LDG Tuner Mod for the IC-7300 and a Big “THANK YOU”

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.  This blog, KK4Z.com recently surpassed 10,000 views. I never imagined that happening.  I appreciate your support as it encourages me to continue on.  KK4Z.com will remain without fees or subscriptions with the ideal of enhancing the amateur radio community by sharing my experiences and projects to spur you on to your own adventures wherever and whenever they may be.

Recently, I purchased an LDG RT-100/RC-100 (hence RT-100) for use with my Yaesu FTDX10 in the field.  As I have said previously, The FTDX10 now resides on the desk at the home QTH.  It is better suited there.  My main field radio is my trusted Icom IC-7300 so why not adapt this tuner to it. 

The RT-100 is an auto tuner and doesn’t require a special tuning circuit.  Icoms are set up in such a way that when using a tuner such as the LDG Z11 Pro or the Icom AH-4, the radio automatically detects the tuner and switches off the internal tuner.  It also supplies power at the tuner port through pins 3 and 4. With the RT-100, there isn’t a way to make this switch since it only requires power to operate.  What I wanted was to use the power from the tuner port on the back of the IC-7300 to power the tuner and turn off the internal tuner. I had to “trick” the IC-7300 into thinking there was a tuner there in order to get it to supply power to the RT-100 through the tuner port.  

This is accomplished a lot easier than it sounds.  Starting with a diagram created by KC2WI http://www.prnewell.com/kc2wi/Icom_tune_control/)

I only needed pins 2, 3, and 4. Pin 4 is the ground, pin 3 is power and pin 2 is what tells the radio an external tuner is present. It requires a resister in series and I used a 47K ohm 1/2 watt resistor. I did not incorporate the switch and I did not utilize pin 1. Here is a parts list:
Molex Connector https://tinyurl.com/mw24chcc
47K Ohm Resistor https://tinyurl.com/43ax8kc9
2.5mm Power Cable https://tinyurl.com/2p8d466j

Starting with the basic parts.

It’s just a matter of soldering the parts to the pins.

And putting the pins in the right holes.

The pointy end of the connector is facing up.

I added a little heat shrink and electrician’s tape and viola!

When assembling, make sure you put the pins in the right holes and in the right direction. The pins will go in either way as I found out.

How does it work? It works well. The Icom power at the tuner port is rated at 1 amp and the tuner draws about 500 milliamps. This saves me from having to make an extra power connection. The RT-100 is a tune as you go type tuner so the tune button on the radio does not work. The way I tune when not using a digital mode (software has its own tune function), is to switch the mode to AM and then hit the transmit button or PTT button if a microphone is attached. This transmits a carrier at about half the wattage of your current power level. When the tuner finishes, stop the transmit, switch the mode back, and you are ready.

My next adventure will be the first weekend in April during the GA Parks on the Air Contest. I will not be contesting, but I will be operating portable at a park using FT8 and CW. I may try some FT4 to. Hope to hear you out there – 73 – Scott

Where’s Sheldon?

Sheldon is the name I gave my FTDX10. Like Sheldon Cooper from the comedy series “Big Bang Theory”, the radio is smart but at times awkward. I bought the radio back in October 2022 to compare it with the the IC-7300 as a field radio. I used the radio at home and in the field for the past 6 months. It gave me a pretty good opportunity to put it through its paces and here are some conclusions about my overall feelings for the radio.

I wish to start by saying, I do kind of like the radio. Even though there are a lot of things I don’t like about the radio, at the end of the day, well, I kind of like it. When evaluating the radio, at times I felt like I was trying to pound a square peg in a round hole. Once I realized that, I felt I was being unfair to the radio so, in the next couple of paragraphs, I will try to right a wrong.

What the radio is not. The radio is not a field radio. It draws too much power, it is awkward to use, it is too heavy and a little too big. The ergonomics leave a little bit to be desired. My QRO field radio remains the IC-7300 and it is still the radio I recommend to people just getting started in amateur radio. After 6 months, the FTDX10 will go to the field no more.

What the radio is. I recently redid my radio desk and decided to fit the FTDX10 in the mix. At home, it is a different radio. I have it set to the left side of my desk and that improved the ergonomics. I guess I am saying that the FTDX10 is a left handed radio. I am using it as a backup radio for my IC-7610. However, I find myself drawn to it when operating CW. I have the 300 Hz roofing filter installed and on CW, it is a joy to use. One of the things I didn’t like was the Mat-30 tuner I bought for it. At home, I have a 270′ OCF dipole that tunes rather easily, so I use the radio’s internal tuner. I’ve never had much luck using external tuners with Yaesu radios, in this instance, Icoms are so much better.

Conclusion. I had originally thought I was going to sell the FTDX10. But since putting it in its proper place, in the home shack, on the left side, I believe I am going to keep it. I really enjoy using it for CW and It does make a great backup radio. I do not have it hooked up to the amplifier, so it is a 100 watt radio. The Sheldon experiment was a success. It showed some of the radio’s shortcomings, but it also showed its strong points. 73’s Scott

Macon EmComm FTX

March 11, 2023.  Saturday morning I drove down to Macon, GA for a training exercise/Field Day with the Macon congregation of my church.  I am the EmComm coordinator for about 15 of these congregations located throughout the northern half of GA. I was invited to provide technical assistance and give an overview of the EmComm structure for the state, regional, and national levels. We met at the Flat Creek State Fishing Lake (K-7465) near Perry GA.  We had an open field reserved for us and it turned out to be a beautiful day.

I did set up a station.

It had been a while since I used the IC-7300 in the field because I was evaluating the FTDX10 as a field radio. These little mini-exercises are a great way to check your gear and make it works the way you intended it to.  This was a prudent exercise as switching my computers back to the Icom were a little more trying than I had originally thought.  The Yaesu’s take a little more fiddling than the Icom’s and I had to unfiddle my laptop to get things going again.  Once I got that sorted, I had an issue with a new tuner.  I recently bought an LDG remote tuner to use with my random wire vertical antenna.  It worked great with the Yaesu but I could not get it to work with the Icom.  Luckily I had my old Z-100 Pro so I swapped them out and continued on.  The issue was a short between the ear cups.  When I ran the remote tuner with the Yaesu I hooked it up to a battery for power.  With the Icom, I tried to use the antenna tuner port on the radio and it didn’t work.  It wasn’t until I got home that I figured it out.  To use the remote tuner, it has to be hooked up to a battery/power-supply.  Testing at home confirmed my hypothesis. My guess is that the tuner draws more power than the Icom can handle. 

My main purpose there was to help people sort out their radios and give an overview of our EmComm program.  This is to say that I did a lot more talking and a lot less operating.  However, I did manage to demonstrate Winlink, by sending an email out to a few folks and I did a POTA activation at the park with the minimum 10 contacts.  

Here is a QSO map.

It was a good day.  I got to see some old friends and make some new ones.  I was able to help a few get their rigs in order.  I was able to sort through my own issues; better now than during a real EmComm event. After action?  I resolved the tuner issue.  I am going to sort my antennas a little differently and clean out my POTA/Portable box.  I am always looking at what I use and what I use it with.  The idea is to be able to efficiently setup a station without having to search high and low for things. A place for everything and everything in it’s place.  73’s  Scott

Winter Field Day

This year the West Georgia Amateur Radio Society (WGARS) decided to hold winter field day at Little Tallapoosa Park in Carroll County, GA. I would call the event semi-serious. I don’t think any of us are real hard-core contesters, but some of us watch the numbers. The majority of our members operate using SSB and I was the only one operating CW. The plan was for me to get as many bands as I could for multipliers. That meant I had to be able to swap bands fairly quickly in order to advantage of changing band conditions. We had five stations set up, 4 of which had bandpass filters. Because I didn’t have any bandpass filters I was located about 100 yards away from the main group.

Gear. I brought the FTDX10 with me to see how it would do in a semi-contest environment. It fed a Mat Tuner, Mat-30 tuner, and then to my 29-foot random wire antenna. This has become my favorite antenna. I logged with N3FJP WFD software and used a K1EL keyer. The computer and radio were powered by a Honda EU-2200 generator (we ran alternate power). This generator is very quiet and is very fuel efficient. The rest of my camper was fed with shore power at the campsite. I kept warm with a little ceramic heater.

Operation. This year I tried something new. Not only did I use the N3FJP software for logging but I also used it to send CW, in other words, I did everything from the keyboard. I was a little apprehensive, aren’t we all when it comes to something new? But I found it worked quite well. Band conditions, on the other hand, were not that good. They were up and down with a lot of fade. By being able to jump around I was able to work 100 contacts on 5 different bands. I was hoping for more, but there weren’t a whole lot of stations out there to work. I thought it might have been my station, but looking at the QSO Map, I was getting out okay.

Cold weather may have kept some CW ops at home. It gets harder to work a key or paddle when your hands are cold.

FTDX10. Part of my ongoing review of this radio. You really can’t get a feel for a radio or any piece of kit unless you use it over a period of time. My other radios are feeling the pain of neglect. How did it do? Not bad really. I made an effort to try the CW decoder. There were times were I really needed it due to QSB (fading). Sometimes the band would drop as I was getting the exchange. The decoder often picked up what I missed. It is not a replacement for your ears and mind. But it did help and made me a little more efficient. My hearing is not that good. The decoder is sensitive to CW speed. It does best when it is close to the sender’s speed. I set the outer dial (MVLP) to CW speed for this purpose. While I normally set the function knob to RF power, because band conditions were so variable, I set it to level (waterfall level) which allowed me to adjust the waterfall as needed. The radio performed well and I appreciate the roofing filters. I had one issue and that was I would tune across the band and about every 10 KC the waterfall would go dark and I would have to retune the antenna system. That became rather annoying. There is an example of what was going on in the activation video below. Very quickly, I got a response from one of my subscribers stating that it was the tuner and not the radio. This morning, I broke out the radio and tested it with the Mat-30 to make sure I still had the problem here at home (I did). I then swapped the Mat-30 for my old LDG Z-11 Pro and viola! The problem disappeared. You can see the results in the second video.

I think my club as a whole had a good time. It is fun to get and socialize, plus throw in a little operating. When testing a radio, or any piece of kit, You can’t really do it justice over a couple of days. I’ve had the radio for a couple of months, and as I work through the issues, I find that sometimes we don’t know each other that well yet. It’s still early in the dance. I will say that I am warming up to the radio more than I thought but I still say that if I had to choose between it and the 7300, the 7300 would still be my choice. However, that gap is getting narrower. If Yaesu would make a few software upgrades…

POTA Activation K-2167 Black Rock Mountain State Park

Friday morning had me all set for my next adventure. This time it was a 3-hour drive to Black Rock Mountain State Park. It was my first time at this park and I wasn’t disappointed. The park is located on Black Rock Mountain. The overlook near the visitors center gave an altitude of 3446 ft above sea level (ASL). My campsite was a little lower at 3220 ft asl according to my GPS-enabled phone.

This was the second flight of the Radio Flyer. This was going to be a cold weekend (at least for here in Georgia). Friday night/Saturday morning was going to be in the high 20s and a Saturday night/Sunday morning was going to be in the low 20s. This will be the Radio Flyers’ first campout in sub-freezing weather. The Radio Flyer has a 2″ receiver hitch on its rear so this time I mounted the antenna to the camper and not the truck. This reduced the amount of loose cable on the ground for me to trip over.

I brought two radios with me, Apollo (TR-45L) and Sheldon (FTDX10), and their associated antenna tuners. The antenna was my homebrew random wire antenna. I was only planning on operating for part of the weekend. My original thought was a “me and the key” weekend, running QRP CW. The TR-45L is a new radio to me and I was eager to try it out. However, the propagation gods were not in my favor. QRP netted me 3 CW contacts and when tuning the bands I heard very little traffic. After a fashion, I turned off the TR-45L and switched to the FTDX10 and FT8. I started at 25 watts and increased power until I was getting some QSOs. I ended up running between 35 to 45 watts. I ran Friday night and Saturday morning netting about 200 Qs.

