit, operating on Saturday only due to restrictions on the park usage.

ROOST will be at their Clubhouse location on the SE side, off Hwy 181, operating the full weekend.

GVARC will be operating from a member’s home (WQ5C) on River Road, but using Temp FD antennas and power sources. Access may be limited after dark, but operating the full weekend.

Texas Water Safari got rescheduled until this weekend, due to river flooding a few weeks ago, so many of those hans won’t be able to participate in FD this year.

I haven’t heard about the plans yet for Atascosa County ARC (Poteet fairgrounds or in Pleasanton?), Wilson County ARC (City park in Floresville?), or Guadalupe County (Chaparral ARC in Seguin).

San Antonio Radio Club (SARC) – The club will be holding it’s Field Day event in Shavano Park. The address for this event is 900 Saddletree Ct. Shavano Park, TX 78231. The club plans to operate from Noon on Saturday through Noon on Sunday. They will also host a barbeque at the site Saturday evening.

Medina County Amateur Radio Club (MCARC) – The Field Day event will be held at the Creekwood Community center located just off US90 half way between Hondo and Castroville. The community center is at the corner of County Road 458 and County Road 4510. Operating times are from Noon on Saturday and into Saturday evening (potentially 8pm).

Hill Country Amateur Radio Club (HCARC) – The Field Day event will be held at Our Lady of the Hills High School athletic field and pavilion in Kerrville, TX. Address is 235 Peterson Farm Road Kerrville, TX 78028. The site is just off of TX 27 SE of Kerrville near the Kerrville Municipal Airport. Please RSVP with Dale Gaudier k4dg(at)arrl(dot)net.

Kendall Amateur Radio Society (KARS) – The KARS 2016 Field Day event will be held Saturday June 25th between 1:00PM and 8:00PM CDT and Sunday June 26th between 7:00AM and 1:00PM CDT. The event will be held at Alan Walters, K5NOF’s, ranch located at 48 Rust Lane, BOERNE, TX 78006-1163. More information can be found at http://www.kb5tx.org/FieldDay2016. If you go please let them know that you are from STXDXCC so that they know who you are.

The ARRL has also provided a Field Day Locator website if you are in need of more information. http://www.arrl.org/field-day-locator

Have fun this weekend and be safe! Get out there and get on the air!

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Jun 16

New and Old Notes About Field Day

Field Day is coming up soon, on June 25-26th, so here are a few thoughts (and facts) as you plan your group’s operation.

A FEW TIPS FOR ANY FIELD DAY OPERATION – I’ve posted some of this before but I think they should be repeated. (I’ve updated them a bit for 2016) 

1. When setting up antennas within close proximity: If you are using wire antennas such as dipoles, and they run parallel to each other there will be interference on your HF operating bands in the form of hash so arrange them at right angles to each other and at slightly different heights.

If you use wire antennas such as dipoles, try to stay away from trap dipoles and use full length antennas instead. You may also wish to run your dipoles in different configurations such as have one as an “inverted V” and another as a sloper, etc. An antenna cut to the exact band you are using will decrease interference to and from other bands.

Do not compromise by using trap or “all band” antennas. (The only efficient “all band antennas” are a log periodic and a “fan dipole” NOT a “folded dipole” or others that claim they use “balancing resistors” as this only wastes RF energy in the form of heat.) With others you may make a few contacts, but they are junk and will cause harmonic radiation. Do not fall for any ads claiming “miracle antennas”.

Don’t waste your watts! Dedicated operating needs the right antenna. Wasted energy on trap antennas (some of your RF energy is used up in the form of heat) and that equals an inefficient radiator, especially as you go lower in frequency. On HF, try not to use vertical antennas as they receive too much man-made noise from sources such as generators, street lamps, etc.

Using a Yagi style antenna for Field Day may look impressive, but be careful that the “focused energy” doesn’t interfere with other operations. Know as well, that transmitting focused energy may be all well and good, but it, in receiving signals it can also make your station “deaf” from directions so you may have to waste time turning the beam…. is it worth it? —–  READ ON, THERE’S LOTS MORE INFO! —-

2. When NOT to use a tuner! Tuners are great and some people use them all the time. (This includes any rig’s “built in tuner” or any “out board tuner”) HOWEVER, you need to concern yourself with something called “insertion loss”. Every time you use a tuner, there is a power loss due to heat of matching an antenna system to a rig.

READ THIS TWICE: If the antenna system is measured at an SWR (standing wave ratio) of 1:1.5 or less before using a tuner you do not need to use a tuner to do a perfect match as the insertion loss of using the tuner will be off set by any matching it does. Power (ERP) will be lost in the form of heat within the tuner. If you don’t believe me, do a test, using a good field strength meter at a distance of several wavelengths away from the antenna and you will see that what I’m saying is correct.

Tuners do not work miracles, so don’t expect them to. Using a tuner for NVIS is another story as it is an emergency “compromise antenna”.

