Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Post Eclipse - SKP

Tuesday - It's kind of quiet around here today. Many of the visitors when came for the eclipse have left. BTW, it is scattered clouds with quite a bit of blue sky today. One of the other VEs took this eclipse photo in Maine yesterday. He said that they had unseasonably cloudless skies.

A new ham radio project arrived yesterday. This is something that I've been curious about ever since I got my license. I picked up a Mobilinkd TNC (terminal node controller). It is a small device that has an internal rechargeable battery and connects to my handheld radio in the audio ports with a special cable. The connector has PTT (push to talk) connections as well. And, it connects using BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) with my phone. There are two applications I'm interested in trying. Winlink and Winlink is an email client and is a location posting and receiving app. Both give you the option to use the TNC for transport. For APRS, you just tune the radio to 144.39mHz, the North American APRS frequency, and the app will send out periodic position information over VHF.

I already tried the Winlink app using telnet as a transport and verified that my email address ( works. The nearest Winlink stations are in San Antonio and Kerrville. A bit far for my VHF handheld. 

Wednesday - This morning, I replaced the tube in the rear of the Ural. The screw did quite a number on the old tube. Ripped a huge hole and the valve stem was pulled out. Fortunately, I have several spare tubes. 

   After replacing the tube in the pusher, I rode out to my checkpoint to see if the radio worked on the Castroville repeater. I could hear the code identifying the station but never got a response to me “radio check”. But APRS worked and I could hit the Hondo repeater easily. And the Castroville one was even closer. 

It was pretty windy on the ride. Headwind and crosswind on the way back to the RV with some pretty significant gusts. So I stopped for lunch in Hondo at my new favorite fast food place. Whataburger. Tasty smash-burgers with plenty of veggies. 

While I was having lunch, I thought about the torn out valve stem. I didn’t remember actually looking at the valve stem. After arriving back at the RV, I removed the pusher, removed one bead and the inner tube and searched for the valve stem inside the tire. I’ve had enough practice over the years that it only took about 15 minutes. 

Found it…


  1. I followed the eclipse via live stream. What an amazing event.

    1. It wasn't as crowded around here as was predicted due to the overcast conditions.

  2. I've had both the pusher and the sidecar tires go flat on me....and yes, had the valve stem ripped away. Easier repair on the older rigs where all wheels were interchangeable...the 2014s were odd in that you had to move more stuff around related to brakes ....

    1. Having the spare is pretty handy. Though I always need to adjust the brakes as the drum on the spare has less wear. Maybe it's time to swap wheels. Maybe in the Fall as we are only here for another month or so…