Tag Archives: Kenwood TH-F6

2014/09/07 (N) Findlay Hamfest

I set alarms on my phone and iPad last night to make sure I got up at 5:00 AM.  My natural tendency is to stay up a little later each night, something I am now able to do as I do not usually have to get up by any certain time in the morning.  Usually.  Today, however, was the annual Hamfest put on by the Findlay, Ohio Amateur Radio Club and I needed to be at Mike’s (W8XH) QTH in time for a 6 AM departure.  We picked up Steve (N8AR) at the Park-n-Ride lot at Lee Road and US-23 around 6:15 AM and drove non-stop to Findlay, Ohio, arriving at the county fairground at 8:15 AM.  We had a good chat on the way down, which is as much of a reason for going as the bargain hunting once we got there.  I have included a couple of photos in this post.  For more photos, visit:


We each paid our $7 admission fee and got our ticket with a tear-off stub for the hourly and grand prize drawings.  We got parked and set our Kenwood TH-F6 handheld radios to 146.475 MHz (simplex).  We filled out our raffle ticket stubs, dropped them off, and started working our way up and down the rows of outside tables.  The outside sales area was essentially a flea market, sometimes referred to as “trunk sales” because people back their cars up to the road and sell stuff from their trunks.  The spots are cheaper to rent for the day, but you take a chance that the weather will be nice.

Outside vendors (trunk sales) at the Findaly ARC Hamfest in Findlay, OH.

Outside vendors (trunk sales) at the Findaly ARC Hamfest in Findlay, OH.

We worked the flea market first while the temperatures were cool and the sun wasn’t overhead but also because almost everything offered for sale was used equipment at negotiable prices.  These are often one-of-kind items and the bargains tend to disappear quickly.  By mid-morning I had purchased a good sized NEMA enclosure (steel box with weather tight gasketed door) and a Harris 22.2 telephone butt handset (tester).  I plan to use the NEMA box to create a cable entrance box with lightning protection for RF transmission lines, AC power lines, and control lines.  I got the telephone test set because it will allow me to hook up to the phone line the same way the AT&T technicians do, and because it is not the sort of thing most folks have in their home.

Bruce (W8RA) gave a short shopping list to Steve (N8AR) yesterday at breakfast.  Mike (W8XH) spotted a matched three-piece set of vintage Heathkit gear, one piece of which was on Bruce’s list.  Steve looked at it and they got Bruce on the phone.  Apparently it was close enough to what Bruce wanted that Steve bought the whole set for him as the seller was not willing to sell them separately.

We then moved to the inside vendors, most of whom were selling new merchandise at fixed prices.  There was some used equipment, however, and I bought an Icom CI-V interface set.  This device will allow me to interface our Icom IC-7000 and/or IC-706 to, and control them from, a computer using something like Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) software.

I also got to meet and talk to Norm, from Norm’s Fabrication in Adrian, and his wife, who is president of the Adrian Amateur Radio Club.  Norm is a welder, and his side business is fabricating tower parts out of steel and aluminum for fellow hams.  If I cannot get what I need from Heights Tower Systems, Norm may hold the key to getting our used tower erected.

A very classy portable ham radio station (go box).

A very classy portable ham radio station (go box).

A number of other hams from the South Lyon, Novi, Livingston, and SEMDXA radio clubs were there.  I brought my camera and tried to get photos of our club members for the club website.  None of us won anything from the hourly drawings (must be present to win) and we left shortly after noon to meet up at the local Steak-n-Shake for lunch.  I had not eaten breakfast so I enjoyed my garden salad and French fries.  I had a good chat with Dave (K8ESQ), the current president of SEMDXA, and Don (N8CAK) from SLAARC.

We had a good chat on the drive back, stopping briefly at the Michigan Welcome Center on US-23 northbound shortly after entering Michigan from Ohio.  We dropped Steve off at the Lee Road Park-n-Ride and helped him unload the Heathkit equipment.  When we got back to Mike’s I moved my purchases and personal gear to my car and then spent some time examining his Heights tower, especially the fold-over mount.  After studying the parts and the geometry of the design I had a much better understanding of how it works and what we need to get our tower erected and fully operational.

On the way back to my house I got a call from Darryll letting me know he would be out in the morning as long as someone would be home.  Back home I unloaded everything and moved Linda’s car to the side parking pad to make space for Darryll’s truck in the morning.  It was nice to have a day away from our house and property projects.

I spent a little time checking e-mail and websites and off-loading digital photos until Linda called me to dinner.  We had leftover kale salad, quinoa with pineapple and nuts, fresh steamed broccoli, and corn-on-the-cob.  After dinner I recorded the events of the last few days in rough drafts of separate blog posts.  By 10:15 PM the early start and long day finally caught up with me and I turned the lights out and drifted off to sleep.


2013_10_13 (N) A Fork In The Road

We spent a quiet night with only an occasional car passing by.  Someone nearby must have a pack of dogs and fed them around 6 AM as I heard them howling in the distance.  At first I thought they were coyotes, but it wasn’t the right kind of howl.  We finally got up around 8 AM to cool temperatures and light fog.  I checked the house batteries state of charge (I really need to get the Magnum ME-ARC remote panel installed up in the house) and it was 71%, not bad for having powered the coach for 8 hours.

