Aug 19

La Vernia Wild West Hammerfest Bicycle Ride

September 13, 2014 – La Vernia, Texas

The La Vernia Wild West Hammerfest Bicycle Ride welcomes visitors to our beautiful little country community while encouraging the sport and enjoyment of cycling. Join hundreds of avid cyclists and experience the gently rolling hills and peaceful back road beauty while riding in the La Vernia Wild West Hammerfest.  This route is located just east of San Antonio and can be reached easily by taking Rigsby Road (Hwy 87) east from Loop 410, on the east side of San Antonio.

La Vernia Wild West Hammerfest Bicycle Ride

The La Vernia Wild West Hammerfest is open to riders of all ages and abilities and is hosted by the Greater La Vernia Chamber of Commerce.

Our rides are 34, 53 and 65 miles plus a 10-mile Family Ride and a free Kiddie Ride. This is a fully-supported cycling event with rest stops and SAGS. A portion of all proceeds will benefit the La Vernia Veterans Memorial Project.

Ham Radio operators are needed to provide communications support at break points, start/finish line, Turtle and SAG support.  This event is no longer associated with the CFF group which had temporarily taken over the operation of this ride.  We’re back to the original group who was much easier to deal with during the organization and operation of the event.

Royce Taylor KA5OHJ is coordinating the Ham Radio communications for this year’s event.   Please contact Royce at ka5ohj1@juno.com or by calling him at 210-707-8125 to get more information and to volunteer.

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Aug 19

Call for Volunteers!

On January 18, 2015, Sunday of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend,  Carroll is kicking it up a notch with the Buena Suerte 50 Mile / Quick Silver 30 K Ultra Run in the Big Bend Ranch State Park. Some of the single tracks, creek beds, and unmaintained sections of the course in the Big Bend Ranch make the Course Roads of the National Park look like super highways for the runners.

If you enjoy the desert and Big Bend area of West Texas. If you enjoy the  challenge of camping out in the wilderness in winter time. If you can afford several days of vacation in January. Maybe you would like to visit the  historic and naturally scenic Big Bend Ranch State Park.  Located between Lajitas and Presidio where Ranching and Mining were once the  driving forces of economy in the area. The Big Bend Ranch State Park is a wonderfully preserved area of the Big Bend Border Land covering over 300,000 acres.

For 6 of the last 9 years, Carroll Voss kf5kqa, of Overland Race Management, has organized and directed Ultra Run foot race events in Big Bend National Park. It has been very popular with the runners and an enjoyable outing for the support volunteers. The Big Bend Amateur Radio Club has organized the communications for the event and the San Antonio Area HAMs have assisted  with a good number of HAM volunteers.

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Aug 18

16th Annual South Texas Hamfest 2014

November 7 – 8, Aransas Pass, Texas

Hello Friends and Crew!!

 

The Hamfest normally being held in Corpus Christi, hosted by the South Texas Amateur Radio Club has stepped it up quite a few very large notches!  It is well beyond our normal, “club event – Hamfest”, and is now a much larger entity !!

 

This year, we are in a new facility just north of Corpus Christ in Aransas Pass, Texas.

Aransas Pass Civic Center 

700 West Wheeler Avenue

Aransas Pass, Texas 78335

 

Our new location offers us over 8,000 square feet, over 100+ tables, a conference room and room to grow should we suddenly require it.

 

Along with the usual hosting of new vendors, flea market, tailgating, VE test session and forums, we are offering a Friday Night Antenna Build, an extensive offering of door prizes, a Silent Auction with consignments accepted, (maybe a Saturday Night gathering event somewhere) and a Sunday Tour of the USS Lexington !!

 

And for the hams with Young Ladies by their side, we will also have some offerings, along with all the activities along the South Texas Coast, YOUR VACATION DESTINATION !!

 

Visit the http://southtexashamfest.org details and schedules.

 

Check back often as we are working quickly to get everything listed on the site, as there is more to this event than meets the eye.

 

We are in a much, much larger location this year!!!

 

This Hamfest will be the biggest yet in South Texas. We have over 8000 square feet of Exhibit Space and over 100+ tables available !!

 

Admission: Advance Registration $ 8 includes 2 door prize tickets

 

- Closes October 26th – Don’t miss out!!

 

  • Entry Tickets available at Door $10 includes 1 Door Prize Ticket
  • Kids 17 and under Free (no door prize ticket)
  • Antenna Build $ 5 Entry
  • Tables (8ft) $ 10 each (does not include entry)
  • Commercial Spaces $10 each -1 table included
  • Tailgating $ 5 per space (Truck with Trailer is two spaces)
  • Raffle Tickets for Grand Prizes $ 1.00 each
  • NEW FOR THIS YEAR : SILENT AUCTION !!

