Open Roads Radio forum for Ham, Amateur Radio and RV camping


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 03-29-2008, 06:30 PM   #1
Manual Garcia O'Kely
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 96
Default North, to Alaska!

It was suggested that I set up a space for my upcoming trip to Alaska.

Let me bring you up to date:

My XYL and I are buying a small teardrop trailer [see the CQ thread for photos] and are going to be heading to Alaska for the summer. We are towing this with a Subaru Outback and it will be the two of us. We are both experienced campers and road travelers so this is not breaking new ground, although the camper is utterly new to us.

Our goal is simple: Spend a period of time traveling around, we are going to go to Alaska because we enjoyed last time and would like to stay a bit longer than our last trip permitted. We also have never driven up so we are obviously going to take two of the possible routes. Destinations in Canada are totally up in the air at this time. We have said '3-months' but who knows, it's going to depend on how well we adapt to living in such close quarters for such an extended period.

Radio is MY hobby and she hates it, so equipment is rather minimal - I have no HF mobile capacity apart from 10 meters FM, I also have 6, 2 and 440 thanks to my FT-8900 in the tow car.

Portable operation will be supported by an FT-897D with an LDG Z-11Pro transmatch and a Buddipole with low band coils and long whips, TRSB and longer coax runs. I hope to get in a reasonable amount of evening operation - probably in 1-2 hour sessions will be all I can manage initially.

We are going to have a shakedown trip starting on the 14th of April - we are driving the tow vehicle to WI to pick up the completed trailer, then we are going to camp our way home over a couple of weeks - we are trying to decide where, but Big Bend and Texas Hill country are new to me and it would be warmer than Yellowstone, my other idea...

Then around the end of May we will shove off on the long trip.

I'll try and post regularly, and hopefully I can also post schedules here when I know I'm going to be operating and we can set up something.

Does anyone know anything about propogation from Alaska to CONUS? Best bands/times? I have 80 but with a buddipole, it may not be enough.

Thoughts and comments?
Manual Garcia O'Kely is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2008, 08:09 PM   #2
Radio
Administrator
 
Radio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Fayetteville, GA, USA
Posts: 3,017
Default

Keep us posted. I could use a QSL card from Alaska.

When I go Island Hopping for USIslands or IOTA I will generally make a custom QSL card for the trip, but then I usually get more than 500 contacts. With todays home printing capabilty that might be easy and fun to make a picture post card with the little RV set up on the front!
__________________

KU4OJ "Wade" Ships Captain, CFO, Chief Engineer
KG4DQQ "Kathy" 1st Officer, Navigator, Best Friend
2007 F-150 SuperCab - 2009 Rockwood 8280SS
Lot's of mostly Kenwood stuff

Radio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2008, 09:12 PM   #3
aintgotnun
Admin. I guess..........
 
aintgotnun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Justin, Texas
Posts: 333
Default

OUTSTANDING!!

Keep us posted.
__________________
My name is Greg and I aintgotnun.

A radio that is.


End jihad
aintgotnun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2008, 10:05 PM   #4
Richard Stouffer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 188
Default

Why not make this a travelogue for this group. Set up a web site and provide regular updates via Win Mail and add pictures when you hit broadband connections. Make routine contacts on a set frequency and we can join in. Donít just cover the trip because we could all learn a lot in following your preparations.

If you ask in just the right way, you might be able to borrow the antennas (maybe even radios and anything else) you need from the manufacturers of your choosing- they seem to respond well to these kinds of adventures and with that neat trailer youíll have lots of general appeal.

Maybe we could all pitch in and assist with your solicitations. With the diverse networks and experience of this group we could probably grease a lot of skids.

How about it gang?
Richard Stouffer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2008, 12:40 AM   #5
N7OQ
Senior Member
 
N7OQ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Yuba City, Ca
Posts: 304
Default

Sounds like fun and making a shakedown trip in a really good idea, something I should have done before field day last year. I decided to set up just before field day started and everything that could go wrong did go wrong( who invited Murphy).