Using a tuner to compensate for an antenna that is way “out of whack” should tell you to use a better antenna (or FIX it), matched by it’s length, for whatever band you wish to operate. If you use a tuner to match, say a 20 meter signal to work with a 15 meter antenna, it will also create harmonic distortion on the other bands! Don’t interfere with other operations at your site by doing this.ICE_Bandpass_402x

 

3. When operating within a tight area, as required by FD rules, it also pays to use “band pass filters” such as those manufactured by ICE. I have a full set of these HF filters and they work great. They are only about $38 per band and drastically reduce interference from your other operating posts. Make sure they are grounded as seen by the grounding lug on the top of the photo.

If your pocketbook can’t afford them, use coax “stub” filters. The lengths of these and how to build them can be found at: http://www.k1ttt.net/technote/k2trstub.html They are simple to make and easy to use. Both systems have been used by the major DXpeditions all over the world with great success. On HF frequencies make sure each operating station is properly grounded.

Do NOT use a common ground for all your operating posts. If you do, you will get “ground loops” with energy going where you don’t want it, including in to computer logging systems and the possibility of RF burns by operators or anyone touching the equipment.

4. Make sure that each operating position has a laminated chart of frequencies that can be used under your station’s or club’s operating license. Watch out and don’t operate too close to the band edges. (and remember: no one “owns” a frequency)

5. If using computer logging, always have paper logs and scratch pads ready to use in case your computers bog down or crash. (Ever use a “dupe sheet”? Don’t know what it is? Find out and use it!) Paper logs as a backup to computer logging also makes sure you get the info (exchange) right…. in some cases (mainly contesting), having the wrong info may get your operation penalized points or even disqualified.

6. Whenever I operate either in contests or operating events, I find it advantageous to camp out (remain on) a frequency rather than tune around (hunt and pounce). Remember that propagation conditions will change so stick with it even if you think the band has died or other stations appear on your frequency that weren’t there earlier. That’s just how propagation works. Save “hunting and pouncing” for near the end of the event when you wish to eek out those few last stations. Remember: When you move frequency, someone may take your camping out frequency and you won’t get it back!

7. Keep your calling frequency active by calling CQ often. Don’t wait! Leave a gap of only four (4) seconds between calls or stations tuning by will miss your call and other stations http://sanantoniohams.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/mfj434b.jpgwishing to camp out may take over your frequency. In events such as FD, it also pays to use an automatic voice unit such as MFJ 434B “voice keyer”. (Cost is about $170.)

If you can’t obtain one, use a cheap electronic memo reminder and just play back your pre-recorded CQ while holding it close to your microphone but not so close as to induce audio distortion. (Editor – Your smartphone might have a way to record and quickly replay an audio recording as well.)

This form of “acoustic coupling” is an inexpensive way to save your voice. I have used both methods over the years with success. Keep your calls “short and sweet” using ITU phonetics ONLY. Don’t use any “cutesy” phonetics.  BEFORE FIELD DAY…. REPLACE ALL BATTERIES IN VOICE AND CW KEYERS, ANTENNA ANALYZERS, DIGITAL CLOCKS, FLASH LIGHTS  AND ANY OTHER UNITS THAT USE BATTERIES!

8. If you are lucky enough to cause a “pile up” (several stations calling you at once) answer the easiest one to hear first. If you can’t make out complete callsigns, ask for the station with the easiest partial call to reply. The others will wait. Do not get flustered. If you do, simply state “QRX”. (This means you are requesting those stations to pause, usually so your station can change operators, go flip to another blank log sheet, etc.) This will give you a few seconds to re-focus your thoughts. It is at this time where it also pays to have another person with you to help sort out any call signs or help with logging.

9. Ignore jammers. Do NOT bother answering them.

10. Have your station’s callsign and exchange info posted in large letters at your operating position in case you get a bit tired or flustered so you won’t forget and announce your own call by mistake. Make up some large signs to indicate what band / mode each station is operating on, to avoid having more than one station on the same band / mode at the same time (rules violation).

11. If possible, bring your own headphones to make your life easier and to cut down on ambient noise from your area and helps you to concentrate. An “odd ball” pair of headphones can actually put stress on you if they don’t fit properly.

12. Talk in a loud, clear voice, just like you were talking with a child and want to put a point across. No need to shout as it distorts your signal and makes it splatter to adjacent frequencies. Speak in to the microphone at an angle. Female operator’s voices tend to attract more contacts for some reason as well. Other stations might accuse you of “switch and bait” if you use the recording from a female operator, but answer with a male’s voice.

13. Pace yourself, drink plenty of fluids and let whomever is in charge know when you need a break. Do NOT be a “mic hog” as other people may wish to gain the experience of operating. Hopefully there will be plenty of ops around which will allow you the chance to rest a spell.

14. Learn a bit about propagation characteristics for each band time of day before you come to FD. With sunspots on the raise, the higher bands will be a bit more active than in pervious years, unless there is a solar flare or other disturbance.

