San Antonio Hams » About

About

This is a QST from
Lee Besing, N5NTG

I’ve had the SanAntonioHams web site up now, at no charge to the Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) community, since the summer of 2003.  Some years, the calendar of events is more accurate and kept more up to date than others. 

I added this Blog area, using the newer technology to expand the ability of this site to interact with the Ham Radio community here in Central / South Texas.  I’m looking at some more new features, such as a classified ad section, perhaps via the Blog, or perhaps using some other method.

I’m always willing to consider offers of help from other responsible ham operators in the San Antonio, Texas area, so if you know something about web master skills, or even want to start learning, I’ll be happy to talk with you.

If you have questions about ham radio in general, one of the two dozen plus local ham clubs that I’ve got linked from the site, feel free to contact me direct via email or by phone # 210-771-7075.

If you want to become one of our contributing editors for this site, by posting to the Blog, please contact me using the above info.

About me:

Lee N5NTG

I’ve been a ham only since 1989, but was a licensed CB Radio operator starting back in the early 70’s, having gotten the radio bug while in Boy Scouts during High School when I lived up in Evansville, Indiana.

Back in 1972, I went on a 2-day backpack camping trip with our Boy Scout Troop one weekend, and one scout in our patrol (named Lewis “Chip Locke”) had a new gadget called a “CB Walkie-Talkie” and lots of spare batteries to put in it.  As we hiked along, heading toward the park where we would set up our tents and do our “scout thing” for the weekend, we listened and talked on that W-T to other CB’ers for hours at a time, sacrificing batteries to the “cause”. 

Bitten by the Bug N5NTGI was amazed at how far we could talk (back then) on a simple 3-4 watt radio and a very long telescopic antenna (that kept getting caught in the branches when we took a trail thru the woods).  I also discovered the principle that batteries lasted 10 times longer when you were doing more listening than talking. (:

When I returned home from the weekend’s camping trip, I pestered my folks about getting a CB radio for our family.  My dad told me about this CB group called REACT that his secretary at work belonged to.  I got more info about Vanderburgh County REACT Team, and got placed on the waiting list for membership.  (Remember, this is early 70’s when CB was king, and clubs had licenses restricting them to a certain number of members, such as 100, 200, etc.).

Lafayette Comstat CB Base RadioI applied for and the FCC issued CB radio license KGO-6806, which back then cost about $20/yr, and then I found out about a guy whose company was expecting to go on strike soon, and wanted to sell his Lafayette Comstat 35 base radio (23 channel, tube type) and antenna, plus a mobile radio (23 channel) for $100.  (See photo for what this old radio looked like back then.)  $100 was a lot of money back in 1972, I think I had been earning about $3/hr working at a local grocery store about that time period.

I bought his whole CB Radio setup, which included a 50′ push-up pole, put it up at the side of the house, ran to coax thru the dining room window and turned on the radio.  After it warmed up, I was on the air talking up to a couple hundred of miles on only 4 watts to friendly folks like “Hush Puppy”.

Thru the Vanderburgh County REACT Team, we participated in emergency response communications in support of the American Red Cross, and helped at dozens of larger public service events.  Apparently at that time, the local ham radio community up there was not very active at that time in emergency / public service communications, focusing (I suppose) on repeaters and DX.  It was REACT that the Red Cross turned to, to get support during their emergency responses.  We drove the Red Cross vehicles, we were always their first responders to any inccident.

I knew nothing about ham radio back then, and stayed “CB only” until the mid 80’s when I “discovered” a UHF radio license called General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS).  REACT Teams around the USA were switching to GMRS and putting up repeaters, which increased our local coverage for radios and was much more reliable over that area than CB.  Also CB had deteriorated in both content and coverage as more folks “discovered” it (thanks to TV shows and movies) and the band conditions worsened.

In 1984 I moved to San Antonio, Texas, where I joined the local REACT Team, and started working public service events, and some minor emergency response events (thru the Red Cross again).  I found out that the Ham Community in San Antonio was much more active in the emergency communications arena than it had been in southern Indiana, and discovered that if I didn’t have a ham radio license, my options to participate were very limited.

One evening, another REACT memebr came with me to attend a local ham club meeting at the Red Cross, wanting to talk about the possibility of an agreement (SOU, MOU, whatever) between that club and our REACT Team.  (I was team president at the time.)  I got a reception that I referred to as “the cold shoulder” approach, being basically told to return after I had obtained “a real radio license”. 

I found out that same club was holding a 6 week ham novice license class in the near future, and signed up for it.  I passed the ham class in 1989 to earn my Novice license, passing both the 5wpm CW and written exam.   KB5HXZ was my first call, which I kept for perhaps 2 weeks after gettinng it in the mail (the FCC didn’t have the Internet to use back then) and never hardly used it on the air.   I studied hard for the Technician and passed that test a few weeks later at the next available VE test session.  That’s when I earned my “N5NTG” call sign in early 1990, again waiting for the FCC to mail me the license after the exam results were processed.

To this day, I still remain active with the local REACT Team, currently serving as the Vice President of Hill Country REACT Team, the Secretary for the Texas State REACT Council, and the corporate Secretary for the REACT International Board of Directors.  I’ve been an officer of the council since about 1994, director / officer for RI since elected to be a Director in 1997.

I got married in 2000 to Pat (AD5BR) who wasn’t a radio operator at the time, but about a week after our first date, I had her listening to a GMRS HT radio while we (REACT) worked a parade up near Canyon Lake.   A year later she earned her Extra Class ham radio license, challenging me to earn my General Class license.  So now, I have an “extra wife”, something that most hams can’t claim they have.  Pat runs the VE team for San Antonio Radio Club, and is well known and respected through out the ham community.

I’m an active member of several local ham clubs in the San Antonio metro area, including:

I have provided web hosting to the following clubs / groups for many years:

(So now you know where much of the information used in this site, comes from.)

Being active in public service and emergency communications is what I enjoy doing.  I’m not big into DX’ing or just rag chewing on the repeaters. In fact, currently my mobile radio is usually turned off unless I need it for some event or emergency, preferring to use my cell phone for most of my routine communications.

I hope I haven’t bored you too much with this casual attempt at a radio bio, but someone suggested that I needed to post a bit more about myself in this area, so I did.

73 de Lee N5NTG

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