In the picture above, you can see the QSB on 20 meters. It was like that on all bands. Up and down, now you hear it, now you don’t. While I made a good amount of contacts, I saw far fewer DX than I usually do.

I plan these trips 3-4 months in advance to ensure I get a campsite so propagation on these weekends, is a crap shoot. I typically bring a QRP radio as a backup on these trips as I can use one of my big radios for both QRP and QRO. I like to use the QRP radios, for short activations near home, where I may be setting up in the cab of my truck.

All in all, it was a good trip. The Radio Flyer is now qualified for cold weather operations. I ran a small 500-watt electric heater from Amazon, and it did just fine https://tinyurl.com/8c2cyheb. Next trip I will try for another me and the key weekend. Stay warm and 73 – Scott

You can see my YouTube video here:

A Tale of Two Radios

Ever since I was a young lad, I was interested in Amateur Radio. I bought books and read and got a few kits and bits from Radio Shack. My electronics mecca at the time. I had no help from my parents. It was a wonder my father didn’t burn down our house with the way he wired things. I felt sorry for the person who bought the house after my father left it.

It wasn’t until years later that I took a more serious attempt at getting my ham radio license. I was in the U.S. Army as a member of the 101st Airborne Division stationed at Ft Campbell, KY. Being a member of a division that could move itself lock, stock, and barrel, in 30 days, kept us busy night and day. I decided I was going to build a radio in preparation for getting my license. I chose the Heathkit HW-8 as a fairly simple radio. Along with it, I got a Jensen Kits JT-6 Mean Little kit with enough tools for the project and a case to put the tools in when my workbench reverted to the dining room table.

Just as I finished up the kit and arranged for a friendly ham to help me with the alignment, I was placed on orders for Germany. It dashed my hopes of getting licensed and I ended up selling the radio to the guy that was going to help me. I never sent one dit or dah on it.

It wasn’t until quite a few years after I got out of the army that I finally got licensed. many years have passed and with that, many enjoyable minutes and hours enjoying the immense sphere of amateur radio. As I approach retirement, I have taken an interest in CW once again. It has become my favorite mode. I am no speed demon and my copy skills still need improvement, but as I lurch along, I am meeting new friends of all skill levels. At least in my old age, I can laugh at my guffaws.

A couple of months ago, John Dillon of Penntek Radios released the details of his new radio, the Penntek TR-45L. I already have enough QRP radios and for grins, I went to Tom’s K4SWL’s website where he was reporting about the beta test he was doing. When I saw the radio, a flood of memories came over me. I remember the fun I had building the radio and dreaming of getting on the air. I also remember being a little saddened, when I realized, I would not be using that radio and that licensing would still be a few years away. But HOLY COW did that Penntek bring back that same vibe as the HW-8! I knew I had to have one. I placed my order and then the wait…

It showed up a couple of days ago and it brought me back to the early 1980s when I had the HW-8. I felt very nostalgic. This radio is more complex than the HW-8, but it has that vibe, that Joe Friday, “Just the facts ma’am” attitude. Easy to use, simple controls that remind you of a bygone era. Before cell phones, the internet, and computers. In a recent blog, I spoke about naming radios. I call this one Apollo as it is reminiscent of the Apollo era when man first stepped on the moon. The computer on the Apollo Command Module had less computing power than a high school calculator. There certainly wasn’t a “Hey Siri” either.

This is a busy time of year. So far, I have been able to play with the radio for a short while and was able to make a couple of CW contacts on 20 meters. I do have a weekend activation planned and the TR-45L is going with me. A nice back-to-basics, just me and the key weekend. Shoot, I may do the full monte and paper log. Over the next couple of weeks, I hope I get to work you on the air. If not, then a very Merry Christmas to all. 73 de Scott

FTDX10 vs IC-7300 CQWWDX CW Contest

I own both of these radios. I’ve had the FTDX10 for a couple of months and the IC-7300 for about 5-6 years. I am not getting rid of either one anytime soon as I wanted to do a long-term comparison of the two. If you go back through my blog you can see some of the differences. Up to now I have tried not to be subjective and to provide my actual findings as I compare the two. In this case, there will be some subjective opinions on my part, mainly due to my ears and internal filters (brain) are probably different than yours.

