Walking and talking at the same time

Since I retired in Mid-September I have noticed a “Slight” weight gain and figured it was time to do something about it while it was still slight and not anything worse.

Walking was the exercise of choice and so I started leaning more about my neighborhood that I have lived in for more than 2 years now.

I decided I might as well take my Yaesu FT70D Handheld (see above pic)with me on my walks as I could talk to the locals on our VE3FRG VHF C4FM repeater during the 2-3 hours the walk takes me.

VE3FRG 146.805 (-) is a C4FM repeater and has excellent coverage in the Kingston/Frontenac area. In addition the repeater is part of the YSF network so you never know who is going to drop in and say “HI”

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Some days you hear lots and other days….. Well we all know how active some repeaters can’t be….

But at the end of the day I get my exercise with my 4km to 8km stroll and somedays I also play radio at the same time. Right nows my strolls are VHF only but in the future who knows…

Remember that “Radio can be an outdoor sport!”

73bob

Its kinda like “SOTA” without the altitude

They call it POTA which stands for Parks on the Air and not since the W1AW portable station of the ARRL Centennial have I seen any event wake up our hobby so much.

A great group of volunteers are running this show and they seem to be doing it quite well.

Here is the “Coles Notes” version….

Its made up of two basic components…. The Activators and the Hunters

The Activators set up in a State/Provincal/National Park or Historic site which has been been assigned a POTA designation and tries to make as many Amateur Radio Contacts on any of the amateur bands (Sorry no repeaters…)as they can with a minimum of 10 contacts needed to activate the park.

The hunters listen from the comfort of their shacks or wherever and try to make contacts with the Activators

The Activators eventually upload their logs when they return from the Park DXPedition and then the POTA computer tallies the scores both for the Hunters and the Activators

For much more detailed info check out the POTA site

I have been introduced to this interesting aspect of our hobby by some local HAMS and so far I find it a great way to spend a few hours in the shack.

I almost wish that I had kept my FT817 Portable station but then again hindsight is always 20/20

73bob

Back again

Don’t pay the ransom ….. I escaped…..

Two years of camping just had me at the point that there was nothing to talk about in the RV Life. We just used the trailer like a cottage and outside of the 75 km that was me towing the trailer from the Dealer’s lot to Varty Lake it actually never turned a wheel until it left being towed by its new owner on its way to its new home.

It also seemed that my Ham Radio activites seemed to take a backseat to just about everything else so once again I had little to talk about….

I guess you could day that in reality “COVID won” because at the end of the two years we were not able to travel like we wanted to (and bought the trailer for) and that is a sad thing. However we did keep our sanity (for the most part) and we did keep COVID at bay and therefor still have our health.

So here I am…. trying to remember how to use the WordPress software on a new laptop so I can tell you about how I got my FT950 up and running again (if I could remember what all the buttons do) and once I get the software up and running also getting my “Node” working again so I make some YSF contacts when the HF bands are not playing nice.

This is almost like starting fresh again like I did so many years ago… Lets hope that this time I can or am able to finish what I started way back then.

Once I get things figured out I still have to work a bit on my WAS (voice/CW/Digital ) from Kingston and my DXCC totals (voice/CW/Digital) have not changed in 2 years and that is my plan for the winter months. Lots of time in the shack and get those totals to rise.

Lets hope things happen this time….

More Later

73bob

A simple solution

The trailer serves to give Liz and myself a way to escape while staying safe in our campsites bubble…. One of our problems was figuring out how to bring my amateur antenna feed lines and the external OTA TV feed lines into the trailer without drilling

I came up a solution which works for us…

I removed the window screen from the kitchen table window. I then brought the screen to a local store that repairs windows, screens. I asked them if they could make me a piece of plexiglas using the screen as a template. They did this fairly quickly and also at a great price

Once back at the campsite I carefully drilled 4 holes into the plexiglass and then installed bulkhead connectors into each of the holes. One connector for the external Tv Antenna, one BNC Connector as that’s needed for my SGC 237 auto tuner and two SO 239 connectors for my vhf/uhf ham gear. This fits in to the window frame in place of the screen

When not needed we remove it and replace the screen…

The summer that wasn’t

How can I describe it better?

We had a great summer…. fantastic would be a better description but there was absolutely nothing to blog about…. We made the best of COVID and stayed put.

