Feb 7

Morning all!

Event: AERC Heart of the Hills Endurance Ride

Dates: 5th and 6th March 2016

Location: Hill Country State Natural Area – Bandera

Times: 0700 hrs to 1700 hrs – assignment times very based on Checkpoint.

Help is needed on both days, but, if you can only work one of the other, your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Operators will be responsible for tracking the progress of Horse/Rider thru the course at 4 different checkpoints.  We also handle in health/welfare information and other task as submitted by the event coordinator/manager.

3 checkpoints should be able to contact net control with ht and a gain antenna.  One checkpoint is a little more challenging requiring a mobile unit, possibly crossband.

Comms will be VHF simplex.

RMS Express/Packet will be utilized during the event.  Packet not required to participate.

Most checkpoints are easily accessible by car or truck.  One will require a truck with moderate clearance.

If your are interested please contact Charlie Land at charlesdland at gmail dot com or Mike Perez at mikerey01 at yahoo dot com

Event is coordinated by Hill Country REACT – membership not required to participate.

Thank You,

Louis Upton – K5STX

Hill Country REACT – Team # 4804 – President
Tejas Trails Communication Group – Cactus Rose and Bandera 100k Ultra-Marathons – Coordinator

Rocky Raccoon Communications Group – Tejas Trails Liaison

 

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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.

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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 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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Jun 11

Field Day is coming up soon, on June 28-29th, so here are a few thoughts (and facts) as you plan your group’s operation.

A FEW TIPS FOR ANY FIELD DAY OPERATION – I’ve posted some of this before but I think they should be repeated. (I’ve updated them a bit for 2014) 1. When setting up antennas within close proximity: If you are using wire antennas such as dipoles, and they run parallel to each other there will be interference on your HF operating bands in the form of hash so arrange them at right angles to each other and at slightly different heights.

If you use wire antennas such as dipoles, try to stay away from trap dipoles and use full length antennas instead. You may also wish to run your dipoles in different configurations such as have one as an “inverted V” and another as a sloper, etc. An antenna cut to the exact band you are using will decrease interference to and from other bands.

Do not compromise by using trap or “all band” antennas. (The only efficient “all band antennas” are a log periodic and a “fan dipole” NOT a “folded dipole” or others that claim they use “balancing resistors” as this only wastes RF energy in the form of heat.) With others you may make a few contacts, but they are junk and will cause harmonic radiation. Do not fall for any ads claiming “miracle antennas”.

Don’t waste your watts! Dedicated operating needs the right antenna. Wasted energy on trap antennas (some of your RF energy is used up in the form of heat) and that equals an inefficient radiator, especially as you go lower in frequency. On HF, try not to use vertical antennas as they receive too much man-made noise from sources such as generators, street lamps, etc.

Using a Yagi style antenna for Field Day may look impressive, but be careful that the “focused energy” doesn’t interfere with other operations. Know as well, that transmitting focused energy may be all well and good, but it, in receiving signals it can also make your station “deaf” from directions so you may have to waste time turning the beam…. is it worth it? —–  READ ON, THERE’S LOTS MORE INFO! —-

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Mar 5

2014_Field_Day_Logo_333_X_220ARRL FIELD DAY -June 28-29, 2014

To work as many stations as possible on any and all amateur bands (excluding the 60, 30, 17, and 12-meter bands) and to learn to operate in abnormal situations in less than optimal conditions.

Field Day is open to all amateurs in the areas covered by the ARRL/RAC Field Organizations and countries within IARU Region 2. DX stations residing in other regions may be contacted for credit, but are not eligible to submit entries.

Field Day is always the fourth full weekend of June, beginning at 1800 UTC Saturday and running through 2059 UTC Sunday. Field Day 2014 is June 28-29.


W2ik-olympics 2This year, the BEXAR OPERATORS GROUP (W5BOG) will be running a good – old fashioned Field Day operation at the Callaham Unit at Choke Canyon Texas State Park.

In keeping with what Field Day should be about, we will be building our HF antennas from scratch and launching them, “site unseen”.

We will be operating out doors under canopies unless the temp exceeds 95 degrees in which case we will be operating from the air conditioned cabin we will be renting and sleeping in.

