Summer Travel Plans 2019

This post is geared more to the RV’ers than the Amateurs Radio ops

With the current price of fuel (was $1.23 a Litre when I was driving home last night) we have decided to hold off our purchase of a new (to us) rig.  There is no point making payments on a rig we can’t afford to move….


This summer is still going to be a camping year with lots of time spent in our existing trailer but less time (and miles) in the truck getting there. 


Living in Kingston (on the St. Lawrence River at the end of Lake Ontario) gives us many wonderful areas to camp in.  Between the St. Lawrence Parks Commission and the Ontario Parks we have many public parks within a 2 hour drive of home.

We also plan (after checking the Crown Land Map) want to try some boondocking later in the season. For more basic info on the topic try a Google search of Crown Land in <Province>

For my non camping followers “Boondocking” is a term that we use when we are camping out in the boonies on public land that is free to use.  There are no services but also no (or next to no) costs for the stay.  This is sometime refered to as dry camping

For my non-Canadian followers Crown Land is roughly the same as BLM Land in the States.  Depending on the designation of the land we have the option of staying for free on certain plots of land.  This is on a first come first served with no reservations (space and access could be limited)  and I believe (memory fail) that its either a 2 week or 4 week maximum stay. 

Not an issue as with our trailer we would have to move to a location where we could  dump our grey and black tanks and refill the fresh tank about every 7 days so…  It is something in the back of our minds for now.

Now back to the present.  At the end of April Erika (daughter) and myself will be taking the trailer out of storage and towing to a location where we will be giving it the once over, correcting anything that is not in order after the winter and giving it a good cleaning.  This will be done in anticipation of the shake down cruse for the new season planned for the end of May and the first couple weeks of June.

After that who knows???  At this time we have plans for most of September between the Amateur Radio camping trip for Chillycon in mid September followed by a potential season ending trip at the end of September … but depending on the weather we might try to make it to Riverside Cedars campground just east of Morrisburg Ontario  for the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend in mid October.  Liz and I  did that two years ago and really enjoyed it but we were glad our site had electricity as we did need the electric heater overnight.

Right now most of this is thinking out loud but the new (to us) rig will not be happening till we can figure out what the “static costs” will be along with the “camping costs”  At this time our “Static costs” are storage 75.00 and insurance 25.00 so in reality the trailer costs me a minimum of  $100.00 per month if it turns a wheel or not.

Now with a new rig (especially if its financed) you have the monthly payment, your insurance costs will be higher and you will still need to store it when not is use.  These factors could easily raise the static costs to over $500.00 per month without even turning a wheel.  I don’t want to own a camper that I can’t afford to travel in so…  Lets see what the price of fuel will be doing (my guess is rising) before we tie up major funds in a new rig.

Much more on this topic later but till then…

Safe Travels


Solar and Generator for the new season

Well seeing that the camper is in storage till the snow melts…  Its time to look on line and find some new toys for the old camper that will easily be relocated to the new camper after we return from the anticipated Newfoundland Tour in the summer of 2019.

The plan was (and actually still is) to get enough solar power to run the rig for extended periods of time while dry camping (boondocking).  The timetable would be that about every 7-10 days we would have to visit a campground for an overniter (groceries, dump and refill tanks as needed and a real shower) and then back to the boonies.

In addition to the solar setup I wanted to buy a larger generator.  The little 1.5kw Champion we have now is fantastic…. Easy on fuel and really quiet ….  BUT (you knew there had to be a but…) it does not have enough ooomph for all our power requirements.  A few more amps should we have the need to run the AC or a backup heater depending on the weather would be nice along with charging the house batteries should the need arise (cloudy week?)

After a little bit or internet searching (google and amazon can be your friend) I came up with the following:






For the generator I have chosen the Champion 4000w/3500 running w Generator/inverter.  


Its a name I trust and the prices seem comparable with other lines.  Its a little noisier than the same size inverters that are enclosed in plastic but according to its stats its the same DB as my current champion and as I mentioned earlier in this post ….  its pretty quiet.


It also will be easy to chain up in the back of the truck as its the same style as my current Champion

Next time we talk power it will be Solar Power

Safe Travels


The “Tow Vehicle” remains on the road

This morning “The Dodge” and I returned to the Drive Clean Inspection station to re take our emissions test.  The first test was on Friday and it was a fail as I have had some electrical issues with the truck and the fix for that was removing the battery to clean all connections as it had needed a boost earlier in the week.  The cleaning worked as the truck is back starting as it should.  


The downside to that is that the removing of the battery had also wiped the onboard computers memory so the data needed by the Drive Clean computer was not there.  They failed the first attempt as there was not enough data to check through…  They told me to drive it for a few days,  burn off some miles and then come back.

As the check engine light had been on, I had the  errorcodes read well before the test was due and knew that I had an issue with one cylinder occasionally miss firing along with a weak sealing gas cap.  Both would cause a fail.  

With the mileage on the truck approaching 500,000 kms I was not going to tear the engine apart to fix the issue so I started out as safely and cheaply as I could.  There is a popular fuel additive called “Sea Foam”.  YouTube users and backyard mechanics rave about its features and I have used it in the past to clean all the crap out of my Champion Generator when it got stored with gas that went stale and varnished…   I was not sure if it worked but the truck was idling better…


The end result was that the truck passed with the help of a new gas cap and two cans of the wonder liquid Sea Foam and now the Ministry of Transportation for Ontario will let me renew my plates… 


All this was done for a cash outlay of $50.00 plus the $17.50 cost of the re test.  (The first test was free)…


Above map shows the Province of Newfoundland (VO1) in ham language

So whats next???  Well I guess its now decision time….  The original plan was to get a new (to us) truck in the spring to pull our anticipated new (to us) trailer and stay in Ontario rather than travel in the summer of 2019.   But as nothing was carved in stone the thought now is to head east to Newfoundland for the summer of 2019 which means no truck and trailer replacement till 2020.  As of right now (till she changes my mind again) is the plan.  But between now and Newfoundland some minor stuff like new tires along with some bondo on the rougher parts of the truck will be done. 


