James L. Hensarling WW5XX SK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good friend and long-time club member James WW5XX passed away April 6, 2022. He was 78. James died from complications of Covid.

The official obituary was published by the Rushing-Estes Knowles Funeral home in Uvalde at https://www.rekfunerals.com/obituary/James-Hensarling

However, I was told that obituary contains a few minor errors; so I’ll quote James’s self-written bio here, as shown on QRZ.com:

HELLO IN THERE – Jim  WW5XX

My dad was a Ham, and he got me off to an early start.  His call was W5LBF (sk), and along with being a pilot and then a Flight Instructor in the Army Air Force in WWII, he also attended radio school and was licensed in the late 40’s.  He retired as a Lt. Colonel.  I obtained my Novice Ticket in 1956 with a call of  KN5HKI.  My first station consisted of a HQ-129X receiver, and the transmitter was a converted ARC-5.  My dad helped me build the power supply out of surplus parts, and I know it must have weighed at least 100 pounds.  My next transmitter was a Heathkit Apache which I built with my dad’s supervision.

In 1957 I upgraded to Conditional Class with the call of K5HKI, but I let my license expire in the 60’s.   In the late 70’s got another Novice ticket so I could operate CW.   In 1982, I scheduled an appointment with the FCC at San Antonio and took the General Class test and Advanced Class test the same day.  My new call was KD5KP.  My Vanity Call WW5XX was obtained in 1997, then later that year I upgraded to Extra Class. 

My present setup includes the Yaesu FTdx3000,  Kenwood TS-590SG, Yaesu FT-817ND, Yaesu FT-1000D, and a Kenwood TM-281A for 2 meters.  Antennas are dipoles, and an end fed half wave at 20 feet due to restrictions.  Also just installed a 6 Meter M2 half wave loop, and I am looking forward to learning a little about the Magic band.

My favorite operating mode is CW, however, during the low sunspot cycle I began to operate FT8 and FT4 digital modes, as well as RTTY.   I don’t discount these modes because of their lack of ability to rag chew, but rather view them for their ability to immediately show where your signal may be ending up.  It is a fun way to check out those antennas. 

Now that I am retired, I am spending more time enjoying the hobby.   After graduating with a Degree in Finance and Economics in 1966,  I was a Secondary Education School Teacher, then spent 20 years in the mortgage lending business,  The last 20 years before retirement I was Owner with my two daughters of Garner Abstract and Land Company, a title insurance agency, researching real estate chains of title, and closing real estate residential, land and commercial transactions.

Some of my other interests include photography, hunting and fishing, exploring West Texas and Big Bend, driving my Nissan Maxima Sport through the Texas Hill Country, bird and game watching, and listening to music.

LoTW is my preferred way to confirm contacts, and I upload regularly.  I will also be glad to reply direct to your QSL.  

I am a member of the Coyote Amateur Radio Club in Uvalde, Texas.  See our club info under KN5S, or check out the web page at www.coyotearc.net .

So 73 for now, thanks for reading my bio, and stay safe out there.

ARRL Membership for 40 years

DXCC/Mixed   DXCC/Digital  

5BWAS   WAS Digital 40/30/20/17/15/12/10

WPX CW 350    WPX Digital 1000   WPX Mixed 1050

James was lovingly known by his childhood nickname “Skeak”by his family and his radio friends as “Jim”. He had been a member of the CARC for many years; but rarely showed up for the club meetings due to health issues. I got to know him quite well, after many personal visits. So I decided to share some information for those of you who might not know him that well.

One of the things that he showed me a few years ago is an article that was published in a 1982 article of CQ Magazine. I obtained a copy of that, shown here:

Copyright CQ Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a good thing he didn’t give up on the hobby!

And James was always improving and experimenting. In fact, a few months after that article was published he put a “for sale” ad in another 1982 edition of CQ Magazine, selling some of the antennas  he mentioned earlier that year:

Copyright CQ Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was thanks to the proceeds of his generous vintage Yaesu and Kenwood equipment donation that we were able to purchase the Yaesu antenna rotator and the Spiderbeam antenna on our tower. And that donation, even today, still allows us to “have fun building”. In a way, he may have been aware that this donation would live forever 🙂

After permanently relocating his radio equipment from Montell to Uvalde he was forced to scale down his antenna park. But that certainly didn’t discourage him! In fact, when he discovered FT8 a few years he became more active than ever, and started chasing all kinds of awards, whilst at the same time trying to find the perfect antenna to snag all that juicy DX. Barbara, his wife, allowed me to take a few photos of the award he proudly displayed on his shack wall:

 

Quite an accomplishment! And that’s just the ones displayed on his wall; he had several in a filing cabinet that were so old they had gotten a bit fragile to be on display. And the endorsements keep coming, as Barbara showed me an endorsement sticker for the 1,000 WPX Award, about a week or so after he passed.