I would think 20 would be your best bet and maybe 40, not sure 80 would reach the states very well. Of course if 15 or 10 meters opens then you will be able to work just about anyone then.

I also have the buddipole and one of the things I want to try is setting it up with the long whips, no coils and use my tuner (AH4) and test it on each band with a field strength meter then check each band using the coils tuned for each band and see that the difference is. Maybe I will do this tomorrow sense I got my taxes done today.
__________________
73 de Bill, (N7OQ)
RV: 2006 Outback 23RS
USAF Retired, God Bless our Troops
Licensed in 1978 ex N7AFX, DA1VW, KK6GR
N7OQ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2008, 01:25 AM   #6
Manual Garcia O'Kely
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 96
Default

Richard: Thanks for the kind thoughts, I'll keep it casual here - I'll post reports and pics when access permits - we will have a computer but I don't do digital modes portable and don't have room for the additional hardware.

Sponsors? Ya gotta be pulling my leg. Again, I'm out of room for more than the very smallest of gadgets.

Bands: I suppose 40 is probably the best overall choice - I'll mostly be operating evenings I expect, except there will be non-travel days where I might get some 'me' time. As I noted before, I'm open to the idea of schedules, but the XYL considers radio to be a vastly distant reason for this trip [she thinks she's going to whip me into shape!] so I don't know about the hours I'll be able to operate.

QSL cards: Well, I'd certainly consider it - I did some for my trip to the Missile Museum near Tucson, but I only needed 25 cards or so for that operation. But yea, that could be fun, and the expense is not that bad - if I got color copies I can get 4 to a page, although printing 'em might be easier.

Shakedown: Well, it's either pick it up in WI and drive it back, or pay to have it shipped - we felt it would be better to take a short trip first - to see how everything fits together and give us a chance to re-do anything when we get home after only two weeks on the road before we commit.

Route: We think we can cover every road in Alaska, Yukon, and the NWT, and SWMBO things that she's interested in trying.

I think the only thing I'm going to regret is not having HF mobile, but I just am not going to get that one to work on a permanent mount basis but you never know. I do have a couple of Hamsticks and a mount on the roof of the car, and the 20 meter stick loads up decently, which would be fine for daylight hours - we will not be driving hard - I expect to average less than 400 miles per day unless we really want to be moving.

Questions, Comments, resources? Cheers? Boos? I'm not an attention whore per-se, but if I do this, I'd like to know people want to read it.

Eric KG6WOU
Manual Garcia O'Kely is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2008, 06:18 AM   #7
Richard Stouffer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 188
Default

I'm completely serious. The profile of your trip is a niche market for a lot of manufacturers who address the needs of folks who have very little room and not much time, but still want to stay HF capable while mobile and camping. Buddi Pole is a great example. But who knows, and you won't until you ask. Itís just a suggestion.

Regardless, I'm very interested in everything about your trip, including how you balance the divergence of interests on such a long trip and have everyone survive the ordeal. Those are often the sorts of things that make for interesting reading.
Richard Stouffer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2008, 06:55 AM   #8
Radio
Administrator
 
Radio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Fayetteville, GA, USA
Posts: 3,017
Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manual Garcia O'Kely View Post
if I do this, I'd like to know people want to read it.

Eric KG6WOU
Oh yes, people will want to read all about it. That's what the trip report section is all about. Your own website is an idea, but ORR.net is already here, already paid for and a whole lot easier to do. And you can have as many threads as you think needful.

I wish I could do a trip like that. The tear-drop trailer brings a whole new area of interest to the forum. I think I'd go the 5th wheel route, but still I'd like to go.

:thumb:
__________________

KU4OJ "Wade" Ships Captain, CFO, Chief Engineer
KG4DQQ "Kathy" 1st Officer, Navigator, Best Friend
2007 F-150 SuperCab - 2009 Rockwood 8280SS
Lot's of mostly Kenwood stuff

Radio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2008, 04:11 PM   #9
Manual Garcia O'Kely
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 96
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio View Post
Oh yes, people will want to read all about it. That's what the trip report section is all about. Your own website is an idea, but ORR.net is already here, already paid for and a whole lot easier to do. And you can have as many threads as you think needful.

