Mar 12

As Covid restrictions lighten up, things are beginning to return more back to normal in terms of public service events. All of the events in the month of April are still canceled to the best of my knowledge.

The next big event is going to be the National MS society’s bike ride. Instead of being a two-day event, it’s only going to be a one day event. They will have the usual starting points in Houston, but they’re going to have a starting point in La Grange Texas as well. The destination will be Kyle Stadium in Bryan college Station at the Texas A&M University.

Ham Radio Operators & other volunteers will be used to staff SAG vans, from the San Antonio and Austin area, for the La Grange start.

Volunteers from the Houston area will take care of the three locations in Houston. The three locations in Houston and the one location from LaGrange will eventually merge on the route up closer to Bryan college Station. Houston will not be coming to LaGrange.

There will be new stringent requirements for those driving and riding in SAG vans due to Covid of course. Precautions will include only putting up to three or four riders and a van at a time, having the riders put their own bicycles in the back of the van, instead of the navigator or driver handling them. Everybody being required to wear masks while inside the vehicle. Plus of course the driver navigator having to sanitize the seats and door handles every time they drop off riders.

Ham Radio Operators are also needed for breakpoints. Break points have their own set of special precautions to enforce social distancing and wearing mass when around the riders or other volunteers.

Volunteers driving SAG vans will still pick up their vehicles the Friday before and return them on Sunday after the event is over. My understanding is that San Antonio and Austin will still pick theirs up at our usual locations.

One major change that you can anticipate, is there will probably not be any paid hotel rooms for Friday night or Saturday. Since there is only a one day event and 20/20 was pretty much dead fundraising wise, the association has had to greatly reduce their staff and cut corners to save money. They do not have the budget that is normally available for this ride. Volunteers may have to pay for their own rooms, or make it one hell of a long day. I’m planning to pay for my own hotel room. They’re supposed to be getting this information about some discounts available in the area. Since the number of riders will be down tremendously and LaGrange won’t be swamped with 10 or 15,000 people, the rooms ought to be a lot more reasonable than in previous years.

I am the lead contact person for San Antonio volunteers. If you’ve not been getting the emails from Mike Firenza, and you still want to get involved knowing what I’ve just told you, please contact me. My contact information is the bottom of this website. I do not answer phone calls early in the morning. Email would be the best method, followed by text messaging.

As of April 7th, I’m still needing 4 more SAG Teams (Driver & Navigator) for the La Grange start on May 1st. Please contact me via email,, or text message at 210-771-7075. Thanks.

Mar 17

The National MS Society is closely monitoring the latest developments of the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic and we are taking proactive steps to protect people affected by MS, our event participants and the broader MS community.

Based on recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we will not host the 2020 edition of Bike MS: Texas MS 150 in person. (Scheduled date had been first wknd of May)

Instead, we will continue to fuel life-changing breakthroughs for people affected by MS through an exciting virtual fundraising experience.

Additionally, we will also announce a special one-day cycling celebration for this fall. .

Apr 6

Our regular volunteers already know to get their radios and batteries ready for operations when the month of April hits.  Actually many of the Ham Volunteers with Hill Country REACT never stopped being ready for events.   They worked events in January and March already, out in the Bandera, Texas, area at the Hill Country State Natural Park.  One event was the Bandera 100k Cross Country running event (24 hours) in January, followed by the Big Bend 50k out west. On March 5-6th was a horse ride endurance event (2 day) back in the Hill Country State Natural Area (state park).  There may have been other events in between that I missed.  Look for event posts by the REACT Team president, Louis Upton N5STX, elsewhere in this blog.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.  We have lots of volunteer events happening between now and Field Day weekend.  This is just a short list of known events being held involving San Antonio and the surrounding area hams.  If someone wants to build up a list of contest, I’ll be happy to work with you on posting those dates as well.

