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.
Jan 25

Title: 2013 AERC Heart of the Hills Endurance Event
Location: Hill Country State Natural Area – Bandera, Texas
Link out: Click here
Description: The AERC Heart of the HIlls is a 25 and 50 mile equestrian endurance event that test the horse and rider.
Hill Country REACT as well as members of other organizations have provided Amateur Radio Communications, Safety and Tracking for the last 3 years. Amateur Radio has become and important part of this event due to the remoteness and terrain, and our familiarity of the facility. In being able to consistently and accurately track the competitors at various checkpoints, we have become more than just a safety net!

Any licensed Amateur Radio Operator with interest in Public Service and Emergency Communications are invited to assist with this event. Events like this are the best way to test equipment and hone skills that would be useful during a disaster deployment.

This years event will be two days, with the major emphasis and need on Saturday March 2nd, as the largest group of competitors will be on this day. Sunday March 3rd will be the same course for the most part, but the expected group is smaller.

Communications for this event is typically VHF simplex voice and the utilization of a event specific packet spreadsheet utilized for tracking.

We need 8 – 12 operators for Saturday March 2nd and 5 – 8 on Sunday!

For more information or to sign up, contact Louis – K5STX at k5stx@arrl.net

Thank You!
Start Date: 2013-03-02
Start Time: 06:00
End Date: 2013-03-03
End Time: 15:00

Oct 30

In view of the terrible plight involving Hurricane Sandy, I think everyone needs to read an article I posted in one of my web sites several years ago. Emergency communicators – take heed.

Sometimes Getting There Can Be Your Greatest Problem

Bob Hejl W2IK

So, you’ve joined some emergency support group, taken some training and even done a few drills. That’s great! Your equipment is ready. You’re ready. But, “Murphy” has other ideas. Whether you’re a member of ARES, RACES, SATERN, REACT, CERT or any other group, you need to do more homework than what they’ve suggested. What good is all your equipment, training and confidence if you can’t get to a deployment site? Unfortunately, I’ve never seen any group adequately cover one of the most important steps in emergency communications: Getting volunteers to their final destinations as quickly and as safely as possible. Although this is especially true during natural disasters such as winter storms, hurricanes or intense periods of rain which produce almost catastrophic flooding, it can also encompass volunteers who attempt to deploy during other events such as wildfire emergencies. Can you imagine deploying to a wildfire disaster and almost getting trapped by the flames because no one told you the extent or the range of the fire? Well, it happened to me when I, with others, attempted to deploy during the Long Island wildfires a number of years ago. We were armed with everything we thought we needed…. except up-to-date information. No maps or directions were given so there we were “driving by the seat of our pants” in the dead of the night into what almost was a catastrophe for us all. Luckily, we back tracked and took the long way around finally reaching our deployment points.

Everyone was to blame for this screw-up.

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Nov 13


Hill Country State Natural Area – Bandera, Texas


 When: 7th and 8th of January 2012


It is that time of year, to start forming the roster and making preparations for the 10th Annual Bandera 100k Ultra-Marathon held at Hill Country State Natural Area in Bandera County.

Tejas Trails Communication Group – Sponsored by Hill Country REACT has been the lead team for communications for this event the past 6 years with the assistance of many hams from the San Antonio, Austin and other areas around the state..

This event typically requires 15 – 16 Amateur Radio Operators in a situation that is similar to what an Emergency Communications Operator would experience in a disaster zone. UHF, VHF and Packet communications are involved in this event.

This is a fun event with challenges.  The participants of this event, are of a type you will not encounter at most other events we deal with throughout the year.  Over the years, we have made some lasting friendships!