Sunrise at Acres of Land near Richmond, KY

Sunrise at Acres of Land near Richmond, KY

A nice sunrise lit up the bedroom and by 9 AM the fog had burned off as we ate our breakfast of Linda’s homemade granola with fresh bananas, orange juice, and a cup of coffee.  This morning’s coffee was the Breakfast Blend from World Markets that Kathy brought to our open house.  It was delicious and already ground.  We generally grind our coffee beans, but it’s always nice to have ground coffee on hand, especially when we only want to make a couple of cups.

We had 186 miles to travel today, and check-in time at Tremont Outdoor Resort was 1 PM, so we targeted 10 AM as our departure time.  We left a little after 10 and took KY-876 east back to I-75 and continued south towards Tennessee.  Just after crossing the border we started down a long, steep grade but had to come to a complete stop before reaching the bottom.  We sat still, or moved along very slowly, while police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, and emergency management vehicles sped past us on the right shoulder.  We eventually had to move to left as the accident was in the right lane, and got the ire of an SUV who apparently felt we had cut them off.  Sorry.  It was an accident scene everyone in the right lane had to move to the left.  Here’s a tip for folks driving cars: when a semi or large RV puts on its turn signal, you might want to consider letting them move over.  These are large, slow vehicles and they need your cooperation to operate safely.

When we reached the accident scene there were two motorhomes on the side of the road, one with a towed vehicle that had the driver’s side smashed in, and a small white car that had been rear-ended and squashed pretty bad.  We tried to move through the accident zone as quickly as traffic allowed, but were not able in that short span of time to surmise just what had happened, other than something bad.

The rest of the trip to Knoxville was uneventful although traffic was heavier as cars and trucks cleared the accident scene and tried to make up for lost time.  We finally left  I-75, picking up I-275 through the city to where it was supposed to join up with I-40, which we thought we would take west and shortly thereafter pick up US-129 headed south towards Maryville.  That was the plan.  Remember plans from a recent post?  The Knoxville highway system is complex, and we were following the directions on our Rand-McNally RVND 7710 GPS while Linda double checked what we were doing on her Samsung Galaxy III smartphone.  Everything was fine until we came to a literal fork in the road and the GPS failed to tell us which way to go.  Intuitively we needed to go to the right, but that exit sign said “Downtown” and that didn’t seem right so we took the exit to the left and ended up…downtown.  Not just downtown, but on a very steep hill going up where we had to stop at a red light.  I don’t know what the grade of this hill was, but the bus was barely able to get moving from a dead stop.

On the plus side, while we were stopped there, a man crossed the street wearing a nice suit and bow tie and smiled and waved to us.  Also on the plus side, Sunday afternoon traffic was very light, so we didn’t have any further difficulties driving the 1.8 miles through the University of Tennessee campus back over to US-129 southbound.

At that point we were back on plan.  Just north of Maryville we picked up TN-35 which links up with the E Lamar Alexander Parkway, US-321 / TN-73 eastbound, which continued on as TN-73 and took us to Townsend.  Although the road got narrow and twisty in places, it was a pleasant and pretty drive.  All told, the accident scene and the Knoxville sight-seeing delayed our arrival at the Tremont Outdoor Resort by about 45 minutes from what the GPS originally predicted and we pulled in around 2:30 PM.

We turned off of TN-73 and crossed a bridge over a small river to enter the resort, at which point the GPS alerted us that we exceeded the weight limit of the bridge.  There were no weight limits posted  on this bridge, so we are not sure what that was all about.  We pulled up to the check-in area, scraping the top of the coach with the low over hanging branches that they assured us on the phone they did not have, and Linda went in to take care of the paperwork.  I could see from the driver’s seat that the roads in this RV park were not generous and might be problem.  When she returned with the map we unhooked the car and drove the route they wanted us to take to our site.  Right.  There were trucks parked where they shouldn’t be, and a maintenance golf cart by the restrooms that block part of the road.  I backed up and took the left fork in the entrance road, pulled up the tag axle, and made the hard left in sections B & C of the park.  From there I made a hard right, scratching the passenger side of the coach on some low pine/fir branches, finally got lined up, and back down into our section and into site B3.

The reason I mention all of this is that when we call to make a reservation we are very, very specific with people about the size and weight of our coach and specifically ask about overhead obstructions such as tree limbs.  (We always call, never book online, because of this.)  People consistently tell us that “you won’t have any problem” and it is, quite frankly either an ignorant response (they have no idea if we will have a problem or not) or they just plain lie about it.  I am also convinced that when we tell them we are 8.5 feet wide, 40 feet long (closer to 60 feet with the car in tow), 13 ft 2 inches tall, and weigh about 41,000 pounds those are just numbers that don’t mean anything to them.

But we got parked, leveled the coach, shut down the engine, and “made camp.”  I pulled out our Kenwood TH-F6 HTs (small hand held ham radios known as handi-talkies) and gave Lou, K9LU, a call on the previously agreed frequency of 146.550 MHz.  He was monitoring the frequency and came right back to my call.  Lou is the founder of the SKP Photographers BOF, and the organizer of the photography workshop we are here to participate in.  We went for a stroll around the RV park, as we usually do when we first arrive, and eventually made our way to Lou and Val’s 5th wheel where we had a nice chat.

We skipped lunch today, so Linda started dinner preparations when we got back to the coach.  She improvised a dish of diced potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, and garlic, seasoned with basil and pan fried in a little bit of olive oil.  She served it with a side of broccoli and glass of red wine.  A couple of hours later we had some more of the wonderful blackberry pie we bought on the Fulton Farm Market on Friday.  I will be sorry to see the end of that pie, it really has been that good.

Since we are here for a digital photography workshop, I presume we will have more photographs to post over the next few days, but not today.