First trip getting closer…

Starting with the camping side of our lives:

Liz and I made it over to the storage yard and brought over all the necessary stuff for the Galley of the camper.  At the same time I double checked the roof patch that I had done earlier and I am pleased (proud) to say that the roof work survived the last of the Monsoons that I had talked about previously…

There is still lots to go on the “to do” list but it should all happen for our “maiden voyage” planned for the end of the month….  The biggies are:

(1) Check the bearings and replace/repack as necessary

(2) Get off my butt and get those propane tanks re filled so we can check the propane system.

(3) I have all the extension cords and adapters in the camper already but I need to take it somewhere with a 30 amp service so I can check all the shore power stuff.  Our first trip will be to a “full service” campground (boondocking cancelled for now) so we might have to cross our fingers and check it then…

(4) I have to replace the storage battery (Battery 1) in the camper.  This is the one that powers all the 12 volt accessories (lights/waterpump/small inverter) This is fairly easy to replace…

Take it out and measure it … then buy the same size replacement so it fits snugly in the compartment…but actually getting over to the store and replacing the battery (paying for it) is a pain in the butt (or wallet).  This battery is automatically trickle charged whenever the camper is hooked up to shore power or connected to the tow vehicle. (see below comments about solar as well)

I also have a 2nd 80 ah sla storage battery (Battery 2) that will be charged when ever its connected to shore power.   Its main purpose will be powering my amateur radio gear along with a different small inverter just in case. 80 ah will be more than enough to power the FT 817 along with any other of my QRP gear for a week or so with no issues expected…


There also is a 15 w solar panel I plan to wire in with the main storage battery just to keep it maintained and also might extend the battery life if we are boondocking for a weekend.  Yes I do have a small generator but why burn the gas unless I really need to?

We have 15 days to go before the “maiden voyage” so I actually have lots of time to put things off… so I can rush around at the last minute….

Amateur Radio for a few minutes:

Yesterday was an “Out with the new and bring the old back” day…

Liz and I had been chatting about what I was going to do with the Flex 1500 as there will be no room in the camper for the computer that controls it…. When the laptop died we bought new IPads and so I did not want to buy another laptop just to control the SDR Radio.

Also the 32 inch TV that I use at home as a monitor for it will be mounted in the camper….

Well yesterday that problem was solved.  I was reading an “on line amateur swap page” and found that there was a local amateur (about 3 miles from my home) that was looking to buy a Flex 1500.

A quick phone call followed by a drive over to his place saw “my” Flex becoming “his” Flex … and after our maiden voyage I might be looking for a HF rig for the camper or the 817 just might be it for the season.

Another radio thing is that I now do have all the parts to connect my Baofeng handheld to my old Android tablet so I will be able to run APRS (VA3QV-13) while Liz and I are on the road.

However finding the time to construct the interface cable from the parts I have acquired could take a bit.  It will be all running before the July trip but most likely not the the end of May trip.

Its hard to imagine that just over a year ago we were sitting on the side of a highway near the Quebec- New Brunswick border watching a Fire Department trying to put out the fire in our motorhome and now our first trip in the replacement rig is in just over two weeks from now…where has the time gone?

Stay tuned for the “Official” beginning to our EXCELLENT adventures.


Giving back to our Community

For those who read this blog for the RV Lifestyle….  Sorry…. This post is more Amateur Radio Related.

Yesterday the City of Ottawa (my hometown) held an Emergency Exercise.  The senario was that an strong Earthquake hit the City and without boring you with local geographic location its just easier to say that it was a bad one… really bad…

As part of Ottawa’s Emergency Plan the Emergency Measures Radio Group (Ottawa ARES) was put on standby and then activated.  

For a bit of background EMRG is a group of like minded amateur radio operators  when directed by the City of Ottawa’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) will deploy to do tasks that Amateur Radio is best suited to handle.  The tasks vary depending on the needs of the OEM and we as volunteers do the best we can.  

Our Group is well supported by the City and we have 5 VHF Amateur Repeaters, 2 UHF Amateur Repeaters along with a Winlink Node and a AX25 Packet Digi and BBS set up on various pieces of City Property.  The repeaters are well spread out we do have the ability to talk across the City of Ottawa from its Far East end to the Far West and the Deep South end with no issues.


Yesterday after being put on standby we were activated.  

My tasking was to sit with my vehicle in an eastern area and await for further instructions and respond as (if) needed.  

After approx  2.5 hours we were told to de-activate and go back to stand by mode.  Meaning they would call us back once (if) there was a need for our services.

Just after getting home and thinking about lunch…  

We were activated again.  Our tasking was to send units to a Red Cross Shelter and also to the Red Cross warehouse in Ottawa.  We also needed other units available in case more shelters were opened for those displaced.  This time I was acting as the Net Control Station (a “dispatcher” sort of position).  I received direction from our radio operator at City Hall and then relayed those instructions to the units in the field.  Approx 3 hours later we were told to stand down again and wait for further taskings.

