I just added one more big chore to do before we leave. I'm way overdue to install our ham radio on the Montana (Celia is K5CMB and I'm NM5B). I may not finish everything before we leave for Benson, but I've got the radio sitting beside me and have have kluged the power line so I could at least see if it still operates after sitting for 2 years. Indeed it does and I've since downloaded 2 major revisions to the firmware.
|Elecraft K3 hf transceiver (100 W)|
The only thing we really need at the moment is an antenna. Several years ago I bought an Outbacker (mfd in Australia, but cut to US bands) portable/mobile antenna. We used this bullet-proof portable antenna in Santa Fe till I could install the larger 1/4 wave tunable-vertical from SteppIR Antennas. I used the SteppIR for several years on 40m-6m but always wished it covered the 80m band as well. When SteppIR came out with their Mk III vertical which could cover 80m-6m (basically added an optional loading coil), I switched to that newer model.
|Our Outreach 500 and Outpost tripod|
|Outpost with Outreach antenna|
So that's what will get us started. But the rules in most RV parks require any ham gear be attached to the RV and the Outbacker/Outpost don't meet that criteria. So our long term solution will be to use a mobile antenna (a screwdriver design) mounted on the rear of the Montana. I have a Scorpion SA-680 coming from Ron Douglass/NI7J. I ordered his Home Package version which includes n adapter plus a set of 8 radials in matching pairs for 40m, 20m, 17m and 10m. If that works as I expect, I'll replace the 8-port adapter with a 16 port and add 4 more bands (80m, 60m, 15m and 12m).
Anyway, that's the plan. The biggest issue is committing to putting a hole in the Montana!
A Couple Repairs
No matter whether you're traveling or parked, things on an RV break. This time 2 things happened at the same time: the water valve on the Thetford toilet started leaking, and the drive belt on the Splendide dryer both broke. Again. Splendide got the belt here in 2 days, but Thetford sent the replacement valve to a place only they know about.
Repairs on our rig are generally Blue jobs (along with vacuuming and washing dishes), but I'd never have been able to get it done without help from the Pink team. The dryer weighs less than Splendide says it does (it's less than the 67# Splendide states), but it's impossible to reconnect the dryer exhaust hose while holding the dryer. Lots of expletives, but now the dryer is repaired: an hour to replace the belt, then 2 hours of frustration getting the dryer back in place atop the washer.
If the water valve ever gets here we'll have a properly working toilet again. I think it would have been better to have bought the Thetford parts from PPL or someplace similar.