Oct 8

Location: Hill Country State Natural Area – Bandera, TexasBandera_2014_buckle

When:    7th and 8th of January 2017


It is that time of year, to start marking your calendars and making preparations for the 15th Annual Bandera 100k Ultra-Marathon held at Hill Country State Natural Area in Bandera County.

Tejas Trails Communication Group – Coordinated by Hill Country REACT with support of Highland Lakes Amateur Radio Club, Chaparral Amateur Radio Club, and other dedicated Amateur Radio Operators from San Antonio, Austin, Houston, Kerrville and other locations throughout the state, have supported and provided communications for this event the past 15 years. The team is responsible for communications, health and welfare, tracking, and occasionally Search and Rescue. We also manage the parking at o’dark-thirty to get the 1000 plus individuals parked and to the start-finish line on time.

This event typically requires 18 – 25 Amateur Radio Operators in a situation that is similar to what an Emergency Communications Operator would experience in a disaster zone. Remote operations little to no permanent infrastructure. Bring it, work it, test it, and enjoy it!  Horseback Hams are also needed and greatly appreciated by the participants.

If you know of a youth organization that needs public service hours, this is a great opportunity to get them in.  We have numerous positions from assisting the communications team to helping serve the runners at the aid stations.
UHF, VHF Voice and Packet communications are involved in this event.  We have been wanting to deploy a Broadbrand-HamNet but research and development has stalled. Anyone with experience in this area is encouraged to help us out.

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Oct 6

Pondering Thoughts

Revisiting a old published article!  Just because it is still relevant!

A recent conversation/situation made me think about some things. In my day job as a Diesel Truck/Heavy Equipment Technician, I drive a Dodge 3/4 ton truck with a service/tool bed on it. There are 3 compartments on each side with various shelving and such.

My tools are compartmentalized for the most part, with the tools I use the most in the center drivers side, mostly for lighter duty work of various complexities.  The front box on the drivers side are my heavier duty sockets, rackets, and wrenches. Also my various sprays and cleaners.  The rear drivers side box are pry bars, breaker bars, hammers, and large crescent and pipe wrenches.  In the boxes on the other side are separated by air tools, electrical and diagnostic tools, oils, air hoses, and of course one that is packed with various items left over and pack ratted for odd reasons that come in really handy sometimes.

Anyway, one evening on the way home, had to make a pit stop at Home Depot, so I locked the compartments in case someone decided they needed my tools worse than I did.

The next morning, the boss called kind of early. We had a regular customers truck broke down on I-10 and I had to get there quick to replace some air lines. Out the door I dash, without conducting my usual key, phone & wallet check before leaving the driveway.

KeyringsI get to the location of the broken down truck and checked out the situation. I knew the needed parts were already enroute, as the driver had done a good job of describing the issue. Went to get the correct wrenches for the job and ….  crud, the doors are locked on the boxes and the keys …. well, they were on the nightstand at home.

It was too far back to the house to get the keys, the parts driver is already enroute and a couple of miles away, and I do not have the correct tools. Out comes the Leatherman, as I know the front compartment lock can easily be jimmied. Remember, this is the compartment with the heavy duty stuff.

Just so happens for some reason a 7/8″ wrench was in there and a pair of channel locks. Guess they were tossed in there from a rush to get packed up and head home one day. And my Leatherman of course.

After a little longer than it should have taken, the job was done, the truck was on the road, and I was cutting back roads to the house to get the missing keys, as my next job site was not far from home.

A truck was loaded with several thousands of dollars in tools, and the right ones were not within reach, but the job got done.

In our lives as Emergency and Public Service communicators we find ourselves sometimes without the right tools for the job, but we have others that will work with a little bit of thought.

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Sep 20

The 2016 BikeMS ride starting from San Antonio on October 1st is less than a month away from us now.

We still need hams on Saturday to fill a few rest stop positions. Help!

Hams are used on this ride for lots of positions.  Hams are the glue that holds the event together on the day of event, actually 2 days of the event.   If you have APRS capabilities, please plan on using APRS.   Frequencies will be all on 2 meter repeaters, other than perhaps medical.  SAGs may be using dual band, with the Scooter Net simplex frequency on 440mhz. (Same frequency as prior years, same as used for the BPMS150 ride.)

Hams are  used for driving rental SAG Vans and trucks on both days, picking up riders from the side of the road and taking them to the rest stops.  SAGs also take riders from rest stops up the line, sometimes to the finish line, if the rider had unrepairable breakdown of their bicycle, or they were just too tired to finish on their own.  Although we don’t emphasize it much, we have had some serious accidents or injuries in the past where the ham equipped SAGs and Motorcycle Safety Marshals have saved the day.  It’s a serious business, but we try to have fun while doing it.  SAG assignments are for a 2 day commitment due to the nature of the rental vehicles.

Hams are needed for Shadow Positions, riding with medical units, police cars, event officials (think Tour Directors, etc.) and for Rest Stop communications.  While we prefer 2 day commitments for these positions, we understand that some folks are only available for 1 day at a time.

At present time,  Charlie says we mostly need rest stop hams for Saturday, but I think some shadow positions are still available. Enough SAG drivers have been lined up, but backups are always appreciated in the event someone has to drop out suddenly.

The lead volunteer contact is Charlie Land KC5NKK who can be contacted via email at kc5nkk@hillcountryreact.org.

Sep 13

American Legion Amateur Radio Club Event

American Legion Legionnaires will honor their fellow veterans in a special on-the-air amateur radio tribute on Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 11, 2016.

Members of The American Legion Amateur Radio Club (TALARC) will operate on the short wave bands starting at 9 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. EST [1400 – 2130Z], using the call sign K9TAL.