April 15-17th – BPMS150 National MS Bicycle Ride (2 days).  At present time, 5 teams of SAG vans will depart on Friday, April 15th from San Antonio, to arrive that night in Katy, TX, outside of Houston, to start off the biggest bicycle tour in Texas the next morning.  The San Antonio contingent will be joined by other SAG Teams from Austin and these two groups will be swallowed up by all of the others coming from the  Houston area.  At last count, I think there were around 45 SAG Vans, 12 SAG Box Truck / Bus combos (Rental Moving Van with a School bus tagging along).  More info will be posted after the event.  Volunteer list is closed for this event due to the logistics, but rooms are provided for both overnights, plus the fuel doesn’t require out of pocket expense either. Hams use both 2 meter and 440 frequencies, plus APRS, to communicate.  Non-hams use provided MURS radios. Mobile radios with dual band preferred for usage.

April 21st – Battle of the Bands Festival – Hams are used to coordinate the bands and VIP arrivals.  See posting here.

April 24th – Fiesta Wildflower 100 Bicycle Tour – Hams are used to coordinate the rest stops along the route. Motorcycle Safety Marshals, some are hams, will be  used to spot problems or rider issues along the route.  See posting here.

May 7th – Area 20 Special Olympics Spring Games – This really isn’t a big ham radio event, since we mostly coordinate the commercial hand held radios at the event, but occasionally we’ve had W2IK out here with a special events station as well.  This is a one day event, running from around 7am thru 4pm, held at a local San Antonio area sports stadium.   Contact Lee Besing N5NTG at or via phone 210-771-7075 (voice/text).

May 7th – Bulverde’s 17th annual Run For The Hills race – Hams from Hill Country REACT with the help of other area hams, provide coordination for this 10k event which is held north of San Antonio, off Hwy 281 and FM1863, in Bulverde Texas. In addition to spotter positions along the route, volunteers also help coordinate the parking lot area to avoid confusion in the wee hours before sunrise.  This event is a Saturday morning event, over by noon.  Contact Charlie Land KC5NKK at 512-796-7565 (voice/text) or

May 14th – San Antonio American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure ride.  – Ham are used to coordinate the rest stops along the route. Motorcycle Safety Marshals, some are hams, will be  used to spot problems or rider issues along the route.  See posting here.

May 29th – American Hero 25k Relay Run – Hams are used to monitor the turn around points on the looped race course that never leaves the  property for the University. Hours are 7am-1pm with free t-shirts provided for the volunteers. Contact Lee Besing N5NTG at or via phone 210-771-7075 (voice/text).

June 11-13th – Texas Water Safari.  Hams are used to provide communications from the start line on Saturday until the finish line on Wednesday, but most positions near the front are done much quicker.  Last year over 100 canoe teams  competed for this 100 hour, 262 mile river race (yes, it’s a timed race) from San Marcos, down thru Victoria and on to Sea Drift, on the Texas Gulf Coast.  This event is run 24 hours a day until the last canoe team has been accounted for, but each check point along the river has different operation hours.   Both voice and digital communication modes are used to pass the in/out team information to the next check point down the river.  Ham operators play a critical port in the safety of this event.   Volunteers are coordinated on the front end check points  of the race course by Erik Olson WB5ZJQ, while other check points are coordinated by Harvey Babb WB5MCT.  Contact Erik at 210-213-4098 (voice/text during non-business hours please) or  Contact Harvey at 361-676-0356 or


Apr 15

Spring is here and so is our public service event season.  We’ve got lots of events coming up, with something for everybody. No experience needed, just lots of enthusiasm.

April 18-19th – BPMS150 ride with 13,000 bicycle riders.  Too late to sign up for this, but 7 of the 40 SAG vans will be coming from San Antonio over to Katy, TX for the start this Saturday morning.  We’ll be picking up our vans in San Antonio at the CAPPS Van Rental location near the SA International Airport on Friday, then driving over to Katy later that day to stay overnight in our FREE hotel room.  Saturday night will also have us staying in a FREE hotel room.  Very little cash out of our pocket. All fuel paid for, hotel paid for, 2 free t-shirts per person, free foot and lots of friendship and fun.

These next  two events are the ones that we really need your help for, the Fiesta Wildflower 100 and the Tour de Cure ride.

April 26th (Sunday) – Fiesta Wildflower 100 Bicycle Tour.  Still needing few more hams to help staff the 9 rest stops along the route, but no SAG drivers are needed.  Last year 1,500 riders were registered.  Start and finish will be at Morgan’s Wonderland, near Wurzbach Parkway and Thousand Oaks, on the northeast side.  Event benefits Morgan’s Wonderland and it is an officially  recognized Fiesta event.  Last year the organizer gave us a $25 Valero fuel card (1 per rest stop) to help compensate for the cost of helping out.

