Mar 16

As of 3/15, 2 clubs have announced that their membership meetings normally held on the third Tuesday each month, will be canceled or changed to Teleconference (using FreeTeleconference.com).

South Texas DX Contest Club has canceled their March 17th meeting that is normally held at Bobby J’s Hamburger restaurant in Helotes, TX.

Hill Country REACT Team normally meets on the third Tuesday at the Methodist Stone Oak Hospital on Sonterra & Hardy Oak, in the cafeteria. They always have teleconferencing set up for those members who cannot attend in person. But due to the Hospital implementing new restrictions on unnecessary / non-critical access into their building, the entire meeting will be held by Teleconference. Contact info@hillcountryreact.org for more details.

I’ve not been advised of any other cancellations by area clubs, but please use reasonable caution before attending any such gatherings. If you aren’t healthy or fall into the age brackets most affected by this virus, think about your options before going. We want all of our aging hams to stay with us for as long as possible and no, I did not just invite all of you to come live with me. Lol

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Oct 27

Clarification from the ARRL News Site. Looks like ham repeaters are welcome on state lands under the following proviso (requires hoops to be jumped through):

“Our contact in the California Office of Emergency Services suggests that, if any affected repeater is in any way involved with local emergency or government support activity, they should ask that agency to engage with CAL FIRE concerning the repeater. If the agency makes the case, there is a good chance that the repeater will be unaffected,” Tiemstra added.

http://www.arrl.org/news/report-causes-concern-and-confusion-in-california-s-amateur-radio-ranks

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Sep 6

AMATEUR HIGH-FREQUENCY EMERGENCY / HURRICANE NETS

Listed below are some of the usual established amateur (HAM) high frequency emergency network frequencies in Megahertz, with Mode of Lower or Upper Sideband and the coverage area. This list does fluctuate over time.

These frequencies are typically in operation during disasters in the immediate area. They can provide a great deal of information to those with receive only capabilities and the amateur radio community.

Abbreviations:
Abbreviation Meaning

  • Wx Weather
  • ARES Amateur Radio Emergency Service
  • SSB Single Sideband
  • LSB Lower Sideband
  • USB Upper Sideband
  • NTS National Traffic System
  • altn Alternate frequency typically used for night time operations
  • RACES Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (affiliated with local Emergency Management Organizations)

FREQ MODE LOCATION
03808.0 LSB Caribbean Wx (1030)
03815.0 LSB Inter-island (continuous watch)
03845.0 LSB Gulf Coast West Hurricane
03862.5 LSB Mississippi Section Traffic
03865.0 LSB West Virginia Emergency
03872.5 LSB Mercury Amateur Radio Assoc ad hoc hurricane info net (0100)
03873.0 LSB West Gulf ARES Emergency (night)
03873.0 LSB Central Gulf Coast Hurricane
03873.0 LSB Louisiana ARES Emergency (night)
03873.0 LSB Mississippi ARES Emergency

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Sep 2

Major Hurricane Dorian Prompts Sustained Activations

09/01/2019

From ARRL.org

Hurricane Dorian, now a dangerous Category 5 storm, hit the island of Abaco in the Bahamas with 185 MPH winds and heavy rain. The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) on 14.325 MHz (7268 MHz alternate) and the VoIP Hurricane Net (EchoLink WX_TALK Conference) remain activated in conjunction with WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center to keep on top of ground-truth weather information and to handle emergency traffic, if needed.

FEMA has announced that channels 1 and 2 of the 60 meter band will be made available, as necessary, beginning September 2 for interoperability between federal government stations and US Amateur Radio stations involved in Hurricane Dorian emergency communications. They will remain active until the storm has passed and the need for the channels no longer exists.

Channel 1 (5332 kHz channel center) will be available for primary voice traffic 5332 kHz channel center, 5330.5 kHz USB. Channel 2 (5348 kHz channel center) will handle digital traffic, 5346.5 kHz USB with 1.5 kHz offset to center of digital waveform

Radio amateurs must yield to operational traffic related to Hurricane Dorian. Although the intended use for these channels is interoperability between federal government stations and US Amateur Radio stations, federal government stations are primary users and amateurs are secondary.

