COVID 19 restrictions

From this mornings Ottawa Sun we have some more needed restrictions that impact both of my hobbies:

The province has also introduced new measures to address surge capacity in hard-hit retirement and long-term care homes, restrict recreational camping on Crown land, and allow the repurposing of existing buildings and temporary structures.

The Crown Land part affects me as a RV’er as well as a Amateur Radio Operator.  

First of all for my non Canadian readers….  Crown Land is land that is owned by the Goverment and therefore owned by the Queen/King at the time and so named Crown Land.  This would be the same idea of BLM land in the USA and can be designated for various recreation and conservation uses.  A Boondockers paradise…..

Restricting camping is a no brainer as when one person set up camp in an isolated area it seems that another camper has to set up close to that site no matter how much area is available.

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I’m guessing that the Provincial Enforcement Officer (Police or Conservation Officer) will not know the difference between Bob the Camper and Bob the Radio Operator.  

I’m not happy but I understand its really necessary as the only way to beat this damn bug is to isolate and (so far) the minor inconviences that are being imposed on us are worth it.

Just really glad that I’m not making monthly payments on a Rig I can’t use or making storage payments on a Rig that I can’t use

Stay Safe our there

73bob (safe travels)

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

 

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

Getting the #RV ready for winter

As you should be able to tell by the #RV hashtag in the title this posting will be more about RV’s than radios…


Well after much delaying it….  We finally did it….  The first (and most important) steps were taking to prepare Erika’s trailer for the winter.

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Yes I did say Erika’s trailer…. 

Liz and I decided that we needed a slightly larger (newer) trailer for the start of our retirement and so rather than trade in the old one we gave it to Erika.

She is planning to reno it more for “Glamping”than Camping so lets see how far this one gets.  One has to remember that her Sonic will not pull it….So stay tuned for what we/she has planned for it.

But on the weekend we did get the Fresh water tank drained,  The Gray and Black Tanks dumped.  All non perishable food items were removed along with some of the electronics.  The trailer is being winter stored in its usual spot so we can easily get to it in the next few weeks to remove the bedding and kitchen items as well as take the steps to keep rodents away.

Now that the tanks are drained I still have to add the RV antifreeze to the system and that also will be done in the near future.

Back to the plans for the new mobile abode…. We are not really sure about the details other than we want one.  I would guess something under 28 feet that can legally be towed by our current pick up truck.

We both want more room but are trying to find the find line between something we can travel with without feeling cramped and something we can live in for the summer but can’t tow it.  I’m not really ready for a permanent campsite yet so I would prefer to travel a bit but stay for a while once we get there…

Lets see what we end up with….

Safe travels

Bob

Some upcoming #RV and #Hamradio Stuff

The first official trip of the New VA3QV Mobile along with the trailer is due to happen the weekend after Labour Day.

newtruckandtrailer2

I will be leaving Kingston on Friday late afternoon/early evening  and heading out to the Western outskirts of Ottawa to spend the night before I arrive on Saturday morning at the Ottawa Amateur Radio Club Hamfest in Carp Ontario.  Saturday afternoon will be spent having lunch with some friends in Ottawa and will most likely spending a night or two at a Walmart before heading back to Kingston on Sunday afternoon or Monday Morning depending on how I feel.

The above pics were taken at Chillycon a few years ago….  A restfull weekend of QRP Radio… Camping…. BBQs and lying about all the great contacts we made….  The small Class C Motorhome was the first VA3QV/m and that was actually its first trip…

Later in the week I will be again leaving town with the trailer in tow and spending Thursday night at the Kemptville Walmart before arriving at Rideau River Provincal Park on Friday Morning to partake in two of the three days of the Amateur Radio Event sponsored by the Ottawa Valley QRP Society that we call Chillycon.  I have to be back in Kingston on Sunday by noon so not sure if I am going to head out real early on Sunday morning or late Saturday night.

There will be more on both events in a future blog post….

