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MARS Gears Up for Texas State Parks on the Air

     Spearheaded by our TSPOTA Event Committee, Andy Parcel, KE5KOF, Ken Wendel, W5RPS, Steve Darrah, KD5YPB, and Tom Yenny, K5LOL, MARS plans to activate the Johnson Branch Unit of Ray Roberts Lake State Park. We will operate under our club call, KB5A, only on Saturday but lunch and dinner will be provided! Here is the essential information.


What are the dates and times?

     TSPOTA runs Saturday and Sunday, April 15 and 16. However, the Club plans only to operate on Saturday. The park opens at 6:00 AM CDT and we will muster at 7:00 AM to set up our equipment. Admission is $7.00 per person unless you have a yearly pass. The talk-in frequency will be on the Denton County ARA repeater 146.920 MHz, tone 110.9. Local comms will be 146.48 simplex, no tone. The event starts at 9:00 AM CDT. We plan to shut down not later 8:00 PM CDT.

     Because we’re on the air only one day, we’re considering doing some of the antenna setup on Friday afternoon starting at 1:30 PM CDT. If you can help with the Friday setup, please let us know.


Where is it?

     Thanks to Steve Darrah, KD5YPB, we’ve once again secured a spot at the Johnson Branch Unit of Ray Roberts Lake State Park. Our operation will be at a pavilion near the Nature Center. We’ve secured the parking lot for antennas. Click here to download a map to the Nature Center.


How do I get there?

     From I-35E, take exit 483 toward Lone Oak Rd/Farm to Market Rd 3002.
     Travel east on 3002 about 6.5 miles. The park entrance is on your right.

     Or just click this link.


Can I bring my own radio?

     Radios will be available. If you prefer to bring your own HF radio or a radio that features 2-meter sideband or 6-meter sideband, please feel free to bring it and connect to one of the provided antennas. If you are willing to volunteer the use of your equipment for the day, you are welcome to do so.  Please sign up on our web site.


Can I set up my own antenna?

     No, you should not plan to use your own antenna. However, if you have an antenna the Club could borrow for the event, please contact Operations Manager Tom Yenny, The TSPOTA Committee will provide antennas to cover 2m, 6m, 10m, 15m, 20m, 40m and 80m. We will be tightly coordinating what radios will operate on specific bands. TSPOTA rules do not allow for more than one radio on any particular band at one time anyway.

     A note about tuners: We will be using band pass filters and multiplexers to help manage RF. You will not be able to use internal tuners, but you may use an external tuner if you wish.


How many stations will be operating?

     We will have up to 5 stations on 7 bands. 2- and 6-meter stations will be set up in the Mobile Command Center (MCC) courtesy of Kevin Grantham, N5KRG and Andy Parcel, KE5KOF. Three HF rigs will be at the pavilion.


What if there’s foul weather?

     The weather is always a little tricky. “Plan A” is our good weather plan which will have us operating outdoors under the cover of a pavilion. “Plan B” will have our HF stations inside the comfort of the Nature Center as we did last year.


What does the Club need to make this happen?

     We need you to participate. As of this writing we still need:

  • Chef— Burger wrangler and such on the grill.

  • Safety Officer— This is a public park. It’s extremely important to monitor the site for hazards.

  • Talk-in Monitor— Monitors the VHF rig to help guide any lost hams.

  • Equipment— We do need some stuff: coax (long lengths ≈ 200 ft); antennas (see above); rigs; computers; ethernet cable. Visit the sign-up sheet to let Tom know what you can share for the duration.


     If you’ve never been involved in a field event, now is your opportunity. Go now to the sign-up sheet [ link ] to let us know if you plan to attend, what you will bring, and most importantly, how many folks will eat.

     This will be a really fun event. We hope you can come out and join us Saturday, April 15. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Tom,

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