May 9th (Saturday) – American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure Bicycle Tour.  We need hams for 9 break points, 10 SAG vans, plus a few other assignments.  We will have brand new routes and a new starting location this year due to the City of Selma passing an anti-bicycle ordinance.   The event has been relocated to the south side of San Antonio, at the Texas A&M University campus on South Loop 410, near Zarzamora.  Routes go east toward Floresville and the longer routes loop down to Pleasanton, TX, over to Poteet and back up to the University finish line.  Atascosa County Hams will be helping with the southern part of the longer route and we welcome their support!

If you want to volunteer, or need more info, please  contact Lee Besing N5NTG at or call/text him at 210-771-7075 (I work late hours, so no early morning calls please). Please leave a message with your name, number, callsign and events you want to help with.

Feb 11

MS 150 SAG drivers – thanks again for all that you have done to support MS and ham radio!!  In case you didn’t notice from the calendar and the beautiful day out yesterday, Spring is approaching!!

BPMS150 2015 LogoThe  BP MS 150, traveling from Houston to Austin, is April 18 & 19.  If you like BIG, EXCITING events, this one is the king of events.  MS will arrange for you to pick up your SAG van in Houston, San Antonio or Austin (your choice) on Friday.

MS will arrange a hotel room Friday night near the Addicks Park and Ride in Houston.  Then Saturday morning at 5:30 we meet and hit the road with 13,000 bicycle riders and about 50 SAG vans and buses.

We overnight in LaGrange Saturday night and MS will find us a place to sleep – usually a motel room, sometimes a bunk house at one of the camps there. MS will provide us a supper Saturday night and breakfast Sunday morning in LaGrange.  Plus all the bananas you can eat at the break points. 🙂 We finish around 6: 00 pm Sunday, go home, and turn in the van Sunday night or Monday morning.  And you will have many grateful riders as you help them along on the ride.

Having done this for many years, I can tell you it is a LOT of fun and is very rewarding.  You are part of an event that will raise over $20,000,000 for MS, the biggest bicycle fundraiser in the country. – Charlie KC5NKK

If you would be willing to consider this event, let me know and please contact Susan and Steve Shirk and get on their email distro.  If you haven’t worked with them before, you will be delighted at how well organized they are and how appreciative they are of your contribution.

Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 15

2014_BPMS150_LogoThis year the San Antonio area volunteers staffed 6, of the 35 SAG Vans, to help out during last weekend’s BPMS150.  Five of the six were ham radio operators. We had a couple other SAG Teams scheduled, but they unfortunately had to drop out for various reasons.

We picked up our vans at CAPPS Van Rental near the SA Airport, filled up the gas tanks at the nearby Valero, and headed to Houston after we got all of our equipment hooked up inside.

The event was extremely windy both days, but we did not get any rain until we reached Bastrop around noon. Fortunately the forecast for nasty weather (rain & temperature drops) did not materialize, so the riders only had to contend with that wind (gusting up to 30+ mph).

Here are the names & call signs (if applicable) of our 6 SAG Teams.

  • SAG 11 – Charlie KC5NKK & nephew Jason
  • SAG 12 – Lee N5NTG & David KD5MTJ
  • SAG 18 – Joe W5AUQ & grandson, Tristan
  • SAG 19 – Russ K5FJR and Duane
  • SAG 24 – Jeffery & Mary Anne N5MYN
  • SAG 27 – Mark & Barbara Brigance

Be sure to watch the video I just uploaded to

I put one typo in the headers to see if anyone was watching it! 🙂

Feb 6

Tighten up those seat belts, and start your SAG Van engines!

It’s that time again again for Ham Radio Operators to transplant their radios into large 15 passenger vans, or other vehicles, stick their magnetic mount antennas on the roof, turn on your amber light bars (optional, but handy to have), and start looking for those tired, but grateful, bicycle riders on the side of the road who need a lift to the nearest break point.

Riders might just be tired, they might be having mechanical issues with their bicycle, or they may have decided it was just to hot outside and wanted a ride in an air conditioned vehicle that might have some cool bottled water inside.  Or they just might like your smiling face!

