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Author: steven

Anderson Power Poles, for All The Things!

Anderson Power Poles, for All The Things!

Anderson Power poles have saved my butt on more than one occasion. I recommend them for powering just about everything.

I just got out to the middle of no where for a mini work-cation and decided to write this quick post. Its a clear warm night and my cell is hanging on to the network by one bar. When I got here I realized my battery powering the ARB fridge was running low, the fridge was warming up… and so was the beer (There are grapes and other stuff too, but that’s besides the point). I was in a state of near catastrophe until I remembered that I had installed Anderson Power Poles on the power wires of the fridge. I also have them on the power cable feeding power to the 2m ham radio so I simply plugged the fridge into the radio power cable. Problem solved. I’ll have frigid snacks and beverages in no time. 

You may be thinking, “can’t you just standardize all your 12v accessories with any 12v plug?”. Or, “What’s so great about these Anderson doohickeys?”. The truth is yes, you can run what ever you like for a 12V  plug but I doubt you’ll find anything better than this.  I install Anderson Power Poles on just about everything I own. I got started on them because they are a common plug for emergency communications equipment, so I started using them on my ham radio equipment. The idea is if all ham radios are set up with the same plugs, then in an emergency situation radios can be easily swapped put in the event of a failure. But beyond that these little plugs are easy to install and the smallest form factor can handle up to 45 Amps at 12v DC. They are also genderless.. yep every plug is the same, but they are made in a way that you can’t plug them in backwards either. It simply doesn’t get easier than this. Genderless 12v extension cords, and no missing unpaired male/female plug issues. 

Simply awesome. 

This post is not sponsored by Anderson Power Products, but you can order up a handful of these amazing gadgets via my Amazon affiliate link below while I sip on this delicious can of 805. 

You’ll thank me later…

Anderson Powerpole Connectors 10 Pair Genuine

The 2016/17 Mammoth Mountain Winter Season Is Here!

The 2016/17 Mammoth Mountain Winter Season Is Here!

california-cali4nia-ski-passWinter is coming in strong this year and I’m really looking forward to going snowboarding in mammoth. If you’re looking to buy a season pass, Now is a great time to do so and can be done at by clicking the yellow “Buy My Pass” button on the mammoth website here: Mammoth Season Passes.
Mammoth just launch a referral program today where both you and I get $100 if you buy a pass through the following URL: http://mbsy.co/f8m9r. Once you get your season pass then you get another $100 for each of your friends that get a pass. Sounds pretty awesome right? This program is only going to be running for about the next 8 weeks. This is a good amount of time to get your pass, but the longer you take, the less time your’e giving your friends to get in on this deal with us. Also, don’t forget, the Mammoth pass also gets you access to June Mountain, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit! Having access to these other mountains is awesome being that 2 of them are right here is our southern California backyard.

Get your mammoth Pass ->> Mammoth Season Passes

One more thing… If you plan a trip to Mammoth.. let me know!

A Weekend In The Woods – Ham Radio Field Day 2016

A Weekend In The Woods – Ham Radio Field Day 2016

Being focused on everything in life besides having a bit of fun camping and wheeling, I realized I was overdue for a trip. I needed to get out of town and enjoy the outdoors a bit. So Tara and I packed up the Nissan Pathfinder and headed to Big Bear where we found a Yellow Post campsite in the forest to make home for a few days. However, this wasn’t a totally random weekend. On the 4th full weekend of every June, the American Radio Relay League hosts a national ham radio event called Field Day. The objective of field day is to contact as many other ham radio stations on the HF bands across North America with the allotted 24hr period.

2016 Field Day Site
2016 Field Day Site
Tara on the Radio
Tara on the Radio
Dinner at the Fire
Dinner at the Fire
2016FDMap
Contacted Sections

After we unpacked on Friday night, we strung up a multi-band dipole antenna at about 25 feet in the trees, and hooked up the Icom 746Pro HF Ham Radio. I spun the dial and one of the first signals I hear was a guy talking about how he was absolutely loving his new Icom IC-7300 radio which was just released a few months ago. After making sure everything was working, we hung out around the campfire and eventually called it a night.

Saturday morning started out with Tara & I cooking up some breakfast burrito’s., and eventually I got on the radio while Tara read a book. I started making contacts here and there. The antenna we put up was acting up a little bit and my radio was only putting out half the max power for some reason. After kicking on the antenna tuner, I found that the dipole was tuning on 15, 20, 40 and 80 meters. which was definitely good enough to play around for Field Day.

Later that afternoon Tara and I somehow started talking about trigonometry… I’m not sure exactly how we got on this topic but I blame the juice-box-wine she was having! Soon after the trigonometry talk, she sat in the drivers seat of the radio and started making contacts here n there. She never really liked the hunt n peck method of field day operations, so she eventually started calling CQ Field Day and Wham! Signal after signal started rolling in. I was impressed at the way she logged the contacts quickly and only asking me for call sign verification of those who mumble and the ones with weak signals. After she logged nearly 60 contacts I got back in the drivers seat, for a little bit, then went for a short hike to explore the area around camp. Dinner time rolled around which was cooked on the open fire. We sat around the fire even after dinner talking, joking and having a few adult sodas. Time seemed to just fly by.

The next morning, after breakfast I made a few more contacts before the battery that the radio was running on, ran out of juice. Filed day wasn’t quite over but I was feeling pretty good about even getting out and operating. Tara and I packed up and then explored the lesser traveled roads of the Big Bear forest before heading back down the hill to reality.

