Jun 25

This past weekend was the ARRL VHF/UHF Contest, and I normally dive into this contest with maximum effort, but with long time friends in town that we have not seen in 6 or 7 years and spending time with them all day Saturday, that left only Sunday and I need to do a quick trip to pick up some Antennas just south of Houston.

So Ruth and I thought it would be fun to operate Sunday as a Rover, so with her logging, and me operating we hopped into the truck and headed to Alvin Texas which is 186 miles away as the crow flies.

With the radio dialed in on 144.200 USB, we pulled out of the house.

Announced we were in the contest and roving.

We immediately worked KB2WDM in Schertz, followed by K5QE in Hemphill, TX. Marshal is 336 miles from our first contact location. With a single omni directional loop antenna built by Tom K5VH and 120 watts mobile we worked K5QE in EM31 and quickly knocked out additional contacts around the region.

On the Trip we made 17 contacts, working several stations in every grid on our drive {EL-09, EL-19, EL-29}.

Take Horizontal polarization with it’s reduced noise, good take off angle and Single Side Band with the ability to hear and pull intelligence out of a weaker signal and you get one of the reasons you can communicate at much greater ranges then possible with FM, and you will understand the fun and the thrill of what you can accomplish with VHF/UHF Weak Signal.
Read the rest of this entry »

Share
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

 

Share
Jan 7

For everyone that I have not had a chance to talk to this year so far, I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas and a very safe and happy New Year and that the new year brings good things for everyone.

Four Years Ago…

WeakSignal_Hamsters_GroupThe Unclub put up our first repeater January 2012 at the San Antonio American Red Cross on 443.025 with a PL tone of 82.5, taking the knowledge we had gained over the years developing premier VHF/UHF Simplex stations to operate DX and applying it to our repeater, we developed a repeater that had impressive range on 70cm opening a communication link covering most of Bexar County and fantastic coverage East well past Seguin out IH 10 and strong coverage on 37 heading towards Corpus Christi.

We were selected to be part of the Yaesu Fusion Beta Team and helped develop and debug this new Digital Format, enjoying over a year advance experience with Fusion Radio’s and Repeaters before it was released to the general public.

Less Than Two Years Ago…

November of 2014 the plan was formed to built a Regional Fusion Repeater Network supporting Analog and Digital Communications covering Austin, Texas Hill Country {Wimberly, Marble Falls, Boerne, Kerrville, Pipe Creek, Bandera, Tarply, Hondo, Dilley, Pleasanton, Floresville, Seguin, New Braunfels} allowing you to travel through out the region and carry on a continuous conversation.

One Year Ago…

2015-08-14_ARRL_Affiliation_LetterIn January 2015, I gained approval and a 50 year Lease at $1 per month} for a commercial communication site that provided us with a fantastic location and in March of 2015 the 147.120 Repeater came on the air, providing fantastic coverage through out Bexar County, up to Pipe Creek/Lake View, out to New Braunfels and well south of Bexar County and out towards Hondo.

In August 2015, The Hamster Weak Signal Group became an official affiliated club with the ARRL, despite being an “Unclub”. This helped us obtain more affordable liability insurance that was required  by some commercial tower sites.

Fast Forward To January 2016…

I am happy to announce that our plans for the repeater linking Bandera, Tarpley, Medina, Kerrville, etc., is now moving forward at a fast pace……We are just days away from working out the agreement on the locations and hope to have all of those detailed finalized by the end of this week or first part of next week.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share
Jan 7

It was brought to my attention that a couple of local hams have been making up lies about a third ham, claiming that this 3rd ham operator was in trouble with the FCC over his operating procedures and sloppy repeater operations (repeaters not in compliance).

They even tried to get the American Red Cross and other repeater locations to ban Greg from those sites, and almost persuaded another repeater trustee to back out of a linked repeater (Yaseau Fusion) project.

So I reached out to the ham being accused of these behaviors or actions and asked for his side of the issue.

Greg Lewis, N5XO, has supplied me with copies of  two letters from the FCC disputing the claims of these other operators, plus three MP3 recordings from over the air, showing proof that these two hams have indeed been bad mouthing him and making unsubstantiated accusations over the air.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share
Jun 8

We have a couple of older Ham’s {Licensed in the mid 70’s} having what is a typical conversation of how the “newbies” have destroyed Amateur Radio, and the hobby is dying. The claim that “newbies” ruined the hobby by using computers to track propagation, useful tools such as DX Summit and these new fangled things called Grid Squares.

I started to think about this, do they have a point? A lot has changed since I got into the hobby, and we will see many more changes in the future, but the honest truth is that the hobby is not dying, it is growing and is in fact larger than it has been any time through out history.

The simple truth is that “older hams” have been complaining about the “newbies” killing the hobby since the first Ham was licensed back in the spark gap days.

When AM first started to come on the scene, Spark Gap Operators complained about this new fangled mode of operating and how it was going to destroy the hobby, then few years later as SSB operating started to enter the picture those old AM operators complained about the Donald Duck Operators and how it was destroying the hobby and who can forget the day that CW was no longer required to gain a license, to hear from some old timers the planet Earth itself was going to stop rotating.

The simple truth it is the evolution of Amateur Radio that keeps us growing and the excitement and the WOW factor.

