NVIS, anyone?

Right after doing all the antenna/rotator/cable repairs on our fabulous tower we realized that – as a group – we’d never really experimented with near vertical incidence skywave propagation, NVIS. We thought it’d be great to have a dedicated setup for that, to better communicate with nearby states on HF, in case of a large scale disaster.

Amazingly, it turns out that some other people must have thought the same. And they kindly donated their time and equipment to help us accomplish the task. They gently lowered the large G5RV and Diamond HF vertical; and we didn’t even have to ask. Heck, we weren’t even there to supervise. Mind readers!

So stop by the club station one of these days and enjoy some NVIS. Thanks for the help, guys! 😉

Did you know that clicking on these photos actually enlarges them? You should try it. It’s amazing!

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Got comments?

One of our valued members recently pointed out that he’d been unable to leave comments on any of the messages I post on our website. For close to a year. I was unaware of that, sorry; but it explains why I was starting to feel lonely around here.

And yes: he was right. Again! After some investigation it turns out that one of the (official) website plugins was keeping people from commenting – even me, myself and I.

I have contacted support and disabled that plugin until we can straighten out what is going wrong. And as of now you can leave comments again. So: comment away! 🙂

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To Mr. Curtis Yeschke, henceforth know as KI5GQY!

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The 2019 antenna/tower maintenance project

Hot dogs. Chips. Salsa. A truck load of cold water. And, as always: Murphy!

On Friday September 22 and Saturday September 23 – almost 5 years to the day after erecting our tower and antennas – Jason KS5TX and Erik K5WW finally got around to replacing all the lightning-damaged equipment in and on the tower!

We had one little helper: an amazing lift from Reno’s Rentals in Uvalde. It allowed Jason to reach over the Spiderbeam and get to the VHF repeater antenna:

Jason KS5TX getting ready to remove the faulty repeater antenna.

Good stuff, Reno’s!

And yes, the repeater antenna was in worse shape than we thought:

The top of the old repeater antenna. Blown to smithereens. Not exactly waterproof anymore either…

Radiating element blasted off its base. Which in itself almost exploded.

We may need a few new capacitors. And some other bits…

Foam standoff. Even this got charred.

Yup. What he said.

He’s dead, Jim.

After hooking the new rotator cable and new controller to the old rotator we were able to diagnose it as well. It turned; but we got no feedback for the azimuth indicator. Busted potentiometer, at the very least. Out with the old, in with the new (rotator):

Jason KS5TX replacing the defective Yaesu G-450A rotator. Hard on the knees!

With the new rotator installed it was time to (literally!) hoist up the new repeater antenna, a Diamond X700HNA. It is 24 feet tall, 6 feet taller than the one we had. Here it is on the left, with the old, broken antenna on the right for comparison.

Jason, adding another foot and a half.

With the new repeater antenna installed it was time for another well-deserved break:

Is it hot dog time yet???

We didn’t replace the coax for the beam; because it looked and tested fine. But the repeater antenna coax was replaced by LMR-600 coax. The lower loss and taller antenna should give us quite a few extra dBs!

Jason doing the final cable management.

No photos of Erik K5WW, you say? No, he decided to play official observer at ground level. And pick up a few nuts and washers that got blown out of Jason’s hands.

Two days of hard, long overdue work in hot and muggy weather. But we had fun; even though unlike 5 years ago we had no fun building. In-joke! 😉

Would you believe we didn’t take any pics of the finished product? Yeah, once the hot dogs started coming in we kinda forgot. But hey: go and have a look; we didn’t move the tower. Better yet: go and use it!

(all photos © of the guy who hates heights, K5WW)

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September 24, 2019 meeting minutes

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 PM.

Attending: Mary KU5Z, Jim AB5JK, Doug KC5TRQ, Mr. Curtis Y., James WW5XX and Erik K5WW.

Jim reported on all the repairs that were done on top of our tower this past weekend, by Jason KS5TX and Erik K5WW. The broken repeater antenna was replaced by a taller one and is now being fed by LMR-600 coax. The broken antenna rotator was replaced by a new one, as well as the rotator controller inside the shack (more on this in a separate post with lots of photos).

To accomplish all of the repairs safely Jason rented a really wonderful lift at Reno’s Rentals across the road. He had to put down quite a few greenstamps for that; but was reimbursed $250 by the club.

That mentioned, the Treasurer showed us that famous old stock and let us know that there’s 650.98 left in it.

Jason also donated some tools to the club: a new(ish) cordless drill/driver, a Dremel tool and a truck load of bits, sockets, and bytes.

We got acquainted with Mr. Curtis Y, who’d been wanting to take the Technician test for a few months; but couldn’t until now due to last month’s meeting failure. He took the test, and passed it with a score of 34/35. Congratulations!

Can you tell he’s happy? Congrats, Curtis!

























At 8:30 PM sleepy KU5Z made a motion to adjourn; and that was approved unanimously.

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Meeting reminder

September’s meeting will be on the 24th at 7 PM. There will be a door prize for everyone!

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Mister 11 Bands

It takes a super station and a world-class DX operator to work us on 11 bands; but one guy did it: James WW5XX. In a matter of a few weeks James, through relentless perseverance and with his formidastic skills, worked KN5S on all bands from 160 through 6 meters!

And here are the LoTW confirmations to prove it:

Congratulations James; you have accomplished what most first class operators never will! I’m sure it cost you a few sleepless nights; but your hard work paid off. 😉

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August 27, 2019 meeting minutes

Excused: Erik K5WW. Bronchitis, again. President Jim AB5JK had to work late and didn’t make it to the meeting either.

Attending: Doug KC5TRQ and Gordon, who was ready to take the Technician test. They got along just fine, even – as Doug said – without adult leadership. They left a little after 8 PM.

Sorry gents!

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August 2019 meeting

Is scheduled for Tuesday August 27 at 7 PM at the Education Conference Room of the Uvalde Memorial Hospital. See you there!

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July 23, 2019 meeting minutes

The meeting was called to order when the President arrived at 7:15 PM.

Attending: Mary KU5Z, Jim AB5JK, Erik K5WW.

Treasurer’s report: $906.98, after reimbursing K5WW $17.40 for sending DX QSL cards to the ARRL Outgoing QSL Bureau.

During preparations for the ARRL Field Day K5WW discovered that the link between the stations PCs had been severed, due to a recent update to the marvelous Meraki access point. After discussing the problem with the hospital’s IT guys and to remedy that problem K5WW installed a wireless bridge; and now the logging PCs are happy again.

Jim has some amazing plans to provide free, hospital-independent internet access to the shack, creating some redundancy for some of our internet needs, thanks to some surplus equipment he got his hands on. That would come in handy for when the repeater is back on the air.

Speaking of which: former President Jason KS5TX visited on Friday and had a good look around to see what exactly we would need to get all of our tower/antenna issues handled. He and K5WW made a good list of items (still) needed, and he even shopped around at local equipment rental places to get quotes. That equipment, state of the art stuff I might add, turns out to be quite affordable (renting it, of course!). So we’re going to get that done soon, it looks like, without waiting for cool weather and talking another year about it! 😉

After that he went fishing. A well-earned break. We all hope you caught a few hands full!

The meeting was adjourned at 8:05 PM. Next meeting should be August 27.

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