For the full article click here

http://www.arrl.org/news/major-hurricane-dorian-prompts-sustained-activations

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Sep 2

For those of you playing with GR Level 3, Dorian is just now starting
to show up on Base Reflectivity (red marker at center of eye).
If you want to watch yourself, use site KAMX.

If you want to view on the new GOES-16 satellite,

https://weather.cod.edu/satrad/?parms=subregional-Florida-15-24-1-100-1&checked=map&colorbar=undefined

And the hurricane watch net is active

https://www.hwn.org/
The Net is Active on 14.325 MHz & 7.268 MHz

Avoid unnecessary traffic on those 2 frequencies.

This thing is shaping up to be a real monster….

On Facebook, you follow the Hurricane Watch Net here…

https://www.facebook.com/HurricaneWatchNet/

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Aug 25

Updated at 1230 hours on 8/25/2017

Bexar County is currently under a Flash Flood Watch and Tropical Storm Warning. Hurricane Harvey has been upgraded to Category 2 and still expected to become a Category 3, making landfall between Corpus Christi and Port O’Connor this evening. A life-threatening and catastrophic heavy rainfall event is expected east of I-35 and I-37. Small shifts in the forecast track of Harvey, and where it stalls this weekend, could result in very large differences in rainfall totals.

Evacuations
200 Gembler Road is the reception center for every evacuee, regardless of their mode of transportation.

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Aug 24

Ham radio operators in Texas, mostly in the affected area and out towards San Antonio and Austin where shelters might be set up, or charging their batteries for their handheld radios and getting their radio gear ready for possible deployment.

In the San Antonio area, the Bexar County ARES group will be coordinating all ham communication deployments at the city counry emergency operations center and the public shelters likely to be set up by the city of San Antonio and the American Red Cross. No shelters were open as of the time I wrote this post. (Aug 24, 2017 at 2100 hours)

Ruth Lewis is the counry EOC for the ham operations and will be working closely with the local city, county, and state officials.

Listen to the 147.18 repeater for manpower updates and the 146.94 repeater for local Skywarn operations as the storm hits town on Saturday.

If the mega shelters are opened in San Antonio, it will probably be for a few days through early next week until they can safely return back to the coast in the flooded areas.

The highways coming from the coast, especially Highway IH-37 from Corpus Christi, is going to have extremely heavy traffic.

I have not yet heard of the state activating the hurricane plan which would turn the various highways into a one-way direction coming from the coast up to San Antonio.

I will post more information as it becomes available to us.

There is no need to self deploy yourself at this time. We need to make sure there’s a place for you to help the cause, rather than causing the problem.

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Jun 20

 

Field Day 2017 is nigh upon us! June 24-25th. We will be operating for the full 24 hours, 1300 hours Saturday thru 1300 hours on Sunday. Members will be arriving earlier, around 0930 hours, to do some permitted preliminary setup and arrange for logistics.

All SARC members are encouraged to participate in Field Day. Yes, you can bring all of your own equipment, but you don’t have to bring all of your equipment or even any equipment.

We welcome visitors of any type. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t a club member or a non ham operator. Everybody is welcomed.

Our location will be at Shavano Park’s City Hall, outside in the parking lot.   The address is 900 SaddleTree Ct, Shavano Park, just off of NW Military Drive, north of De Zavala Rd, and inside Loop 1604.

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Oct 6

Pondering Thoughts

Revisiting a old published article!  Just because it is still relevant!

A recent conversation/situation made me think about some things. In my day job as a Diesel Truck/Heavy Equipment Technician, I drive a Dodge 3/4 ton truck with a service/tool bed on it. There are 3 compartments on each side with various shelving and such.

My tools are compartmentalized for the most part, with the tools I use the most in the center drivers side, mostly for lighter duty work of various complexities.  The front box on the drivers side are my heavier duty sockets, rackets, and wrenches. Also my various sprays and cleaners.  The rear drivers side box are pry bars, breaker bars, hammers, and large crescent and pipe wrenches.  In the boxes on the other side are separated by air tools, electrical and diagnostic tools, oils, air hoses, and of course one that is packed with various items left over and pack ratted for odd reasons that come in really handy sometimes.