I wish I could do a trip like that. The tear-drop trailer brings a whole new area of interest to the forum. I think I'd go the 5th wheel route, but still I'd like to go.

:thumb:
Why a teardrop you ask....

Well, as part of this, no reason not to explain. First off, I come from backpacking - in fact I long considered car camping a waste of time unless it was too late to walk when I arrived at the trailheads. But, Deb and I have been trying to get back outdoors and even though we have been using 3" thermarest pads, frankly, sleeping on the ground did not work all that well for us right now. So when we decided to do this trip, we considered our options. Car camping, which we did for two weeks up there more than 10 years ago was considered and rejected.

I went to a well-know RV rental outfit and priced renting an RV for the summer - 3 months and 20 K miles - sort of what I expect to do on this trip. The cost of rental and the differental in the cost of fuel [I sort of figured an RV would do about 10 and my car about 20 mpg, gas at $3 - what an optimist] was enough to pay for the trailer outright.

What we realized is that while we like being outdoors and all, we wanted a comfy bed and I wanted to spend less time every day making and breaking camp. Just doing and undoing tents and sleeping bags takes about an hour a day.

Pop-up units were considered and discarded due to set up and tear down time plus the fact that it would almost never be dry.

With the integral galley, we can reduce the load in the tow car to a manageable amount, we hope.

Anyway, we will see how it goes in a couple of weeks now.
Manual Garcia O'Kely is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2008, 08:23 AM   #10
w7wv
Senior Member
 
w7wv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: SE AZ
Posts: 239
Default

I have had a goal to spend a season there for sometime now.
With the price of fuel I may or may not make it someday.
AT 6-8 MPG it could get really expensive but you never know.
w7wv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2008, 12:55 PM   #11
Manual Garcia O'Kely
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 96
Default Waisted an hour

Well, I just wasted an hour writing a post to have the machine eat it. I'm not going to spend another.

We have had the trailer for a week and have motored from the WI factory to Houston TX. We are next going to turn west back to CA over the course of another week or so.

Trailer is very cool, we are well along in getting used to the Teardrop way, and also to hauling the trailer. I wish the mileage was a bit better [we are getting about 19 mpg with the trailer in tow] but I'm OK with it.

Steep hills are a challenge but otherwise we can tow all day at speed limit.

Sorry no more detail, but I'm frustrated to have lost that post - for some reason my log-in did not survive getting to the reply and then it was just...well, gone so screw it.

Better luck next time. I'll post again when I have access, which is harder to find than I initially thought.

No HF radio due to time and weather issues and 146.520 is deader than Canasta. The 11 Meter rig looks like the right road radio now day. How disappointing.

73
Manual Garcia O'Kely is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2008, 02:04 PM   #12
bnmcgraw
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Whitehouse, TX
Posts: 146
Talking

As your travels take you near Edmonton, BC, do not fail to visit the Mall there. That should play well with the YL and to your surprise, you will also enjoy it as well. If you have never visited 800 stores under one roof, you will get a kick out of the beach and amusement park. Nice aviary there too.

Rig parking is on the north side of the mall. No charge. Just walk across the street and enjoy.

We did an Alaska, Northwest territory and Yukon, 10,000 miler in 54 days from Texas back in 2004. Our rig is a 34' class A. Would hate to pay the gas bill this year. Have a great trip and let us hear how you are doing!

Don't forget to check your loonies and twonies, by the time you get back you'll know what I mean. Ha Ha!

73, Mac
bnmcgraw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2008, 02:21 PM   #13
Manual Garcia O'Kely
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 96
Default Tried again

OK, I've re-done this - it's a bit different than the first one.

Also, to report on radio: None so far, a per above.

Thanks for the mall tip.