 

Talk-In: 146.820 -107.2

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Jul 11

Fellow hams:

My name is John Ralston, K0RVB, Net manager for the San Antonio Area Rainfall Net. At the risk of sounding dramatic, I send you the following official communication.

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that Sunday, July 13th, 2014, will be the last day for the rainfall net.  This decision did not come easily, was not made quickly and involved a great deal of communication with the National Weather Service and board members of the net’s sponsor, the San Antonio Radio Club.

nwscocorahsThe decision to end the net was based solely on our data presentation to the NWS and how they receive their main data stream for daily rainfall amounts. Their main source of receiving daily, timely rainfall data is from CoCoRaHs, a web based reporting model, giving the NWS real time data on a 24 hr model from 8a to 8a.

I encourage each of you to sign up with CoCoRaHs, at http://www.cocorahs.org/ if you have not already done so. Our rainfall reports can still be utilized by the NWS by reporting through the website.

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Jul 4

fcc-transThe FCC is requesting to raise the Amateur Service vanity call sign regulatory fee from its current $16.10 to $21.60 for the 10-year license term. The $5.50 increase would be the largest vanity fee hike in many years. The proposal is contained in a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), “Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2014; Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2013; and Procedures for Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees,” which appeared in The Federal Register on July 3.

The FCC reported there were 11,500 “payment units” in FY 2014. The Commission said the vanity program generated $230,000 in FY 2013 revenue, and it estimated that it would collect nearly $248,000 in FY 2014.

Interested parties have 30 days to comment on the NPRM. Changes in the vanity call sign fee typically take effect in late August or early September

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Jun 24

Howdy!

I’d like to personally invite you to attend the 48th Annual Central States VHF Conference.

If you’ve ever wondered about what it takes to get on the VHF/UHF and Microwave bands, this is an excellent conference to attend. You’ll want to attend our VHF-101 introductory class. This year’s conference theme is QRO, or making high power on the VHF and up bands. We have an impressive list of speakers supporting this topic and many other topics including oscillator design, antenna construction, station design and construction.

We’ve poked, prodded and twisted arms to get THREE unique speakers this year:

  •  - Gerald Youngblood, K5SDR, from FlexRadio Systems presents an analysis of system noise and its effect on station performance at the Friday luncheon
  • - Jim Klitzing, W6PQL, from Klitzing Electronics will discuss component selection for projects at the Saturday luncheon
  • - Our banquet speaker is Jimmy Treybig, W6JKV. Jimmy has done over SEVENTY six and two-meter DXpeditions to over 50 countries. He’ll be sharing his perspectives on family and DXpeditions.

The conference will feature noise figure and gain measurement, sun noise measurement, prizes, a rover-row and dish-bowl, a swap fest and an excellent lineup of vendors.

The family program starts off on Thursday evening with a chartered boat tour including a meet-and-greet with a catered BBQ dinner and an opportunity to watch one of the largest colonies of Mexican Free-Tailed bats emerge for their evening dinner run. Even though you live here in Austin, you may not have had an opportunity to take one of these boat trips and having done one last year, I must say they are a lot of fun and not to be missed! Please note: the boat trip is filling up fast so if you are interested in this trip, register ASAP!

On Friday, the ladies program ventures out to Fredericksburg for shopping, wine tasting and to soak up the culture and then on Saturday on to the Natural Bridge Caverns for a tour of the underground caves and on to the San Marcos Premium Outlets for more shopping.

The RMG team has worked hard to make sure you and your family will have a blast at the conference. But we know that even with all the fun and education we’ve lined up, the big draw is you: other hams from in and out of the area travel to this conference to meet up with others that are doing unique things in the VHF world and they want to get an opportunity to talk with you about your exciting projects and plans. Please join us for the fun! To find out all the details on everything I’ve mentioned, visit the link below:

http://www.csvhfs.org/2014conference

Then, register today for the conference:
http://www.csvhfs.org/2014conference/2014Registration.html

It’s important to register early so we can have adequate transportation for the family events.

JULY 2nd is the deadline to get conference discounted hotel rooms.
http://www.csvhfs.org/2014conference/lodging.html

If you have any questions, please feel free to drop us an email and we’ll get right back to you (austin2014@n5ac.com).

73′s and see you in Austin!
Steve Hicks, N5AC
2014 CSVHFS President

Be sure to join us at the 48th Annual CSVHF Conference on July 24-27 in Austin, TX. Visit www.csvhfs.org for more information.

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Jun 11

Field Day is coming up soon, on June 28-29th, so here are a few thoughts (and facts) as you plan your group’s operation.

