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.


Sep 6


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.

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)

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

Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 2

Major Hurricane Dorian Prompts Sustained Activations


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


Dec 24

The HAMster VHF/UHF Weak Signal Group

5th Annual Lunch & Learn + Swap Meet

February 2nd 2019 @ 8:am

American Red Cross: 3642 E Houston St, San Antonio, Tx

Technical Training, Spaghetti Luncheon, VE Testing plus swap meet

RAFFLE of Multiple prizes/Grand Prize Yaesu FT-920 with Desk Microphone


{Spaghetti Luncheon, Soda.Water — coffee in morning}

Swap meet Table setup – 7:15 am to 8:am

Event Schedule


Time: Rm #: Presenter: Event:_________________________________________

7:15 N/A N/A Check in and Raffle Ticket purchases

7:15 #4-5 KG5OMX Swap Meet Check in and table setup

8:am #1-2 N5XO Introduction to VHF/UHF Weak Signal & HAMster Group

9:am #1 N7LRY Quadrifilar Helix Antenna. A surprising performer

9:am # 2 WA5FRF Antennas and Propagation

9:am #3 N5XO Is your Coax Charging you a TAX?

10:30 #1 K5VH Antenna Basics and Design

10:30 #2 N7LRY Analyzer Tools to get you that last db

11:30-13:30 Lunch is served and SWAP MEET OPENS

13:30 #1 KC5ULU How to build a 2 meter 4 element quad for under $50

13:30 #2 KA2GZW Traffic Handing-How to create a message and send it

13:30 #3 K0MHC Introduction to VHF Roving

13:30 Meeting Rm VE TEAM VE Testing for New Hams & Upgrades


Raffle Grand Prizes

FT-920 100 Watt HF/6 Meter Radio with Desk Microphone

Yaesu HT, VX-5 with desk Charger

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.

Aug 30

(Karnes County) The Otto Kaiser Memorial Hospital in Kenedy, Texas, has contacted us asking for help in joining the 21st century of ham radio communications.   🙂   I put them in touch with the ARES leaders for that district (Karnes County) and some others.  Ongoing discussion is starting up to cover a NDMS drill on the morning of September 20th.   The problem is that there are only about 10 hams licensed in that immediate area, with 2 of them (husband / wife) being registered hams and over the road truck drivers.

The hospital has a Kenwood dual band TM-D700 mobile radio that they are in the process of moving to a new location within the hospital.  They also want to establish HF Packet / Winlink capabilities.  Help with designing the antenna system and equipment will likely be needed.  I’m presuming the hospital is willing to budget for the equipment, but you know that presuming can be dangerous at times.

The latest word that I received (yesterday) was that the hospital would like someone to teach a class for some of their hospital employees and area volunteers to create a new batch of hams.    Of course, using HF would require a ham license of at least General class.

If you would like to help, please email me at info@sanantoniohams.org with the words “Karnes County” in the subject line.  I’ll forward your information to John Taylor KE5HAM (STXARES District 10 DEC)  in Victoria.

Jun 15
W2IK’s “IK-STIC 2”
The “IK-STIC 2” is a vertical, all band, antenna that is over 25 feet tall yet weighs under 5 pounds !Using a tuner it can easily cover the amateur radio HF bands from 40 – 10 Meters.  No unsightly wires as the radiating wire is inside the telescoping mast!
ONE SD-20 Telescoping mast (WorldRadio sells these)
ONE  6 foot section of 1 1/2 inch PVC Pipe
50 feet of 20 or 22 gauge STRANDED, INSULATED Wire
ONE SO-239 Barrel Connector with washers and Nuts
ONE male and female push on connectors (see photos)
TWO Large (6 inch) Hose clamps (see photos)
Electrical Tape, Epoxy, Duct tape and asst. hardware.