After that its time to work on whatever issues I had on the first two trip because Liz and I will be heading out  early in October for a couple of weeks (destination not finalized yet… )  before we winterize the trailer and then hand the keys over to Erika.  We are giving her the trailer and we will be pickup up a new(er) slightly larger (24-28 footer) in the spring.

This is all part of the retirement master plan but remember plans were made to be changed… And Liz has been known to change my mind in the past….

Erika is planning to renovate the interior and camp with it next year….  Only problem is that her Sonic is a little small for the trailer but she does not like driving the Silverado so,,,,,Lets see how this turns out…

Thats about all for now….  more later next week ….  mostly about the trip from Kingston to Carp and how much I sold and how much I bought at the hamfest

Till then “Safe Travels” and ….

73bob

First Tow with the new(er) Truck

This morning I headed over to the storage yard and hooked up to the trailer just to test out the Silverado….

newtruckandtrailer

It was a local tour as if anything was going to fail I wanted it to be closer to home to cut the towing costs if anything went south….

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I toured around Kingston for a while and parked ( took up a few spots) at the local Timmies and had coffee with VE3FI Bill and then headed over to my local Walmart and took a couple of pictures just to prove I actually went somewhere….

Anyway long story short….  We need to do a bit of work on the Trailer Brakes but other than that all is fantastic….

First trip with the trailer is to the OARC Carp Hamfest on the 7th of September and aftetr that I have 2 days to make it home to Kingston before I am scheduled to work next so Gawd knows where I will end up….

I have some goodies to sell at the hamfest (Buddistick antenna, Winkeyer USB,  Yeasu MD 100 desk mic) and lots of COAX and other such stuff….

Also plan to be heading home with an good HF(40m and 80m) mobile antenna system which will work easily while travelling along with a new FTM 100DR C4FM rig for the Silverado….

Hope to see you there

73bob

“Murphy” goes #Boondocking

For those of you who follow the blog

—>  This is a non amateur radio post <—

Boondocking is not really a good term, but has somehow come into common use. Dry Camping (parking anywhere without or with limited amenities) is more accurate. Independent Parking is the preferred term. It means that you are prepared to dry camp but, make use of amenities when they’re available.

For those of you who don’t know “Murphy’s Law:

Murphy’s Law basically reads that…”If it can go wrong…. IT WILL!!!!!!

So given the above statement you can see where this post is going…..

The planning for this trip started 2 weeks ago….  I knew the area that I wanted to camp at and first did a Google Map Satellite view search and found a few choice locations….  All of these locations were west of Kingston Ontario on CR 33 or HWY 33 which is also known if you are heading west from Kingston as the Bath Road.

I found the following locations and decided to check them out when Trisha (youngest daughter) and my self were driving back from Picton Ontario.

The furthest location was a small “Historic Plaque” location just across the 33 highway from the Greater Napanee Power Plant. It was a great location but had a small parking lot. There was a gate but there were no warning signs that restricted access or overnight parking.

 

The Next location was at the “Finkle Shore Park and Boat Launch. The Picnic area at the west side was a bit crowded and we did not see much hope in parking the trailer there without upsetting quite a few visitors. However on the boat launch side at the east end of the park there was a fair bit of room as boaters launch their boats and then park the tow vehicle and now empty trailers while boating. So the parking lot had room for longer rigs but as it was a busy day on the water…. we kept heading east

 

The site I liked the best was a two part pull off….  The west side had a private property sign but the east side had no restriction and they had some benches close to the water.  I checked this one fully and decided that we had a winner.  I would return to this location with the camper.

The private property would be on the left of your screen and the by my defination open property would be on the right of the screen

Now back to the present time….  Its now a week later and I have left Kingston heading west on the Bath Road

I stop at the closest location (private and public site) and pull down to the east side of the public side and find that I have to pull a 25 point turn with the truck/trailer so I can get facing the right direction without getting the rig stuck on what I would call “soggy ground”.  So turned around and in the right direction I find out why the ground is soggy….  The wind is fairly strong and the waves are breaking on the shoreline and the water is splashing onto the ground where I was planning to set up….  Time to move on….

