Dec 28

Every day is a good day to send CW, but January 1 is reserved for Straight Key Night. Enjoy CW as it has been sent and enjoyed since the earliest days of Amateur Radio. This 24-hour event is not a contest; rather it is a day dedicated to celebrating our CW heritage. Participants are encouraged to get on the air and simply make enjoyable, conversational CW QSOs. The use of a straight key to send CW is preferred. Beginners are encouraged to be a part of this event. Go as slow or as fast as you wish. Mistakes do not count! NO ONE will make fun of you, BUT, you will have fun! There are no points scored and all who participate are winners.
Straight Key Night is held every January 1 from 0000 UTC through 2359 UTC. All authorized Amateur frequencies, but activity has traditionally been centered on the HF bands. For contest information contact
Bob – W2IK
Dec 25

On January 23rd at 1600 UTC, W5BOG, the Bexar Operators Group, will go on the road (operating ROVER) during the 2011 ARRL January VHF SweepStakes. We will attempt to cover a few rare grid squares during this operation: EM00, RT 41 North Of Leakey, DL99, RT 55 South of Rocksprings, EL 08, La Pryor, DL98, West of La Pryor on RT 57, and DM90 at Rocksprings with a quick stop at EL09 at the “look out” North of Leakey. (Grid square operation in the following order but subject to change especially if we get any pileups) We will be operating on both 6 meter (horz. loop) and 2 meter (horz. beam) SSB.:  EL09 (1600 utc), EM00 (1730 utc), DM90 (1930 utc), DL99 (2100 utc), DL98 (2300 utc),  and EL08 (0030 utc).  Anyone who wishes to join us may do so by emailing:   See what it’s like to operate vhf rover and hand out QSOs from rare grid squares.

Sep 23

This weekend, join hundreds of hams as they work all the counties in Texas during the annual TEXAS QSO PARY. Check out:  for details, rules and very valuable resource pages. This year, W2IK will join a long list of operators in working as a mobile station, transversing counties to gain points and give out county QSO’s. Check in the resource pages to see who will be operating in each county. W2IK/M will be “running” mobile from: Bexar,  Wilson,  Karnes, Live Oak, Atascosa, McMullen, LaSalle, Dimmit, Maverick, Kinney, Uvalde, Zavala and Frio counties in that order. 

He will be operating in the 40 and 20 meter bands and only using SSB. Remember…. each contact from a mobile can count as a new multiplier. Have fun. Get those counties in your logbook. Also see: “Little Contests For Little Guns” at:

Jun 5
UPDATE : The Bexar Operators Group (W5BOG) has decided to operate from two locations during this event rather than be a rover station. On Saturday, we will be operating from the rest area on RT 37, in the southbound area, about 15 miles north of the town of Three Rivers. Anyone is welcome to join us. Look for the antennas. We will be operating on 6 meters, 2 meters and maybe 70CM all on SSB. Our grid square will be: EL08VP – ALSO: On Sunday we will operate from the very rare grid square: DL 99XF.
The ARRL June VHF QSO Party Rules

1.Object: To work as many amateur stations in as many different 2 degrees by 1 degree grid squares as possible using authorized frequencies above 50 MHz. Foreign stations work W/VE amateurs only.  

2. Date and Contest Period: The second full weekend in June. Begins 1800 UTC Saturday, ends 0300 UTC Monday (June 12-14, 2010).

May 22
Emergency Communications Team Competition 
No, not a tug of war!
When: September 5, 2010
Where: South Texas park. Park to be announced before the competition to pre-registered teams.
Teams: Teams, made up of 4 people each, will compete to see which team can set up an operational communications (Jump Team) site and make 5 HF contacts in the least amount of time and in the proper manner.
Competition: Teams would be required to properly:

Erect a 6 man sleeping tent and a “toilet tent” (this includes ground tarp and rain tarp.)

