Upcoming “stuff”

The last two weeks have been spent getting used to sleeping in a real bed…. and doing some minor repairs (the 40amp circuit breaker has been replaced) along with planning of the last trips of the season… My daughter has two trips planned ( I drop her and the trailer off at a Provincial Park and I return a week later to bring everything home) and Liz and I have made plans to attend "Chillycon 2017.

Chillcon is the annual outing sponsored by the Ottawa Valley QRP Society . It's a weekend of QRP Operating and camping. This year it will be held at Murphys Point Provincial Park just outside of Perth Ontario. It runs from Sept 15th to the 17th and we plan to get there a few days early to just relax.

Chillycon 2015 was the first trip for our old camper. It was actually the test trip before we bought it…

We are also planning a short trip in October and at the same time we will be doing all that is needed for the winter storage process. We have arranged a secure storage spot that will be accessible during the winter if we want to take the trailer out for whatever reason.

Between the political climate in the states and the cost of health insurance for Liz and myself I don't really see Us heading anywhere warm this winter… but I have been known to change my mind before.

As we are staying home for the winter we will have lots of time to plan our two big trips for next summer. By the end of this camping season we will of spent 75 nights in the camper… Next season we hope to greatly expand on that

On the radio topic for a few minutes…. My transportable station should be ready in time for Chillycon. Ft 450 with a SGC autotuner along with my S9 43 foot vertical will be packed in the trailer .

Looking foreward to getting back into the hobby a little more seriously. A signal link for the digital modes and a winkeyer plugged into my new laptop will complete the station .

That's about it for now… CU after Chillycon

Safe Travels


Remembering the adventure

Liz and I have been back now for almost a week now …. and here are our collective thoughts now that things are getting for normal..

The Rig

Our truck and trailer combo behaved itself quite well on the trip there and back. The worst that happened was that the 40 amp circuit breaker that runs between the 12v storage battery and the fuse panel tripped a couple of times.

As we had no issues using shore power, generator or when attached to the trucks 12v power this was a minor issue.

I knew that the problem had to be a fuse or master link etc as everything worked outside of the storage battery so when we were stopping for fuel in Moncton NB I noticed a Leisure Days RV centre across the street. After fueling, We headed over and talked to the service manager. I explained the problem and asked if they could identify the faulty part… order one in and then we would stop in on our return trip and they could install it. Outside came a tech and he found the circuit breaker… reset the breaker and wished us safe travels…

A BIG SHOUTOUT TO LEISURE DAYS IN MONCTON FOR HELPING US ON OUR WAY….. If (when) we decide to replace our trailer you know where we are going to look first…

As it turned out the breaker tripped again and this time would not reset even with the power disconnected so now that I know where the breaker is… I will be replacing it before our next trip…

Other than that the truck got better than anticipated fuel economy and behaved itself in all that was asked of it..

The trip down

We made better time than anticipated…. I had planned to spend the first night in Edmunston NB and we made it as far as the Walmart in Woodstock NB before we decided to call it a night…. Even after the unexpected stop in Moncton NB for repairs we made it into Summerside PEI and was parked at the Walmart before supper. I ran the generator till it got dark to keep the fridge cold and then switched over to propane after that. In the morning after filling the cold fridge and freezer with provisions we headed out for Cabot Beach Provincial Park

On the Island

We arrived at Cabot and got checked in. The staff were fantastic and eager to help. We had planned to stay at Cabot for the duration and just take Day trips out when playing tourist… Our first trip was to Kensington PEI which was the closest town that we could re-stock our necessities of life. As it also was the location of the closest Liquor Store we visited it often.. Seafood tastes better when cooked in wine sauce ….

We also visited Summerside PEI for their Lobster Festival ( read a few entries back for that experience) along with a day trip to Charlottetown to play tourist.

We then decided to stay at the campsite for a while and just relax and partake in some local cuisine…

Liz got to enjoy fresh mussels and we both enjoyed very fresh deep fried fish and chips made over the Coleman stove.

It was decided that once again we would head out to the National Park in Cavendish PEI.

It was an excellent place to visit that was very popular but the crowds were worth it to see the scenery. We also found out that the park has a Day parking area for RV's that's big enough to let you drive in and out with ease.

After the day visit we headed into the Village of Cavendish and had a fantastic supper (Liz had lobster) and then we headed back to Cabot for more leisure time…

Amateur Radio on the trip

In the truck I had my old FT 2400 2m Radio programmed with repeater frequencies for the trip. I also monitored 146.520 as well. Once we left Ottawa NO CONTACTS were made until we arrived in PEI. I easily made contacts on the Summerside repeater and the Charlottetown repeaters for the duration of our holidays. Unfortunately the same was true for the return trip. Making calls on repeaters but no replies…

HF wise I was operating my FT 817 from the open site close to mine. I found lots of ssb contacts on 80m in the mornings and evenings. A few daytime 20m PSK31 contacts were made but for DX it was not a time to be operating QRP

The trip home

We left Cabot early in the morning and stopped at the gift shop in Borden Carleton and then after spending some $$$$ left PEI and headed home. The traffic was light and we were making better time than expected. Fuel stops in Oromocto NB, Edmunston NB (supper break) and west of Quebec City and then suddenly we were pulling into Ottawa at 2am. I had not planned for the long day drive but I was feeling good and everyone else was sleeping so I kept on rolling….

30 days after we left… we were back home… happy but tired…but We are planning our next adventure…. stay tuned



Chillycon 2017 Update

The following was found in my email inbox and just in case you are not on the mailing list…. here it is



Re: Chillycon 

From: Michael Babineau

Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2017 13:36:25 PDT 
Don, many thanks for doing the legwork to get the story on Rideau River Park.  

It looks like we must change our location for this year.
After some careful consideration, it seems that Murphy’s Point (Hogg Bay CampGround) best fits our criteria. 
The loop containing sites 19 to 38 is mostly free on the September 14th and 15 and it has a combination of both powered (20 to 28) and non-powered sites

so we can also accommodate folks like VA3QV who has a RV.  
One major consideration is the proximity to Perth (only about 16 minutes away). This will give us some options for Pizza as well as a few choices for Sunday Brunch and groceries and camping supplies should anyone forget anything. 
My apologies to the VE2-guys this is going to make your drive a little further. 
I will send out an official notification shortly.
Michael VE3WMB 

And before you ask…. yes we did make it back to Ottawa with everything mostly intact…  The conclusion to our adventure should be posted soon… I’ve got some other stuff to get done first


Day 20 was FANTASTIC

The day started when  the wind picked up (no skitters) and I took the FT817 and my NUE PSK MODEM out to my operating position just down from the campsite…


I heard a few stations using QRP SSB and almost got checked into the MIDCARS NET ( that station too weak to get heard and get relayed in was me… ). 

 After that I switched over to PDK 31 with the NUE MODEM and was able to get W1BEK (George in CT) into the log….. Shortly after that the wind died down and I got chased inside by the skitters…

Early in the afternoon the family and myself headed into Kensington where we picked up a few necessary things for supper…

On the way home we decided to go straight rather than turn right…. We drove down a red dirt road to the very end.  We passed a sign telling us that we were not to camp overnight and here is what we found.


About 20 or so windsurfers playing about 5km from where we camp… We spent an hour or so watching them fly around then returned to Cabot Beach…

Once we returned we started rage preparations for a FRESH fish and chip supper with boiled corn…  working with a 2 burner Coleman Stove it took a while but it was worth waiting for…

All in all it was another FANTASTIC day




All different but all having fun

To my Amateur Radio followers…. Sorry but no radio stuff here in this post

Today’s neighbors (as most of our neighbourhood changes daily) show a multitude of rigs from across Canada. All are different but all of us are having fun…

Within 100’yards of our rig we have…

Two Class C motor homes and an old Volkswagen Westphalia… One Class C and the “Westie” are travelling together and the other Class C just had the luck to get the next spot.  All 3 Are from Quebec and between my poor French and their limited English we are able to communicate just fine…

And we also have right beside us a Class B on a Dodge Sprinter Chassis from Alberta… Nice folks to sit down and chat with…

In the spot behind us is a young couple from Southern Ontario with a newer version on my pickup truck with a custom made dome tent that fits in the box of their truck…  It’s an great way to camp and also keep off the cold hard ground…  I’ve seen pics of these but never up close…

Also behind us are a couple who are camping with motor cycles.  They keep to themselves but they will say hi in passing

These are just an example of people we have met over the last couple of weeks.  We had a couple camping beside us with a pickup truck and slide in camper who lived in the west end of Ottawa.  There was also a young couple tent camping close by and they were also from Ottawa…. We travel 1500 kms and end up camping with strangers from home. 

 But when most of them leave…. They don’t leave as strangers…. They leave as friends we hope to see again in our travels….  Just as the couple from PEI who loaned me a scissor jack so I could re level our trailer… or the couple from Maine with their new (to them) Tent trailer who I helped with an electrical issue and gave them some spare fuses.  We met as strangers and they left as friends…

We share info about campgrounds as we sit around someone’s campfire in the evenings….  We also exchange technical (computer, OTA TV, wifi) info and we learn from the experiences of our neighbours…

In general, we are nicer to strangers that camp…who suddenly become friends than we are to our real neighbors….

The real way to world peace…. I guess is that if everyone camped….

Silly but just a thought…


Not seeing the magic

This past weekend was the CQWW VHF Contest…

 And although I had not planned to be a “serious ” participant in the contest I had hoped to get a few of the “BIG GUNS” into the my log.  It was my hope that the big contest stations that I had worked from Ottawa in the past with my loop antennas might be able to hear the 5w of my Ft817 with simple wire antennas.
There was no magic in what we call the “MAGIC BAND” this time….

Trying my 6m dipole and my 6m EFHW in various configurations and orientations I had no luck.  Did not even hear anyone let alone log anyone…  I had hoped for a slight advantage from the water I was operating over but… oh well … No one got the FN86 from me this weekend.  Let’s blame it on the solar flare….

It would of been a total bust outside of the fact that I was operating as VA3QV/VY2 and the weather was FANTASTIC as well as the views from the radio operators position.  We are on holidays and there is more to the trip than contesting.  My results were better during the RAC Canada Day Contest and that was fun as well.  There is only so much you can do with 5W and a wire…

Today is a trip into Summerside for restocking….. then there is a trip planned to do the touristy thing at the Anne of Green Gables site later this week.  In between that I do plan a bit more radio time along with lots of rest and relaxation to re-charge my batteries.  There is still lots to do and see in the 8 days left on the Island.


Lobsterfest in Summerside

Thursday we headed into Summerside.  It was a multi purpose trip as we needed supplies, I needed to find a hardware store (more on that later) and my daughter Trisha wanted to visit Lobsterfest for her birthday.

Liz liked the idea of Lobster…. so it was a done deal (we thought)

We arrived in Summerside at the address given for the street sale that would take us towards the Fair grounds where the actual lobster carnival was located….  Liz took advantage of some really good pricing and I got to carry the purchases.  After the street sale we headed “up the road a tad” to the fairgrounds….  I never questioned the actual length of ” a tad ” but after about 8 blocks I was sent back to where we parked the truck and came back to pick everyone up…

Once we arrived at The fairgrounds (free admission and free parking) we took a walk around.  Not very different than the local country fairs in eastern Ontario other than the Lobster theme…

After our walkabout we decided to grab lunch.  Suddenly we noticed that Lobster was not on the menu at any of the food vendors….. or any other seafood for that matter…The usual “Carny” food was available but at Lobsterfest there was no seafood to be seen…  After asking at the info booth we found out that the big lobster dinner was on Friday night and we could pre purchase our tickets for that if we wanted…

It was mentioned that if we really wanted Seafood there was a little restaurant just outside of the fairgrounds…. The food was fantastic and fairly priced (very reasonable), then we returned to the fair where I met the Mayor of Summerside, The Chief of Police and the Commanding Officer of HMCS Summerside (Navy Ship) and some of his crew as the Summerside was docked in Summerside as part of the festivities….

After a pleasant (but Lobsterless) day we headed to a grocery store and the local Home Hardware store and then headed back to camp. There was a quick stop at the Liquor Store in Kensington for some refreshing beverages…

The stop at the Home Hardware was to pick up 108 inches of lightweight insulated zip cord which I quickly turned to an End Fed Half Wave (EFHW) antenna for 6m.  I plan to participate in the CQWW VHF Contest his weekend and giving the FN86 Grid Square to anyone who can hear 5w and a wire.  It will be casual operating but I do hope to make some contacts.  

I don’t usually participate in the CQ contests …. but this time…. I have the gear and the time so why not???  Last time I tried in 2015 was not too bad…

The adventure continues and we are loving it…