Anyway, one evening on the way home, had to make a pit stop at Home Depot, so I locked the compartments in case someone decided they needed my tools worse than I did.

The next morning, the boss called kind of early. We had a regular customers truck broke down on I-10 and I had to get there quick to replace some air lines. Out the door I dash, without conducting my usual key, phone & wallet check before leaving the driveway.

KeyringsI get to the location of the broken down truck and checked out the situation. I knew the needed parts were already enroute, as the driver had done a good job of describing the issue. Went to get the correct wrenches for the job and ….  crud, the doors are locked on the boxes and the keys …. well, they were on the nightstand at home.

It was too far back to the house to get the keys, the parts driver is already enroute and a couple of miles away, and I do not have the correct tools. Out comes the Leatherman, as I know the front compartment lock can easily be jimmied. Remember, this is the compartment with the heavy duty stuff.

Just so happens for some reason a 7/8″ wrench was in there and a pair of channel locks. Guess they were tossed in there from a rush to get packed up and head home one day. And my Leatherman of course.

After a little longer than it should have taken, the job was done, the truck was on the road, and I was cutting back roads to the house to get the missing keys, as my next job site was not far from home.

A truck was loaded with several thousands of dollars in tools, and the right ones were not within reach, but the job got done.

In our lives as Emergency and Public Service communicators we find ourselves sometimes without the right tools for the job, but we have others that will work with a little bit of thought.

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Jun 16
W2IK LADDER LINE BACK PACK ANTENNA
     GREAT FOR CAMPING OR EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS
              