Take the SD-20 telescoping mast and remove the bottom cap by unscrewing it.Looking in you will see the sections nestled in place. Remove the rubber plugfrom the next to thinnest section so now all the sections are “open”.  Carefullytake a 21 foot piece of 20 gauge, stranded, insulated wire and tie a very smallknot at the end. Take the knotted end and insert it into the smallest section ofthe telescoping mast and using a straight wire made from a coat hanger, shovethe stranded wire into the section as far as it can go. Then take a small amountof epoxy and glue the wire into place so it can’t be removed from the top section.SLOWLY telescope out the entire mast, making sure that the wire slides insideeasily. When the mast is fully extended you will have almost 20 feet of wireinside. Leave about 5 inches after the mast is fully extended and cut the wire.This will leave a 5 inch “play” to connect the wire at the bottom. NowCAREFULLY drill a small hole in the rubber base of the mast pointing outSIDEWAYS.  Epoxy a push on connector into the hole. Solder another 4 inchpiece of that same stranded wire onto the connector on the INSIDE. On thebottom cap of the mast, drill a hole that will allow you to half way insert, andtightly secure, that SO-239 barrel connector.  Carefully epoxy it on the inside ofthe cap so it won’t loosen. Next, solder the long wire that is in the mast onto theinner part of the SO-239 connector.  Solder the wire from the push on terminal tothe outer section of the SO-239 connector.  Take the cap and give it about 7 COUNTER CLOCK WISE turns so the two wires are twisted. This way, when youscrew the cap on, the wires will untwist in the mast.  Tighten the end cap, but donot glue it.
Next take 25 feet of that same stranded wire and start to wrap it around the 11/2″ PVC pipe at a point 14 inches from one end. (This becomes the top end.) MAKE SURE YOU LEAVE 8 inches of “free wire” before you start the coil wrap.Slowly wind the wire around the PVC pipe creating a coil, leaving a spacing of 11/2 – 2 inches from each turn. As you wind it down the pipe, you may wish tosecure it every so often with electrical tape. The winding does not have to be exact, but keep it as evenly spaced as you can. One foot before the bottom,create a tight wrap of the wire, leaving no gaps on the turns. At the end, tape thewire to the PVC pipe. When you are done, wrap the entire coil in electrical tape so the coil stays in place. On the top end, solder a mating end of a push onconnector so it can plug into the mast’s side connector.
Wrap several turns of Duct Tape to the very top of the PVC mast. This will serveto offset the taper in the telescoping mast when it gets mounted to the PVC pipe.  Using two adjustable hose clamps, carefully mount the very bottom of thetelescoping mast to the top one foot of the PVC pipe. DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN. It takes very little compression to keep the mast in place. When you have done this, you can extend the mast out it’s entire 20 foot length. To keep the entire antenna up-right, slip it over a 4 foot section of appropriate thin wall steel tubing that has been pounded in the ground about one foot. The lower coiled section of the antenna on the PVC pipe will then be slightly “ground coupled”. This helps with the antenna’s operation on 30 and 40 meters.  Plug in the lower coil (The PVC pipe) into the male  connector on the side of the telescoping mast. The SO-239 connector is where you screw in your coax cable to your radio. Make a few windings of whatever coax you are using at the connector point and tape them tightly together to prevent RF from returning on the coax shield. Connect the other end of the cable to your tuner and you are all set to go !!.
IMPORTANT: When you attach your coax to the antenna, make sure that the cable is dressed away and at as close to a right angle from the coil base for at least 5 feet and NOT down along it’s windings. Doing this will help prevent RF emitted from the coil from being radiated back on the coax shield and also will prevent “RF bites” at your radio point….ouch!  The pictures are merely for display and do not indicate the coax properly run.This step is very important in it’s proper operation. Keep the coax away from the coil assembly!
 To dis-assemble the antenna, just remove the coax, loosen the hose clamps and take down the mast after unplugging the PVC coil plug.  CAREFULLY retract the mast and the internal wire should slowly coil down into the masting. DO NOT FORCE THE SECTIONS. A few gentle jiggles and a twist or two will do the trick. After several uses it will be easier to retract the sections as the internal wire will have “memorized” how to coil up. You can even store the telescoping mast in the PVC pipe by making a small slot at the bottom of the PVC tube toaccommodate the connector that is on the side of the telescoping mast .   Theantenna is very simple, light and works well when tuned properly. My first contact was on 15 meters when I spoke to Siberia. I have used it on all the bands it covers and have also made an adapter so it mounts on the ball hitch of my truck. This is great when you are parked and can’t make a hole in the ground. (NOTE: If you wish to make an “IK-STIC 2” that covers 160-10 meters with a tuner, use a 7 FOOT PVC PIPE  instead of the 6 ft. PVC and coil  35 feet of wire around it using 1 inch spacing between wraps and two feet near the end increase the spacing until you run out of the wire and the end of the coil wrap is four – sixinches from the bottom of the PVC pipe. Any longer coil winding that this willmake it difficult to tune the antenna on 10 meters.) (Use the rest of the antennabuilding dimensions as outlined above.)
Epoxy two 1 1/4 inch thin wall PVC sleeves to the lower section of the telescoping mast so they will prevent the telescoping mast from beingcrushed by “over exuberant” tightening of the two hose clamps that hold the telescoping section to the other (coil) section.
REMEMBER…. it’s called the “IK-STIC 2”  
Designed by Bob Hejl – W2IK
This antenna has been used at Field Day operations, SpecialEvents Stations, JOTA Events and County Activations with greatresults.


Nov 4

Bexar County ARES has scheduled another Field Examination session for the ARRL Emergency Communications course to be held on December 1, at 5pm at the San Antonio Red Cross in classroom 3. The address is 3642 E Houston St. 78219.

So, if anyone would like to study up and take the test let us know.

Ref: http://www.arrl.org/emergency-communications-training

So far we have 1 ham interested. The requirements are: Identification (FCC license not required), there is the standard ARRL fee of $15, cash, and you must provide the dates of your completion of the FEMA course prerequisites, ICS-100 and 700.

73 Ray 210-845-2288

Sep 14

The Fall SET is scheduled to coincide with MARS Field Day which is October 10th, 2015 from 8am to 12pm. The scenario this time around will involve shelter communications. MARS would very much like to see some ICS213 voice traffic so in conjunction with our regular fair of WINLINK ICS213 traffic, we’ll incorporate voice traffic as well. We’ll be sending out an SET Document beforehand.

Frank N5SSH

May 24

The Skywarn Operators at the Austin-San Antonio NWO are in the process of updating our files and call-up list. Recently we have found the EC’s, Skywarn Coordinators and Net Controls have changed drastically in the various counties we serve.
It has also been found that several repeaters used in the past to contact and monitor Skywarn operations have changed or are no longer functioning.
If someone from each county could please e-mail me the contact information, frequencies and other pertinent information for ARES and Skywarn it would be greatly appreciated.
Also be advised that we have created a Facebook page and Twitter account to help get the word out. Feel free to like or follow to stay up to date with our operations.
Thank You, Louis – K5STX
e-mail to wx5exw at gmail dot com


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