May 24

The Skywarn Operators at the Austin-San Antonio NWO are in the process of updating our files and call-up list. Recently we have found the EC’s, Skywarn Coordinators and Net Controls have changed drastically in the various counties we serve.
It has also been found that several repeaters used in the past to contact and monitor Skywarn operations have changed or are no longer functioning.
If someone from each county could please e-mail me the contact information, frequencies and other pertinent information for ARES and Skywarn it would be greatly appreciated.
Also be advised that we have created a Facebook page and Twitter account to help get the word out. Feel free to like or follow to stay up to date with our operations.
Thank You, Louis – K5STX
e-mail to wx5exw at gmail dot com

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May 15

via the ARRL

The US Department of Defense (DoD) is phasing out the US Navy-Marine Corps Military Auxiliary Radio System(MARS) program. Its operational mission will transition to the other MARS service branches by the end of September. The head of the US Navy-Marine Corps MARS program in Williamsburg, Virginia, made the announcement. The Navy-Marine Corps MARS program also supports the US Coast Guard as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the US Department of Homeland Security, and local emergency management agencies. A US Department of Defense-sponsored program, MARS branches are separately managed by their respective military service branches. MARS volunteers are Amateur Radio operators who provide auxiliary or emergency communications to local, national, and international emergency and safety organizations, as an adjunct to normal communications. 

“Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Atlantic (NCTAMS LANT) intends to work with US Army MARS and US Air Force MARS in transitioning the Navy-Marine Corps MARS (NAVMARCORMARS) program by 30 Sep 2015,” the announcement said. “The intent of the transition is to best align the program to support national mission requirements.” Chris Jensen of NCTAMS LANT told ARRL that the Navy no longer has any service specific requirements for Navy-Marine Corps MARS and is working within DoD to transition the program into Army and Air Force MARS. “We will continue to publish updates as this transition progresses,” he said.

The announcement encouraged current Navy-Marine Corps MARS members and clubs to submit applications to the US Army MARS or US Air Force MARS programs as soon as possible.

W2IK

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May 12

The Bexar Operators Group, with W2IK at the helm, will be operating this year’s 2015 ARRL Field Day at the Choke Canyon State Park’s Caliham Unit near the town of Three Rivers about 70 miles south of San Antonio. We will be operating at the “Screened Shelter” area (These are full cabins WITH air conditioning)

If you are interested in joining us, drop an email at W2IK@ARRL.NET for more information and to reserve your spot.

All food and drink will be supplied. The “class” of operation will be determined later.

We will be experimenting with different antennas ranging from NVIS to “Inverted V”and Wire Beam styles apexed up to 50 feet.

Although all of our antennas do not require tuners when used on their proper frequencies, we will have several types of tuners available so we can compare how antennas compare when attempting to match non-resonant elements on frequencies other than the antennas’ intended use.

We will be using solar powered (400 watts) energy for equipment operation and 12 volt DC lighting systems will be displayed so attendees can see how a DC lighting system works during any emergency communications work and which are the best types to have on hand. There is a big difference between 12 volt incandescent, LED and florescent systems.

Space is limited to 8 persons, so please check with us for availability. New hams are encouraged to make the trip as there will be a wealth of information available.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug 31

“National Guard Helicopters drop supplies to support towns completely cut off due to Hurricane Irene” “No power, phone or roads to towns hard hit by Hurricane Irene”

I’m sure you’ve seen the videos of cars being swept down swollen rivers in Vermont. Who would have ever thought that a coastal hurricane would dump so much water over land-locked Vermont to cause such devastation! This reminds me of the time back in the late 1990’s when I was dropped along with supplies in to a town in upstate New York to supply emergency communications during the North East Ice Storm. It’s just another reminder that emergency communications teams must be prepared for any event. This is also a glaring reminder that we need well-trained “Jump Teams” in every area to assist with emergency communications support. EVERY local emergency communications group needs to have a Jump Team on hand to help cope with this type of disaster. Just as it happened in Vermont, it could happen in Texas. Towns being cut off. No power. No communications.

 If you don’t know how to start a Jump Team, or what your team would need, just go to this website for information and support: http://www.texasmars.com/

 Bob W2IK

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Nov 23

Due to lack of response, W2IK and the Bexar Operators Group (W5BOG) have decided to cancel the 2011 Jump Team Boot Camp  for emergency communicators. It takes a great deal of lead time and planning to run this program, reserve the wildlife refuge area, line up the two Army survival specialists, check out several tons of jump team gear, etc. With no inquiries, usually by now the reservation list would be almost full, we can only assume no one feels this training is needed so we will also retire from offering it in the future.

Bob  W2IK

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Aug 7
 
Be a part of this first of it’s kind competition!  Rick Palm of the ARRL ARES E-Letter says of this event: “this is a cool idea!” and is including info about it in the August ARES E-Letter. He will be sent the results for possible ARRL publication. Your last chance to sign up. Get a team together.
 
When: September 5, 2010
  
Where: South Texas park. Park location to be announced before the competition to pre-registered teams.  This is not a spectator sport event.
 
Teams: Teams, made up of 4 people each, will compete to see which team can set up an operational communications (Jump Team) site and make 5 HF contacts in the least amount of time and in the proper manner.
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Feb 18

HAITI: ECOM Operatoins appear to be slowing down somewhat.  The hospital ship USNS COMFORT is no longer accepting trauma patients, at the request of the Haitian government, and is preparing to return to the U.S.

The University of Miami Mediashare Operation has beem moved from the International Airport to another area, so that the airport could open for regular commercial traffic.

Our MARS volunteers continue to provide support to the effort and will, for a while yet.   Keep them in your thoughts, as they are in a less secure area now that they have moved off the International Airport.

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Jan 7

W2IK now has a new EMCOMM only web site:  WWW.W2IK.NET   which contains emcomm info including parts of his 250 page “EMCOMM AND YOU” CD.    

This site is a work in progress and is constantly growing, but it’s presently  loaded with lots of useful information about developing your own emergency communications skills.   

 This site contains ONLY EMCOMM material.

The new Canadian training course contains over 100 pages which were written by W2IK, so we must be doing something right.

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Dec 24

On Wednesday, December 23, the Department of Defense (DoD) issued an Instruction concerning MARS, effective immediately.

This Instruction gives the three MARS services — Army, Air Force and Navy/Marine Corps — a new focus on homeland security and a new name: Military Auxiliary Radio System.

 The Instruction is the first major revision to MARS since January 26, 1988 — as such, the first revision since the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina, two major events that changed the way Amateur Radio dealt with emergency communications.

The DoD defines a “military auxiliary” as “an organized body of volunteers prepared to supplement the uniformed services or any designated civilian authorities by provision of specialized autonomous services when called upon or when situations warrant,” and gives the Civil Air Patrol and Coast Guard Auxiliary as examples of auxiliaries.

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Sep 12

Ecom Bob BusCOMING SOON: 

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:  Alonestaryank@aol.com 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:  http://www.w5bog.com/w5bog-ecom-team.html

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