Report One 4/27/08 Houston, TX

The Marines define a clusterf**k as any assembly of marines where one grenade would kill more than 3 marines. By that definition,
I'm not sure the trailer hitch issues were that big a deal, but it was a royal pain to have to use 3 suppliers to source and install
the hitch and wiring on the Subaru. Sigh.

After the initial 4-day run from home to Neceda, WI without the Raindrop camper, we arrived to pick up our new home.
It took about two hours to get the tour of the systems, meet the builders and connect the car and check wiring of the system,
we then departed to Appleton, WI to visit family. We did our initial camping nights in their driveway
to shake it down a bit before serious camping started.

Our first days run out of Appleton took us to Governer Dodge State Park, near Dodgeville, WI [Home of Land's End company] and
near Spring Green and FLW's Taliesin, which we managed to tour [note that most of WI does not open until May 1]. We stayed
two nights here then headed out thru the Town of Mineral Point, which we really liked.

Had to stop in to have the car checked here - we had a check engine light come on - turned out to be a minor glitch in the sensor
package, we reset it and it's been fine since then.

We visited the Field of Dreams and then went down the Mississippi to Wildcat Den State park near Davenport, IA. This park, while
very hard to find, was nearly empty and very remote. After a good diner breakfast, we were off again, headed south.

The next day we continued south to Hanniabal, MO and toured the home of Mark Twain. A rather toursitly place, but worth the visit
anyway as a favorite author. We continued south and ended up in the Cuivre River state park. This was a sunny and relatively empty
camp as well - good weather favored us here.

We visited the St. Louis Arch for a drive-by opportunity and headed west to Lake of the Ozarks State park.

We continued west from LOO and crossed the very corner of Kansas and went into Oklahoma! A visit to the visitors burero gave us
directions to Lake Eufaula where we got lakeside camping and lightning bugs in the bargain. Our first time pluggin in the camper, the
A/C was pretty darn nice.

We skirted east of Dallas and then headed towards Houston where another good campsite and Tornado warnings waited us at
Fort Parker state park - another lakeside camp with a nice warning to watch out for Alligators. Also a novelty - prohibited drinking - in
Texas of all places where it used to be required to drive with an open container...

Now in Houston, TX with a plan to go to Austin from here.

Towing is fine with the Subaru - I'm pleased with the handling and tracking of the trailer behind the car, and while I wish for a bit more
power, I think I can live with what we have for now.

Camping with the trailer is great - it's got everything you could ask for built right in and it's been very easy to work with and adapt to,
and we are so pleased with the storage space available - we have almost emptied the car which is good news for the Alaska project.

We have used the A/C a couple of times for comfort when sleeping - very useful indeed.

We have also used the computer to watch movies on - with both the inverter and with AC power connected - I need to do more work
on how much power the AC inverter consumes when powering the laptop.
Manual Garcia O'Kely is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2008, 06:56 PM   #14
Radio
Administrator
 
Radio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Fayetteville, GA, USA
Posts: 3,017
Default

Pictures! We want pictures!

__________________

KU4OJ "Wade" Ships Captain, CFO, Chief Engineer
KG4DQQ "Kathy" 1st Officer, Navigator, Best Friend
2007 F-150 SuperCab - 2009 Rockwood 8280SS
Lot's of mostly Kenwood stuff

Radio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2008, 08:16 PM   #15
Manual Garcia O'Kely
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 96
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio View Post
Pictures! We want pictures!


I don't have a card reader for my camera on this trip but when I get home!
Manual Garcia O'Kely is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2008, 01:55 PM   #16
Richard Stouffer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 188
Default

No doubt about it, I want you to keep pumping the updates to us. Most interesting, not to mention, well written.

Thanks
Richard Stouffer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2008, 10:01 AM   #17
Manual Garcia O'Kely
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 96
Default

Dateline: Langtree TX - Judge Roy Bean's stomping ground.

We have been noodling around west texas the last two days. I'm at a roadside WIFI so I don't have time for a full update.

We are headed north today towards New Mexico, then maybe to see the VLA outside Soccoro, NM, as well as one of the best steaks in the USA.

