A Milestone

As of 23 May 2019 at around 8:00 p.m., I’m completely out of debt. I began trying to get out of debt after my second divorce, got married (again, I know…) ran up my debt again, made plenty of lousy decisions that prolonged the time it took me…

And today I’m debt free.

Glory be to Yahweh.

Camping season is almost here!

I’ve been busy with truck chores-gathering the parts, and doing the work. In early April I installed new brake shoes, wheel cylinders, drums, and brake lines on the old Ford. I had to buy the whole set of brake lines to get the rear axle lines, grumble grumble…but it’s all new again. I also installed new brake adjusters on both sides as well, as I wasn’t happy with the adjuster wheels on either side.

I also bought another radio from a buddy-it’s a Yaesu 897D, and it’s in excellent shape. I was considering parting with my 857D, but I’ve decided to keep it and install it in the Nissan. Before I do, I’ve had to repair the open 3A fuse that powers the CAT plug, and here’s how I did it:

Th th th that’s all there is to it, folks.

Here’s a repair done to the 897-there’s LOTS more room for a fuse holder in one of those.

Where the hell you been, Wyo?

Lots of space between the last post and this one, I know. There are several factors contributing to my lack of posts, but I’ll confess that sloth is the main one. I’m back.

Please listen to this YouTube by Asha Logos, linked below. He’s one of my favorite channels, enough that I sub him on Patreon. He adds lots of encouragement to my life, and I hope now yours. Enjoy.

Colorado vacation

In early June I went to Colorado to visit friends and explore some spots I hadn’t been to yet. I drove to Loveland and visited my buddy and his lady. It was nice to visit them, as I hadn’t seen either of them in a year or so.

The day after I arrived, we went to Ham Radio Outlet in Denver. I was expecting a gritty place, but it was clean and well appointed.

We stopped in Windsor to eat at Jim’s Burger Haven-highly recommended:


The next day we drove to Anderson’s Auto Wrecking in Greely to see what was available. Turns out, not much but it was a fun diversion. We stopped to get photos of building bearing my name:

Well, it's not REALLY my place...

We made a couple trips into the mountains above Lyons and around Eastes Park. It was pretty crowded, but beautiful. There were Bighorn sheep along the road:

Bighorn sheep near Eastes Park, Co

A couple more days in the mountains around Apex, an old mining settlement.

Mine equipment near Apex, Colorado.

We also drove out to the East portal of the Moffatt Tunnel: I took a few photos of the tunnel entrance while my buddy took photos of the run down housing nearby.

East portal of the Moffatt Tunnel, CO.

Moffatt Tunnel Brasscap, CO.

We stopped at the Seventh Day Adventist cam above Lyons to get shots of the mill:

The SDA camp above Lyons, CO.

I took off from Loveland and drove up Rocky Mountain National Park, but I wasn’t able to see much because there were clouds much of the way up. Next time, I’ll do it in nice weather.

The tRusty old Ford was able to get over the summit at 12, 183 feet.

The tRusty truck parked along Trail Ridge Road, CO.

RMNP Info placard, CO.

The highest cafe I've been in.

I arrived Timber Creek campground just prior to the road being closed behind me, and spent a night there. There were lots of elk in the campground,

Elk at Timber Creek Campground, RMNP.

and owing to heavy rain (which froze and closed the road) I hid in the camper. Later that afternoon, the weather cleared, and after exploring the campground, I started a charcoal fire and cooked my supper.

The next morning I drove by Grand Lake and into Grandby for fuel and breakfast. On to Steamboat Springs (vis Rabbit Ears Pass)

Rabbit Ears Pass, CO.

for fuel and supplies, then Clark, and to Hinman Park Campground, where I spent a night. Back to the Clark Store for a GREAT breakfast of steak and eggs, and then to Columbine to visit the Colombine store and Hahn’s peak.

Columbine Store, CO.

Hahn's Peak, CO.

Hahn's Peak, CO.

I left, and drove to Craig for more fuel and windshield wipers, then to Meeker, where I spent a night at a little family owned campground. I showered and slept like a baby. On to Rifle and I-70, over Vail pass (barely)

The tRusty truck on Vail Pass, CO.

then to the Eisenhower tunnel, where the pickup said no more.  I got a tow from one of the many tow trucks that circle like vultures in the area (nice guy, though-can’t complain) to Johnson’s Corner on I-25, and the truck fired up as soon as we unloaded it. I blame Colorado gas.

I made another stop at Anderson’s, and had a late breakfast at the Kitchen in Greely, also highly recommended.


I drove back to Loveland, spent a day with my friends, and headed in to Wyoming, camping at Vedauwoo campground near Laramie. It was windy and cold, and not very pleasant. I headed North, and took Sibley canyon road towards Wheatland. I stopped at the Tom Thorn/Beth Williams Wildlife Habitat Management Area-it’s a beautiful area for camping and fishing, and I’d have spent a night there, but it was pretty full next to the water. I will next time.

