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

 

 

 

 

Its bigger than I thought…

… and it works great

Back on May 8th I posted that I had finally ordered the Wolf River 10-80m mobile coil for VA3QV/m.

Well today it showed up and I am pleased…. very pleased…

Its a little bigger than the 10-40 Wolf River coil that I already was using:

10-40 on the left and 10-80 on the right

With the coil mounted on the rear of the truck, add in the length of the coil and then the 102 inch stainless steel whip we come out to 14 feet 3 inches which is a bit over the Provincial limit of 13 feet 6 inches.

This was expected but I wanted to play with the new toy ASAP so I headed out to Lake Ontario Park in Kingston with everything laying in the box of the truck…  I found a shady place to park and then set up the coil for 80m using my MFJ antenna analyzer.

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I was able to determine that my SWR was acceptable on 80m between 3.720 and 3.775.   Anything over/under that would be easily corrected by the built in auto tuner on the Yaesu FT 450

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But the proof is not in what the computer says but more in what the station says when I contact them….

As the sweet spot on 80m was already set I aimed for 3.755 and heard the NCS for the ONTARS Net (Rob VA3WDK  south of North Bay Ontario) who heard me and gave me a 5/7 to 5/9 report during our 3-5 minute conversation. That was a distance of approx 180 miles north west of Kingston with daytime conditions on 80m

I am more than pleased with the results so far and over the next few days I will be removing the top 12 inches of the whip which should bring it down to a legal 13 feet 3 inches (total height) and then I will set the sweet spots on the coil for 15m, 20m, 40m, 60m and 80m which are the primary bands I would be using when Liz and I are out (eventually) pulling our new trailer.  Not sure when that will happen but when it does….  The truck will be radio active to say the least….

The blog will be updated in the near future once I get the whip trimmed with my final comments on what I consider (at this time) to be a superior product at a great price….

More to follow

73bob

 

Has it been 2 months already?

Well look back….  On March 14th 2020 Liz and myself drove to Oshawa, bought my 2nd Yaesu FT 450 from VE3FJC….  Looked at a new trailer , but did not sign on the line and had supper at the Belleville Casino….

A day later it all hit the fan….  Pandemic City and the worst two months in our lives…. Fortunately we kept our health and financial security (many lost both) but its changed life as we know it…. and two months later its not getting much better….

As things pertain to Ontario (VE3) the public parks are just starting to open up but right now  its only for day use…..  Don’t make any plans for Field Day yet…..

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I am still planning to operate Field Day but most likely as a 1A station.

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Yaseu FT 450, 43 foot vertical, 25 amp power supply and my Champion 1.5k Gas Generator.

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Overnight won’t happen but will (should)operate for both days but will be operating under Day Use restrictions.

Now as plans were made to be broken… I will be fairly flexible if the parks suddenly open for general use

However as of today’s date the private campgrounds that cater to the permanent campers will be allowed to start their season…  In addition many more businesses are going to able to open up but with some restrictions….

A biggie for me is that the Provincal Parks remaining day use only….  We were still strongly debating the new trailer but we also want to travel with it so……  Hard to travel if there are no Provincal Parks to travel to….  Not really wanting to make the payments with no where to go with it….

Radio wise it might be the year of the Contests or QSO Parties….  DXPeditions for the most part are not going to happen….  Just can’t see some remote area  inviting a bunch of old people from a country or countries that have had serious issues with COVID19 to welcome us with open arms…..  However I will be the first to admit that sitting in the shack in the evenings and having some chats have taken most (if not all) of the stress from my daily life  till the next day when it builds up again…

Hoping you are staying safe and sane through our search for the “new normal”

73bob

 

 

Pleased with the new purchase

Well after the help of a few local (Kingston) hams and the computer skills of my daughter Erika its working fineimg_0725

The hotspot has found a place in VA3QV/m and I have it set up in such a way that I do not need a computer to control it ….  However I am also not using it to its full potentinal.

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But it is doing exactly what I wanted it to so…. it works for me… And heres how I am using it so far….

I use it to connect to the Canada Wide Room which is part of the VE3ORF/3730 linked Repeater system This lets me keep track with the “home town” when I am not within VHF/UHF RF range although most nites I can contact them on 80m SSB on the 3730 group.

Here in Kingston the local Fusion Group has just (in the process of)set up a hotspot on the the Fusion repeater here in town.  This (once all is finished) will let me call into my new home town when I am on the road.  Once again YES I could do this on HF but its nice to have some communications options.

Now if I was to add a tablet to the system I could use the hotspot to its full potential but for now I don’t want to introduce any more distactions to VA3QV/m and the video display would be doing that.  All I need to do is fill in a few gaps in communications (for now).  I am planning to get a 2nd hotspot to put in the trailer and that will have more computer control but for now its the KISS principal.

I’m still a newby at this but it is a great communications tool

73bob

PS…. as I write this according to the USPS tracking site my 10-80m Wolf River Coil is somewhere between Chicago and Kingston.  It passed through Chicago and so far has not be scanned anywhere since.  I am hoping it makes it to Toronto where it will clear customs and then on to me in Kingston