BOB HEJL – W2IK
EVER WISH YOU HAD A VERY SIMPLE, LIGHT WEIGHT HAM RADIO ANTENNA THAT COULD BE STUFFED IN YOUR BACKPACK AND DOES NOT NEED A TUNER? HERE IS A SIMPLE DESIGN THAT I BUILT MANY YEARS AGO AND FOUND IT TO BE VERY USEFUL WHILE CAMPING OR FOR EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS. IT’S GREAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE ABILITY TO TAKE ALONG MY “IK-STIC 2″ANTENNA (TO BUILD THAT ANTENNA, SEE ANOTHER POSTING ON THIS SITE.
WHEN YOU ARE CAMPING, YOU HAVE TO MAKE COMPROMISES. THE SAME IS TRUE ABOUT CAMPINGWITH HAM RADIO. USUALLY YOU’LL BE OPERATING ON 20 METERS IN THE DAY AND 40 METERS AT NIGHT. THAT BEING SAID, I DEVISED A VERY SIMPLE ANTENNA IN A SINGLE FORM THAT WILL COVER BOTH BANDS WITHOUT THE NEED FOR A TUNER.
TO BUILD THIS ANTENNA YOU WILL NEED
50 FEET OF 450 – 600 OHM LADDER LINE (NOT TWIN LEAD)
2 THREE INCH PIECES OF 1/2 INCH PVC TUBING
ONE CENTER CONNECTOR (DIPOLE TYPE-WIRE TO SO-239 CONNECTOR)
UNROLL THE COIL OF LADDER LINE AND CUT THE LADDER LINE IN HALF SO YOU HAVE TWO LENGTHS EXACTLY 25 FEET LONG.   EACH LENGTH BECOMES A SIDE OF YOUR DIPOLE SYSTEM. AT THE EVERY END OF EACH WIRE, STRIP OFF THE INSULATION EXPOSING ABOUT 4 INCHES OF BARE WIRE. ON ONE SIDE OF EACH LADDER LINE TWIST THE BARE WIRES TOGETHER AND SOLDER ONE END OF EACH LADDER LINE TO THE WIRES ON THE CENTER CONNECTOR.
 (SEE PICTURE BELOW)
AT THE OTHER END OF EACH OF THE LENGTHS OF LADDER LINE, TAKE ONE PIECE OF 1/2 INCH PVCTUBE AND SLIDE THE WIRES THROUGH 1/4 INCH HOLE DRILLED NEAR ONE END OF THE PVC TUBE. PULL THE PVC AROUND SO YOU CAN CONNECT THE WIRES TO EACH OTHER AND SOLDER THEM TOGETHER.
(SEE PHOTO OF THE ONE OF THE TWO END INSULATORS BELOW)
DRILL ANOTHER 1/4 INCH HOLE ON THE OTHER END OF THE PVC TUBE SO YOU CAN HANG THE DIPOLE SYSTEM UP USING NYLON CORD.
                           THE SPECIAL CUT
NOW JUST ONE MORE THING TO DO. IN ORDER TO MAKE THIS A 40 AND 20 METER ANTENNA, YOU NEED TO MEASURE 16.4 FEET FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE CENTER CONNECTOR AND ON ONE WIRE OF EACH SIDE OF THE LADDER LINE YOU WILL CLIP OUT A 1/4 INCH SECTION OF WIRE. IF POSSIBLE, CLIP THE SECTION OUT WHERE THERE IS A SEPARATING PIECE OF THE LADDER LINE WEBBING SO THE ANTENNA WILL BE PHYSICALLY MORE STABLE.
 THIS WILL LEAVE YOU WITH TWO ANTENNAS IN ONE SYSTEM. ONE ANTENNA’S TOTAL DIPOLE LENGTH IS 32.8 FEET (16.4 FEET ON EACH DIPOLE LEG) OR A 20 METER DIPOLE, AND THE OTHER IS THE 40 METER DIPOLE AS THE WIRE IN LADDER LINE YOU DIDN’T CLIP WILL NOW RUN THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF EACH SIDE, CONTINUE AROUND THE END INSULATORS AND CONTINUE IN A HAIRPIN  RUN AROUND TO THE OTHER (LOWER) SIDE OF THE LADDER LINE ON THAT SAME SIDE MAKING A LENGTH OF ABOUT 66.8 FEET TOTAL OR 33.4 FEET ON EACH LEG (LESS THAN THE MATH OF JUST ADDING AND SUBTRACTING BECAUSE YOU LOST LENGTH WHEN YOU SOLDERED THE WIRES THAT ARE IN THE END CONNECTORS) THIS IS FINE FOR A 40 METER DIPOLE.
 THERE IS JUST A LITTLE INTERACTION WITH THE TWO ANTENNAS SO CLOSE TOGETHER. IF YOU WISH TO BE REALLY FUSSY, YOU MAY WANT TO DO THE WIRE CLIP ACTION AND CHECK THE TUNING USING AN ANTENNA ANALYZER. IF THIS IS THE CASE, DO NOT CLIP OUT A 1/4 INCH PIECE YET, JUST CLIP THE WIRE, MEASURE THE SWR WITH THE ANTENNA HUNG AND MAKE ANY CORRECTIONS (DO THIS BYRESOLDERING THE CUT YOU MADE AND MAKE ANOTHER CUT DEPENDING UPON THE ANTENNA’SRESONANT FREQUENCY). ALTHOUGH THIS ANTENNA IS NOT AS EFFICIENT ON 40 METERS AS A DIPOLESTRUNG OUT INSTEAD OF FOLDED, I HAVE USED THIS ANTENNA ON MANY OUTINGS WITH GREATRESULTS AND IT IS MORE CONVIENT TO PUT UP OR STORE. YOU CAN EASILY COIL IT UP AND STORE INYOUR BACK PACK. IT CAN BE PUT UP AS A DIPOLE, SLOPER OR INVERTED “V”. MAKE SURE YOU HAVENON-CONDUCTING CORD TO HANG IT UP. AND BY THE WAY, SINCE THE 40 METER SECTION LOOPSAROUND, ALL YOU NEED IS 52 FEET BETWEEN TREES TO HANG THIS ANTENNA AS A DIPOLE!!!
LADDER LINE ANTENNA
COILED UP FOR STORING IN ABACK PACK SO IT CAN BE USEDWHILE HIKING OR CAMPING
ALL DESIGNS COPYRIGHTED
BY W2IK – BOB HEJL
MY NOT BE USED WITHOUT
AUTHOR CREDIT

 

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