On to Wheatland, where I had lunch and fuel. I drove on to Glendo, and spent a couple nights at Two Moon campground. I really like this campground-it’s full of Ponderosa pine trees, and it’s a maze of roads and trails. I put up my Chameleon MPAS antenna, but didn’t get out at all. The sunset was excellent:

Sunset at Two Moon Campground, Glendo, Wyoming.

I stopped in Douglas on the way back, and took the old road through Rolling Hills, then home to Casper.

A little scheduled maintenance on the Rokon

If you follow this blog, you’ve no doubt read about the 1997 Rokon that I put a new engine in a couple years ago. This weekend, I cleaned, lubed,and reinstalled the chains onto clean sprockets. The bike needs new drive and driven sprockets, as well as roller chain, but I think I’ll put if off until next season.

Everything cleaned up nicely:

Back wheel's clean, too.

Nice clean chain and sprockets

Nothing you can’t imagine, but pics are always better. I use an old coax crimping tool I bought at Radio Shack years ago to bring the ends of the chain together without loosening the tensioner bolts:

My chain puller hack

As you can see, I’ve put it on a grinder to get enough clearance so it fits well. Here’s the tool in action:

Put a roller chain roller in each jay, and squeeze-it's EASY to get the master link in.

Nothing fancy, but pretty effective.

I’ll clean up the rest of the bike over the next week or so (not that it’ll stay clean for long).

Stay tuned for the tale of my recent vacation through Colorado and Wyoming.



Adding a voltmeter to the Ford

Several years ago, I converted the truck from its original 1G (first generation) alternator to a 3G alternator. It’s a 130 amp unit, which was better than the old 65 amp unit. Here’s the forum thread I read prior to doing my conversion. It’s pretty straightforward, if not easy.

Anyway, the conversion left me without a working amp gauge, because the wiring that FoMoCo uses as a shunt no longer is connected to the (eliminated) voltage regulator. RCCI to the rescue!

For the small sum of $55 (shipped), RCCI sells a replacement amp gauge that is converted to a volt gauge, using a new movement. The gauge face is perfect, and the needle comes repainted the bright orange that the factory used. It’s beautiful except that the rest of the dash is old and faded. I’ll learn to live with it. The new gauge is a sight to behold:

RCCI voltmeter conversion gauge

The old dash is pretty faded, so the new gauge really stands out:

RCCI gauge installed in the panel

Rocketman does an outstanding job with these conversions, and I wish I’d done this a LONG time ago.

When the truck is off, the needle is at “D” (0 volts): when the ignition is on, but the engine is off, the needle is just under the halfway mark. (actual battery voltage) When the engine is running, the needle is somewhere between just over half scale and past “D” (actual charging voltage). It’s something I’ll have to get used to, but I’m confident that it’ll give me a good idea about the condition of the charging system.

You can find the wiring diagram to this conversion HERE.

I used a relay to turn the angry pixies on and off at the alternator cable (connected to the mega fuse) to control the voltage going into the gauge;this allowed me to use the stock amp gauge wires, and simultaneously get voltage within 18″ of the alternator output.

If you’ve got an old Ford/Mercury that the ammeter doesn’t work, please consider installing one of these gauges.




Longmont Hamfest 2018

My buddy and I made a mad dash to the Larcfest Friday afternoon to offload excess gear. I sold my Hammarlund HQ One-Seventy to a fella who really wanted it, along with a couple hard cases and a window antenna. I came home with a set of USGI camo netting support poles, and ALMOST bought a gigantic signal generator, but “missed” it to another buyer-thank goodness.

On the trip down, my windshield washer pump cratered, so I replaced it Sunday morning. It was surprisingly easy to change, and I had it done it less than an hour, including washing the mung out of the reservoir.

Not much more to report.

VHF/UHF contest today

I participated in the annual VHF/UHF contest today, attempting contact with fellow ham radio operators in Fremont county. I was unable to do so, either on 6 meters, 2 meters, or 70 cm.

Lots of chatter on 40 meters that I picked up with my 6M PAR omni:

My PAR Electronics omni 6M antenna

It’s installed on a Poles and Holders (dot com) 22″ extendable mast-

6 meter antenna in the air

and it works pretty good. It’s quick to deploy-Just run over the “holder”, drop in the mast, put on the antenna, connect the coax, raise it up, and you’re ready to transmit. Here’s the holder:

Holding up the mast

Easy to use. I was using my HF/VHF/UHF station:

My HF/VHF/UHF station

It’s a Tac-Comm case (seems like I keep promising a video). It holds my Yaesu FT-857D all band all mode radio, its LDG AT-200Pro II autotuner, and my Yaesu FTM-400 XDR/DE 2M/70cm radio. Eventually I hope to put a Icom IC 7300 in it.

I was able to make contact with a local ham through the Meadowlark repeater, but not the Fremont county group. Next time, I hope.