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Dec 28

Every day is a good day to send CW, but January 1 is reserved for Straight Key Night. Enjoy CW as it has been sent and enjoyed since the earliest days of Amateur Radio. This 24-hour event is not a contest; rather it is a day dedicated to celebrating our CW heritage. Participants are encouraged to get on the air and simply make enjoyable, conversational CW QSOs. The use of a straight key to send CW is preferred. Beginners are encouraged to be a part of this event. Go as slow or as fast as you wish. Mistakes do not count! NO ONE will make fun of you, BUT, you will have fun! There are no points scored and all who participate are winners.
Straight Key Night is held every January 1 from 0000 UTC through 2359 UTC. All authorized Amateur frequencies, but activity has traditionally been centered on the HF bands. For contest information contact contests@arrl.org
Bob – W2IK
Oct 10
Under the direction of Mike, AB5EB, another JOTA (Jamboree On The Air) operation is scheduled to take place this October 16th, around 10 am until the afternoon, at the Community Resource and Rec Center (125 Mabel Jones Dr, Canyon Lake, TX‎) near Overlook Point at the Canyon Lake Dam in Texas to show scouts what amateur radio is all about. Planning will show the diversity of amateur radio as scouts talk to other scouts from all over the world. The amateur radio operators, featuring Mike, AB5EB, Bob, W2IK, The Bexar Operators Group and several other amateur radio operators are ready to set up and operate several stations  using several modes, such as voice, morse code (CW), and digital communications. Additional hams who would like to be a part in helping out scouts should contact Mike at: ab5ebdxer@gmail.com 
Other events will be  offered such as one of W2IK’s “McGyver” antenna building sessions where scouts build actual antennas from scrap materials and use them to make contacts.
HF operating frequencies include 40 meters (around 7.280) and 20 meters (around 14.260)
 A merit badge class given by Mike, AB5EB is also planned. Mike wants this JOTA to be even better than the event held last year at this location where over 70 scouts and parents attended. Stay tuned as the planning cements into another great JOTA event!
Everyone is invited to attend. Scouts, would-be scouts, hams, would-be hams and any interested parties. Bring the family and make it a great weekend event.
Oct 8
 W2IK and The Bexar Operators Group (W5BOG) located in San Antonio, Texas, will sponsor their 5th annual “Jump Team Boot Camp” in 2011, commencing on April 8th (Friday morning) and running through the 10th (Sunday evening).
This year’s “Boot Camp” will concentrate on the ways and means to get a “Jump Team” operational should there be a need to deploy far from your home and communicate in the aftermath of a disaster where nothing is standing.
Just like the other “Jump Team Boot Camps” I’ve taught, this will be an actual drive-and-operate operation and NOT a desktop drill. This is the “no bs, real deal” of emcomm training and is as close as it gets to an actual disaster. The only emcomm boot camp in the country!
You will get very dirty. You will test your personal limits.
You will leave with self-confidence in dealing with extreme emergency communications work.
 ECs and AECs from any group are especially encouraged to attend so they can bring valuable information back to their group(s) and so they are aware of what any of their members will be facing when you ask them to deploy to an extreme disaster area.
This boot camp will also be of great help if any EC or group wishes to create their own “Jump Team” from scratch. I will also be available after this event should any attendees require additional help in forming their own Jump Team and I will even meet with your group to get you started or review your Jump Team plans. (This offer ONLY  for those who have attended this boot camp.)  
Participants for this session will meet at a central staging area in San Marcos, TX.   Pre-deployment maps will be given out at this time, although due to the nature of real emergencies along any caravan route, driving directions may change due to “flooding” and other concerns so each vehicle must be equipped with 2 meter (simplex) capabilities.
Sep 23

This weekend, join hundreds of hams as they work all the counties in Texas during the annual TEXAS QSO PARY. Check out: http://www.txqp.net/  for details, rules and very valuable resource pages. This year, W2IK will join a long list of operators in working as a mobile station, transversing counties to gain points and give out county QSO’s. Check in the resource pages to see who will be operating in each county. W2IK/M will be “running” mobile from: Bexar,  Wilson,  Karnes, Live Oak, Atascosa, McMullen, LaSalle, Dimmit, Maverick, Kinney, Uvalde, Zavala and Frio counties in that order. 

He will be operating in the 40 and 20 meter bands and only using SSB. Remember…. each contact from a mobile can count as a new multiplier. Have fun. Get those counties in your logbook. Also see: “Little Contests For Little Guns” at: http://sanantoniohams.org/blog/?p=821

May 20

Our thanks to all the hams and other volunteers who responded to our pleas for help!  

We’ve now got every Rest Stop, Start Line, Finish Line, SAG Van, etc. covered for Day 1 and Day 2!   Give yourselves a big pat on the back!

But… Oops, just found out the Tour de Cure staff wants TWO MORE SAG VANS!   Special purpose vans to be used to haul mostly just people, not bikes and equipment, but I’d bet on still needing a couple of the van’s bench seats out anyway!

Special Assignment:     Pickup Van on Friday before 6pm, or early  Saturday morning from Enterprise.  Arrive in San Marcos at the Texas State University, designated finish line area by noon or earlier.   Start shuttling riders who finished early, over to the river toobing location, and bring them back after they get all wet and tired (again).

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May 8

June VHF QSO Party
 for details. In July of last year, we traveled to several counties during the CQ VHF Contest stopping to operate from 4 grid squares south and east of Bexar County. see: San Antonio Hams » Blog Archive » CQ VHF Contest 2009 W5BOG – Diary   If anyone is interested in joining me for this event, or would like to operate their own station during this contest along with me, feel free to email me at: alonestaryank@aol.com

W5BOG, the Bexar Operators Group, will once again be going “rover” this time during the ARRL June VHF QSO Party, the second full weekend in June as a warm up for “ARRL Field Day”. See

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