Yes, it is true that today very few Hams build his or her own radio, the simple truth is that we no longer need too with more modern transceivers on the market today and it is also beyond the capability of home technicians today with modern advancements such as surface mount devices, etc.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share
Nov 27

UNUSUAL SUSPECT & HAMster Group
8th Annual Christmas Party

THIS SUNDAY, November 30th @ 5:PM

GREAT FOLKS – AWARDS – GOOD FOOD – GREAT TIME

This is what Amateur Radio is all about
{FELLOWSHIP AND FRIENDS}

Mamacita’s Restaurant & Cantina
8030 IH-10 west
San Antonio, Texas

Please RSVP n5xo@144200.net

Share
Nov 13

“And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make”
The Beatles

Please forgive me for a little bit of nostalgia by starting off this e-mail with Beatle Lyrics. But they are very apropos for this e-mail. The lyrics simply state that what you get out of something equates to what you put into it.  Me myself and I have personally discovered what I put into Amateur Radio equates to me getting even more out of it.

For almost all of us starting off in Amateur Radio we can find some one to thank for assisting us with this wonderful hobby. For me originally it was the 70 year old man who seemed older than the hills to my 10 year old mind, but never before or since had I met anyone with so much patience in helping a very annoying little neighbor kid. We became introduced twice originally once as I was delivering papers on my route and one summer afternoon….I saw him in the yard and asked him what those antennas were for {he had what seemed to me at the time a 500ft tower with dozens of antennas}, he showed me his shack, his wife offered cookies and lemonade and I proceeded to ask 40 million questions {and yes the rest of the papers on my route that evening were very late}.

That fateful day, followed by science class on Marconni and a ready source of old model T-Spark coils…..and a friend as insane as me….had us building crude versions of spark gap transmitters and using the AM radio as our receiver. It never occurred to us we were destroying anyone in a 5 mile radius….ability to listen to the towns only station and watch television {those were the days when moms blender and a VW beetle would do the same}. Once again introductions were made to the kindly gentleman down the road and this time in made it his goal to get me on the air properly, I think he felt I needed focus for that energy.  Read the rest of this entry »

Share
May 23

NEW FUSION DIGITAL REPEATER SYSTEM IS NOW ON THE AIR – 443.025 PL 82.5
by Greg Lewis, N5XO

This repeater will replace the current UHF repeater (on same frequency) running at the American Red Cross HQ on East Houston Street & Commerce, near IH-10, on the east side of San Antonio, Texas.

GREAT news is that a 2 Meter VHF version of the Fusion System is planned for mid-summer 2014 “on the air” date.

Yaesu’s entry into the Digital Market is fantastic. Fusion is every thing that D-Star is not. The best part is the repeater supports both Analog, Wide Digital {fantastic audio} Narrow Voice and The Fusion repeater will auto switch between modes allowing all parties to communicate.  Data. Full GPS tracking and very soon it will be linked to a national Fusion Network.

Yaesu_DR-1_Digital_Repeater

We recommend that you research online for more information on Yaesu’s new Fusion radio system.

Important Operating Notes:

  • The Repeater is currently running low power until we can replace the Duplexers. Our current duplexers were limited in power, N5XO have the replacement duplexers and will try to tune them and get them on the air ASAP allowing us to turn the repeater to full power.
  • Because this repeater operates Analog and Digital, we recommend Analog users set not only the PL Tone of 82.5 but your Squelch tone as well to 82.5  This will eliminate RF HASH.

IF YOU HAVE ONE OF THE NEW YAESU DIGITAL RADIO’S

  • FT-400DR Mobile rig
  • FT1-DR HT

Hop on over to our upgrading Repeater and give your rig a work out.

Share
Dec 10

CHRISTMAS PARTY
DECEMBER 17TH @ 6:30 PM – 8PM

PAPA DANTE’S RESTAURANT
8607 FM 1976, CONVERSE, TX 78109

RSVP: wx5us@satx.rr.com

We will be holding our Annual Awards presentation, enjoying good Italian food and having a great time with each others company in typical Unusual Suspect Spirit.   Our Christmas Parties have always been a GREAT time for all, so you will hate yourself if you miss out on the fun.

Please confirm you will be coming and  how many in your party.   Remember the Unusual Suspects are about FAMILY and AMATEUR RADIO.  Family members young and old are welcome.

Please RSVP because we need to give the restaurant an accurate head count prior to the event.

Share
Jun 11

The Unusual Suspects UNCLUB group came together in 2006, during that time I think we as a GROUP have done an amazing job of promoting Amateur Radio. I thought I would share some of our events and Activities. It is  these projects and the friendships of an incredible group of people that make me proud to be part of this fine group.   – Greg N5XO

Website: We built a new website, http://www.wx5us.us/, where we featured photos and news from various ham radio events that our members participated in, plus a list of our proud members.

Tower Raising:  I think we have had more tower raising projects than about any group around. Since every thing we do is about Taco’s… it would explain why as a group we seem to be getting fatter {grin}. We have helped  each other raise towers, design systems and improve our stations. I am impressed with our accomplishments. When we first started operating simplex like many ham’s and clubs we relied on repeaters and  our stations showed it … now we have stations that anyone can be proud of … and have outstanding simplex coverage.

In fact within the members of our group…

  • we have 3 more tower projects coming along in the next month to month in a half…
  • 2 of them 72ft towers with large antenna arrays….

PROMOTING SIMPLEX AND WEAK SIGNAL  is our thing {grin}

Read the rest of this entry »

Share

« Previous Entries