Setup. The antenna used was my 270′ OCF Dipole with the same coax used up to the tuners. I chose the 40 meters because there was a fair amount of activity on it. Both radios were setup basically the same. For the FTDX, I set the roofing filter to 500 hz and the Digital filter to 300hz. I set the DNR to 15. On the Icom, I set the BPF to 500 hz and the Digital filter to 300 hz. I set the DNR to 15 and then backed it off to 13 as it was slightly more aggressive the the FTDX.

The test was simple, I found a busy part of the 40 meter band with close in signals. I then swapped the antenna back and forth between the radios. I did occasionally kick in the optional 300 hz roofing filter on the FTDX.

What’s the Verdict?
To be honest, both radios performed well and either one will get the job done. I had no problem hearing a signal even with a stronger nearby station. Blocking was good on both. The FTDX was a little better at blocking and when I kicked in the 300 hz roofing filter, it did help quite a bit. However, the 300 hz filter adds $175 to the total.

As of today (11/25/22), the FTDX10 is selling for $1349.95 and the IC-7300 is going for $1149.95 at HRO. Interestingly the list price for the FTDX is $1699 and the IC-7300 is $1399. I think that is what I paid for my Icom back in 2016 or 2017. The Icom is holding its value fairly well.

What to do?
I suggest that if you have an IC-7300, hang onto it. I’m keeping mine. I don’t think it’s worth the hassle to swap them out. If you are a new guy to HF radio, I still recommend the IC-7300. It’s easier to use. Read through my blog to understand why I feel that way. If you are a CW Op, you may benefit from some of the bells and whistles the FTDX offers. If you are a DX chaser, the FTDX may offer you a slight advantage. I will admit that I like the FTDX10 for CW operation. I also like the IC-7300. My affair with the FTDX10 is far from over, When I am in my camper, I like a full-sized radio. I will continue to bring both to the field (one at a time) for some time to come.

Below is a link to a YouTube video showcasing both radios during the CQWWDX CW contest.

Hints and Kinks for the New Camper

The Radio Flyer is an excellent camper for me. I love the compactness as well as the space utilization. One of my jobs in the U.S. Army was as a crew chief on a Blackhawk Helicopter. It has a similar vibe. the other thing I like about it, is I only lose 0.5 to 1.5 miles per gallon when I tow it.

The first weekend in it was great. I learned a lot about the camper and worked on how best to use the space. Winter is upon us so operating the radios outside may not always be doable. Years of abuse working in the trades have left me with arthritis in my hands, making CW difficult when it is cold. In my last post, I tried a couple of different ways to operate inside the camper. while none were perfect, I got a couple of good ideas. This is what I ended up with.

I can sit comfortably in that chair for hours and there is enough room for my legs. The table is 16″ wide and 3′ long. It can easily hold my laptop, CW key, and full-sized radio. Not shown, but on the right, just behind the chair are 2-120v outlets. If I need to get up, I slide the table over to the wall on the left. I believe I can also sleep with it there.

Construction was simple. I have about $50 invested, $30 was for the legs. The table-top was a project panel from Lowes that cost less than $11. Everything else I had on hand. I cut a radius on the corners and routed the edges for comfort. To secure the legs to the table I used some Tee-nuts left over from a prior project.

The panel is only 5/8″ thick. The tees are about 1/2″ tall so the recess was rather shallow. After I put them in, I secured them with JB Weld. Not pretty, but adequate for the job and good enough for proof of concept. If I decide to redo this, I would use a thicker board and a Forstner Bit for the recess. That would have upped the cost, more than I thought appropriate for a first go.

I did both ends as I have two legs. that way I can also set it up as a table proper. I sanded it a little, put on a coat of stain, and a spray-on polyurethane clear coat. Nothing fancy. To store the table when I am not using it I put it between the bed and the camper wall.

