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 San Antonio Hams » Blog Archive » The Unusual Suspects is founded on the UNCLUB principle

The Unusual Suspects is founded on the UNCLUB principle

“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. 

Years later…..I once again got into this hobby…..and honestly have to say I have run into multiple mentors as my interest in the hobby has changed….Several local hams helped spark my interest in DXing again and HF operation…..later with a radio that had 6 meters on it along with HF, I purchased an antenna and fell in love with the king of under dog bands 6 meters. That interest put me into a chance meeting with J.D {N0IRS} and started me on a path of fascination with VHF/UHF and later SHF long haul operation….expanding my contacts with Marshall K5QE and Tom K5TRA.

I believe as I worked to learn more about VHF/UHF operating I have more than over whelmed these fine folks with questions.

Marshall K5QE is with out a doubt the most patient individual whom I have ever met and the PROFESSOR comes out of him when he explains something with more detail and dedication to insuring you learn than anyone I have ever met in my life. MY THANKS TO THESE THREE GENTLEMAN.

What is the point to all of this? Simply put……We all need Elemers, no matter how long we have been in the hobby, or how much we have or have not accomplished we are or should be learning every day that we enjoy this great hobby. Think about all the aspects of this hobby.

Wood working {not a part that most people think of when they think of ham radio, but shelving, desk, etc}, electronics, electrical, RF engineering, feed line, antennas, and of course simply put OPERATIONAL KNOWLEDGE AND HOW TO.

Different bands and different activities require different operating skills and knowledge. Not to mention different modes……just on 2 meters alone you have so many options that you can get dizzy just thinking about them….from multiple digital modes, meteor scatter, EME, Satellite, FM, FM Tropo, SSB “Weak Signal”, CW, etc.

For example most HAMS look at you like you are crazy when you tell them you can work multiple states, countries and 200 to 300 miles daily and with conditions 1,000 to 1,400 miles with ease on 2 meters, 1.25 Meters, 70cm, 33 cm, 23cm.

But the cold hard fact its that if you build a quality station…REPEATERS ARE NOT NEEDED, with a little attention to detail, a bit of time and energy invested….you can have a station that can communicate simplex 100 to 200 miles every day of the week. How do I know this? most of us in the Unusual Suspects and the HAMster group do it.

Most Unusual Suspects and most HAMsters have worked 8 states or more, and worked stations direct on 2 meters distances most people reserve for HF.

The point to this is that you should look to others hams who share common interest, one of the best places to find other HAMS who share common interest is with local clubs.

Most clubs have an area that they focus on…….and San Antonio and the region is blessed with many fine clubs.

I want to tell you about two of the finest UNCLUBS You will every find.

The Unusual Suspects Amateur Radio Group                                www.wx5us.us

The Unusual Suspects came together originally as a group to have enjoyable morning round robins as many of us drove to work, plus we had an interest in designing and building antennas.

Most of us love HF, Dxing and originally operated on a large local area repeater out of Sattler, TX 147.140. Unfortunately this repeater died a painful and slow death, we moved to another repeater and found that this repeater was unable to support our large level of activity. So we moved over to operating Simplex, boy were all of us in for a surprise. Like so many hams we found out our 2 meter simplex stations sucked.

Rather than move to a repeater….we started up with a motto of: “Real HAMS do not need no stinkin Repeaters” and we began learning all we could on antenna design, feed line quality, connector quality, etc and today I think it is safe to say that the average member of the Unusual Suspects has some of the finest 2 meter stations in the region and we have encourage and fired up Simplex groups around the state after so many others hearing us daily and talking to us daily on 146.520. Bastrop, Alice, Round Rock, Houston, Bryon College Station, Nixon, Waco and many more stations became part of our morning round table and many went on to become members of the Unusual Suspects.

As a group the Unusual Suspects enjoys HF operating, and we enjoy casual conversations. You will not find a better group of HAMS to mentor you on building a quality VHF/UHF FM Station.

The Unusual Suspects is founded on the UNCLUB principle, we do all of the events and activities you will find any Ham Radio Club performing, field days, DX-Peditions, taking part in Emergency Drills, Antenna tower construction, Mentoring new hams, along with a host of other activities and events. But what you will not find is formal meetings, Officers, elections, POLITICS, and dues.

While we operate Simplex as our primary operation for the past 8 years, we did own and operate one single 440 Repeater which we built just so we can say we did and to learn how to build a quality repeater system.

Over the past year, we have upgraded this repeater to System Fusion and taken what we have learned in building quality Simplex stations and applied it to our 70cm Repeater {443.025} Analog 82.5 and Digital is Open. What we have is a 440 repeater that has coverage and performance equal to most 2 meter repeaters.

NOW IN THE STRANGEST TWIST…. Many of us in the group have gotten bit by the Yaesu System Fusion Bug and not only does the Unusual Suspects have the honor or putting up the first System Fusion Repeater {March of 2014}, but we are fast building a Regional Network of Fusion Repeaters that will be linked into one large Fusion Network supporting Analog and Fusion communications  through out this region. We hope to have two more of the Repeaters on the air and operating covering N.W Bexar County and up through Comfort by the end of the year and a Repeater in Bandera covering most of the Bandera, Medina, Pipe Creek and Tarpley area.

As we move into the first of the year we will be adding a 4th Fusion Repeater in the New Braunfels area.

IF YOU HAVE AN INTEREST IN SIMPLEX OPERATING VHF/UHF Dxing or Yaesu System Fusion, then the Unusual Suspects might be the group for you. 

Please reach out to us on 146.520 Simplex or 443.025 with any questions or just to meet some of the friendliest folks in HAM RADIO.

You may E-Mail Greg N5XO at N5XO@144200.net

JOIN US ON OUR MONDAY EVENING NET:  146.520 SIMPLEX @ 7:PM MONDAY EVENINGS.

Check us out at www.wx5us.us

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