Erect an operations area (canopy) with chairs and tables and radio gear.
Erect a food prep canopy with tables, chairs, stove, cooking supplies.
Erect one 40 meter “Inverted V” antenna with coax back to the operations area with proper hazard flagging.
May 8

June VHF QSO Party
 for details. In July of last year, we traveled to several counties during the CQ VHF Contest stopping to operate from 4 grid squares south and east of Bexar County. see: San Antonio Hams » Blog Archive » CQ VHF Contest 2009 W5BOG – Diary   If anyone is interested in joining me for this event, or would like to operate their own station during this contest along with me, feel free to email me at:

W5BOG, the Bexar Operators Group, will once again be going “rover” this time during the ARRL June VHF QSO Party, the second full weekend in June as a warm up for “ARRL Field Day”. See
May 6

No, not a magic trick or a hockey play, W2IK recently scored a “hat trick” by having top scores in three 2010 state QSO Party contests.

He scored tops in the country in the New Mexico QSO Party as an out-of-New Mexico mobile station, tops in the country in the Louisiana QSO Party event as a fixed, phone, out-of-state station and in the Idaho QSO Party had the top score from Texas, and may be tops in the country when the final scores are posted after the 25th of May.

 See the blog about  San Antonio Hams » Blog Archive » Little Contests For “Little Guns”  to see the basic operating techniques he used.

Mar 18

If you’ve read an earlier blog I posted: San Antonio Hams » Blog Archive » Little Contests For “Little Guns” , I mentioned about studying both the distance away from your anticipated contacts and propagation characteristics. When I worked both the New Mexico QSO Party and the Louisiana QSO Party, I determined my best course of action was to stay on the lower bands, concentrating on 40 meters until way after sunset when I switched to collect a few Qs on 80 meters and then back to 40.

However, this philosophy would not work with the Idaho QSO Party which I intended to compete in. Again, I’d be a low power, single op in this endeavor and being so far away from the state I wanted to work, I’d written off being awarded top operator from out of the state of Idaho. Being so far away from Idaho, I needed to rethink how I’d operate. Attempting to use propagation on my side, and in the time the contest would be starting, I decided that my best bet would be to start out on 15 meters which is always a good bet when working stations 1000+ miles away. My back up band would, of course, be 20 meters.

Mar 6

 The WPX contest is based on an award offered by CQ Magazine for working all prefixes. Held on the last weekend of March (SSB) and May (CW), the contest draws thousands of entries from around the world.

This is a great chance to get lots of “new ones” in your log and have fun while doing so. You don’t need to be an expert to join in and you will be competing on a level playing field as there are many categories to compete in such as low power with a simple antenna, etc.  Go to their website: to learn more about the contest and the operating categories.

It’s a good “tune up” towards “Field Day” as it will help sharpen your ears in picking out weak stations or stations amid interference.

I will be operating as a single operator SSB and later on CW and hope you can work me!

Bob W2IK

Mar 3

Below are a series of pictures from the Bexar Operators Group 160 meter CQ WW SSB contest. 

We traveled to the Calliham Unit of Choke Canyon State Park, about 15 miles west of the town of Three Rivers, which is about 80 miles south of San Antonio.

After checking in, we went to our screened shelter (cabin) only to find that they all had been completely refurbished since our last visit. All the cabins had large air conditioners and two beds! No more blowing up our queen sized air mattress or lugging our window AC unit in the summer.




As you can see, they allow pets, and our two dogs quickly staked out a bed they wanted. I began the task of setting up the radio gear while my XYL, KD5YTN, Krissy, completed her chores of getting the rest of the camping gear out of the truck and assembled.  

We had a problem and had a tough choice to make. It was a very windy day on Friday, with gusts over 25 mph. We decided to wait and see if the wind would die down, as was predicted for Saturday. So, we erected a 160 meter dipole antenna to work the first half of the contest. I would have preferred a loop, but we had neither the real estate nor the time to plot one out and set it up.
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