One June 26th I picked up our new camper and towed it to our seasonal campsite at Varty Lake Ontario. We figured it was the safest way to enjoy the summer as Cedar Crest Campground is a small friendly place that is seasonal only with no transients so we were isolating in our own bubble of 55 camping units. When we signed up there were 3 sites left open but by July 1st every site was taken

We spent all of July, August and most of September (so far)there. Relaxing, enjoying the quiet life…. but …. nothing really to report on the RV side of things or the ham radio side of things.

I was wishing we could tell you about all the great things we saw while on the road but the trailer was parked on June 26th and has not turned a wheel since.

I made a few contacts operating portable from the camper with my new (er) FT 450 and my S9 43 foot vertical but no rare DX or any DX at all for that matter.

Really rather boring to be honest but Liz and I had a great summer and stayed safe at the same time. We have committed to keeping the site for the 2021 camping season and then we will rethink our priorities and see if a bit of a tour is even doable. Can we beat COVID 19 by then?

Our camping season closes on Thanksgiving Monday (October 12th here in Canada so that weekend will be spent cleaning, dumping all the tanks and putting antifreeze in the water system as needed. Then we wait for the opening around Mid May

Thats it for now but if anything remotely exciting happens…. I promise to let you know

Safe Travels and 73

Bob

Internet in paradise

Again sorry for the delayed postings but it seems that 1bar of LTE cell strength is not enough to upload a post with pictures….. I have been looking at a cell phone signal device that makes sense to the ham in me.

However…… After suffering two power outages this past week we are thinking of getting a larger generator for back up power as the 1.5kw one we have now is not large enough for our current comfort levels.

Other than that everything is going well here. Liz is happy and comfortable and therefore my life is stress free.

More later once I find a better (stronger) internet source….

On the radio side of things I currently have 2 antennas in the air. We have our OTA TV antenna up about 20 feet which is giving us Global TV, CBS, FOX and 4 PBS stations. I also have on the rear of the trailer my Diamond discone ( 2m and 70cm) antenna at 15 feet which lets me have solid C4FM communications into Kingston using the VE3FRG repeater. In the near future I hope to get my S9 43 foot vertical back in the air but I need to fabricate a mounting bracket that was a bit stronger than the one I was using. Better to be safe than sorry.

Stay safe….
Safe travels….

73bob

Best contact for VA3QV/m so far

A few days ago I found myself listening and checking into the CAN-AM Net which is on 7.153 lsb.  Some of you old Pharts (like myself) might remember it as the Communications Ontario (COMSONT for short) Net

As the needs of the Ontario Goverment changed as far as Amateur Radio went the net carried on and thats how my Wolf River Coil ended up on 40m….  I checked in to talk to a few old friends and actually never bothered changed frequencies  after

So lets fast forward to today and I decide to try and check into the Trans Provincial Net on 7.100 LSB ( and before the flames start lets remember that the Canadian Bandplan allows voice there…..

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VE2OL Ray from SAINT-BRUNO-DE-GUIGUES, QC (about 425 kms North North West of Kingston) was the NCS and gave me a really nice 5/9 report from my mobile.  I gave he a 5/9 +10 back and we had a great QSO without any QSB.  It was armchair copy….

When we cleared I noticed that Woody VE3JJA from North Western Ontario checked in and I could actually hear him.

I broke back into the net and asked Ray if I could give Woody a call and as it turned out we could hear each other just fine….  This was a 1500 kms QSO from Sioux Narrows Ontario to my mobile in Kingston….

I was more than pleased…..

Hopefully this is a sign of things to come with the propagation Deity smiling down on us which will allow more great contacts…..

On to other topics for a few seconds….  We will be taking possession of our new trailer at the end of the month and will be spending a few weeks there getting things set up as we would like them….  However we have no WIFI there and my internet will be limited to cellular 4G connects till I run out of bandwidth.  Our provider assures us our plan is actually unlimited and I guess this is where we find out what their defination of unlimited is….

However if you are looking for me…..  try the following

Daytime – 3.755 Which is the Ontars Net between 7 am and noon

Daytime 7.153 Which is the Can-AM Net between 930 am and 11 am

Evenings- 3.733 Which is the Sandbox Net between 630 pm and 730

Evenings- 3.730 Which is the 3730 net which starts at 730pm

In addition I will be listening on the C4FM Repeater VE3FRG 146.805 also connected to the System Fusion Network (look up VE3UCC)

Not sure how radio active I will be as Liz and I have lots to do getting our trailer to resemble how we want it to be

Hope to hear you on the air during that time

73bob

VA3QV/m (UHF/VHF/HF)

The result of having way too much time on my hands but as of right now VA3QV/m is as good as I see it being….