Of course for this to happen it goes without saying that the trailer (the funny thing that follows the truck) must have a good winter in storage and be in good enough shape to make the trip.

More on our anticipated trip to the most Eastern Canadian Province will be coming up in the spring

Safe Travels




Parked for the winter

Tanks are dumped…..lines drained and anti freeze added…..  Parked in its space at the storage yard and the front end is lowered to allow for run off….


I will drop in every now again (stored 5 min walk from home) to check on things but the next time a wheel is turned should be in the late spring…  Earlier I hope but being realistic…. Late spring

For those of you out there fortunate enough to have a decent healthcare plan that allows you to leave the country….  Enjoy the snowbird season

Safe Travels

Amateur Radio and the RV community

If you ever watch some of the Youtube Videos on Full Time Camping you always notice how so many of them are commenting that they have issues in getting Cell/Data service while in some of the more remote areas.  Now although I know many Hams who are RV’ers I don’t know many RV’ers who are also hams.

This might be a way to get some “New Blood” into our hobby….

I have always defined my most important part of Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) being the ability of talking to home.  By home I mean contacting someone who lived close to my home city and would call home for me and reassure my wife that I was still doing well well on my trip and inturn could assure me that all was well at home.  This was in the days before cell phones were popular but the premise still works today.  There have been a few camping trips where the cell service was spotty and the radio has been needed to update friends and family on our progress while on the road.

If you are a RV’er who wants more info just GOOGLE (your town) Amateur Radio and you should find a local radio club that would be more than happy to explain the basics of how Ham Radio can be a tool to assist you in your RV.

Lots of Sailors have Amateur Radio in their Yachts so why not get your Amateur Radio License and then install an Amateur Radio in your Land Yacht?


To the hams out there….  If you do get contacted by someone who RV’s and shows interest in our hobby…. Try and gear your reply towards how your hobby can assist them in their hobby and that way we both win.

73 & Safe Travels


It’s been a while… How ya been?

After 14 months I finally remembered my password for “the blog” and so here we are again.  In reality every now and again life gets in the way of hobbies and in the last year that basically happened to me.

What have you missed???  For a start the family no longer lives in Ottawa.  We moved to the City of Kingston Ontario on June 1st.  We are happy with our new digs but most likely will finally get unpacked and organized in time for our next move.

The retirement thing lasted about 4 months before I started going stir crazy and really annoying Liz so there also is a new employer or as I prefer to call it a new source of funding for the toy account.


On the topic of toys we still have the same truck and camper as we took to PEI last year but with all that happened to us starting in late April with the getting ready for the move….  With the move in June…. and then the unpacking and all that goes with it….  2018 has not been a good year for camping or radio for that matter….

On the camping side Liz and I did get one trip in where we visited with old friends at Chillycon in early September and then Erika and I spent a great week at Sandbanks Provincial Park just south of Picton Ontario on the shore of Lake Ontario.  I have the camper in a storage facility close to our new home and I am hoping for one more trip before I winterize….

On the radio side of things….  Early in 2018 I did start to dabble in those new digital modes, mostly FT8 and had lots of fun.  Late in April the shack was packed up and just recently (late September) antenna wire is hiding in the trees at the new QTH.  Still using the same gear mostly….  The Yeasu FT 450 dialed down to 30w (gotta get a stronger power supply)for HF all modes and my FT 817 for the local VHF repeaters.

Still using HRD (but it did take a while to remember how to config it) along with my WinKeyer USB for CW and the SignaLink USB for the rest of the digital modes.  I still have to get my log talking to LoTW and EQSL as well as getting both of them to acknowledge the new address.  This means that if you have worked me after September 1st you might have to wait for a bit for the confirmation.  Not sure what hoops I have to jump through to open up an account for VA3QV in Kingston so it could (will) take some time.

If you really need a confirmation from FN14 drop me an email and I will send you something out via snailmail but I would prefer to wait for the E Side of things to get set up

Now a bit about the new toys….  There is a new (to us) truck and trailer in our future and I am hoping  this will happen late spring /early summer 2019.  We know what we want (trailer wise) and how we want to equip it and what we want to pull it with.  Something between 26-33 feet with a separate master bedroom  It will have solar power for dry camping along with a larger (3000-4000w) invertor/generator for those days when boondocking or dry camping the solar can’t keep up the power demands or Liz really wants me to run the Air Conditioner. 

img_0219Our current Champion Generator is very dependable but at 1.2k  also too small to run anything with a heating element along with the air conditioner in our current rig

As far as the tow vehicle goes we would need a 3/4 ton pickup.  4X4 short box with 4 doors would suit us nicely.  Both truck and trailer will have Amateur Radio Gear installed.  In some of the areas we plan to visit in 2020 the cell service might be sketchy so….  the ham gear is the vehicle is not for the hobby but rather for safety.

For the next few months posts will be made when things of interest in my Radio life or our RV Life.  Things that we want to share with you…

So as we say in the radio world “73”

or in the RV world “Safe Travels”