Dec 24

Checking my mail box yesterday, I was quite surprised to find an envelope from the “Heartland DX Association”.

This club runs the Nebraska QSO Party, which is held in late April each year.


I had competed in this contest in 2007 and was given a certificate for top score from Texas. In 2008, I again competed but never received a reply nor were any results posted. Since I never knew what really happened, I didn’t compete in the 2009 event.

You can imagine my shock when I just received a certificate for “Tops From Texas” for the 2008 contest!   In 2010 I will compete in other state QSO events and hopefully will get rewarded with more certificates, but in a more timely manner.     You should try a few of these contests as well as they are alot of fun!

Also see:

  73 Bob W2IK

Dec 20

San Antonio ham, W2IK, wins top honors, and this plaque, for his 2009 efforts.

Fellow Hams —

Happy Holidays!  I’m emailing you, as participants of last year’s NMQP, to announce the 2010 New Mexico QSO Party.  You are invited to participate in 2010’s event, which will be sponsored by the Valencia County Amateur Radio Association, and take place Sunday, February 7 from 8:00am MST until 8:00pm MST.

Last year marked the return of the New Mexico QSO Party after a brief hiatus.  Improved promotion, rules, and awards for the winners of various operating categories resulted in 127 participants…plus probably many more who didn’t submit their logs.  Specifically, 44 participated within New Mexico (including 7 mobile stations who activated a combined 24 of New Mexico’s 33 counties), and 73 participated from elsewhere in the United States.  Ten DX stations — from Canada, Lithuania, Azores, Czech Republic, Germany, and Romania — also participated and submitted logs.

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Nov 9
450_Ladderline_coilAs explained in the November issue of “QST” (page 66) the ARRL examined the use of ladder-line and did some rudimentary testing of this cable in dry vs wet conditions.
They had test gear to measure the SWR and other concerns. At the end of the testing they reported that beyond a simple re-adjustment of the tuner they used not much in the form of variations occurred.
Unfortunately, their tests were not complete.
This weekend, the Bexar Operators Group will do some “real life” testing of ladder-line and the implications of getting the dry line saturated to prove that the ARRL’s final assumptions are “all wet”! Having done some experimentation 20 years ago using ladder-line as a feed cable, W2IK came up with some very different findings.
Sep 19

Texas QSO PartyJust a reminder….

The Texas QSO Party occurs on the last full weekend in September. The 2009 dates are the 26th and 27th of September. Operating times are from 1400Z on SATURDAY to 0200Z on SUNDAY and from 1400Z to 2000Z on SUNDAY. Operation on all bands except on 60 meters, 30 meters, 17 meters, and 12 meters is permitted. Stations may work the entire contest period. Be sure to submit your scores by October 31.

This is a great chance to work your fellow Texans and it’s fun, too!  Just read the rules at:  and try to work as many stations in Texas as you can. BUT WAIT! You are in Texas, too, so try to work as many states and countries as you can. Just call: “CQ Texas QSO Party”.  Each new state or country counts as a multiplier. No matter haow many or how few stations you work, turn in your score as per instructions on the home page.

Also, read so you’ll be aware of how a “little gun” can do well in a state QSO party. You might even want to operate with some fellow ham club members as a multi-op.  Above all…. HAVE FUN!

Bob  W2IK

Sep 17


In the spirit of, as Lee, N5NTG, put it: “….it struck me how much the “turf boundaries” between clubs has shrunk, …… I think that “shrinking” is a good thing to be happening” 

In the spirit of cooperation, the Bexar Operators Group has offered to underwrite and offer their “2010 Jump Team Boot Camp” to members of the Chaparral Amateur Radio Club (which happens to also be the Guadalupe County ARES group).

This would be the third “Jump Team Boot Camp” given by the Bexar Operators Group. It would be a two-day (not three day) deployment event at a site with no facilities north-east of Austin. This “Jump Team Boot Camp” will concentrate on amateur radio and the ways and means to get a communications jump team operational should there be a need to deploy some distance from your home and communicate in the aftermath of a disaster. This session is planned for the weekend of  March 20-21st, but we are open to other weekend dates within this Spring time frame.
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Sep 15
After consulting with some of the more active ham radio operators in Central South Texas, it has been decided to hold a South Texas NVIS antenna test on Sunday, October 11th.
In order for this to be an accurate test, we ask that you use an NVIS antenna, that is, an actual half wave full length dipole for 40 meters (no traps or coils) elevated to a height of between 4 feet and 16 feet ONLY.
Sep 14

Members of the Chaparral Amateur Radio Club (which happens to also be the Guadalupe County ARES group) set up and tested NVIS antennas at the county EOC in Seguin on Sunday, September 13th.   Their goal was to design an antenn that could be raised or lowered from the ground, in order to find that sweet spot where the noise floor was the lowest.  

