Look ma, no hands!

So happy this is working again – thank you Jason! 🙂

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October 22, 2019 meeting minutes

Attending: Jim AB5JK. The Secretary had excused himself in advance due to a late, out of town work assignment.

Jim waited patiently; but unfortunately no one else showed up for the meeting, other than he, most likely due to the horrible weather.

Everyone’s welcome in November!

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October 2019 meeting

Let’s meet! Tuesday at 7 PM in the Education Conference Room of the Uvalde Memorial Hospital.

Excused: K5WW, due to a 4 day work project out of town.

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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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