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

Bob

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.

kingston-princess

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 :

trucks

newtruck

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…

bob

 

 

 

 

“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

 

 

Living on the “wrong side” of the hill

Both the RV community and the Amateur Radio community should like this one

IMG_0438

In yesterdays post I mentioned that we were parked for the day at Lake Ontario Park in Kingston.  I forgot to mention that I decided to play a bit with some HDTV reception to compare signals from my home 5km to the north to what I would receive at the park.

From my backyard (facing south) I get Global Kingston which is about 6 km to the south south east and thats it….

From Lake Ontario Park I got signal locks on 18 different stations  (Global Kingston was the only Canadian station)  and 17 other US stations between Watertown and Rochester NY.  Between those 17 stations I managed to get ABC, CBS,NBC and Fox along with several different shopping channels and a few special interest channels.  

Why the big difference?…..  at home I’m blocked to the south due to a hill between me and the lake….  I did not really think it would make that much of a difference but it did….

Proving that “Location, Location, Location” comes into play in more that real estate and thats its all about the antenna (and the antenna location)

Safe Travels & 73bob

Back to where it began….

(This is a camping post…. to my amateur radio followers…. you might enjoy it anyway)

…or it might be called returning to the scene of the crime…

It was the summer of 2001 and we were camperless.  Our last tent trailer had been damaged by a harder than expected winter and the roof had collasped.  We were looking for a way to get back into camping and I found a 1980 GMC 1500 van at a good price.

gmc-rally-1

With the help of a few friends, a couple of power tools, a first aid kit and some lumber we turned it into a home made van conversion that would sleep 4 and for the most part was comfortable….  I seem it to take about 3 weekends to get it all done.

We built a bed in the back with storage underneith.  The storage was accessable from the barn doors and there was also a small circuit breaker panel that allowed us to plug into a 15 amp service and provided power for the bar fridge along with an electric light and an electric fan.  In the storage area was the tiny propane BBQ and a Coleman stove.

Our first trip with it was to Lake Ontario Park in Kingston.  On the shores of Lake Ontario it was a friendly but mostly transient park but with your choice of 30 amp or 15 amp electrical service and clean washrooms along with a swimming area (by the boat launch) it was a dream for us

The camping area back then was off the first loop you come to when you enter from King Street.  Thats also the area that has the easiest parking for RVs

So now we fast forward to 2019 and we live in Kingston.  We had visited Lake Ontario Park earlier and found that it had been converted to a day use park but the campsites were still there…  no power …. but they were roomy and free.  Signs were posted saying that there was no overnight camping but we were allowed to spend the day there… IMG_0438.JPG

and so today we did and had a great time.  On Monday we hit the Costco and picked up some burgs, sausages and steaks along with getting 2 propane tanks refilled….

Tuesday morning we picked up the trailer out of storage and headed over to Lake Ontario Park and set up.  We BBQ’d lunch and supper.  The breeze off the Lake kept the bugs at bay and kept the  temps bearable. After supper we packed up and headed back to the storage yard and put our trailer to bed

Now there is a bit more to this story.   I did mention that Lake Ontario Park is now a day use park and is free to all to use…  Well if I was into “Boondocking” this would be fantastic place to spend a long day…… Spend the night at Walmart, get up and buy your daily groceries…..  Take the rig over to Lake Ontario Park and spend the day there…  When the sun goes down head back to Walmart, catch some ZZZZZ’s and repeat.

Sometimes a short trip can give you great rewards

Safe Travels

Bob

Field Day 2019 – Emergency Communications Test

As I type this our hobby’s biggest annual test is underway.  Amateur Radio Clubs and Individual Amateur Radio Operators are working hard to prove that we can communicate when (if) we are called upon.

For more info on Field Day please follow these links and then don’t forget to come back and finish reading this post

ARRL Field Day 

ARRL-logo

RAC Field Day

375wh

So welcome back…

This year due to staffing issues at work I was unable to join any of the local clubs in their serious participations.  Instead I decided to test out the equipment (in between sleeping and work)  I will be installing in our new trailer that we are finally going to purchase in the off season and should be on the road starting in late April or early May of 2020.

There will be more about that in a future post … but for now back to radio

The gear I used for Field Day (this year) was my Yaesu FT 450 along with my SGC 237 auto tuner and it worked flawlessly for the time I had to operate

ft450_JetStream25wps

Just finished working K2AA with the above radio.  Will fit on the small desk I will have in the trailer and along with the S9 43 foot vertical antenna will get the most out of the 100w output of the FT 450

camperatlighthouse

Heres a pic of the S9 on my old Class C camper. To my long term readers…. that the one that burnt on our first attempt of the PEI Trip and below is what it looks like on my current pickup truck in its un extended position.

s9ontruck

On the new trailer the S9 will be mounted on the rear bumper beside the spare tire carrier.

Anyway back to Field Day….  For me it was a success.  Contacts were made on 2m FM, and 10m, 20m, 40m and 80m Single sideband.  I heard a couple of guys ragchewing on 15m ssb but they were not interested in the event.  They were just a couple of friends chatting on a Sunday morning.

I know the gear works and thats all I can ask for…

Thanks for reading and there will a post coming soon with more info on the new trailer and the new tow vehicle for it .

73bob