James is also the only person to ever have made a QSO with us on 160 meters. And we sure had some good laughs about that. 😉

Barbara and James Hensarling

 

It is an honor and a privilege to have been your friend, James. Rest in peace. And I hope that the thief who robbed you of your last wish gets the Wouff Hong treatment, somehow.

(Erik – K5WW)

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Coyotes and Mustangs

I received an email from Steve VK5DOC last night. He shared the following:

Hello there From the Land Down Under,

We made contact on FT8 the other day, and I loved your club name 😊

This is my car In Australia 2020 GT Mustang.. With matching plates. I thought you may like to see it.

Anyway thanks for the QSO and 73s

Steve VK5DOC

Ain’s she a beauty!

 

Now what don’t we have one of these??? 🙂

Thanks, Steve, see you next time!

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We had fun again!

Building, repairing, replacing, fixing. It’s a joy to own a Spiderbeam.

Jason KS5TX came down on Friday and fixed the beam all by himself. On Saturday. Daylight helps.

“This doesn’t look right”, he said.

A busted Spiderbeam looks even more like a spider web.

Looks better! Just a few minor tweaks now.

Then this character arrived. Just in time to be too late.

But he did take a pic of the hero of the day making final adjustments.

We made the Spiderbeam great again! Again.

Done before supper. And we were able to have some real fun in the BARTG HF RTTY contest afterwards!

 

 

 

 

 

 

See you at the next break/fix call! 🙂

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Happy New Year

All the best wishes for 2022! Can we have one without Covid this time?

73,

Erik – K5WW

(your rusty old secretary)

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KN5S, now YouTube famous!

The mighty KS5TX sent a YouTube video link to the editor’s desk a few days ago. It’s a video made by HamRadioConcepts’ Eric KJ4YZI.

The video is a few years old; but in it he discusses where to find RTTY signals and attempts to explain some other basics.

The first half of the video starts out showing “a” station calling CQ in the SARTG RTTY contest of that year. See if you recognize that station’s call:

Thanks for the free “air” time, Eric 🙂

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Mister Loud!

After the recent replacement of the SpiderBeam Jason KS5TX just couldn’t resist to drive down to Uvalde and have some real fun in the Worked All Europe RTTY contest. “A bit late notice”, he said; but… I think he planned it as such to have the station all to himself. And good for him!

He got off to a bit of a slow start. Conditions on 15 and 20 meters weren’t really that good. Main reason though: someone had left the shack a mess the weekend before; so that cost him several hours…

But: once Jason hit 40 meters QSOs came rolling in at the speed of light! He got a truck load of contacts there, holding his own CQ frequency; and even logged some QTC. That, with all the noise on 40, is downright impressive!

So on he went, no doubt on a bit of a QSO rate high, working all the juicy DX and multipliers 🙂

Jason only had one day to play; and K5WW double-booked himself so he took over on Sunday. For 2 hours; his internal clock is still on summer time. Logged some more QSOs, mainly USA stations. Nothing big there.

It’s safe to say that 40 meter add-on works like a champ! With limited time available we didn’t work any new DXCCs; but looking at the DX cluster spots KN5S got spotted 3 times in 9 minutes on 40 meters.

 

 

Yes, with 100 Watts. Not too shabby!!

One of those spots was 2.1 kHz off; but that’s what you get with AFSK.

 

 

 

Thanks for spotting anyway, bud!

All in all: not too bad for a bit over 7 hours of playing. A total of 192 QSOs, score pending. And more QSOs on 40 than 15 and 20 combined, that’s promising!

 

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2021 JARTS RTTY contest post-battle report

So… that new Spiderbeam? Somebody had to test it. Properly! Only candidate: yours truly, rusty K5WW. Who absolutely hates RTTY contests 😉

But: as luck would have it, the weekend after the new Spiderbeam was installed was also the weekend of the annual Japan Amateur Radio Teleprinter Society’s (JARTS) contest.

It’s quite fun, actually. Operators exchange their ages, YLs get to obscure theirs by using “00” instead of their real age and multi-operator stations send “99”.