As a rule: Use higher HF frequencies during the day, when the sun is doing it’s job with the ionosphere, and use lower frequencies after sunset. Find out what “grayline” propagation is and learn how it use it to your advantage. (Grayline is the “terminator line” of sunrise or sunset, but read more about how it works and how it can work for you. If you are a DXer, you NEED to know about this.)

15. If there are enough people, have someone do the logging for you. This way they will learn to copy callsigns under less than perfect situations and will make life easier for you. A “double set of ears” makes it easier to operate and log. It might even entice non-hams to get their license. When you aren’t operating at the moment, try to keep the “chit-chat” down at any operating post. Save the talk when you are away from whomever is operating as it may confuse them.

16. If you want your FD to be more successful, WAIT until all members have arrived before deciding what amount of stations you wish to put on the air for the event. You can always change bands, even with a 1A station. Years ago one club I was a member of on Long Island decided to operate 20A! That’s 20 stations operating. The only problem was there wasn’t enough people to man all the stations for the length of FD, so we were stuck at times with 10 stations we couldn’t use. You can’t change your exchange once the event starts. Talk about bad planning. Make sure everyone signs a log-in sheet so operator tally can be accounted for.

17. Flag all coax runs, power cords and antenna guy lines with brightly colored caution tape so no one walks into them or trips over them. Label each member’s equipment and cables so you can sort them out easier at the end of the event.

18. Never assume you’ve “worked them all”. In 1991 a pair of inexperienced ops came out of the 40 meter SSB tent claiming they “worked the band dry”. I told them they hadn’t and taking another op to log for me, in 30 minutes I worked an additional 60+ stations on that “dry band” by hunting and pouncing. Lesson learned: There are always other stations out there to work AND propagation changes…. sometimes from minute to minute.

19. Know the rig you are operating by reading each radio’s instruction manual. By doing so you’ll avoid problems and make more contacts. Be especially careful of the filters in complex radios as they could filter out wanted signals. Keep your operations simple so the next person assigned to your station won’t get confused twisting and turning knobs!

Have a rig’s “cheat sheet” handy. For Field Day, basic rigs with basic filters, work the best.

20. Turn off all gear during refueling of any gas generators. Use proper safety procedures so voltage spikes won’t harm your radios. This means to turn off your radios BEFORE the generator shuts off and wait until it reaches operational speed before turning your gear back on. You can get voltage spikes during the shutting off of the generator and the start up cycle. Use care when refueling the generator and NEVER gas it up while it is running. A gas spill even when the generator is off but HOT can also spell disaster.

21. Learn , but most of all : Have fun. Take lots of pictures to post on your club’s website and on any report you may have for www. SanAntonioHams.org     Also, have your station license handy (the call sign you are using)… it’s an FCC requirement.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me via email at: alonestaryank@aol.com

 

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Jun 16
W2IK LADDER LINE BACK PACK ANTENNA
     GREAT FOR CAMPING OR EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS
              