BP150 Day 2 Start in LaGrangeApril 20th-21st is the BPMS150 ride from Houston to La Grange to Austin. 

Two days, 13,000 bicycle riders, 50+  SAG vans, 12+ SAG Trucks with a school bus following them around like a little lost puppy, 150 Motorcycle Safety Marshals (all ham operators), more than 300 ham radio operators working together on a network of linked repeaters that stretch from Houston to La Grange on Saturday, and Houston to Austin on Sunday.

The famous phrase “Houston, We have a problem” has happened before, and every time it does, the hams come thru with a timely solution.

Unfortunately with this many riders, there is always a higher chance of something going wrong, but with the ham radio coordinated medics and law enforcement, response time has never been faster!

Hams from the San Antonio metro area have helped support this ride for many years, and in return, hams from this ride have come to San Antonio in October to help us with our local MS150 ride as well.  This ride builds friendships on and off the radio.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 30

We are fortunate that the Ham Radio community has members willing to help with multiple other non-profit or public service type events through out the year. 

Here is a (not so) short list of the major 2013 events that hams from the San Antonio metro area can usually be found helping with. Contact links for future events are included, but contacts for past events aren’t included since it’s too late for this year.  If you know of an event that ought to be on this list, please contact the webmaster by email.

  • January 12-13 – Bandera 100k Endurance Run – coordinated by REACT
  • January 12 – San Antonio Radio Fiesta  Hamfest (Schertz)  – coordinated by SARC
  • January 19-21 – Big Bend 50 Run (Big Bend National Park)
  • March 2 – MS Walk  – coordinated by SARO – Contact N5MYN
  • March 2-3 – Heart of the Hills 36 hour Ride (HCSNA – Bandera) coordinated by REACT – Contact K5STX
  • April 19-20 – CASI Ladies State Championship Chili Cook-off (Seguin) coordinated by REACT – Contact K5STX
  • April 20-21 – Houston’s BP150 BikeMS (Houston – Austin) (2 days) – Contact N5NTG
  • April 25 – Fiesta Battle of the Bands –  coordinated by SARO – Contact N5MYN
  • April 28 – Wildflower 100 Bicycle Ride (1 day, San Antonio) – coordinated by REACT- Contact N5NTG
  • May 4 – Special Olympics Spring Games Region 21 coordinated by REACT  – Contact N5NTG
  • May 4 – Run for the Hills 5k Run (Bulverde) – coordinated by REACT– Contact K5STX
  • May 11 – ADA Tour de Cure Bicycle Ride (1 day, San Antonio) –  coordinated by REACT – Contact N5NTG
  • May 26 – 3rd Annual American  Hero 25k Run / Relay / Concert  – coordinated by REACT – Contact N5NTG
  • June 8 – Texas Water Safari (Canoe race from San Marcos – Gulf Coast) (5 days) – Top of route assignments coordinated by SARO– Contact WB5ZJQ
  • July 4 – Canyon Lake Fourth of July Parade (Startzville) coordinated by REACT – Contact K5STX
  • September 7 – Children’s Transplant Bicycle Ride (Helotes – Boerne) coordinated by REACT- Contact N5NTG
  • October 12-13 – BikeMS – Valero Alamo Ride to the River Bicycle Ride (2 days) – coordinated by SARO- Contact N5NTG
  • October 31 – Canyon Lake Halloween Event (Sattler) – coordinated by REACT – Contact N5NTG
  • November 2-3 – Tour de Gruene (New Braunfels / Canyon Lake) – – coordinated by GVARC – Contact K5GST
  • November 9 – Universal City Veterans Day Parade (date may change to Nov 2) coordinated by REACT – Contact N5NTG
  • November 17 – San Antonio Rock & Roll Marathon (date change updated 01/26/2013) – coordinated by AARO – Contact N5NTG
  • December 6-7 – National Skywarn Recognition Day (24 hrs, New Braunfels NWS Office)  – coordinated by NWS – Contact K5STX
  • December 14 – Canyon Lake Christmas Parade (Sattler, TX) – coordinated by REACT- Contact K5STX

For more info about the above list of public service events, or to volunteer for an event, please click on the CONTACT link for the specific event, or contact

We’ll work on getting all of these events, plus any others as they get listed, into the calendar on this website.  In the meantime, if you want to voluteer, don’t be bashful! It’s lots of fun, and a different way to make new ham radio friends!  If you know of an event that wasn’t listed here, but should be, please contact us to get it added into the calendar.