During this  trip I’ve realized that the accessory wiring in the Pathfinder is getting old, and that the alternator that’s been in there for many years isn’t putting out the power that it should be. I guess it’s time to put in one of the new high output alternators that DC Power Engineering made for Rugged Rocks, and probably find a place to run a second battery to feed the ARB fridge and other accessories. I want to be able to run that HF ham radio off of the trucks power and be able to keep it topped of for full power output.

Although I’ve got some work to do for get serious about field day like I have in past years, this was a great start getting back into it. I’m glad Tara had fun on the radio and maybe next year we can get a few more radios going. maybe I’ll even brush up on my morse code skills to bring in the double points contacts, and maybe even bring some friends along with us. we’re going to need some big antennas for 2017. Lets get competitive.

Verizon FiOS Availability Map by U.S. Zip Code for Google Earth

Verizon FiOS Availability Map by U.S. Zip Code for Google Earth

After searching high and low for a Verizon FiOS availability map, and coming up with outdated and basically useless maps, I’ve created my own.
By writing a small linux script to pull data directly from the verizon fios website and combining it’s outputted spreadsheet data with data from the census bureau I was able to create a google earth KMZ file that is available for download at the bottom of this post.
This is most up to date and most correct verizon fios availability map that I’m aware of. Please keep in mind that all areas outlined by this map are not guaranteed to have verizon fios service, this map shows zip codes that have fios access somewhere within that zip code. to check fios availability for a specific address visit: http://www.verizon.com/home/search.b2c
If you find this map useful, please consider sending some Bitcoin my way using the address below.
Thank you
-Steven

Verizon FiOS Availability Map – Google Earth KMZ

Some Old Photography

Some Old Photography

A few Years ago I was traveling all over the place and had my camera along. I really enjoy shooting photos but I haven’t been traveling much lately. Here is some of what I saw along the way of my travels in 2010. Feel free to take a look at the following jumbled mess of photos. They aren’t watermarked but Please do no use them without my written permission. Enjoy!

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Cleghorn 4×4 Trail

Cleghorn 4×4 Trail

After doing a little maintenance on Joeys ’79 Toyota we went for a drive up Cleghorn Trail and after a few hours we found ourselves on top of the mountain! Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

Blue Ridge Radio Site

Blue Ridge Radio Site

    As a member of the OAUSA.net outdoor adventure group, I was with another member named Jon scouting out some potential field day sites when we coincidentally ran into Chris, N6LXX who was on the way up the Blue Ridge radio site which is near the camp ground we wanted to go look at for field day. After chatting it up with Chris for a little bit and getting more info about the camping in the area we went with him to the radio site where he was doing some repeater maintenance on his linked 6M machines. It was quite the sight with numerous towers and radio rooms. We weren’t able to browse around for very long before we were reminded by a few friendly signs warning us of FCC regulated RF exposure limits being exceeded in the area … but we continued on. We got to browse around quite a bit  at the equipment and learned a little bit about microwave point to point links which was a bonus to our original plan of just scouting out the camping high up on the

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How to Solder a UHF N-Connector

How to Solder a UHF N-Connector

UHF N coax cable connectors are typically used above 1GHZ in RF applications by ham radio operators, some commercial radio applications, wireless computer networks as well as in Radar applications. Here is a step by step on how to solder one of these to the end of 0.405″ O.D. 50Ω Coax such as RG-8 which is actually pretty simple.

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Etiwanda Falls Hike

Etiwanda Falls Hike

In the backyard of Rancho Cucamonga hides what was once a fairly well kept secret, Etiwanda Falls. A few years ago the North Etiwanda Preserve hiking trail was put in and the falls now attract many people every weekend. It’s not overloaded but you will most likely run into some people up there.
Getting there is simple. Exit the 210 freeway at Day Creek and go North on Day Creek which will eventually curve to the right and dead end into Etiwanda Ave at a stop sign. Make a left to head north on Etiwanda Ave. which will dead end into a dirt parking lot where your hike will begin.
The map at the beginning of this article shows the proper North Etiwanda Preserve hiking loop however if you follow the map counter-clockwise, at the fork for area ‘B’ there is a path to continue north, there is a gate there that you will need to walk around. You will know you’re at the correct fork when you see the trail marker pictured to the left. in the background of this picture is the gate that you will need to walk around. Also on the trail marker will be blue writing with arrows that say ‘waterfall’, once you spot the writing it’s pretty hard to go the wrong way. Continue on this path until it dead ends which is about a mile up. Here are a few pictures

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Sandstone Canyon in the Anza Borrego Desert

Sandstone Canyon in the Anza Borrego Desert

After numerous years away from wheeling the mild yet fascinating trails of the anza borrego desert in southern California, I made a return trip. I got a call from a few friends inviting me out for an easy camping trip at Fish Creek and we’d go explore Sandstone Canyon and the surrounding area. Although the trails aren’t difficult, having a 4×4 vehicle is strongly recommended being that the washes and canyons have sandy bottoms. This is the kind of trip you’d go on when you want to see some pretty unique places and relax without having to worry about breaking your rig in the middle of nowhere. There are a few cool obstacles out there such as “the squeeze” “Diablo dropoff” and “pinion dropoff” but the drive up sandstone canyon will have your eye’s glued on the canyon walls when you should probably be watching where you’re driving. There is also some wildlife out there so if you find your self in this part of the desert, please drive at a reasonable speed. On this trip, I got word over the ham radio that we had 60 MPH gusts and rain back at camp so we headed back and called it a day after cleaning up. Due to the weather we didn’t get a ton of tie to explore but sandstone canyon should be on your list of places to visit next time you’re down there.
I didn’t get too many pictures of this trip but here are a couple cool shots that I got: