Not looking good for camping season

It was only blind luck I guess…..Going back in time to the day I bought my 2nd FT450 (the one I wanted to put in the new trailer when we got it) and on the way home from Oshawa we stopped in at Quinte RV and by accident found the one that met all of our needs….

floorplan

Rather than sign on the line right then and there we decided to go for supper and return in a day or so to do the paperwork…..

Well BS baffles Brains once again as we would have a new trailer with no place to go….  A couple of days later the world changed as we know it…..

If you were thinking of camping perhaps reading the following article (link below) will be interesting:

https://globalnews.ca/news/6779704/coronavirus-non-essential-campgrounds/

I guess for one time we did it right although unless lots of people smarten the F**k up and follow the rules there will be no camping season for a while.

And once this clears up (eventually it will) how many RV Dealerships will still be around to sell to the few people who could afford the rigs while our country tries to recover from the financial crisis brought on by the pandemic.

We are fine here…. and expect to stay ok as long as the sanity holds…..  we have the resources to stay fed with a roof over our heads but…..  Isolation is having a good game against our sanity as the time continues….

distance

Stay safe out there…..  Keep your distance…..

6under

bob

 

Mobile Antenna work delayed

The mobile work needed (or that I wanted to do) which consisted of making a better power connection, ordering (and installing) the Wolf River 10-80m HF coil along with taking bout 12 inches off the whip to keep me under height has been delayed.

I have decided not to order the coil for a while as I’m not sure about international (US-Canada) postal links staying strong.

I am trying to find the time to get the power cable run properly and then trim the whip so I can operate 10-40m mobile …. but between work (I work in a grocery store) in retail which is very hectic these days and regular family pressures makes it hard to find any free time after I get home and unwind.

The unwinding is usually done in the shack checking in to a few HF nets if my stealth antenna can hear the NCS stations.  After that then its off to bed and the then wake up the next morning and the routine continues again.

My family are my 1st priority and so far they are not suffering (however 4 females in the same home can get loud) and they do let me unwind in the shack.

distance

(Thanks to Bill VE3FI for the graphic)

Remember to keep your distance when out shopping (if you don’t care about your health think about the clerks trying to fill the shelves so you can eat)

On the RV side of things….  Hearing lots of things about parks not opening…. or not committing to opening.  A few years ago Liz and I were thinking of purchasing a few dozen acres of land up north and developing it while keeping a trailer on it.  We both wish we had done that.  It would of been a great place to isolate the family safely without going stir crazy.  However hindsight is 20/20….

So….  Stay safe and keep your distance….. be smart and isolate…..

73bob

 

 

 

Info for Snowbirds returning to Canada

IT seems that some SNOWBIRDS returning to Canada with their rigs are stopping at Walmart Stores close to the border to rest up and in the process ignoring the 14 Day Self Isolation order of the Federal Goverment.  

https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/brockville-police-walmart-working-to-stop-campers/wcm/9c99fa69-9496-4cc5-879b-a1b5af655bd5/

USE SOME COMMON SENSE HERE FOLKS

 

HF antenna work on VA3QV/m (Part 2)

Its hard to say but there might be a part 3 to this one…..

Early this afternoon I hooked up my 102 inch stainless steel whip to the coil previously mounted on my truck and then brought out the tape measure and my MFJ antenna analizer.

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And the reason for the tape measure was to see how high off the ground the mount was …. which enabled me to calculate how tall the top of the whip was…..  If you take the height of the end of the coil (from the ground) being 61 inches then add the 103 inch lenght of the whip brings you very close to 13.4 feet which is too close (for my liking) to my maximum height allowance of 13 feet 6 inches here in Ontario.

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However according to the MFJ magic box I was able to adjust the coil to get the SWR low on all the bands between 10m and 40m.  Setting the centerpoint to 7.150, 14.200 the built in tuner could easily tune things up in most of the 40m and all of the 20m band.

Before you say anything I do realize once the cutter removes 12 inches from the whip I will have to go through all the tuning processes again but the cost of having an over height vehicle far outweighs the time spent to retune.

Although the poor power connection I had (using alligator clips on the battery) I was able to make a local contact with Bill VE3FI which proves everything works.  Next time I attach the wires PROPERLY to the battery then should have no problems running the full 100w.  Receive wise we heard lots (including ignition noise and alternator whine) so there will be a bit more work to be done.

On the RV side of things I did visit my lending institution this morning in my travels before the antenna work started and they would like a bit more info on the RV before they start the paperwork process.  But seeing that I’m not sure what campgrounds will be open this year (that damn coronavid 19) I will hold off on the paperwork for a while.  But its good to know they are interested in my business.

Coming in part 3….  ordering the 10-80m wolf river coil, trimming the antenna and making a strong (very strong) 12v power connection for the FT 450

73bob

 

HF antenna work on VA3QV/m (Part 1)

Today I started working on the mobile installation on my pickup. 

newtruck

Its going to take a few days to get everything done but the first step was getting the mount installed on the truck and that was accomplished today.

