Mar 21

The Bexar Operators Group (W5BOG) has unveiled it’s location for the 2010 ARRL Field Day event held on the last full weekend in June.

We will be operating from Choke Canyon State Park in the “Calliham Unit” based in a shelter (cabin). In keeping with the original philosophy of what Field Day should be, we will be testing several new antenna designs and operating our rigs using deep cycle batteries charged by several banks of solar panels. If there is enough wind, we will erect our wind turbine to generate power.

Our operating class will be either 1B Batt. or 1A Batt. Nothing will be pre-planned as this is a test of our emergency communications deployment capabilities. The last time we were at this location for a “Field Day” event was in 2007 when we made several hundred contacts using just a basic “Inverted V” antenna. (2009 – Lost Maples State Park, 2008 – Mustang Island) 

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Mar 3

Below are a series of pictures from the Bexar Operators Group 160 meter CQ WW SSB contest. 

We traveled to the Calliham Unit of Choke Canyon State Park, about 15 miles west of the town of Three Rivers, which is about 80 miles south of San Antonio.

After checking in, we went to our screened shelter (cabin) only to find that they all had been completely refurbished since our last visit. All the cabins had large air conditioners and two beds! No more blowing up our queen sized air mattress or lugging our window AC unit in the summer.




As you can see, they allow pets, and our two dogs quickly staked out a bed they wanted. I began the task of setting up the radio gear while my XYL, KD5YTN, Krissy, completed her chores of getting the rest of the camping gear out of the truck and assembled.  

We had a problem and had a tough choice to make. It was a very windy day on Friday, with gusts over 25 mph. We decided to wait and see if the wind would die down, as was predicted for Saturday. So, we erected a 160 meter dipole antenna to work the first half of the contest. I would have preferred a loop, but we had neither the real estate nor the time to plot one out and set it up.
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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 17

NWS_Logo_RoundOkay, the long wait is finally over!   We’ve compressed 24 hours of operation down to about 5 minutes, without using the fast forward button.  Amazing, but true!  Of course since we weren’t personally there the whole time to take photos and videos of every single operator, we weren’t able to include more than the three operators shown in the video (recorded live) plus a few others that had their photos taken and forwarded to us.

Most of the footage in the video was provided by Lee N5NTG, with some by Bob W2IK and Wade W5ERX.

Here is the YouTube link to this video…

Nov 21
 Results of the Bexar Operators Group “Ladder Line” Testing
It was a great day for doing a few tests involving 450 Ohm “ladder line” as several members of the Bexar Operators Group met at the John James Park to compare the findings of the recent ARRL tests on this lead-in vs real life testing.
If you read the ARRL article in the November issue of QST, you’d note that the readings and findings they did were “static tests” using measuring equipment and NOT actual operating tests. For our testing we did the same “static tests” they did with basically the same results. After this initial testing, we then did what they failed to do: We used this setup but applied varying amounts of RF power through the water – saturated (near ground level) ladder line while observing the swr readings.
Nov 9
450_Ladderline_coilAs explained in the November issue of “QST” (page 66) the ARRL examined the use of ladder-line and did some rudimentary testing of this cable in dry vs wet conditions.
They had test gear to measure the SWR and other concerns. At the end of the testing they reported that beyond a simple re-adjustment of the tuner they used not much in the form of variations occurred.
Unfortunately, their tests were not complete.
This weekend, the Bexar Operators Group will do some “real life” testing of ladder-line and the implications of getting the dry line saturated to prove that the ARRL’s final assumptions are “all wet”! Having done some experimentation 20 years ago using ladder-line as a feed cable, W2IK came up with some very different findings.
Sep 17


In the spirit of, as Lee, N5NTG, put it: “….it struck me how much the “turf boundaries” between clubs has shrunk, …… I think that “shrinking” is a good thing to be happening” 

In the spirit of cooperation, the Bexar Operators Group has offered to underwrite and offer their “2010 Jump Team Boot Camp” to members of the Chaparral Amateur Radio Club (which happens to also be the Guadalupe County ARES group).

This would be the third “Jump Team Boot Camp” given by the Bexar Operators Group. It would be a two-day (not three day) deployment event at a site with no facilities north-east of Austin. This “Jump Team Boot Camp” will concentrate on amateur radio and the ways and means to get a communications jump team operational should there be a need to deploy some distance from your home and communicate in the aftermath of a disaster. This session is planned for the weekend of  March 20-21st, but we are open to other weekend dates within this Spring time frame.
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Sep 15
After consulting with some of the more active ham radio operators in Central South Texas, it has been decided to hold a South Texas NVIS antenna test on Sunday, October 11th.
In order for this to be an accurate test, we ask that you use an NVIS antenna, that is, an actual half wave full length dipole for 40 meters (no traps or coils) elevated to a height of between 4 feet and 16 feet ONLY.

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