McARC Field – Nic Report – DeHanis, TX

100_2653On Saturday, October 10th, I made the not so short trip west on Hwy 90 to the town of DeHanis, Texas, looking for a bunch of crazy guys called ham radio operators who decided to hold a combination “field day” and “picnic” in the middle of the highway.   

Medina County Amateur Radio Club has a small (when compared to some SA clubs) but very active core group of ham radio operators, supporting 2 repeaters about 30-40 miles west of San Antonio.  One repeater is in Castroville, the other a few more miles west near Hondo.   They provide emergency communications support to their communities, plus public service communications for events like bike-a-thons, etc.

100_2640Bob K5AUW had invited me and other hams to come visit Medina County ARC’s “field-nic” event that was to be held 10am-3pm this date.  The weather was beautiful, no rain this day, slightly windy with cool temps down in the mid to upper 50’s.  The rain happened the day before and day after their event, so perhaps we ought to ask for their help when scheduling ham events in the future. 🙂

I arrived to find about a dozen folks and a very friendly dog (whom apparently likes to eat potato chips) gathered around one of the pavilions at a TxDot Rest Area staged between the east and west bound lanes of Hwy 90.  Ray N5VRE and his wife had provided the hotdogs, chips, sodas, water, and all the accessories for a picnic.   100_2633

This location is one of the newer, more modern rest areas built by TxDot in recent years, and is the designated evacuation staging point for the county.  Most were local hams, but a few had driven in from San Antonio like I did, and one later dropped in from Bandera. 

Bob K5AUW had set up a couple of his portable antennas, commercially made for HF, and folks were making contacts on 20 meters via PSK31 and voice all over the world.    When I arrived, they had “discovered” the Arizona QSL Party frequencies, or at least a group of hams from all over the country actively working that contest.    One of the non-ham visitors present, was the Mayor of Castroville who had been invited by the club to come find out more about what McARC could do for his city in times of emergencies.   He appeared interested by the radios and conversations.

Those of you who remember, know that this area has been hit hard multiple times  in past years by tornadoes which had destroyed their airports, buildings and homes.  It’s almost as if they were up in Kansas in tornado alley instead of down here in Texas so close to San Antonio.  Having McARC’s communications resources available during floods and tornadoes has been proven to be, and will likely continue to be, a big help to their area communities.

Here are a few photos that I took during my visit…


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