The other kink has to do with my microwave. It sits nicely on the shelf; however, during the first tow, I went over some fair-sized bumps, which launched the microwave onto the floor. The netting that came with the camper did not hold it well enough. My cure was simple, I did two things. First I turned the hook that holds the net around to where the hook faces the microwave. This should increase the holding power. The second thing I did was I bought some metal bookends and slipped them under the microwave and behind the hooks. The height of the bookends and the weight of the microwave should keep it on the shelf.

The next flight of the Radio Flyer will be in a couple of weeks. Hopefully, everything will work as advertised. 73 — Scott

The Maiden Voyage of the Radio Flyer

Radio Flyer Logo (PRNewsFoto/Radio Flyer, Inc.)

When I was young, it was a simpler time. All you needed was a pen knife, cap gun, your dog, and a Radio Flyer red wagon to put your stuff in. The world was your oyster and adventure was right around the corner. Even though I am much older now, and my horizons have expanded; adventure is still right around the corner. It was fitting that my new camper is also a Flyer. I thought it fitting to name my camper the Radio Flyer, big boy’s red wagon.

For my first adventure, I chose to go to the Stephen C. Foster State Park located within the Okefenokee Swamp. It’s about a 6-hour drive from my home QTH. Getting off of the interstate at Valdosta; it’s about a 45-mile drive down a highway that is largely uninhabited. For a man who likes his solitude, I felt alone. I pulled into Fargo, GA for gas, and then it was another 18 miles of desolation to the park. The first gate was entering the refuge. Then another lonely stretch to the park entrance.

The park was quiet with several different species of Owl providing commentary. The park never got noisy while I was there. I liked it. The campsite was rustic and nice. In short order I was set up and ready to go.

One of the things I like about the camper is its simplicity. The interior is open and spacious. there is enough room for me and my gear plus I can sit comfortably. The AC and heater work well. The galley is all I need. I added a microwave that fits on the storage shelf.

My intentions were to operate CW and FT8 while out. However, the propagation gods were not with me and band conditions were rather poor. Often only one or two of the bands were open and even then they suffered from heavy QSB or fading. You could see it on the WSJT waterfall. Now you see it, now you don’t. I tried CW a couple of times but to no avail, so FT8 it was. Here is a shot of my screen at 40 meters. Normally, it would be wall-to-wall signals at the time the image was taken.

I tried a couple of different radio configurations inside the camper and the one that had the most promise was this:

I set up at the rear of the camper facing sideways. I was using a lap desk, leftover from my last camper. I was sitting in a canoe chair and balancing the desk on my legs. Not the best setup, but it gave me some ideas for next time. I was much more comfortable in this camper operating.

Station Setup. The antenna was my 29′ random wire antenna and 17′ counterpoise. It is fed with a homemade 9:1 UnUn and a 1:1 current balun. Here’s what the outside looked like.

Coax is RG-316. The radio was my Yaesu FTDX10 with a Mat-30 antenna tuner. I will comment more about the radio in a separate paragraph.

How did I do? I was on the radio pretty steady from 1800 hrs lcl Friday night, unitl about 2200 hrs lcl Saturday night. I would have worked a little later on Saturday, but the bands made it a struggle. I came out okay. I made 353 contacts from 45 states and 11 countries. Band break down as follows: 10m – 5, 12m – 2, 15m – 4, 20m – 130, 30m – 48, 40m – 151, 80m -13, and 160m – 6. I should have had more contacts on all of the bands, but conditions were not that good. I think the only reason I got the 6 on 160m, is people were trying to find propagation — any propagation.