Apr 1

We just had a conversation with Steve & Susan Shirk, the force behind the scenes of the BPMS150 BikeMS event from Houston to Austin later this month.   They still have a few empty slots to fill, mostly SAG Van Drivers & Navigators.    Our training date for Central Texas Hams will be this next Saturday, April 7th, from 10am-Noon, followed by a “free lunch”, up in San Marcos.  Contact Lee Besing by phone 210-771-7075 or email if you want to volunteer before that meeting.  After that meeting, they will be unable to accept volunteers due to the need to run DMV and background checks (on drivers only) and to reserve rooms for overnight accomodations.

Hams who are planning to work this event, are asked to attend this training / orientation event to learn about the changes in this year’s route & rest stops.  Yup, changes are in the winds, especially after the wildfires up near Bastrop.

If you prefer a more stable assignment, i.e. a fixed location or roaming “communications only” assignment, we can arrange for that as well.  We’ll put you in contact with Mike Hardwick, N5VCX, who is the head pooh-bah for ham communications.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 13

Spring is in the air, and our calendar list of events is springing into action.  We’ll eventually get all of these posted to the actual calendar, but here is the quick and dirty listing of the next few major public service events where Hams are needed here in the Central / South Texas area.

FYI – This is our 500th article posted on San Antonio Hams!  Yay!

  • March 25th – Tall Texan Triathlon (Boerne), 1 day event.  Participants swim in Boerne City Lake, ride their bikes 56 miles (route thru Waring), and run 12 miles.  Hams needed at checkpoints / rest stops on the ride and run portion of the route, no need to get your radio wet in the lake.  Gordon Dial K5SUZ coordinating. Contact him by phone (only) at 210-410-9518. No email.
  • March 25th – Capitol 10K Race & Fun Run- 35th Anniversary!  35th Anniversary – Sunday, March 25, 2012. Jeff Schmidt, N5MNW, coordinating. Contact Jeff at
  • April 21-22nd – BPMS150 (Houston to Austin), 2 day event, arrive Friday night before to get free hotel room for SAG Hams.  Using dual band mobile radios (preferred) because some nets are on VHF (2 meter) and others on UHF.  Lee Besing, N5NTG, & Charlie Land, KC5NKK coordinating.  Contact Lee at 210-771-7075 or email, Contact Charlie at 512-796-7565 or email at
  • April 22nd – Wildflower 100 Bicycle Tour (San Antonio), 1 day event, start / end at Retama Park (IH-35 & 1604 area).  SAG Hams and Rest Stop Hams needed.  Gordon Dial K5SUZ coordinating.  Contact him by phone (only) at 210-410-9518.  No email.
  • May 5th – Central Texas Tour de Cure (Austin), 1 day event. Start / Finish at Travis Expo Center. 5 routes, many rest stop hams & SAG Hams needed, plus net control.  Using the Austin 146.94 repeater most likely.  Jeff Schmidt, N5MNW, coordinating.  Contact Jeff at or Lee at to volunteer.
  • May 19th – South Texas Tour de Cure (Boerne / San Antonio), 1 day event.  Start / Finish at Champion High School in Boerne, Texas.  5 routes, 8 rest stops, 8 SAG Hams (plus navigator), net control help, etc. Lee Besing, N5NTG, coordinating.  Contact Lee at to volunteer.
  • June 9-10th – Texas Water Safari, multi-day event, but San Antonio hams usually only handle Day 1, way into the night on some locations. for info.  Eric Olson, WB5ZJQ, coordinating.  Contact Eric by email at to volunteer. Packet Radio used to transmit canoe numbers to other stations down the river.   Some positions are short (closer to start line), and others are mosquito bait (late into the night).  This event can be lots of fun, sort of a mini-Field Day event, combined with a picnic. Every location is different.
  • June 23-24th – Field Day Weekend.  We’ll be posting locations for the various organized ham clubs in the upcoming weeks, and for the unorganized ones as well.

See more details below for the BPMS150 and Tour de Cure events…

Read the rest of this entry »


« Previous Entries