Sunday, April 7, 2024

Misc - SKP

Friday - This morning, I met with a couple of folks from the local ham radio club as I had volunteered to help with the Tour de Castroville, which is a local bicycle/walk/running event a week from tomorrow. Since I had never volunteered with them before, they wanted to make sure I knew what I would be doing and what to expect. I will be at one of the rest stops along the bicycle route keeping track of bib numbers and reporting them over the radio. And monitoring the frequency if they need to contact anyone at the rest stop. There will also be someone there with Winlink set up. This is an email setup that uses radio as the transport to an Internet connected gateway. 

I’m interested in getting Winlink set up as there is now software for the iPhone that connects to a BT enabled TNC. Next week’s project…

The upcoming eclipse is the “big deal” around here. We are right in the path of totality so, if the weather cooperates, it should be a nice view. The current forecast is for clouds and rain so it’s wait and see time. Visitors are scheduled, meals and events are planned. My only role is helping out in the kitchen on Monday morning. 

The weather channel forecast is for clouds on just about the entire path. Maybe that’ll keep folks away from this area.

For dinner, I prepared one of my favorites. Carnitas and had it in tacos. There is enough leftover for at least one more meal. 

Saturday - I rode the Ural to the monthly ham radio meeting. Because of events this month, the meeting was held a week early and moved to the small town of Lacoste. It was a 60 mile round trip which makes it the longest Ural ride this year. It was a nice, relaxing trip. After the regular meeting, I stuck around to be a VE for their in-person test session. I haven’t done an in-person test in almost four years. It was definitely different. 

I also met the folks I will be working with next week on the Tour de Castroville event. To get ready, I dug out the programming cable for the Anytone radio to program in the Castroville repeaters and re-setup APRS. Dave gifted me with his homemade antenna for the Anytone HT. It seems to be slightly better than the Nagoya NA-771 that I’ve been using. I can actually hit the Hondo UHF repeater from inside the RV. 

 - Here is a “leftover” project from back in Fairbanks. I installed an NMO antenna mount on the Ural box. It’s a ½ wave antenna so no ground plane is needed. I couldn’t reach the local repeater with the HT but I can with this antenna. I had this antenna mounted on the truck before but had a more powerful dual-band radio (50 watts). I still can’t believe reach the APRS gateway as I think the closest one is around 18 miles east near Castroville.

I think I have APRS configured correctly. To test, I had it send out a beacon every 30 seconds. I then rode out on 90, took the back road through town, and went a mile or so out towards Castroville. The track matches my path. After returning, I changed the APRS intervals to very infrequent updates. 

After turning around on 90, I picked up a screw in the pusher. Switched to the spare while RMarx, who was on his way back from the Dallas area, made me more visible. It took maybe 15min to put on the spare. It’ll take me much longer than that to patch the tube. Sounds like a project for this week.

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