1st Road trip

It was decided that the new VA3QV mobile would head out and look for trouble….  We did about a 220km circle (actually more like a square)as shown below:

So far we are pleased and the fuel economy is not too bad for driving without the trailer behind.  That will happen in the near future travelling from Kingston to …… wherever the road takes us

Safe Travels


A new (to me) Tow vehicle

Well it had to happen….  The oil spots in my driveway and wherever I parked the Dodge was telling me that the end was near… IMG_0497

This was also confirmed by the guys at the local “Oil Changers” who advised me that the oil pan gasket was leaking and the oil pan was also rusting and was approaching critical.  The same was found to be happening on the Transmission Gasket as well but not as bad as the oil pan.


This post is not about The Oil Changers franchise operator but I do appreciate the honesty of their staff….  Their opinion greatly influenced the rest of this post….

So what was supposed to be search starting in the spring suddenly became a search that started about two weeks ago and finished today with the arrival of :



And I took possession of it this afternoon… and the Ham Gear is starting to get installed

Its a bit newer….. lots less KMS….. with a larger engine…..  more than enough b@lls to tow the existing trailer (and the planned new trailer) and the Air Conditioning works fantastic….

Tomorrow (Wednesday) I will be taking the trailer out for a test pull and adjust the trailer brakes as needed…. Its first trip could be early in September and we do have plans for a two week trip in October….  In October the temps are great during the day… The bugs are scarce and in the evening an extra blanket makes the evenings just fantastic….

More on how the new truck handles this thing we call life in the next post…






Finding #hamradio stuff

Liz has been commenting that a few boxes are sitting in the garage (since we moved in last June) that have the words “Radio” on them that just seem to be gathering dust. To be honest I don’t know whats in them but as I have not opened them it seems that I had no need for the contents.

It has been suggested that I open them and sell the contents….  Seeing that I have already been selling some unused gear this year….  It seems like a good idea….  So an email was sent out to the Ottawa Amateur Radio Club asking that they reserve me a table at their Hamfest on September 7th in Carp Ontario. 

If they have the space available I should be there.

On the table will be: 

Buddistick Portable Vertical Antenna with some additional accessories

Hamstick Dipole Mounts

Homebrewed W3EDP HF antenna

Winkeyer USB

2m, 6m, and dual band (2m/70cm) mobile antennas

Baluns 1:1, 4:1, 4:1 unun  

Numerous runs of coax,  Some RG8, RG8X, RG58 all with PL259 connectors also some Patch Cords 

A couple of Power Supplies (low amperage)

…..  and thats all that I’ve found so far after going thru the first box……  

Seeing that “Stuff Out” = “New Stuff In”  I have already ordered a new Yaesu FTDM 100 (Fusion C4FM) radio and it will be brought to the hamfest by the Vendor which saves me the shipping and if it gives Liz some room in the garage at the same time it should be a “win-win” situation. 

Once I empty all the boxes I will post some pics of the neater stuff that I find…

Who knows????  I might even find some other stuff that I havn’t missed yet….




Its a small world after all

Interesting evening….

Got a phone call from the local repeater operators telling me that they were testing the Wires X Fusion Node on a simplex frequency before switching it over to their repeater….

I switch over there and the first person I hear is VE1AS (Terry) ex VE3KLT who I have known for ever…. and when we both lived in Ottawa lived about 3 km away….

UPDATED:  Should of given a bit more info.  Terry now lives in Pugwash NS and according to QRZ.com thats a bit over 625 miles from Kingston.  Now Wires X/Fusion does use a form of internet linking so its not really DX  but I still think its neat that my first Fusion contact from home in Kingston would be with an old friend who I knew in Ottawa who now lived in Nova Scotia

I knew he moved but this is the first time we have talked since I moved into Kingston Ontario a year ago…

No rare DX but it was nice to talk to an old friend and neighbor

The hobby never ceases to amaze me


A great “Stationary Use” antenna for your #hamradio mobile use

As mentioned from a previous post…

If you’ve ever worked a large public service event (Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour or the Canadian Ski Marathon as examples) that are in areas that are not always “Radio Friendly” where you have to reach the repeater then here is a suggestion for you.  


And here’s how I put it together… with next to no tools and with parts that mostly would be found in your radio equipment junk box

Parts list:

Hurricane style 3 or 4 magnet mount

Length of threaded rod-  I used a 3 foot long 3/8 inch threaded rod that I picked up at Princess Auto here in Kingston along with 3 nuts and washers

Home made copper J Pole antenna from my junk box that I built about 25 years ago as part of a club build project

Couple of small hose clamps

10 foot (or so ) run of coax

Step 1– Remove whatever antenna mounting hardware is currently on the Mag mount


Step 2– Using Nuts and washers attach treaded rod where the antenna mount used to be


Step 3–  Attach J Pole to the threaded rod  using hose clamps if needed at a length that you feel comfortable with or come up with a suitable way to secure the antenna to the rod (your choice)  In my case I just inserted the threaded rod inside the end of JPole


Step 4 –  Attach coax

In my case this gave me a  copper J pole 2 feet above the 6 foot high roof of the truck then you add in the length of the J Pole itself and I have a the top of a 1/2 wave antenna approx 14 feet above ground (6(truck)+2(rod)+6(length of Jpole) firmly attached by 3 large magnets to the rood of the truck.  According to Ontario Law its too tall to have on the roof while driving but if you are stationary (at a checkpoint) it will do you fine…



Whenever you are doing any sort of antenna work watch for and avoid all overhead wires.