BOB HEJL – W2IK
EVER WISH YOU HAD A VERY SIMPLE, LIGHT WEIGHT HAM RADIO ANTENNA THAT COULD BE STUFFED IN YOUR BACKPACK AND DOES NOT NEED A TUNER? HERE IS A SIMPLE DESIGN THAT I BUILT MANY YEARS AGO AND FOUND IT TO BE VERY USEFUL WHILE CAMPING OR FOR EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS. IT’S GREAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE ABILITY TO TAKE ALONG MY “IK-STIC 2″ANTENNA (TO BUILD THAT ANTENNA, SEE ANOTHER POSTING ON THIS SITE.
WHEN YOU ARE CAMPING, YOU HAVE TO MAKE COMPROMISES. THE SAME IS TRUE ABOUT CAMPINGWITH HAM RADIO. USUALLY YOU’LL BE OPERATING ON 20 METERS IN THE DAY AND 40 METERS AT NIGHT. THAT BEING SAID, I DEVISED A VERY SIMPLE ANTENNA IN A SINGLE FORM THAT WILL COVER BOTH BANDS WITHOUT THE NEED FOR A TUNER.
TO BUILD THIS ANTENNA YOU WILL NEED
50 FEET OF 450 – 600 OHM LADDER LINE (NOT TWIN LEAD)
2 THREE INCH PIECES OF 1/2 INCH PVC TUBING
ONE CENTER CONNECTOR (DIPOLE TYPE-WIRE TO SO-239 CONNECTOR)
UNROLL THE COIL OF LADDER LINE AND CUT THE LADDER LINE IN HALF SO YOU HAVE TWO LENGTHS EXACTLY 25 FEET LONG.   EACH LENGTH BECOMES A SIDE OF YOUR DIPOLE SYSTEM. AT THE EVERY END OF EACH WIRE, STRIP OFF THE INSULATION EXPOSING ABOUT 4 INCHES OF BARE WIRE. ON ONE SIDE OF EACH LADDER LINE TWIST THE BARE WIRES TOGETHER AND SOLDER ONE END OF EACH LADDER LINE TO THE WIRES ON THE CENTER CONNECTOR.
 (SEE PICTURE BELOW)
AT THE OTHER END OF EACH OF THE LENGTHS OF LADDER LINE, TAKE ONE PIECE OF 1/2 INCH PVCTUBE AND SLIDE THE WIRES THROUGH 1/4 INCH HOLE DRILLED NEAR ONE END OF THE PVC TUBE. PULL THE PVC AROUND SO YOU CAN CONNECT THE WIRES TO EACH OTHER AND SOLDER THEM TOGETHER.
(SEE PHOTO OF THE ONE OF THE TWO END INSULATORS BELOW)
DRILL ANOTHER 1/4 INCH HOLE ON THE OTHER END OF THE PVC TUBE SO YOU CAN HANG THE DIPOLE SYSTEM UP USING NYLON CORD.
                           THE SPECIAL CUT
NOW JUST ONE MORE THING TO DO. IN ORDER TO MAKE THIS A 40 AND 20 METER ANTENNA, YOU NEED TO MEASURE 16.4 FEET FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE CENTER CONNECTOR AND ON ONE WIRE OF EACH SIDE OF THE LADDER LINE YOU WILL CLIP OUT A 1/4 INCH SECTION OF WIRE. IF POSSIBLE, CLIP THE SECTION OUT WHERE THERE IS A SEPARATING PIECE OF THE LADDER LINE WEBBING SO THE ANTENNA WILL BE PHYSICALLY MORE STABLE.
 THIS WILL LEAVE YOU WITH TWO ANTENNAS IN ONE SYSTEM. ONE ANTENNA’S TOTAL DIPOLE LENGTH IS 32.8 FEET (16.4 FEET ON EACH DIPOLE LEG) OR A 20 METER DIPOLE, AND THE OTHER IS THE 40 METER DIPOLE AS THE WIRE IN LADDER LINE YOU DIDN’T CLIP WILL NOW RUN THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF EACH SIDE, CONTINUE AROUND THE END INSULATORS AND CONTINUE IN A HAIRPIN  RUN AROUND TO THE OTHER (LOWER) SIDE OF THE LADDER LINE ON THAT SAME SIDE MAKING A LENGTH OF ABOUT 66.8 FEET TOTAL OR 33.4 FEET ON EACH LEG (LESS THAN THE MATH OF JUST ADDING AND SUBTRACTING BECAUSE YOU LOST LENGTH WHEN YOU SOLDERED THE WIRES THAT ARE IN THE END CONNECTORS) THIS IS FINE FOR A 40 METER DIPOLE.
 THERE IS JUST A LITTLE INTERACTION WITH THE TWO ANTENNAS SO CLOSE TOGETHER. IF YOU WISH TO BE REALLY FUSSY, YOU MAY WANT TO DO THE WIRE CLIP ACTION AND CHECK THE TUNING USING AN ANTENNA ANALYZER. IF THIS IS THE CASE, DO NOT CLIP OUT A 1/4 INCH PIECE YET, JUST CLIP THE WIRE, MEASURE THE SWR WITH THE ANTENNA HUNG AND MAKE ANY CORRECTIONS (DO THIS BYRESOLDERING THE CUT YOU MADE AND MAKE ANOTHER CUT DEPENDING UPON THE ANTENNA’SRESONANT FREQUENCY). ALTHOUGH THIS ANTENNA IS NOT AS EFFICIENT ON 40 METERS AS A DIPOLESTRUNG OUT INSTEAD OF FOLDED, I HAVE USED THIS ANTENNA ON MANY OUTINGS WITH GREATRESULTS AND IT IS MORE CONVIENT TO PUT UP OR STORE. YOU CAN EASILY COIL IT UP AND STORE INYOUR BACK PACK. IT CAN BE PUT UP AS A DIPOLE, SLOPER OR INVERTED “V”. MAKE SURE YOU HAVENON-CONDUCTING CORD TO HANG IT UP. AND BY THE WAY, SINCE THE 40 METER SECTION LOOPSAROUND, ALL YOU NEED IS 52 FEET BETWEEN TREES TO HANG THIS ANTENNA AS A DIPOLE!!!
LADDER LINE ANTENNA
COILED UP FOR STORING IN ABACK PACK SO IT CAN BE USEDWHILE HIKING OR CAMPING
ALL DESIGNS COPYRIGHTED
BY W2IK – BOB HEJL
MY NOT BE USED WITHOUT
AUTHOR CREDIT

 

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Jun 15
W2IK’s “IK-STIC 2”
DESIGNED BY BOB HEJL – W2IK
(PUBLISHED IN AUGUST 2004)
The “IK-STIC 2” is a vertical, all band, antenna that is over 25 feet tall yet weighs under 5 pounds !Using a tuner it can easily cover the amateur radio HF bands from 40 – 10 Meters.  No unsightly wires as the radiating wire is inside the telescoping mast!
TO CONSTRUCT THIS ANTENNA YOU NEED:
ONE SD-20 Telescoping mast (WorldRadio sells these)
ONE  6 foot section of 1 1/2 inch PVC Pipe
50 feet of 20 or 22 gauge STRANDED, INSULATED Wire
ONE SO-239 Barrel Connector with washers and Nuts
ONE male and female push on connectors (see photos)
TWO Large (6 inch) Hose clamps (see photos)
Electrical Tape, Epoxy, Duct tape and asst. hardware.