The score is Murphy 1 and Bob 0

Next stop was at the Finkle Park.  The boat launch side had a few trucks with empty trailer so this would not be that quiet and so I headed over to the public park side.  Unfortunately the park was fairly busy and there was no where to put the trailer where I could easily exit after.  I wont score this one as this would be a great day use facility and they actually now have signs up to restrict overnite parking (camping)

The score remains at Murphy 1 and Bob 0

The next attempt was at the Historic Site across from the Napanee Power Facility.  The lot is empty and after about 5 minutes or moving around I get the rig safely in the North east corner without hitting any of the rocks you saw in the Google Maps shot.

I am able to put my Champion 1.5kw generator on a flat rock just behind my camper and my BBQ on a flat rock beside my camper…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The score is now all tied up at Murphy 1 and Bob 1

The generator is now running,  The BBQ is lit and inside I am getting 9 channels OTA (Over the Air).  Global Kingston, 4 PBS stations, Fox and ABC from Watertown/Syracuse and a couple of specialty channels….  Once again proving that location is a big thing in RF reception and that Lake Ontario does a great job of reflecting signals.

Remember that the OTA antenna on the camper was state of the art back in 1999.  20 years later the amplifier has failed so now I basically have a set of rabbit ears on the roof… Old Rabbit ears at that

Supper is cooked and finished along with a couple of brews…..

Score is now Murphy 1 and Bob 2 (Sounds of crowd cheering)

And then it started to cloud over quickly and the wind picked up….

and then the sound and light started……

And look at the size of those Lightning Rods just across the street from me…..

The sound and light continued for about 30 min or so and there were a couple of real close instant Flash/Booms that did get my attention but I already had supper and the camper and I survived so eventually the storm passed on its way east

But Murphy has tied up the score at 2-2

Once the storm passed the sun peeked out from the clouds again and it was a great evening…. with some great views…..

Although my skills as a photographer do not do the area justice you can see the wind turbines on Amherst Island turning….  The visability had cleared up and you could see for miles….

The score is now Murphy 2 and Bob 3 (and the crowd goes wild…)

And as the sun sets on our hero…. we now have more “issues” to deal with.  The first one may seem minor to you but…. not to me…..  The plan was to tether my Android Box to my cell phone and watch the Football game later in the evening.  It was a CFL (Canadian Foot Ball League) Double header with the early game in Montreal and the Late game in Calgary.  As it turned out the Montreal Game was called after the 3rd quarter due to a very severe storm with lots of thunder and lightning.

Remember that storm that I had talked about earlier????  Well the storm was tracking east and Montreal is East of where I was camping…. The storm ran right up the St Lawrence River and hit them harder than it hit us here on Lake Ontario…..  Bad enough that the game was called due to dangerous weather.  Montreal has an outdoor stadium…

However by not checking my Streaming capabilities earlier to make sure all was in order I gave Murphy an easy point

And we are tied back up at 3-3

At this point I am thinking that Murphy might actually win this one…. and then….  Its dark…. no one around…. and I am hearing noises…. I grab a flashlight  and check around the site….  no one in sight…  no  eyes in the flashlites beam…. I’m all alone here….  Then it hits me….  In all my years of camping this is the first time that I’ve been camping in a non-campground  situation without family/friends/neighbors/other campers…

Many a night has been spent in Rest areas, Walmart lots, Truck stops and the like but there was always someone around….  Security at the stores, Staff at the truck stops and in Florida an armed Deputy at the rest stop just outside Orlando

So between things that go bump in the night (or could go bump in the night), thoughts about what happened a couple of weeks ago in Western Canada along with  quite a few mosquitoes that found me when I was out checking the site the decision was made to concede this trip to Murphy

In the  end the final score has  Murphy winning 4 to 3 and the crowd is hushed….

60 minutes later I had arrived back in Kingston and was fortunate to find a street parking space close to the house.  I transferred all that was in the box of the pickup into the trailer for the night.  Saturday morning the trailer is safely back in the storage yard and life goes on….

But just wait till next time…. Damn you Murph!!!!

Safe Travels

Bob