Any ham radio operators who contact the station are eligible to receive an attractive full-color commemorative certificate.

After working K9TAL, send a 9X12 inch self-addressed stamped envelope to The American Legion Amateur Radio Club, 700 N. Pennsylvania Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204.

Sep 13

Do you want to be an Amateur Radio Operator? Would you like to be of more service to your community? The Atascosa County Amateur Radio Club (ACARC) will teach a Technician Class course for members of the communities in the Pleasanton and surrounding areas.

WHEN:  September 17th and 24th (Saturdays 9:00am to 5:00pm) with the license exam given at 3:00 on the 24th.  Candidates should attend both sessions.

WHERE:  Leming School in Leming, Bld A on 5th St. (Fire Marshall Dept.)

COST: The FCC license is free and good for 10 years.  The cost of the amateur radio exam is $14.00.

The exam consists of 35 multiple choice questions and is graded immediately.  A passing score is 74 (26 correct).

The instructor recommends reading through the Gordon West Technician Class 2014-2018 Study Guide before the course starts.  Texts for the course should be obtained as early as possible.

It can be purchased on-line for $28.95+tax at http://www.w5yi.org/catalog.php?sort=4 or from ACARC for $25.00.

A Baofeng handheld radio will be raffled off after the exam. To be eligible, attend the course and pass the Technician exam.  You may go home with a radio you can begin listening to right away and talking on as soon as the FCC assigns your call sign.

The 426 question pool from which the exam is taken and the 3 graphics can be downloaded from http://ncvec.org/page.php?id=362.  The club also has a file which contains only the correct answers.  The latter can be emailed upon request.  Both of these are FREE.

Here are some sites where practice tests can be taken.  Some may ask you to “sign in”.  This is so they can track your exam questions and not give you the same ones over and over.  When you are consistently making 85% or better, you are ready to take the exam for real. http://aa9pw.com/                                                       http://qrz.com/hamtest     http://arrlexamreview.appspot.com/                http://www.eham.net/exams/

To sign up for the course, buy a book, get the correct answer file or if you have any questions, email Evelyn or leave a message on the Club’s Facebook page: dek7eve@gmail.com              https://www.facebook.com/AtascosaHamRadioClub/

Aug 30

CTX_TDC_2016_2-Day_RouteEverybody is likely familiar with the American Diabetes Tour de Cure bicycle rides.  San Antonio held theirs last May and Austin will holding their 2-day event in September.   There are also rides held in Corpus Christi (April) and a new one being held in Laredo later this year that could use some ham help in the future.

If you have an Emergency Go-Kit, this is the perfect opportunity to dust it off and test it.  If you have a mast and portable beam antenna available, this would be a great time to use it.  Mobile radios will be required on high power.  A few locations might, maybe, be close enough to the repeaters to hit, or at least monitor using your HT, but don’t count on it.

The 2-day Austin Central Texas Tour de Cure ride this year, will start in Dripping Springs, loop out west around Blanco, TX, and then head south on Saturday over to Gruene, TX, just north of New Braunfels.  On Sunday, that 2-day ride will leave Gruene and wander north thru Wimberley, on it’s way back to Dripping Springs of course.

This ride is a bit different from those we have supported with ham radio communications in the past.   Their SAG vehicles are provided by the Austin based ABC Commercial Services company (formerly ABC Pest Control with that Ant Eater logo).   Rest stop supplies are coordinated by Austin Energy vehicles, with a few Penske trucks thrown in for good measure.   So that leaves mostly Rest Stops that need ham radio communications, plus a few trouble shooter hams that will be roaming the route in support of the MSET-TX motorcycle EMS group.

We’ve got some hams from the Hays / Caldwell ARC  on board, thanks to Mike Wilmore KF5ACHJeff Schmidt N5MNW is the overall ham coordinator, operating from the Austin / Dripping Springs main hub.  Lee Besing N5NTG is coordinating from the south end of the route.  Primary net control will be in Dripping Springs, with a backup net control in Gruene at the Saturday finish line.  Frequencies are being tested and will likely be using IRLP linked repeaters on 2 meters, but that may change depending upon the testing.

If you can help out either or both days, please contact Jeff Schmidt at n5mnw@arrl.net and Lee Besing at info@SanAntonioHams.org.  If you are a member of Hayes Caldwell ham club, please contact Mike Wilmore at mikewilmore@me.com.


Aug 30

(Karnes County) The Otto Kaiser Memorial Hospital in Kenedy, Texas, has contacted us asking for help in joining the 21st century of ham radio communications.   🙂   I put them in touch with the ARES leaders for that district (Karnes County) and some others.  Ongoing discussion is starting up to cover a NDMS drill on the morning of September 20th.   The problem is that there are only about 10 hams licensed in that immediate area, with 2 of them (husband / wife) being registered hams and over the road truck drivers.

The hospital has a Kenwood dual band TM-D700 mobile radio that they are in the process of moving to a new location within the hospital.  They also want to establish HF Packet / Winlink capabilities.  Help with designing the antenna system and equipment will likely be needed.  I’m presuming the hospital is willing to budget for the equipment, but you know that presuming can be dangerous at times.

The latest word that I received (yesterday) was that the hospital would like someone to teach a class for some of their hospital employees and area volunteers to create a new batch of hams.    Of course, using HF would require a ham license of at least General class.

If you would like to help, please email me at info@sanantoniohams.org with the words “Karnes County” in the subject line.  I’ll forward your information to John Taylor KE5HAM (STXARES District 10 DEC)  in Victoria.

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.

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!



Jun 29


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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