Regards.
Manual Garcia O'Kely is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2008, 07:57 PM   #18
Manual Garcia O'Kely
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 96
Default Report Two

Report No. 2, 5/1/08, Dateline Ruidoso, NM

Alright. From Houston onwards to dateline location.

Vehicle fuel economy: Sucks. No other word for it, I'm getting an average of 18 mpg with the trailer.
This car usually gets 25 unladen. Today it's been nothing but headwinds and the average is below 14 -
seriously, I could drive a Ford F-150 and would probably be getting better mileage at this point.

From Houston, we headed West, towards Austin. We made a fairly fast run there and found a State Park
only 13 miles from downtown. So we unhooked and went into Austin in the evening for sightseeing and
dinner. I had never been to Austin before, so I was impressed by the town and the surroundings.
McKinney state park was pretty open. We took US 290 to stay off the interstates...

Had my first radio night! I managed to get the BP up and on the air, made two contacts, a nice one with
a fellow in S. California, the other a quick q with Columbia. That was cool. The FT-897 does not seem to
want to make 100 watts on 20 meters which I find very upsetting. Maybe I just need to stay off 20?
I used the BP with the TRSB and balanced coils for a true dipole - managed 2:1 easily then used the
tuner to take the edge off.

The next day we took a late start to do laundry and such and headed west on 290 again, visiting the LBJ
birthplace site - which is worth a visit. We also went to Fredricksburg, a very well preservered 'western' town,
lots and lots of old buildings on the main street. North on Hwy 16 and then East on 29 took us to Ink Lake
State Park. This was one of THE best sites we have had - a bit windy but right on the shore of a large lake
and we had a huge section of the camp to ourselves - 180 sites but not a single empty one come summer.

Heading West again we then made west on 29, then US 377 to Del Rio, TX. We noted that the Border Patrol
is a big business in these parts we saw 3 checkpoints and were stopped once ourselves. Odd.
From Del Rio, we went west on US 90 to Seminole Canyon State Park. A very small, and very windy park.
There are petroglyphs for viewing on a guided tour and this was a very breezy place all night, as well
as little or no sun protection.

Today, it was US 90 west to Sanderson, TX, then US 285 north thru Ft. Stockton, with a brief stop in Langtry, TX
the home of Judge Roy Bean. Another interesting stop - his saloon is still standing as is his house and it's
a free self-guided tour. We continued on 285 all the way to Roswell, NM where we turned back West on
US 70 up to Ruidoso, NM. We decided at about 5:30 that we had had enough of the wind for the day and got a nice
Motel room for the night. We are going to let someone else cook dinner and do the dishes too!

At this point, the wife is plotting our next moves, which will include the VLA outside Socorro, NM.

Even with the absurd winds we are getting, the camper is still a dream to pull from a handling standpoint.
Hard to complain about that.

Been too windy the last two nights to rig the antenna. I can't wait to get out of this wind -
I'm going a bit wind-mad at this point.

Well, no pics since I still don't have a card reader, but they will come - actually not taking much....
Manual Garcia O'Kely is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2008, 02:11 PM   #19
Radio
Administrator
 
Radio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Fayetteville, GA, USA
Posts: 3,017
Default

Great!

My son has a digital camera with a USB port and a memory card. When you plug the camera into a PC USB port it is treated as a USB memory stick. The PC doesn't know the difference. You might try that. You'll need to navagate around a bit to find where the picures are stored.
__________________

KU4OJ "Wade" Ships Captain, CFO, Chief Engineer
KG4DQQ "Kathy" 1st Officer, Navigator, Best Friend
2007 F-150 SuperCab - 2009 Rockwood 8280SS
Lot's of mostly Kenwood stuff

Radio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2008, 04:17 PM   #20
w7wv
Senior Member
 
w7wv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: SE AZ
Posts: 239
Default

Yes you may be surprised what software is available to you to download to your computer that is already installed on the comptuer.
w7wv is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:54 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×