Time was a bit limited this weekend; but I put in about 6.5 hours of time, 3.5 on Saturday afternoon and 3 on Sunday afternoon:

 

In those 6.5 hours I made 253 (hopefully valid!) QSOs on 3 different bands: 15, 20 and 40.

 

 

 

 

 

At times things went quite fast!

 

I logged a total of 26 DXCCs, with the majority in the USA. Of course, this being a Japanese contest they were well-represented too, with 56 of them in the log:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As stated earlier: in this contest we send our ages in our report. The most common age this time was 67. Ouch, you old farts! Just kidding… 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congratulations to “old” friend Jerry W4UK (Flanders!), Mr. Wire Dipoles Only, who turned 87 years young this year, and to KE0NHQ who at 37 years “old” is the youngest in this KN5S log.

I only logged a few dozen stations on 40 meters, even though I wanted to test the 40 meter addon longer. That was due to time restrictions, not being able to test it properly after dark. The first conclusion was that the 40 meter dipole works quite well; but is a bit noisy. But that’s not all that surprising given it’s 60 feet above ground level.

The real test came later, after I got back home. I logged into the main station remotely, just to listen to 40 meters FT8. I saw 3DA0WW (no relation) pop up on 40, called them once, and immediately got a (good!) report back. Better yet: a few days later I discovered that the TS-590 was set to 25 Watts!

 

 

 

 

 

 

In short: everything works beautifully; and I can honestly say that the 40 meter dipole puts out a killer signal – compared to what we have been using in past years.

Let’s hope the weather goes easy on us for a few years 🙂

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2,588 days later. (sure, count them)

Way, way back in 2014 we installed our first HF beam antenna: the Heavy Duty 5 band version of the Spiderbeam designed by DF4SA – a guy with a wicked sense of humor.  We picked the Spiderbeam because of it’s features, price and because it would be a great club project. And it was, after 3 weekends of hard work – and fun.

Right off the bat, and 60 feet in the air, it performed admirably. So much so that we – almost – threw away every wire and vertical antenna we ever used. You can find the report on the construction and installation of that beam antenna by clicking here. (it’s a fairly long post; so if you’re a member of the “tldr” club… there’s medication for that).

It worked great, it really did. It even survived the lightning strike that destroyed the repeater antenna and the rotator and its controller in 2019. (not as long, no need to reach for your meds).

Unfortunately not too long after that we ran into another problem. Sky-high SWR on every band. We thought it was another lightning related issue (destroyed balun, maybe?); but it turns out that the problem was purely mechanical. After years of good service PL-259s can (and will) go bad. See this post from back in April of this year. And things worked beautiful again!

For about 3 days

Because: mother nature – at least the Texas version of her – has a wicked sense of humor too. As in: she loves destroying things, on occasion. Yes, barely 3 days after we fixed the problem a severe thunderstorm rolled through town and pretty much took the Spiderbeam apart. One of the fiberglass spreaders cracked at the joint as it got whipped around by the wind; then the whole thing sprung back like an old mattress spring and threw just about every antenna element on top of the repeater antenna’s radials. Nice, not 🙁

And when that happens, things look like this:

No, it’s not supposed to look like that…

Hot Spiderbeam mess, anyone?

Don’t click on the photos. They’ll get larger. And it’s horrendous, to be honest. It shouldn’t look like this.

After a lengthy discussion between Jason KS5TX and someone he calls The Director it was decided to not simply fix the antenna by replacing a few parts; but instead to replace it all with a brand new one. A wise decision, for sure, given the condition of the 7 year old fiberglass tubes and the extra weight the 40 meter dipole add-on would create.

And so it was written, so it was done. Always-generous Jason bought a new Spiderbeam kit, paid for the optional wire/rope assembly service, and yet another lift. So he arrived on Saturday with some interestingly familiar looking parts:

Awe crap. That stuff again???

Yeah… that stuff again…

Jason even got us an amazing helper in the form of an old/new friend, who goes by the name of Jeff.

Jason’s initial idea was to crank up the tower a few feet, disconnect the coaxes, loosen the rotator and trust bearing bolts, then lower the tower again while he held on to the antenna assembly so the whole thing would just slip out of the tower, secure it to the lift cage, and he’d be able to maneuver both antennas and the mast into the center of the marvelously level parking lot.

Good idea; but it didn’t work out that way. The 10 foot mast weights more than both antennas combined; and due to it being a bit of a windy day it was impossible (and a wee bit dangerous!) to go that route.