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VHF/UHF communications provided by my Yaesu FTM7250D which along with being dual band its also dual mode (FM/C4FM) with output power being up to 50w.  If the repeater I am on at the time is part of the Wires X network I can also access that network as well

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HF Communications (15m/17m/20m/40m/60m/80m) with my Yaesu FT450d along with a Wolf River coil.  The FT 450 has a built in Auto Tuner which I plan to use to extend the bandwidth of the antenna system but so far it has not been needed

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In addition I have a hotspot that I tether to my cell phone that interfaces the 7250 with the System Fusion system for Wires X style linkingIMG_0728

But getting back to HF Mobile operating…

In anticipation of next year being better than this year is turning out I decided to outfit my truck with a good selection of communications gear so that if we are allowed to travel unrestricted next year communications “home” from wherever we were visiting would be possible

It did take a few remakes but the Wolf River 10-80m coil along with a 90 inch stainless steel whip is working better than expected.  I am making contacts (on a daily basis) with stations across Ontario/Quebec and the Maritimes on 40m and 80m ssb. I have also make contacts into Canada’s western provinces using 20m and 40m ssb.  In eastern Ontario the guys say that my mobile is almost as strong as my fixed station setup seeing that I have to use a stealth antenna here at home to keep the condo board guessing.

Left pic shows the mount that failed and the one that is stronger is on the right

Now if you decide to go this route for your mobile I do recommend going with a very strong mount on your vehicle.  My first mount failed due to the flexing issue with the 102 inch whip (I later cut it down to 90 inches due to height restrictions) and a 16 inch coil driving around the streets of Kingston.  Before then the coil was working fine and then the mount failed.  After replacing the mount with one more robust it is working just fantastic.  I still have some filtering to add to my ignition and charging systems as there is some alternator whine and ignition noise there but I’ve got time before 2021 to get that figured out

The next part of the package will now to get the trailer set up and then make it “Radio Active” in time for Field Day and the RAC Canada Day Contest.  The next 2 weeks are going to be a busy time.

73bob

Three months later….

3 months ago Liz and I almost bought the RV Trailer of our dreams but that nasty old COVID came calling and everything was closed and put on hold….

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The following YouTube clip is from a different dealer but it shows the finer points of the trailer without the normal BUY NOW….BUY NOW….BUY NOW that most RV dealers put on their YouTube postings

2 weeks ago I headed back to the dealer and found that it was still available and we started to talk…


Before I go any further I must mention that Quinte RV did not ask me to write this or did they offer me any thing to write this.  What you see here is an personal endorsement  which honestly describes my purchase experience…


The salesman let us visit with our old friend with no pressure.   I took a long visit and it was everything I remembered it as.  Big…. but light enough that my Pickup (VA3QV/m) could easily tow it….

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So now that the trailer remains how I remembered it ….  Just for $h!ts and Giggles lets put in an offer to purchase…..

 

 

The Salesman passed me over to the Financial Wizard and he started to do his magic.

 

And the Wizards magic was strong as he was able to get me the price I wanted, at the terms I wanted and  at a much better interest rate than I expected.

And to make matters even better (yes it does get better….) we were able to grab one of last two permanent campsites at a private campground just a short 45 minute drive from Kingston.  At this time I expect that Liz and I will spend most of our time there from when we move in on June 26th till the Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend in Mid October.

Our summer is now spoken for….  Time to enjoy life a bit when not working…  

 

For those of my followers who are more into RF than RV there will be a C4FM station set up along with my new(er) FT 450 set up there with what I expect to be an Inverted “L” which will cover 10-80m and maybe even 160m when I feed it with my SGC237 auto tuner which will relocate from the home station to the trailer for the season.

 

 

I plan to operate from the campsite as soon as I am able to which means a limited Field Day station but a strong attempt at the RAC Canada Day Contest a few days later.

 

I still have more to share with you especially on how great the new HF antenna system on VA3QV/m is working out but that will be for another post after I get everything moved into the trailer.

73 and safe travels

bob