FTDX Woes. I continue to find things I do not like about this radio. I plan on keeping this radio for a while to really give it a shakedown. You really can’t give a radio a good review if you only use it for a short while. I am keeping my IC-7300. On this trip, the biggest niggle I had was the main dial lock. It also locks the MPVD (outer ring) dial. Why is this bad? To use the clarifier, you have to use the MPVD. I recently wrote about split operation and some of you asked why not use the clarifier. The answer is you can but. The Yaesu main dial is large, too large in my opinion, and it is easy to bump it off frequency. This is important if the other station is running split. if you bump the main dial, you no longer hear the other station. You may not notice right away if something is wrong and you can miss your opportunity. If you are the station being worked and you bump your transmit frequency, no one can hear you. With the IC-7300, you can lock the main dial and still operate the RIT/DeltaTX (clarifier) with the multi-function knob.
Woe #2. You cannot easily operate FT8 on 60 meters. Yaesu programmed the 10 channels into memory and to get it to operate on 60 meters, you have to jump through some hoops, more than you should for a modern radio. The Icom will run 60 meters right from the WSJT app.
Woe #3. Using the Mat-30 tuner, the FTDX10 refuses to tune my antenna on 17 meters. I have 3 other portable tuners that work just fine on 17 meters including my 15-year-old LDG Z-11 Pro.
I don’t know, Yaesu, just misses the mark. I still kind of like the Yaesu, there seems to be a lot of almost, but not quite there. The reality is, whatever I can work on the Yaesu, I can work on the Icom. The Yaesu has a more refined receiver, but the Icom has a lower noise floor. For now, I am keeping the Yaesu, and I will continue to take it to the field and use it. I want to have a good feel for it before I decide which one to keep. Like I said, you really can’t do a good review over a short period of time. I really want to give the radio a good workout on CW, which I think will be its niche, if only the propagation gods will favor me. If one of you has an in with Yaesu, send them the link to my blog.

Below is a link to the accompanying YouTube video.

The Times They are a-changing

This week I decided to trade in my new camper for a newer camper. I consider the now old camper as my training wheels camper. I used it for 8 months and it gave me the opportunity to really see what I liked and didn’t like about this camper and campers in general. Here is a list of things I didn’t like about this camper.
1) The AC drained into a tub. The AC unit was basically a window unit and the condensation water instead of draining to the ground, drained into a tub. You had to turn on another fan to help evaporate the water. If you go over a good-sized bump, the water would spill out onto the beds below. This was their Boondock model (off-roadish) so bumps were to be expected. My new camper has a Dometic RV AC unit mounted to the roof and no water issues.
2) The heater did not work. The old camper had a separate heater unit which never worked. I didn’t use it until this fall because it was too warm by the first time I took the camper out. I took it for a service and they had to order new circuit boards. The parts are on back order with no delivery date. The new camper has a heater strip in the AC unit and works fine. Note: Even though I felt the old camper was a quality build, the AC and heater units, were rather cheap and their installation was not well thought out.
3) The old camper was not comfortable when operating my radios inside. When it gets dark out, cold, or rainy, I like to bring the radios inside. There was no way to sit comfortably inside the camper. It was designed for laying down. I tried several different methods and none worked well. I had to live with a good bit of discomfort and pain. Sleeping in the camper was fine though. The new camper should allow me to put a small folding chair inside. I have used this chair before and can sit in it for hours.
4) I mainly used the radios outside under the awning because, well it was outdoors and it was more comfortable. I do a lot of camping by myself so the issue came up with what to do with my radios when I had to go to the comfort station. Leaving them out was not an option. I have seen cars driving through the campsites making the loop two or three times in a short period. You could tell they were not campers. So, when I had to go, I had to put up my radios and computer/iPad and then set them back up when I got back.
5) The cabinets in the bed area were useless. They were too shallow and too far away from the doors. I never used them.
6) The water system. I used it maybe three times. I felt it was not worth the effort and just something else to break. I usually brought a jug of water with me.
7) The Cooler/Fridge was hard to get to. It resided in a cubby hole which meant every time you wanted something from inside, you had to pull it out and balance it on the edge of the trailer. Just a hassle.
8) The spare tire was mounted underneath the camper. This reduced the ground clearance which was not good for a Boondock camper.

It was the sum of the issues including the lack of comfort and security that edged me toward looking elsewhere. So when I was down at the dealer’s checking on the parts for my heater, I decided to trade it in for a new camper, which I believe will alleviate some of the issues I had with the old one. Here is a glimpse of the new sheriff in town. I’m taking her out this weekend for a shakedown cruise. I will give a detailed review in the next post. I wanted to separate the bad from the good so to speak.