Jun 25

2ND Annual HAMSTER Lunch and Learn Event

JULY 1ST 2017

Welcome to the HAMster Weak Signal Group Lunch and Learn. The purpose of this event is to bring a large group of HAMs together for some education and fun. We want to introduce you not only to the HAMster Group, but also to VHF/UHF Dxing. If you have never experienced the trhill of working stations on 2 metersa nd up 500, 1000 or even 1,500 miles, with daily contacts in the 100 to 150 mile range, then come join us.

Join us for Hot Dogs, Chips, Soda and VE Session with VHF/UHF training classes. Special Weak Signal Training by FLEX Radio, and the HAMster Group.

Flex Radio will be on hand to demonstrate the new products and advantages for VHF/UHF Weak Signal/EME/Meteor Scatter.

License Testing available for new hams or upgrades to your license will be held at 2pm. $15 per test taker. Please contact Pat AD5BR at HAMTEST@GMAIL.COM for details and to RSVP for the test session (not same address as used to register for the Lunch and Learn).

Raffle and Swap Meet



Saturday July 1st 2017
8:am Kick-Off to 3:Pm

Event to be held at the American Red Cross, 3642 E. Houston St, San Antonio, Tx. (Please use the Houston St side entrance to enter the building.)

RSVP to: N5xo@144200.net
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Jan 15

Good Morning Ya’ll

Test Session this coming Saturday at 1000 at our new location. 424 Castell St, New Braunfels, TX 78130.

Driving up Seguin St (fm725) towards the circle turn left at the Civic Center and the street that runs behind the Civic Center is Castell. The new Fire Department Training Facility is now located on Castell right behind the Civic Center in what used to be the Municipal Offices for New Braunfels.

Park on the left side of the building in what is labelled as Employee parking and enter the building from that end.

Test Session will be as usual starting at 1000, all classes of license will be tested. The fee is $15 payable by cash, check, or money order. Please bring your drivers license or picture ID and ur amateur radio license or any CSCEs you may have.

Looking forward to seeing you there. If you have any question please contact K5GST (GaryT) at k5gst01@ gmail.com.

73 de K5SGT

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)
    1 – Set (male and female) push on “bullet” crimp connectors as seen inphoto to right


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.

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


Feb 5
On or about April 25, 26, and 27th,  W2IK and members of the Bexar Operators Group will travel to West Texas to activate a special events station at Fort Davis National Park AND Big Bend National Park.  A special QSL certificate will be mailed to stations contacting each of the locations noted. Please send a large SASE to the callbook / QRZ address of W2IK.  (PO Box 6731, San Antonio, TX 78209.) We will be operating on 40 and 20 meters using a special vertical antenna designed by W2IK.
National Parks on the Air

National Parks on the Air

Throughout 2016, Amateur Radio will be helping the National Park Service celebrate their 100th anniversary. Hams from across the country will activate NPS units, promote the National Park Service and showcase Amateur Radio to the public. For more information, check out the ARRL website.

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.

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Nov 29

Friday December 5th 6:00 p.m. to Saturday December 6th 6:00 p.m. We still have multiple slots open for this event.

Especially 10:00 p.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Saturday. All license classes invited to participate.

Contact Louis – K5STX at k5stx@k5stx.net or by phone: 830-305-2889


Sep 17

A portion of an email I sent to a local (Texas) ham who had been talking about learning the code and doing some contesting:

One of best times I ever had was at the old ROOST location, about 9 years ago, when we were doing a CW contest.
We were on 160 meters very late one night when all of a sudden the electronic keyer  went out! I quickly went out to my car and came back with an old 1950’s Romanian straight key (I still use this key now and then). Now , mind you, we were doing a CW contest with the keyer at about 35-40 wpm. The fastest you can do code with a straight key is about 25 wpm. Although it slowed down our rate, it was fun to see Jon, the president of ROOST at that time, shake off his “rusty fist”. I usually use a straight key, so I just hummed along. It was really enjoyable.
If you ever see Danny, WA5KRP, at any meeting, ask him abt the time we did a CQ WW WPX (SSB) contest at his house, I was taking a break, laying down while others took their turns at making contacts and logging. He could not get over how I kept shouting out the callsigns of the other stations while he was having problems getting their calls correct. It’s just a matter of getting used to it. The best “filters” you’ll ever have in ham radio are your ears. The only way you become adept at it is by jumping in and contesting.
Quite a number of hams increase their copy speed during Field Day where they can act as a back up logger in the CW tent. They’ll first pick up a letter or two and it builds from there. They can get this done by sitting next to the person doing the copying and hearing as he copies the call. The exchanges during a CW contest are very short. There is a rhythm to it.  It isn’t like rag chewing on CW like I used to do.
 You’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll pick it up.   Back when you had to know code, a lot of novices would try their hand at the “ARRL Novice Round-Up” . By the end of the contest they usually had increased their speed and comprehension to the point where they could pass the 13 WPM general test. This was the reason for the contest in the first place! 
(You can also try “Straight Key Night” on new years day.)
Aug 30

ani-ham In many areas I have noticed a tendency of people making a distinct effort to sound like a “LID” on local repeaters. Since this appears to be the new style in Amateur Radio, I thought I would present this incomplete guide to radio LID-dom.

The following is what I call: “How to sound like a Lid in one easy lesson.”

  1. Use as many Q signals as possible. Yes, I know they were invented solely for CW and are totally inappropriate for two-meter FM, but they’re fun and entertaining. They keep people guessing as to what you really meant. For example, “I’m going to QSY to the kitchen.” Can you really change frequency to the kitchen? QSL used to mean “I am acknowledging receipt,” but now it appears to mean “yes” or “OK.” I guess I missed it when the ARRL changed the meaning.
  2. Utilize an alternative vocabulary. Use words like “destinated” and “negatory.” It’s OK to make up your own words here. “Yeah Bill, I pheelbart zaphonix occasionally myself.”
  3. Always say “XX4XXX” (Insert your own call) “for I.D.” Anything that creates redundancy is always encouraged. That’s why we have the Department of Redundancy Department. (Please note that you can follow your call with “for identification purposes” instead of “for I.D.” While taking longer to say, it is worth more “LID points”.
  4. The better the copy on the repeater, the more you should use phonetics. Names should be especially used if they are short or common ones. I.E. “My name is Al… Alpha Lima” or “Jack.. Juliet Alpha Charlie Kilo.” If at all possible use the less common HF phonetics “A4SM… America, Number Four, Sugar Mexico.” And for maximum “LID points”, make up unintelligible phonetics. “My name is Bob… Billibong Oregano Bumperpool.”
  5. Read the rest of this entry »

Aug 24



The Texas QSO Party occurs on the last full weekend in September. The 2013 dates are the 28th and 29th of September. Operating times are from 1400Z on SATURDAY to 0200Z on SUNDAY and from 1400Z to 2000Z on SUNDAY. (This break of times is to ensure safety of the mobile operators and keeps them from driving/setting up in the dark.)  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.

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Jul 24


I recently received an email from a new ham who wishes to run his radio with batteries charged by solar power and wanted to know the best way to do it. First, there is no “cut and dried” answer to that. It depends upon many variables and what you want to do with your station.

 I assume he means operating QRP (low power). Even that, by definition, may mean different things to different operators. When you use QRP to run, say a CW station, you are usually limited in most respects (such as contesting) to 5 watts output power or less. Then there is operating QRP using SSB. A lot of groups specify SSB QRP to mean 10 watts (or less), although some groups hold to 5 watts output on SSB. These are all “maximums” in the basic QRP world. I have run as little as a few micro-watts to make contacts with other ham radio stations. There is even a group who measures their contacts in “miles-per-watt”. Records are kept for these contacts on each band. As I recall, two hams contacted each other on 80 meters using what could be the equivalent of 13 MILLION miles per watt based on the distance to each other and their micro-micro-watt transmit power.

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