But: luckily someone parked a nice Clark forklift around the corner! With it, once again Jason was able to tilt over the tower, hold it in place; and with the help of Reno’s lift slide the mast and antennas out of the tower, then lower it to the ground for us to work on. Or… dispose of, if you will.

That thing is down! Taking a break in the shade.

Let’s ditch this stuff.

Yup, we ditched that stuff. After looking at the whole thing up close we discovered that the fiberglass spreaders clearly suffered a lot in the always “sunny” Texas weather. UV light can be a b1tch, especially to spreaders that are painted black.

UV damage to the spreaders.

New parking lot surface could use some help too…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey, Spiderbeam guys? Maybe next time make white spreaders? Just saying.

On the other hand: it’s amazing how much of the original materials survived just fine. The rubber O-rings, the rubber strips underneath the hose clamps, and the hose clamps themselves all looked brand-new, as if they were installed yesterday. There were no signs of (solar) wear on the antenna wires, the monofil wires, nor the stainless steel hardware. German engineering at its best!

We started building the new Spiderbeam soon after taking care of the old guy. That went quite good, thanks to Jason buying the “plug and play” version this time.

Done assembling the new beam. Shadows getting longer.

At this time we checked the antenna’s SWR with the analyzer. Everything looked good; but due to the proximity to the ground and all the metal vehicles in the parking lot the SWR was a bit high on all bands, especially on 40 meters.

Just to double check we fastened the antenna and mast to the lift’s operator cage, raised it as far as we could, and checked again. SWRs improved greatly on all bands.

Fully assembled, raising it for a “dry run”.

Quite a big larger, with the 40 meter dipole added.

Yup, it’s quite big with the 40 meter addition!

But we were satisfied with the results. So much so that the guys doing the heavy lifting were ready to stab it back onto the tower.  But that director guy advised against it; because it was getting close to dark and didn’t want to risk anything (or anyone) whilst working in the dark. So: Sunday, tower raising day.

That Director guy. Always taking a break. Comes with the chronic back pain, he said.

Sunday morning Jason triple-checked every nut, bolt, crimp and rope to make sure everything was secure, tight and straight. And before we put it back on the tower we made sure to put our name on it with the version number:

Or is it version 3.0 by now?

“KN5S 1.2” was born in April; but died 3 days later.

This is a close-up of 1 of 2 loading coils for the 40 meter dipole:

40 meter loading coil.

The Spiderbeam, now with its 40 meter addition, is quite a hefty beast. Even with the forklift and Reno’s lift it would be challenging to mount it back to the tower. Luckily Jason had yet another genius idea. He used an old HF vertical antenna, strapped it to the beam; and with the help of it Jason and Jeff were able to insert the mast back into the tower, trust bearing and rotator.

New Spiderbeam mounted. Repeater antenna is next…

 

 

 

Jason KS5TX mounting the repeater antenna again.

 

 

 

Repeater antenna back in place.

And with that we were ready to move the tower back into its “preferred position”: vertical!

I just love making videos of that. As they say in the “labor” department: one. more. push!

And another 10 minutes later, with Jeff doing a real workout on his biceps (that guy can swing!), our new and improved hotness was back up in the air!

HD 5 band Spiderbeam with 40 meter addon, ready to rock’n’roll. And boldly go where no one has ever gone before!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A quick test confirmed that the SWR was good on all bands and that we are once again ready to make some long haul QSOs. A few hundred digital QSOs later K5WW was able to confirm that even more. And it has survived the tail-end of depressed tropical storm Pamela already. You suck, Pam! 😉

Our sincere thanks to the Uvalde Memorial Hospital crew for not throwing away Jason’s custom-made forklift extensions! And our equally sincere thanks to Jeff; without him we couldn’t have done this in barely 2 afternoons!

Also: our even more-sincere apologies to James WW5XX, who – from now on – will have to use the attenuator buttons on his radios again. Sorry, bud. 🙂

And: our apologies as well to the winged creature that decided to build a nest in the tower while it was fully… nested. We hope to see you again.

Poor bird. We’re sorry…

Last but not least: our apologies as well to the Club President, who just bought a new truck, and we didn’t realize that would prevent him from helping us out.

Here’s to another half decade of killer signals! 😉

Oh, and yes: this time we did have fun building!

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Help wanted!

And lots of it.

We will be replacing the Spiderbeam the weekend of October 9. Yes, 2021.

Got nothing better to do? Do you really care about the club? Then show up, and lend a hand.

Thank you, kindly.

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Two’s company, three is …

Why is it so crowded on 6 meters, all of a sudden???

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