ANTENNA CONSTRUCTION

                                 

FITTING THE INTERNAL ANTENNA WIRE INSIDE THE TELESCOPING MAST:
Take the SD-20 telescoping mast and remove the bottom cap by unscrewing it.Looking in you will see the sections nestled in place. Remove the rubber plugfrom the next to thinnest section so now all the sections are “open”.  Carefullytake a 21 foot piece of 20 gauge, stranded, insulated wire and tie a very smallknot at the end. Take the knotted end and insert it into the smallest section ofthe telescoping mast and using a straight wire made from a coat hanger, shovethe stranded wire into the section as far as it can go. Then take a small amountof epoxy and glue the wire into place so it can’t be removed from the top section.SLOWLY telescope out the entire mast, making sure that the wire slides insideeasily. When the mast is fully extended you will have almost 20 feet of wireinside. Leave about 5 inches after the mast is fully extended and cut the wire.This will leave a 5 inch “play” to connect the wire at the bottom. NowCAREFULLY drill a small hole in the rubber base of the mast pointing outSIDEWAYS.  Epoxy a push on connector into the hole. Solder another 4 inchpiece of that same stranded wire onto the connector on the INSIDE. On thebottom cap of the mast, drill a hole that will allow you to half way insert, andtightly secure, that SO-239 barrel connector.  Carefully epoxy it on the inside ofthe cap so it won’t loosen. Next, solder the long wire that is in the mast onto theinner part of the SO-239 connector.  Solder the wire from the push on terminal tothe outer section of the SO-239 connector.  Take the cap and give it about 7 COUNTER CLOCK WISE turns so the two wires are twisted. This way, when youscrew the cap on, the wires will untwist in the mast.  Tighten the end cap, but donot glue it.
WINDING THE PVC COIL SECTION:
Next take 25 feet of that same stranded wire and start to wrap it around the 11/2″ PVC pipe at a point 14 inches from one end. (This becomes the top end.) MAKE SURE YOU LEAVE 8 inches of “free wire” before you start the coil wrap.Slowly wind the wire around the PVC pipe creating a coil, leaving a spacing of 11/2 – 2 inches from each turn. As you wind it down the pipe, you may wish tosecure it every so often with electrical tape. The winding does not have to be exact, but keep it as evenly spaced as you can. One foot before the bottom,create a tight wrap of the wire, leaving no gaps on the turns. At the end, tape thewire to the PVC pipe. When you are done, wrap the entire coil in electrical tape so the coil stays in place. On the top end, solder a mating end of a push onconnector so it can plug into the mast’s side connector.
Wrap several turns of Duct Tape to the very top of the PVC mast. This will serveto offset the taper in the telescoping mast when it gets mounted to the PVC pipe.  Using two adjustable hose clamps, carefully mount the very bottom of thetelescoping mast to the top one foot of the PVC pipe. DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN. It takes very little compression to keep the mast in place. When you have done this, you can extend the mast out it’s entire 20 foot length. To keep the entire antenna up-right, slip it over a 4 foot section of appropriate thin wall steel tubing that has been pounded in the ground about one foot. The lower coiled section of the antenna on the PVC pipe will then be slightly “ground coupled”. This helps with the antenna’s operation on 30 and 40 meters.  Plug in the lower coil (The PVC pipe) into the male  connector on the side of the telescoping mast. The SO-239 connector is where you screw in your coax cable to your radio. Make a few windings of whatever coax you are using at the connector point and tape them tightly together to prevent RF from returning on the coax shield. Connect the other end of the cable to your tuner and you are all set to go !!.
IMPORTANT: When you attach your coax to the antenna, make sure that the cable is dressed away and at as close to a right angle from the coil base for at least 5 feet and NOT down along it’s windings. Doing this will help prevent RF emitted from the coil from being radiated back on the coax shield and also will prevent “RF bites” at your radio point….ouch!  The pictures are merely for display and do not indicate the coax properly run.This step is very important in it’s proper operation. Keep the coax away from the coil assembly!
 To dis-assemble the antenna, just remove the coax, loosen the hose clamps and take down the mast after unplugging the PVC coil plug.  CAREFULLY retract the mast and the internal wire should slowly coil down into the masting. DO NOT FORCE THE SECTIONS. A few gentle jiggles and a twist or two will do the trick. After several uses it will be easier to retract the sections as the internal wire will have “memorized” how to coil up. You can even store the telescoping mast in the PVC pipe by making a small slot at the bottom of the PVC tube toaccommodate the connector that is on the side of the telescoping mast .   Theantenna is very simple, light and works well when tuned properly. My first contact was on 15 meters when I spoke to Siberia. I have used it on all the bands it covers and have also made an adapter so it mounts on the ball hitch of my truck. This is great when you are parked and can’t make a hole in the ground. (NOTE: If you wish to make an “IK-STIC 2” that covers 160-10 meters with a tuner, use a 7 FOOT PVC PIPE  instead of the 6 ft. PVC and coil  35 feet of wire around it using 1 inch spacing between wraps and two feet near the end increase the spacing until you run out of the wire and the end of the coil wrap is four – sixinches from the bottom of the PVC pipe. Any longer coil winding that this willmake it difficult to tune the antenna on 10 meters.) (Use the rest of the antennabuilding dimensions as outlined above.)
A SPECIAL NOTE: IF YOU ARE HAVING PROBLEMS WITH THIS ANTENNAIT CAN USUALLY BE TRACED TO THE FACT THAT WHEN YOU BUILT IT,YOUR INTERNAL WIRES TO THE CONNECTOR WERE EITHER NOT FULLY UNTWISTED OR YOU ALLOWED TOO MANY TURNS SO IT UNTWISTEDTHEN  TWISTED BACK. MAKE SURE YOU DO AN ACCURATE COUNT SOTHE TWO WIRES ARE NOT TWISTED  IF NOT THE WIRES WILL BECOUPLED AND THE ANTENNA WILL NOT WORK PROPERLY.
AN ADDITIONAL QUICKIE MODIFICATION:
Epoxy two 1 1/4 inch thin wall PVC sleeves to the lower section of the telescoping mast so they will prevent the telescoping mast from beingcrushed by “over exuberant” tightening of the two hose clamps that hold the telescoping section to the other (coil) section.
REMEMBER…. it’s called the “IK-STIC 2”  
Designed by Bob Hejl – W2IK
This antenna has been used at Field Day operations, SpecialEvents Stations, JOTA Events and County Activations with greatresults.
 