You follow the above directions and use the information at your own risk.  The fact that it worked for me does not mean it will work for you.


If you have any doubts about the safe use of the information do not attempt this..  

Check your SWR before transmitting.  Finals can be expensive


I hope you have fun with this setup but please be careful…. Don’t be “THAT” Ham…

Hopefully this setup should (could, might) give your the extra oomph to your signal to get into the repeaters when needed.





The adventure continues Part 3

Saturday evening was a great night and Erika remains the “Fire Queen”  She has the ability to start a campfire no matter how wet the wood is…..  Sitting by the fire at the end of the day with a cold one is a great way to finish off that day….

Sunday after breakfast it was decided (she decided) that we would head to the Cornwall Walmart for supplies.  Actually she was going to get me to drop her off at a Starbucks so she could visit with an old friend and I was heading to Walmart for supplies….  Anyway the drive took about 45 minutes each way as we drove a bit slow and checked some things out on the trip…  About 60 minutes after I dropped her off at Starbucks I was on my way back after getting food and other supplies for the next two days…

The after supper the evening started to get a bit chilly (!@#$%$#@ cold actually) and we broke out the electric heater for a while to get the chill out of the air….  Then it also started to get slightly damp…. Supper was great however…

Monday was a bit of a damp start and although we said we would not do it….  a good deal of cellular data got blown through as we streamed some stuff just to keep us occupied in the rain….  No overages but came also close to our monthly cap way before we should of….  Later in the day the clean up started as we were hitting the road on Tuesday morning….

Tuesday we had planned to take HWY 2 from Cedars to Kingston so we could check out a couple of boondocking sites I had found on I Overlander.  We also wanted to visit the St Lawrence Seaway lock station at Iroquois and after that we could check out the two sites.  The first was in Prescott Ontario and the next was in Gananoque Ontario

The site in Prescott was all they claimed it was but during the day time the parking lot was too crowded to get our rig in their.  Unfortunately I found this out after we had entered the lot and so it was a stressful time getting things turned around before we could leave….  We finally made it and then after fuel we continued on throughout Brockville and then on to Gananoque….  Unfortunately I zigged when I should of zagged as we approached Gan and so we missed that site all together.  It was decided (she decided and is getting more like her mother every day) that I could head back there another day to check it out…


So anyway we ended up in Kingston on Tuesday afternoon with the rig being put back into storage and for now the adventure is paused.  Erika and I had a fantastic time and looking forward to our next Daughter-Dad camping trip.I   to rest up a bit before the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour (see previous post) and some minor gremlins were fixed in the trailer that will make life easier for Liz and myself when we take our first planned trip towards the end of June….

Safe Travels   Bob

The adventure continues – Part 2

When we last left you Erika and I had arrived at Riverside-Cedar Campground which is just east of Morrisburg Ontario on Hwy 2

We arrived on Friday afternoon and set up our campsite… After we got set up I asked Erika to take the truck over to the washrooms and fill up a couple of water jugs.  Not one of my smarter moves as there seemed to be a picnic table in front of the truck that somehow was not in her line of sight…

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and my truck said “OUCH”

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But at the end of the day…. she was fine… the damage to the grill was easily repaired… Gorilla Tape and Duct Tape can fix anything and the Park employees did not seemed overly concerned once they realized it was one of the old tables...

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So as no one was upset… (outside of Erika) the “no harm—–no foul ” rule was envoked and life quickly got back to normal

At the end of the day if that is the worst thing that happens to my daughter when she is driving I will be a happy man…  She now knows to look in front of her vehicle before she moves it from a parking spot and this is a lesson well learned… Also why I let her learn to drive using an old Pick up truck…. in 99% of the time she would win no matter who made the mistake…  no harm… no foul…. and everyone went home at the end of the day…

Works for me….

On the radio side of things….  Everyone who know me well knows that I feel the most important use of Amateur Radio is the ability to talk to “HOME” and on Saturday this happened on two bands.

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Saturday morning John VA3CAK was the net control of the ONTARS Net and his station was able to hear 5 watts and a wire from my Yaesu FT 817….

And the antenna I used was my homebrewed W3EDP



Later in the day I was able to contact Bill VE3FI via the Landsowne Repeater…. As Bill and John are both in Kingston I was able to call home…  making the Hamradio part of the camping trip a success.

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We had a great evening and all was forgiven (forgotten)

The weather was not the best but we managed to stay warm and dry in the trailer.  Blew the data budget all to hell when we streamed a couple of movies but it was all good fun.  OTA Tv was kind of a bust but we were able to get 4 different PBS Stations but unfortunately none of the major networks…

I also made quite a few contacts on the C4FM mode using the VE3ORF Linked repeater systems which was something new for me and very interesting.  Nothing there is like rare dx as in effect its like Skype on a radio but it was nice making some longer distance contacts that was armchair copy rather than trying to pick out the occasional words on HF.

This Fusion stuff with all the bells and whistles including these new fangled hotspots are starting to have a life all on their own.  That weekend was my first encounter with the e Wires X linking and I was impressed.  I think its safe to say that there will be more linking in my near future.

In addition to the Fusion stuff there were lots of FM repeaters around to play on but unfortunately there was a lot of dead air after the repeaters CW id finished.  We have the toys but people need to play with them….I also managed to check into the 3.730 net on HF SSB but it was hard work with the QRP Rig.

This seems a good spot to stop for the nite…. Next time Sunday, Monday and Tuesday