SA Ham KE6LGE Is Now SA Taxi Driver #32

KE6LGE Al Fields Driving Taxi #32

KE6LGE Al Fields Driving Taxi #32 in San Antonio

Al Fields, KE6LGE, member of the Hill Country REACT Team, has taken his people & radio skills to a new height!

Those of us who worked the Tour de Cure these past couple of years, have grown familiar to hearing his melodious voice on the air as net control on the ham radio.     Now, you hardly see him at ham radio  events or meetings, because he’s busy taking folks from point A to point B and then to point C, or back again.  

He’s become an ambassador to San Antonio, picking up rides from the SA Airport, or bringing them in from outlying towns and cities.  Al now drives for Yellow Cab, in a brand new Toyota Sienna mini-van, yellow of course.

Al, who is a former law enforcement officer from both here in San Antonio and Southern California, runs what is called a “micro-node” transmitter from his Taxi, connected to IRLP.  He uses his Motorola 1250 HT to access the micro-node or local repeaters when not driving passengers around.  Al is running on the simplex UHF frequency, 445.500, with no pl tone, but you need to be within 50′ of his taxi (moving target) or connect to another IRLP node to reach him.

Al still operates a fixed base IRLP node at his house, over near Marshall High School on Eckert Road, using the same simplex frequency 445.500, but with a PL tone of 100 required for access. 

Al is running a Cradlepoint Wi-Fi portable router with a Verizon 3G USB modem for Internet access, and that provides his micro-node with IRLP connection, plus his riders can get free wi-fi Internet while riding his taxi.    Al says he has had up to 4 laptops connected at one time during one longer trip he took riders on.  Of course, his iPhone and iPad are always connected to it as well.

He just texted me to say his micro-node could also be accessed via 2 meter, but since he was connecting it only to a dummy load antenna, he didn’t have city wide coverage.  You have to be within 50 feet of his taxi to get in on ham radio or the free wi-fi connection.  We did of course try to convert him over to using CLEAR’s 4G service, but he said Verizon’s 3G service was fast enough for what he was doing.

Al normally works his taxi service up to 12 hrs a day, 7 days a week. We’re not sure when he gets any sleep, but you can understand why he’s been a bit scarce at regular club meetings or minor events.  If he’s not driving, he’s not making any money and his taxi is still running a daily cost for him.  But we met him Friday at the Bubble Bath Carwash on Babcock Road, near Eckerd Rd, and took his photo to help illustrate this article.

If you want a Ham Taxi in San Antonio, call 222-2222 and ask for Taxi #32, Al Fields, or just call Al direct  (not via  ham radio please) by calling or texting 210-355-6431.  Al can provide you with his IRLP node number if you want to talk on the air to him when he’s not actively transporting passengers.


4 Responses

  1. Craig Williams W6CAW Says:

    Keep in mind if California had not self destructed we would still have Al here. We miss him in San Diego.

  2. Hans Ehlert Says:

    You can run, but you can’t hide

  3. Louis Says:

    Geesh, I knew there was a reason I did not drive inside 1604. hehe, Al is on the road! Congrats Al, hope all is going well for ya! Maybe I should try that gig!

  4. mo Says:

    u go boy friend. when we come to visit, if we fly i’ll xpect cold beverages and barbeq in my ride.

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