A FEW TIPS FOR ANY FIELD DAY OPERATION – I’ve posted some of this before but I think they should be repeated. (I’ve updated them a bit for 2014) 1. When setting up antennas within close proximity: If you are using wire antennas such as dipoles, and they run parallel to each other there will be interference on your HF operating bands in the form of hash so arrange them at right angles to each other and at slightly different heights.

If you use wire antennas such as dipoles, try to stay away from trap dipoles and use full length antennas instead. You may also wish to run your dipoles in different configurations such as have one as an “inverted V” and another as a sloper, etc. An antenna cut to the exact band you are using will decrease interference to and from other bands.

Do not compromise by using trap or “all band” antennas. (The only efficient “all band antennas” are a log periodic and a “fan dipole” NOT a “folded dipole” or others that claim they use “balancing resistors” as this only wastes RF energy in the form of heat.) With others you may make a few contacts, but they are junk and will cause harmonic radiation. Do not fall for any ads claiming “miracle antennas”.

Don’t waste your watts! Dedicated operating needs the right antenna. Wasted energy on trap antennas (some of your RF energy is used up in the form of heat) and that equals an inefficient radiator, especially as you go lower in frequency. On HF, try not to use vertical antennas as they receive too much man-made noise from sources such as generators, street lamps, etc.

Using a Yagi style antenna for Field Day may look impressive, but be careful that the “focused energy” doesn’t interfere with other operations. Know as well, that transmitting focused energy may be all well and good, but it, in receiving signals it can also make your station “deaf” from directions so you may have to waste time turning the beam…. is it worth it? —–  READ ON, THERE’S LOTS MORE INFO! —-

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May 26

skywarn_noaa_trainedHere is a link to a movie trailer I made from video and photos of my Skywarn Spotting Activities over the past year.

The movie, music and titling was all done on my iPhone 5 using iMovie… it’s simple easy to make you just drag and drop the files you want. it creates the audio, transitions and titling for you.

This version has been updated to remove reference to a specific local ham club and local ARES group at their request.

I hope you enjoy watching it, as much as we did making it.

Matthew Rottman K5NON
MPR Photography
Bicycling for the Heck Blog

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May 23

NEW FUSION DIGITAL REPEATER SYSTEM IS NOW ON THE AIR – 443.025 PL 82.5
by Greg Lewis, N5XO

This repeater will replace the current UHF repeater (on same frequency) running at the American Red Cross HQ on East Houston Street & Commerce, near IH-10, on the east side of San Antonio, Texas.

GREAT news is that a 2 Meter VHF version of the Fusion System is planned for mid-summer 2014 “on the air” date.

Yaesu’s entry into the Digital Market is fantastic. Fusion is every thing that D-Star is not. The best part is the repeater supports both Analog, Wide Digital {fantastic audio} Narrow Voice and The Fusion repeater will auto switch between modes allowing all parties to communicate.  Data. Full GPS tracking and very soon it will be linked to a national Fusion Network.

Yaesu_DR-1_Digital_Repeater

We recommend that you research online for more information on Yaesu’s new Fusion radio system.

Important Operating Notes:

  • The Repeater is currently running low power until we can replace the Duplexers. Our current duplexers were limited in power, N5XO have the replacement duplexers and will try to tune them and get them on the air ASAP allowing us to turn the repeater to full power.
  • Because this repeater operates Analog and Digital, we recommend Analog users set not only the PL Tone of 82.5 but your Squelch tone as well to 82.5  This will eliminate RF HASH.

IF YOU HAVE ONE OF THE NEW YAESU DIGITAL RADIO’S

  • FT-400DR Mobile rig
  • FT1-DR HT

Hop on over to our upgrading Repeater and give your rig a work out.

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May 23

Beaumont_ARC_Balloon_Launch_LogoThe Beaumont Amateur Radio Club will be launching another High Altitude Near Space Balloon on Saturday, May 31, 2014 around 8am.  

Actual launch time will very, depending on launch preparations and weather conditions that morning.

Launch site will be the Beaumont Municipal Airport, 455 Keith Road at Hwy 90 (College Street), Beaumont, Texas

Pay Load Includes:

  • APRS/GPS positioning/locating for altitude, direction, distance and speed. Can watch this info live via RF or from www.aprs.fi.  Call sign for the balloon will be W5RIN-8.   Here is a direct link.. http://aprs.fi/#!mt=roadmap&z=11&call=a%2FW5RIN-8&timerange=3600&tail=3600
  • Telemetry to monitor Package Temperature, Ambient Temperature, Battery Voltage
  • HAM Radio Live Feed TV Camera (Slow scan TV?)
  • HAM Radio Cross Band Repeater:
    • Uplink to Balloon: 446.000 MHz
    • Down Link from Balloon: 146.565 MHz

More information about past balloon launches by the Beaumont Amateur Radio Club can be found online at http://www.qsl.net/w5rin/

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