“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

 

 

Antenna plans for the trailer

Well this is right in the middle of the Canadian May 2-4 long weekend.  Its date changes slightly as we determine the actual holiday as the 3rd Monday of the month of May.  Its the unofficial beginning of the summer camping season.

You might be wondering where the May 2-4 weekend gots its name from….  Well as the third Monday in May is somewhere close to the 24th so its a good start but according to tradition….  It is the “unofficial ” start of the camping season and by strange coincidence there are also 24 bottles or cans or beer in a case which we just shorten to picking up a “2-4” when we go camping.

The actual name of the holiday is “Victoria Day” in honour of Her Majesty Queen Victoria.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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  • Victoria Day
  • Fête de la Reine
Victoria édifice fédéral canada.jpg

Official name Victoria Day
French: Fête de la Reine
Also called May Long Weekend, May Long, May Two-Four, May Run, Firecracker Day
Observed by Canadians
Type Historical, cultural, nationalist
Celebrations Fireworks, parades
Date Last Monday preceding May 25
2018 date May 21, 2018
2019 date May 20, 2019
2020 date May 18, 2020
2021 date May 24, 2021
Frequency annual
Related to Birthday of Queen Victoria

Victoria Day (FrenchFête de la Reine, [lit. “Celebration of the Queen”]) is a federal Canadian public holiday celebrated on the last Monday preceding May 25, in honour of Queen Victoria‘s birthday. As such, it is the Monday between the 18th to the 24th inclusive, and thus is always the penultimate Monday of May. The date is simultaneously that on which the current Canadian sovereign‘s official birthday is recognized.[1] It is sometimes informally considered the beginning of the summer season in Canada.

The holiday has been observed in Canada since at least 1845, originally falling on Victoria’s actual birthday (May 24, 1819). It continues to be celebrated in various fashions across the country; the holiday has always been a distinctly Canadian observance.[2][3] Victoria Day is a federal statutory holiday, as well as a holiday in six of Canada’s ten provinces and all three of its territories. In Quebec, before 2003, the Monday preceding 25 May of each year was unofficially the Fête de Dollard, a commemoration of Adam Dollard des Ormeauxinitiated in the 1920s to coincide with Victoria Day. In 2003, provincial legislation officially created National Patriots’ Day on the same

 


So I had big plans for this weekend and it involved the trailer and if ” Murphy ” had not gotten involved (Murphys Law states that if it can go wrong… it will) I would be loading up the trailer for a few day shakedown cruise instead of sitting at my desk nursing a very sore back….

But when life gives you lemons you make lemonade so I will be working on a couple of antennas that I plan to use with the camper this year…. No lifting needed as I will just be measuring and cutting wire to the correct lengths.

The first length will be 41 feet long and it will be my 6-80m vertical being supported by my S9 43 foot vertical mast

camperatlighthouse

The second length will be 84 feet long and will be deployed in the inverted “L” configuration and also will be supported by the S9 Mast

Although we no longer own the RV shown in the above picture the same masting will be deployed using my pickup truck. (See below pic) using a trailer hitch style mount

s9ontruck

Both the wires will be fed using my SGC 237 auto tuner which will be mounted at the base of the mast  They say this tuner can tune wet string and so far I have seen nothing to argue with that claim.  I plan to use the truck body, the trailer body along with a few wire counterpoises to act as a groundplane should (might) get my 100w signal heard.

sgctuner

So actually I will be operating with a better antenna system from the trailer than I do from home here in Kingston.  Hopefully all this will come together before the first trip of the season which will be at the end of May ( 2 weeks from now)

So for now its time to trim wire and rest up a tired and sore back

73bob

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:

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WARNING–> THIS IS NOT AN ENDORSEMENT OF THE PRODUCTS.  AFTER CHECKING PRICES AND FEATURES IT SEEMS LIKE IT WOULD WORK FOR ME.  DON’T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT. DO YOUR OWN HOMEWORK AND BUY WHAT YOU THINK WOULD WORK FOR YOU.  

I AM NOT RECEIVING ANY COMPENSATION FOR MY MENTIONING OF THE FOLLOWING PRODUCTS NOR AM I ASKING FOR ANY COMPENSATION.

PRICE AND FEATURES ARE MY ONLY FACTORS IN SELECTING THE PRODUCTS AND LIKE I SAID…. I THINK IT WILL WORK FOR ME…. NOT FOR YOU…. FOR ME

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

generator

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.

img_0219

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

Bob