Feb 25

The Bexar Operators Group will be “Flying Pink” with a 9 foot pink weather balloon with an attached pink (ok, reddish pink) 260 foot vertical wire antenna during the 160 meter contest this weekend to show our support for breast cancer awareness.

We had a choice of balloons to purchase and chose the pink colored ones (boy, do they look small un inflated) and even chose the pink topped helium tank when offered a choice of others.

Pictures of our contest operation at Choke Canyon State Park’s “Calliham Unit” will be posted next week.

If you can hear us on 160 meters (probably around 1.85 – 1.9 mhz after sunset until dawn), please either post us on “DX Summit” or other internet resources or make a QSO with us!

A large, stamped -self addressed envelope, sent to the QRZ address of W5BOG will net stations contacting us a special QSL certificate showing our support for breast cancer awareness.

Bob W2IK – W5BOG

Feb 21
There may be some of you who’ve never operated on 160 meters. The upcoming CQ WW 160 Meter SSB contest (Feb. 26 – 28th) is a great chance to get your feet wet. Usually operating on 160 meters requires a great deal of real estate to run an antenna. Sure, you can use a smaller antenna with a tuner but you sacrifice signal efficiency for the sake of keeping your rig happy by “load matching”.
Will you make contacts? Yes!
Will you make a ton of contacts? No!
The only good way is to use a full size antenna. It’s simple physics. I don’t care what mis-information you might have read or been told or what “miracle” antenna companies might claim.
The length of a 160 meter dipole is about 260 feet long! That’s a lengthy antenna. You could make a full size loop antenna, like I have at home, which works nice. You could also make a 1/4 wave vertical with 1/4 wave radials at the base. The problem with using a vertical is that it also tends to pickup man-made electrical noise. So, why not take that vertical out of the urban area and into the rural areas of Texas?
Dec 24

This is the model of the balloon we will be flying

On February 26th (2200Z) until February 28th (2200Z) The Bexar Operators Group, W5BOG, will be operating from the Choke Canyon State Park, located in Calliham just west of Three Rivers, Texas, in the sheltered (cabin) area.

We will be testing a balloon launched vertical antenna about 126 feet high. It will be stabilized by four guy-cords. A special based-loaded antenna balun (4:1) has been obtained for easier antenna matching. The ground radial system will have at least 4 full sized wires with possibly more.

We will also make a determination, based upon weather conditions and the number of people assisting, to use this vertical just for transmit and use a “beverage antenna” for receive and/or increase the vertical antenna height to 252 feet so we can better compete during this “top band” event.

Two, 9 foot meteorological balloons have been purchased for this experiment, just in case we screw up with the first “flight”.    Helium tanks will be purchased close to the flight-date.    Pictures of the step-by-step antenna setup and station operation will be taken for article submission in either “QST” or “CQ” magazine.  

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.

See: http://www.hdxa.net/  

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: http://sanantoniohams.org/blog/?p=821

  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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Oct 22

From the CQ/WorldRadio Online Newsroom…

Four well-known contesters en route to operate the CQ World Wide DX Contest this weekend from Bermuda were killed yesterday (Wednesday) when their plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Summerville Airport, South Carolina, on their way to Crooked Island, Bahamas.  The four, all regular operators of the C6APR contest station, were identified as Peter Radding, W2GJ/C6APR, the pilot; and passengers Ed Steeble, K3IXD/C6AXD; Randy Hargenrader, K4QO/C6AQO, and Dallas Carter,  W3PP.

According to the local Summerville Journal Scene newspaper, the plane crashed 250 yards east of the runway at Summerville Airport in Jedburg, South Carolina. The cause of the crash has not yet been determined, but Radding was a very experienced pilot. County Coroner Chris Nesbit told the newspaper that it appears the four were killed by the severity of the crash itself rather than the fire that followed. Autopsies are scheduled for today.

CQ WW Contest Director Bob Cox, K3EST, called the crash, “a real tragedy,” adding that “devoted hams and contesters were lost.” The C6APR team was featured in the cover story of April’s WorldRadio Online, and Steeble wrote an article in the April, 2007 issue of CQ about his experiences as QSL manager for C6APR and for a special Islands on the Air expedition, W2GJ/C6A, in 2006. As of this morning, comments from hams around the world had been posted on the Journal Scene’s website.

From press:

Oct 15

From ARRL listing of Special Events Station Operations:   

Oct 24, 1400Z-1900Z, Helena/Karnes County, TX. Radio Operators of South Texas, W5ROS. Historical Society’s Indian Summer Heritage Festivel. 14.265. Certificate. Andy Meyer, KD5TNI, PO Box 175, Hobson, TX 78117.
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: http://www.txqp.net/  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 http://sanantoniohams.org/blog/?p=821 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

Jul 23

For all amateur operators: 

The maiden voyage of the Iowa QSO Party will occur on Saturday, October 17th running nine hours from 1400Z (9AM CDT) to 2300Z (6PM CDT). Prizes and certificates will be awarded to top scorers for instate mobile, instate fixed, and out of state fixed stations. Logs and summary sheets must be received on or before November 17th,2009.  Rules are available on the web page: http://www.wa0dx.org/iaqsoparty.html

Sponsoring the event will be the Ottumwa Amateur Radio Club. Working their club call, WA0DX, will earn a 100 point bonus. Special multipliers will be earned for working the three present or past Section Managers who live in the state (SM1, SM2, and SM3). Questions go to N0SM at ARRL.NET.

Note: While the website is live now, there may be some minor changes yet.  We should have things settled by August 15th.  

Joe Hoepfner, KE0J
ARRL Iowa Section ACC

Jul 19

VHF 1 2009Planning is good, but sometimes even the best planning needs some “tweaking” in the real world.

Being flexible in field contesting, just as in emergency communications deployment, is the best way to get things done.  All ham radio operators need the experience of going out in to the field to do this sort of thing. It makes them better operators.

I tend to over pack my truck when it comes to doing ham radio events, and for good reason: You never know what obstacles you might encounter and how to overcome them. However, this time I had a minimal amount of gear and supplies. This was the height of my “daring”. Never again!

Lesson number one learned: Pack for the worst, pray for the best and be happy with the in between. New hams need to remember this

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