Well right after supper….

We were activated for the third time in the day…

 It seems that there had been  aftershocks due to the mornings quake and this time we were tasked with checking 10 bridges that cross the Rideau River in various parts of Ottawa and report our findings back to City Hall.  

I was one of the mobile units deployed to the “South End” and checked 2 bridges and one Dam.  They built those old bridges strong back in the day and they survived the aftershocks…

Shortly after that we were ordered to “Stand Down” and we received the “END EX” message…  

We are not 1st responders ….  nor are we 2nd or even 3rd…  We are a group of Citizens that are willing to use our specific skill sets to assist our community when called upon.  We train with the hope that we are never called upon for real.  

As with any exercise its purpose is to find problems with the system.  I won’t mention my thoughts on this one as we have not been debriefed yet.  However I can say that equipment wise and operator wise we did hold up our end.  But…. improvements might be (should be) (could be) in order before the next time we exercise.

As always the blog posting are my thoughts and not to be considered an official statement of any sorts….  Just an old phart thinking out loud…

Thats how my day went yesterday…. How was yours?


ps…. as I write this several communities nearby have just declared States of Emergency due to the flooding of the Ottawa, Gatineau and Rideau Rivers.  It makes me think that the exercise yesterday could easily become an “actual” if you replace the word “Earthquake” with the word “Flood”.

pps… also makes me hope that I repaired the water leak on the trailers roof properly as the rains continue to fall.  (Remember my previous post about “Monsoon Season”???)






April showers brings….

More showers… it seems…

If the winter was “brutal”….. the spring “monsoon season” is proving to be just as annoying…

No major leaks found so far but I have treated a damp area with sealer and crossing my fingers that that’s as bad as it gets…. more on this later…

Our 1st trip of the season is a short 24 days away…. The weekend after the Canadian “Victoria Day” long weekend.  The May 24 weekend is a bit too rowdy for our liking (opening weekend for most of the parks) so we usually start our camping season the following weekend.

This will be a short (2day) “boondocking” trip that will allow me to calculate our fuel consumption when towing the trailer.  Without the trailer we are getting aprox 17 L per 100 KMS.  Given the weight and size of the trailer I am guessing that the rate will drop down to somewhere close to 25L per 100 KMS.

So in the next 20 days I have to:

Check, repack or replace the wheel bearings.

Replace the 12v Storage battery

Fill the 2 propane tanks

Flush the plumbing system and fill the watertank.  

Normally filling the tank would be done when we arrived at the park but as I mentioned earlier this time we are boondocking…. so no park to fill up at.

championgeneratorI still have to check the 120v electrics…. hopefully when the generator makes it back from the repair shop…

Or I will have to tow the trailer somewhere that has shore power for the test.

That’s a good 2 or 3 days work….. now let’s see if my other commitments will cooperate and get it all done.

On to the radio side of things….

In the truck I am keeping it simple with a 2m fm radio along with a 5/8w mobile antenna.  It will be programmed before each trip with the freqs for the repeaters that we will be passing.

In the trailer for HF will be my FT817.  I will be using my buddistick (for overnites) magmounted to the roof of the truck and for longer stops my S9 43foot vertical along with my SGC 237 remote autotuner.  I am getting a mount for this made up that will attach to the hitch on the truck for use when the trailer is not attached (and the truck parked…)

I am still thinking on APRS but doubt it will be done in time for the first trip….. More on this later….


Wide Coverage VHF (2m) Ottawa Area repeaters

If you read my previous post then you might remember that the City of Ottawa is offering limited urban camping at selected arenas and community centres for the week long Canada Day celebrations.

If you are driving in to Ottawa with your RV,  these frequencies (For the ham radio types) might be helpful.  The greater Ottawa area has many repeaters but here are some of the more stable wide coverage ones.

The repeater guides show many more repeaters for Ottawa…  but as of the time of posting this…. the  short list gives you a choice of several FM repeaters that you usually find someone monitoring.

(Above pic is my dual band handheld)

146.850  – offset   CTCSS.  136.5.   VE3ORF  owned/operated by the 3730 Group

146.880  – offset.  CTCSS   136.5    VE3OCE owned by the City of Ottawa OEM and operated by the Ottawa ARES/EMRG

146.940  – offset   CTCSS.  100.0   VE2CRA owned/operated by the Ottawa Amateur Radio Club

147.150   + offset   CTCSS   100.0   VE3MPC owned / operated by the Canadian Police College ARC

147.300  + offset   CTCSS   100.0   VE3TWO owned / operated by the Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Club

If you are planning to visit Ottawa during the Canada Day 150 don’t forget to program your 2m rigs…

PS… this post was created in my IPad using the WordPress app.  It’s easier on the computer but it can be done.