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The mount itself fits in one of the stake holes in the box of my pickup.  Once you figure out the little trick of getting it to attach its fairly easy.  The hardest part was getting a good ground with the body of the truck as I have a spray on box liner on my truck and so it took a few tries before a good ground was found

IMG_0695

The next step was fairly easy which was just attaching the Wolf River Coil to the mount…..  After screwing it to the mount a few minute drive around the neighborhood and its bumpy road proved that the mount was securely attached.

I ran the coax from the mount and to the inside of the truck leaving the power cable and mount for the FT 450 for another day.  I also have to move some stuff in the garage to get the 102 inch whip from its hiding place so I can get it screwed into the coil. 

After that’s done I will have to do a quick measure to make sure that I do not exceed 13 feet in height as the maximum vehicle height allowed in Ontario is 13 feet 6 inches.  I might have to trim a few inches off the top of the whip as I can’t lower the mount.  

After that is done it will be a bit of a drive around town to ensure that the mount and coil/whip combo are still mounted properly then its time to set the swr on the different bands ( 10-40m) then finally take the time to play some radio.

All this work is anticipation of a trip down to VE1Land  (with Erika) sometime before the summer and after that some camping if Liz and I can finish the number crunching on the trailer we were talking about earlier

More to follow in Part 2

73bob

Cancellations and additions

Its a mixed emotions day….  The Iroquois ARC has cancelled their upcoming Hamfest due to the concerns of the day….

hamfest

The Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Club was forced to cancel their March General Meeting as the location provider is closing down all group meetings due to the same concerns.

As for the most part Hams are in the high risk category as we tend to be older and most older types usually have some other medical and health issues so the cancellations make perfect sense.  It does have me wondering will Dayton be next?

A few days ago I decided to head out and pick up a couple extra packs of TP because of what I have heard happening in some of the stores.  I live in the house with 4 women so this is an important item and some people laughed…. tp

Today most (if not all) the major grocery stores here in town were sold out of TP…  Whose laughing now????

On a positive note Liz and I drove to Oshawa this afternoon where I paid for and picked a used Yaesu FT 450 from Walter VE3FJC.  Yes I do have a FT 450 already but this was a great deal and I decided that it would be easier to operate a radio that I already had a good knowledge of rather than have to learn a new radio.  The new one will be going in the shack and the previous one will be going into VA3QV/m along with that 102 inch whip and Wolf River Coil I previously purchased. Pics of the install and setup in the truck will be posted here once I get everything working as it should

On the way back we drove along HWY 2 and found an open RV Dealership near Belleville (www.quinterv.ca) and had a nice talk with their General Manager.  They have one brand new unit that is tempting both to Liz and myself.  Floor plan below

floorplan

Its light enough that we can tow it with our existing truck and we really like it.  Some number crunching will be happening in the near future…..  Perhaps…. Just perhaps we can isolate in style…..

More in the near future…..  if things are positive

73bob

Sunday morning in the “Shack”

First off….  It has been a while since I last posted…  I will be honest and say that in my case not much has been happening in the “RV” Department as we did sell the old rig and have not replaced it yet.  We have been looking (and drooling) on line but so far have not found what we are looking for.

newtruckandtrailer

Also we are not sure how much free time we will have this summer and I don’t really want to start making payments on a new (to us) rig that I am going be storing more than I am using.

On the VHF/UHF/WIRES X RF side of things…..  Not much has changed.  My WIRES X node is now up and running more than it was before.

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We changed internet providers which immediately helped connectivity and along with an external USB fan to keep the node radio running cooler gives me piece of mind.  I chose the USB fan as I keep it plugged into the laptop that is hosting the node. IMG_0645

If the laptop is turned on the fan has power and the radio is automatically cooled.  Turn off the laptop and the fan stops…  Fairly idiot (Bob) proof.

I am still a big fan of this C4FM WIRES X style of communicating.  Not for rare DX but just for having a conversation that is clear and crisp.  The other morning while driving to work I had a great 10 minute ragchew with a VE1 mobile station who also was driving to work but he was in the Halifax area.  Easy armchair copy and with the clarity of a Digital signal.

The HF RF  has not changed.  The Yaesu FT450 is doing a great job feeding the SGC237 auto tuner but there is a limit to what I can get away with (wire wise) without alerting the “Condo Cops” so for now I am still on the air with a bad antenna…. but I am on the air (at least).    Normally the weakest signal that the Net Control Station has to deal with but at least I get heard.

The family is still debating about a move from the Condo to a larger place a little further out of town so at some time I might have room to stretch out wire….  Heres hoping that happens

I have been looking for a new (to me) HF radio either for the house or VA3QV/m

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(Put the new one in the shack and move the FT 450 into the truck or just put the new one into the truck…) but so far the ones that interest me seem to interest everyone else and by the time I send out an inquiry email  the reply always seems to be sorry but it already sold.  One of these days I will be in the right place at the right time…

Thats about it for now….  Passing thru Kingston try calling me on the 146.805-  C4FM repeater.  If you have access to Wires X then you might find me in either the CQ Canada Room (40678) or the Canada Wide Room (40505).

If the band co operates I still try and check into the 3730 Group which is still running on 3.730 lsb (+ or – depending on QRM) and for now they are calling the net at 530 pm eastern.  Once the band shortens up a bit it should go back to a later evening start.  Just remember that with my poor antenna I need great conditions or I just hear static.

73bob