We’re hoping to get an after action report to be added here in a few days, so please check back for more details about the results of this test.

The following photos were taken during the event by the well known local NVIS antenna consultant and guru, Bob W2IK, who was obviously present but not shown in the photos since he was on the other side of the camera. 

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Sep 12


Details on the new “W5BOG ECOM TEAM” and what emergency events it plans to support, either short or long term, and contact persons will be posted for possible activation of this team.

We operate as a small part of a greater TEAM.  We are NOT “waiters”.  We DO NOT SERVE anyone. 

We WORK WITH other agencies in the “team spirit” concept to support them by supplying emergency communications. We also work alongside other emcomm groups to help fill any gaps.  All team members have actual “hands on” emergency communications experience. No room for b.s. in our group. We get the job done because we know what we are doing.

Our ecom van (see above) comes fully loaded with both HF and VHF/UHF stations and can operate as a self-contained, stand alone emergency communications post anywhere we might be needed.

We also work with NAVY-MARINE CORPS MARS (Military Affiliate Radio System) system and support their needs in emergency communications.

Any person with a sincere interest in helping their community may join. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A LICENSED AMATEUR RADIO OPERATOR to be a part of our team and help. On the job training!

Contact: if you wish to join.

We do not exclude anyone who is a member of any other emcomm group.  Keep tabs on our progress at:

Sep 5

Conducted : AUGUST 29, 2009
Written by: Bob Hejl – W2IK – W5BOG – NNN0KSI – NNN0GBY2 NMC MARS STX ECOM 
Report Released: September 4, 2009

The joint exercise as conducted by Navy-Marine Corps MARS, REACT and Bexar Operators Group on August 29, 2009 also encompassed other groups who wished to test inter-service communications during the scenario of a hurricane hitting the Texas gulf coast just north of Corpus Christi.

These other groups included / covered:

  • Guadalupe County OEM
  • Hays County Sheriff’s Office
  • Caldwell County EOC
  • San Marcos Police Department
  • Nueces County EOC
  • National Weather Service – Corpus Christi
  • National Weather Service – New Braunfels
  • Central Texas Medical Center
  • Chaparral Amateur Radio Club
  • Hays/Caldwell Hams Amateur Radio Club
  • Hays/Caldwell ARES Guadalupe VOAD
  • Lockhart Police Department
  • Driscoll Children’s Hospital – Corpus Christi
  • One Army MARS Station
  • Guadalupe Valley Amateur Radio Club (provided the VHF repeater)

If we left out any additional groups who participated, please contact us with the proper details. – Bob

We were testing out the MOU’s between REACT and NMC MARS as well as intercommunication skills. The exercise began at 11 AM local time with three phases: Pre-Land Fall (testing evacuation communications) , Land Fall (testing up to date weather conditions and storm damage) and Post Land Fall (evacuees returning to their homes, damage assessment, etc) In the spirit of cohesiveness, the operation was a success.

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Aug 29

On Saturday, August 29th, there were a few of us who got up when the chickens did, to get our radios and portable antennas ready for a South Texas Hurricane Drill.    Some operators chose locations that were pre-set up and air conditioned, others like me chose to “rough it” in the great outdoors without any AC.   Fortunately for us, the weather cooperated and it didn’t storm on us, nor did it get as hot as recent days.   My van’s thermometer (sitting out there in the sun on black asphalt) got up to 102, but it wasn’t that hot inside our very shaded shelter area.  We should have brought a box fan with us, but we didn’t think about that until we were already there and set up.

Hill Country REACT Team was tasked with staffing the state rest area located on west bound IH-10 at the 619 mile marker.  To convert that description into plain English, this was the last major rest stop on IH-10 for folks coming west from Houston or the coast, prior to Seguin or even San Antonio, TX.  This rest stop has been used in previous (actual) evacuations to monitor traffic flow on the interstate, so that emergency officials (primarly in San Antonio) could be given advance notice of mass arrivals.    We only truly needed to run 2 meters VHF capability here, but we experimented with a couple of HF antennas as well.

Today, three members (Lee N5NTG, Gary K5GST, Ray KE5KHN) of our REACT Team set up as part of a much larger drill, a drill that saw at least 2 ARES groups, our REACT Team, the Bexar Operators Group, South TX Navy-Marine Corps MARS, an Army MARS station, 2 National Weather Service Offices, multiple county EOC’s both near SA and down by the coast, etc.

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