Anyone is invited to come and see what a real field day is all about. Our rigs will be powered by deep cycle batteries which will be solar charged. Please contact us at alonestaryank@aol.com  if you wish to join up with us for this fun event. We will be supplying the food and drinks.  Bob – W2IK

Note from webmaster – Bob knows how to conduct a really good, high scoring, field day operation. If you want to learn from one of the best, make the effort to drive a bit further and watch the master at work!  Other clubs will be holding Field Day in areas closer to San Antonio if you don’t feel up to driving so far, or if you want to support your local club’s activities. We’ll post those locations as soon as we have them confirmed. – Lee N5NTG

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Dec 10

JUMP TEAM BOOT CAMP 2014 (April 4th-6th)

Due to a lack of response/interest (people wishing to take this FREE course) I am cancelling this event. It will not be rescheduled. The cost, which comes out of my own pocket, for renting a group wilderness site, food and water, extra equipment, parts for building special projects for each attendee on-site (this session would have had each member building their own  Emergency NVIS antenna which stores in a section of PVC sewer pipe and needs no tools for deployment), printing the 200 page workbooks, tee shirts, caps, etc  amounts to several hundred dollars. Just the cost of replacing the a missing tent and one HF rig when I did a loan out of my Jump Team gear for hurricane Sandy has put a damper on my spirit to continue this emergency communications training. Since I already had the workbooks ordered from the printer, I will be making these available to interested parties at a later date for just my printing costs and mailing. (ONE to a customer)
Bob W2IK
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Aug 25

boot_camp_logoAnother Section Of Our 200 Page
“Jump Team Boot Camp” Training Manual

AFTER SITE SURVEY: Assembling Your Tent Structures
by Bob W2IK

tent_2Setting up a tent can seem like a complex task especially for any first-time jump team member.

Tents are a vital  piece of Em-Comm gear, for sure, but many frustrated jump team members have cursed their tent as they’ve tried to set it up in the dark or during inclement weather without proper preparation.

However, once you’ve set up a tent several times, it becomes a familiar routine that can easily be repeated even in the most difficult Em-Comm conditions, and once you’ve mastered setting up one kind of tent, it will then be easier to set up other kinds of tents, be they simple or complex.

Remember that your tents (structures) are just as important as setting up your communications gear. After all, you will be living and working in them for many days. Here are some basic steps that will help you set up your tent structures quickly and efficiently.

Practice setting up your tent before you go to your duty site to deploy. Setting up your camping tent at least a couple times, directions in hand, before twilight is a good idea as you’ll never know what time of day (or night) you’ll be doing it for real. While some camping tents have simple designs, like family tents, other tents have complex designs, like dome tents, which will not be easy to assemble when it’s dark and you’re involved with other jump team duties.

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Aug 24

 

TQP_2012

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 21

boot_camp_logoSITE SURVEY – An Important Detail For Longer-Term (over a day) Emergency Communications Deployment

TAUGHT AS PART OF OUR “JUMP TEAM BOOT CAMP” session  by Bob W2IK

How and where you erect any operating, sleeping and cooking structures is very important. This also includes areas for erecting any antennas. This is why when you get to a location and decide upon a general area,  you first must do a site survey. This is especially true if your team does a full-scale tent deployment and not a deployment using existing free-standing buildings. One of the most important things to consider is: Will this emergency intensify, such as will there be additional rains or wind in the short-term future while you are deployed? Even if you do choose to use an existing building, you need to do site survey.

The Camp SiteThreat Assessment –

  • Will there be drainage for additional rains or will your operation be flooded out or will you have to sleep in soaked sleeping bags like I had to do once in the 1980s in the Virgin Islands because the team leader decided on the wrong area for placement of the communications team?
  • An existing building may become flooded or cut off from access or evacuation.
  • A road to any building may become a river that will flood out any building when you least expect it.
  • Always choose an area which is on higher ground than the surrounding plain and NOT near any stream or river or their associated flood plains. You can usually tell about where the flood plain is by observation. Along streams there will be what’s known as a “debris line”. On flat terrain, this could be hundreds of yards from the stream itself. This is the highest area that has been recently flooded. Stay FAR AWAY from any debris line, as the emergency you might be deploying for, will have greater flooding potential than the average heavy rain.
  • Areas near a dry creek bed should be avoided because a dry creek bed can be flash-flooded and you along with it. I have seen one of these creek beds flood out to a half-mile wide river in a matter of minutes. High winds can cause trees to come crashing down when already saturated roots give way so keep away from large trees. Yes, they may make handsome places to string up an antenna, but at what cost? Read the rest of this entry »
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