 

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Jun 13
W2IK Desk Buddy
icon1 W2IK | icon2 New Hams, W2IK | icon4 06 13th, 2016| icon3No Comments »
During the weeks ahead, I will be posting a few of my old antenna projects. My old webpages are no longer operational and Lee tells me he has been asked if they are still available.
This one is great for new hams with just an HT who wish to “get out” further than with a standard HT antenna.
Bob  W2IK

Designed by W2IK – all rights reserved

You, too, can build a “W2IK DESK BUDDY”
It’s a two meter antenna to use in those small apartments or restricted neighborhoods. It sitson a desk and is a full-fledged ground-plane that is easy to store when not in use. (The vertical element unplugs from the rest of the antenna) What’s more, there are no ground-plane rods sticking you when you least expect it!  Finally make those fringe repeaters that are hit and miss with your HT! Just place the “Desk Buddy” on any surface: desk, table or dresser, plug it into your HT or house rig and start talking through repeaters you never could reach. Use it out on your deck, patio or anywhere you need that little extra punch.  The cost to build… about 15 bucks. Pictured to the right is a view of the finished antenna, ready to go. Hundreds of these have been built from as far away as Australia!

PARTS NEEDED: (most can be bought at “Lowe’s” or “Home Depot”
   PVC Pieces (all Schedule 40):
     4 – 1/2″ Elbows
     3 – 1/2″ Tees
     1 – 1/2″ Flat End Plug (NOT “Cap”)
     1 – 1/2″ Coupling
      2 – lengths 1/2″ Tubing 14 1/2 inches long
      6 – lengths 1/2″ Tubing  6 3/4 inches long
      1 – length  1/2″ Tubing 11 3/4 inches long
      PVC cement
   Other Parts:
    3 – 36 inch lengths of brass rod  1/8 inch dia. (“HomeDepot” brazingrods Lincoln Electric stk: KH510  3pack in plastic tube for about $4.25)
    1 – 10 foot length, RG-8X with connector on ONE
      end to fit your rig. (PL-259 or BNC)
    Epoxy
    1 – Set (male and female) push on “bullet” crimp connectors as seen inphoto to right

W2IK DESK BUDDYBUILT BY A HAM INAUSTRALIA

PHOTO 1
Create a square, flat base by using the four elbows with the two 14 1/2 inch lengths of tubing opposite each other AND two “Tees” attached to four lengths of 6 3/4 inch tubing with both “Tees” laying flat and both pointing in. (refer to photo 1) Do NOT cement the joints at this time.

Using the remaining two lengths of 6 3/4 inch long tubing, install one on each opposite sides of the last “Tee” with the empty (center) hole facing up (vertical). Now install this three piece section between the to “Tees” on the square base with the now center “Tee” facing up as shown in photo 2. Install the 11 3/4 inch length of pvc tubing into the vertical “Tee” hole so this now becomes the vertical section. Refer to the photo at the very top of the page to get the concept.
PHOTO 2

Using the photo to the RIGHT as a guide, drill a 1/8 inch hole in each corner elbow so it will admit an end of the brass rods. Each of the four holes should be at a 90 degree angle facing inward and upward. Do NOT install the rods at this time. Two of the three brass rods will create the FOUR radials. See the below details on creating the radial section of the antenna.

Take the pvc coupling and right below the center drill a 1/8 inch hole straight through both sides of the coupler. Turning the coupler 90 degrees, drill another hole 1/8 of an inch BELOW the holes you’ve made so that two lengths of brass rod can be inserted criss-crossed through the coupler (see photo on the right). With the rods placed so that EXACTLY one half of each protrudes out of each hole carefully solder the joint of the cross in the coupler so both rods are joined and FOUR equal lengths are coming out of the coupler. This is the radial section. Place this coupling on the top of the vertical pvc tubing that’s attached to the base with a rod end matching up with the corner elbows. Carefully and slowly bow each rod end so it comes near the holes you’ve drilled on each elbow. DO NOT FORCE OR MAKE SHARP BENDS. After the approximate bends have been made, take the coupler off the vertical tubing and slide each rod end into the elbow holes. Then replace the coupler on the vertical tubing. Refer to the finished picture at the TOP of the webpage for reference.  Where the vertical tubing on the base section fits into the “Tee”, drill a hole in the vertical tubing so you can now snake the bare end of the RG-8X into it and up, out the top, passing the radial cross. Bare wire carefully leaving about 2 inches of braid dressed out and away from the center conductor. Solder the braid, carefully, to the radial cross (rods) in the coupler. Strip 1/16 of an inch off the coax’s center conductor’sinsulation and crimp and then solder the wire on the FEMALE bullet connector. Do NOT remove the insulation on the bullet connector. Drill a hole at the top of the pvc “plug” adequate enough to ensure a snug fit of the bullet connector and push it in from the bottom it so it surfaces above the plug (see photo). Use epoxy to secure this connector to the pvc plug from the inside. Then carefully push the pvc plug into the top of the cross-radial coupler.  Make sure the center conductor does not short to the radial/braid assembly. Remember: Center of coax to bullet, Braid of coax to rods.
   Tape the coax cable at the bottom, as it comes out of the vertical section, to the base pvcsquare so the cable can’t be pulled from the connections you’ve just made to the radials and the top plug.

radials BEFORE bending

pvc plug with “bullet female”installed and wired to thecenter wire of the coax

Using the picture to the LEFT as a guide, take the remaining brass rod and cut it to a length of 19 3/4 inches. On one end, install the male crimp connector by removing the  connector’s insulation, spread open the crimp
area and insert the rod. Re-wrap the crimp area tightly around the rod and solder itcompletely around as shown in the picture. It should make a solid fit from rod toconnector.  Plug the rod into the vertical mast/pvc and using an antenna analyzer, with the antenna sitting on a table away from other metal objects, tune the vertical rod by snipping off from the tip by increments of 1/16 an inch until the antenna reads under 1.5:1 in the two meter band. When you are happy with the results you can glue the pvc base together and add a drop of epoxy to the vertical rod top. That’s all there is to it! When you wish to put it away, just remove the vertical rod for an easier store. If you only own an HT, you may wish to even use this antenna outdoors while doing a public service event by placing it on the roof of a non-moving car for greater range than your HT whip. Use it anywhere your imagination takes you.  Good Luck! PS: By using the left-over brass rod to make a plug-in vertical section about 6 1/2 inches long, you will have a 70 cm ground-plane whenever you need it!
 DESIGN BY BOB HEJL-W2IK all rights reserved.
plug the vertical rod in the top. note radials are bent and inserted in elbows

 

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Apr 6

Our regular volunteers already know to get their radios and batteries ready for operations when the month of April hits.  Actually many of the Ham Volunteers with Hill Country REACT never stopped being ready for events.   They worked events in January and March already, out in the Bandera, Texas, area at the Hill Country State Natural Park.  One event was the Bandera 100k Cross Country running event (24 hours) in January, followed by the Big Bend 50k out west. On March 5-6th was a horse ride endurance event (2 day) back in the Hill Country State Natural Area (state park).  There may have been other events in between that I missed.  Look for event posts by the REACT Team president, Louis Upton N5STX, elsewhere in this blog.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.  We have lots of volunteer events happening between now and Field Day weekend.  This is just a short list of known events being held involving San Antonio and the surrounding area hams.  If someone wants to build up a list of contest, I’ll be happy to work with you on posting those dates as well.

April 15-17th – BPMS150 National MS Bicycle Ride (2 days).  At present time, 5 teams of SAG vans will depart on Friday, April 15th from San Antonio, to arrive that night in Katy, TX, outside of Houston, to start off the biggest bicycle tour in Texas the next morning.  The San Antonio contingent will be joined by other SAG Teams from Austin and these two groups will be swallowed up by all of the others coming from the  Houston area.  At last count, I think there were around 45 SAG Vans, 12 SAG Box Truck / Bus combos (Rental Moving Van with a School bus tagging along).  More info will be posted after the event.  Volunteer list is closed for this event due to the logistics, but rooms are provided for both overnights, plus the fuel doesn’t require out of pocket expense either. Hams use both 2 meter and 440 frequencies, plus APRS, to communicate.  Non-hams use provided MURS radios. Mobile radios with dual band preferred for usage.

April 21st – Battle of the Bands Festival – Hams are used to coordinate the bands and VIP arrivals.  See posting here.

April 24th – Fiesta Wildflower 100 Bicycle Tour – Hams are used to coordinate the rest stops along the route. Motorcycle Safety Marshals, some are hams, will be  used to spot problems or rider issues along the route.  See posting here.

May 7th – Area 20 Special Olympics Spring Games – This really isn’t a big ham radio event, since we mostly coordinate the commercial hand held radios at the event, but occasionally we’ve had W2IK out here with a special events station as well.  This is a one day event, running from around 7am thru 4pm, held at a local San Antonio area sports stadium.   Contact Lee Besing N5NTG at info@Sanantoniohams.org or via phone 210-771-7075 (voice/text).

May 7th – Bulverde’s 17th annual Run For The Hills race – Hams from Hill Country REACT with the help of other area hams, provide coordination for this 10k event which is held north of San Antonio, off Hwy 281 and FM1863, in Bulverde Texas. In addition to spotter positions along the route, volunteers also help coordinate the parking lot area to avoid confusion in the wee hours before sunrise.  This event is a Saturday morning event, over by noon.  Contact Charlie Land KC5NKK at 512-796-7565 (voice/text) or kc5nkk@hillcountryreact.org.

May 14th – San Antonio American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure ride.  – Ham are used to coordinate the rest stops along the route. Motorcycle Safety Marshals, some are hams, will be  used to spot problems or rider issues along the route.  See posting here.

May 29th – American Hero 25k Relay Run – Hams are used to monitor the turn around points on the looped race course that never leaves the  property for the University. Hours are 7am-1pm with free t-shirts provided for the volunteers. Contact Lee Besing N5NTG at info@Sanantoniohams.org or via phone 210-771-7075 (voice/text).

June 11-13th – Texas Water Safari.  Hams are used to provide communications from the start line on Saturday until the finish line on Wednesday, but most positions near the front are done much quicker.  Last year over 100 canoe teams  competed for this 100 hour, 262 mile river race (yes, it’s a timed race) from San Marcos, down thru Victoria and on to Sea Drift, on the Texas Gulf Coast.  This event is run 24 hours a day until the last canoe team has been accounted for, but each check point along the river has different operation hours.   Both voice and digital communication modes are used to pass the in/out team information to the next check point down the river.  Ham operators play a critical port in the safety of this event.   Volunteers are coordinated on the front end check points  of the race course by Erik Olson WB5ZJQ, while other check points are coordinated by Harvey Babb WB5MCT.  Contact Erik at 210-213-4098 (voice/text during non-business hours please) or WB5ZJQ@SARepeater.net  Contact Harvey at 361-676-0356 or Harvey.babb@gmail.com.

 

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Apr 6

The 78th Battle of Flowers® Band Festival, will be held on April 21, 2016, and is entitled “Texas Traditions…125 Years!”

The location venue has moved back to the original Alamo Stadium (located at Trinity University, Hwy 281 and Hildebrand) now that the stadium has been remodeled.

Students from more than 30 high school bands from San Antonio and surrounding areas will join forces to present an entertaining musical evening that is undoubtedly one of Fiesta’s most popular events. Some of the highlights will include Herald Trumpets saluting Fiesta royalty, parades of high stepping bands with colorful flags and twirlers, and specially chosen feature bands performing their award-winning UIL shows for the crowd. At the end of the evening, all 4,800 musicians will perform together on the field in a spectacular crowd-pleasing finale set to fireworks!

The SARO Ham Club has coordinated communications for this event for longer than most hams can remember.  While members of the club are given preference for assignments, non-member hams are invited to volunteer as well.   This is an evening / night time event during the week on a Thursday night.   Volunteers need to be in place as early as 4:30pm and the event will last about 5 hours.   Hand Held radios with earphones / plugs will be needed for most assignments due to the noise.  Some assignments may require lots of walking or standing.  The hams coordinate the starting line of the bands entering the competition area, calling in the school names to the announcer ham shadow, plus coordinating the arrival of any Fiesta Royalty VIPs with the announcers as well.

Please contact SARO President MaryAnn Horn N5MYN via email N5MYN@SARepeater.Net or via phone (during non-work hours only please) at 210-380-6560 (voice/text).

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