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Thread: The Pacific Northwest

  1. #1
    4x4 Ham Member Supporting Member Jerry's Avatar
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    The Pacific Northwest

    My name is Jerry (K7PNW) and we live in Yakima, a town of 90,000 folks in south-central Washington State. We drive an '02 Ford F150 7700 Series with a slight lift, pizza cutter 33" MT's, stock limited slip, 12000# winch, air, a Flip Pac canopy and other misc. stuff to carry us over unimproved dirt roads. There's an original 49,000 miles on the clock so taking a 15 year old truck into remote areas is not as risky as it might seem.

    Both my wife (K7OMY) and I got into amateur radio when it became apparent that we needed dependable communication in remote areas. Since then ham radio has turned into a regular hobby and after a lot of work we now both hold Extra tickets.

    In the truck we run an Icom IC-706MKIIG together with a Yaesu FT-7900R and use Ham Sticks and Hustler verticals as well as well as 2m/440 fixed and mag-mount mobile antennas.

    May I suggest that us guys from the Pacific Northwest support 4x4 Ham.com, let's get in here and let the others know that we are alive and well in the NW corner!

    Jerry, K7PNW
    Last edited by Jerry; 01-28-2017 at 03:00 AM.

  2. #2
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    Hey Jerry.

    I am over in Woodland,WA. I have not gotten around to have any mobile HF setup yet. just my 2m rig i take from rig to rig.

  3. #3
    4x4 Ham Member Supporting Member Jerry's Avatar
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    Hi Ron, nice hearing from you. Woodland, Washington, one of my favorite places to stop for a meal as well as a great meeting place to start backroad trips into the Gifford Pinchot NF. When we lived on the west side of the Cascades we organized several backroad events and used to meet at the Oak Tree Restaurant in Woodland, but I heard it closed since the last time we were there. Since moving to Yakima several years ago we don't get over that way as often.

    It appears that you have similar taste in radios to mine. I sure do like the Icom IC-706MKIIG. We recently installed one in my wife's car, our daily driver, and it works great. We removed a Yaesu FT-7800R dual bander and after checking for room under the passenger seat we mounted the MKIIG in that location with the face plate on the dash. It looks good. We also have a cb radio in that vehicle for our backroad events (most of our members are not licensed operators) so I used the cb antenna mounting bracket between the hood and the fender for Ham Sticks and went with a mag mount for the cb.

    We hurriedly switched radios in time for a little highway trip we took into south-central Oregon. I borrowed the 40m and 80m Ham Sticks from our pickup and they worked great. Better than in the truck! We worked stations all over the Pacific Northwest from everywhere we traveled and that was a wonderful surprise since the main purpose of HF in our mobile rigs is for emergency communications followed closely by just plain fun. I am really pleased with the way that install worked out.

    We have purchased most of our equipment second hand so the cost has been minimal as compared to new gear, but it's still expensive. It's taken years to accumulate the equipment for our vehicles and our shack, but we are getting there.

    I hope to meet you one day, Ron, maybe somewhere off-road, and the season is right around the corner.

    Jerry, K7PNW
    Last edited by Jerry; 01-28-2017 at 03:11 AM.

  4. #4
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    Hi Jerry,

    The Oak Tree is still here, it has been though a few owners, and now it is the Oak Tree Casino.
    I do not get off road as often as i would like too and i have not done I guess what you call 4x4ing. I have a 87 Super-cab 4x4 ranger and right now it is in the middle of everything including getting my radios set up. The power is all there, but no coax or antenna mounts. I am debating if I should set it up my 706 in the truck.

    I kind of want to experiment with mobile HF, and with a trip to Cal this summer, thought it might be fun while I am driving at night. My problem is it seems like a lot of work to sort of make it work, I have enough new problems with 2m's that pop up. For instance, this last weekend I went to Seattle, but in my D710, I have a 1/2wave on a trunk mount, well when the APRS when off it was getting in my mustangs factory amps I guess the amps are not shielded and being so close just picked up the RF.
    I am going to see if mag mount on the roof has the same effect or not.

    Let see the only new radio i purchased is my UV5r, all the others have been used, so far the only problem radio has been my 706 first it was deaf, got that fixed. Now I just found out the other day on 2m FM I have low modulation with the mic gain at 10, no one can hear me every well. So far, on SSB everyone says i sound great.
    I just added a D710 to my collection the other day to replace my tm-733 in my work van, so that is my main radio. I love is so far. I am playing around with APRS just because I can, but I have no idea what good it does me, Hi Hi.

  5. #5
    4x4 Ham Member Supporting Member Jerry's Avatar
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    I don't know about the Gifford Pinchot, but many of the roads and trails near us in the Wenatchee NF are closed for the winter as are some of the state Wildlife Recreation Areas. So it will be another month or two before we can get on them and that gives us some time to make our vehicles ready.

    We have done some hard-core wheelin' in the past, but don't so much have the desire anymore. My favorite off-road exploring is on dirt roads and trails where higher ground clearance is necessary, but low-range is not. Places where your Ranger would be at home. My wife's favorite trails are paved. So we usually strike a compromise with the final choice leaning towards the driver...me.

    When it comes to mobile radio gear I try to keep it as simple as possible. I find it most difficult to make adjustments while driving, let alone do any programming. With poor light, bright reflections, dust on my bifocals, bouncy roads, wind whipped paper maps, empty water bottles and half-eaten sandwiches getting in the way, I NEED to keep it simple!

    I am intrigued by APRS and sometimes follow the routes of users on the net, but it is two levels above my pay grade! As far as installation goes, I have been lucky in that I have very little vehicular interference.

    I'm sure you will enjoy a radio in your car for your trip to California, especially a HF radio. I'll leave the installation up to you! Especially the antenna! Personally, and under most circumstances, I would go with a screwdriver. But, if we had a screwdriver mounted on any of our vehicles the antenna, along with a hunk of sheet metal from the truck, would be torn off on the first trip into the brush. So I live with the inconvenience, but lower cost, of Ham Sticks. Correct me if I am wrong, but if I recall your Icom AH-4 tuner will tune a 9' whip from 40 thru 10 meters. That might be the "cat's meow".

    Jerry, K7PNW
    Last edited by Jerry; 01-28-2017 at 03:19 AM.

  6. #6
    4x4 Ham Member Supporting Member Jerry's Avatar
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    Long 440 contact in Idaho's Seven Devils

    A few years ago our PNW Backroads group was exploring backroads in Idaho's Seven Devils Mountain Range. We met on the Oregon side of Hell's Canyon, drove up to the old mining community of Cuprum and took a FS road out to the Sheep Rock Viewpoint at the south end of the Seven Devils. Without going into detail the next three days found us driving to Yellowpine, back to McCall, north to Burgdorf and down the grade to Riggins on the Salmon River. On the fourth day we explored FS roads on the north end of the Seven Devils Range with one of the stops at the Heaven's Gate Overlook. It was on the way back from there that I made another interesting 440 MHz contact (the first was a year earlier, a long distance connection in N. Nevada). This time I talked with a guy in Boise on a repeater located near Bogus Basin, a shot of over one hundred miles...on 70-centimeters and 20 watts on my IC-706MKIIG! Of course we had elevation going for us, but even so that was pretty darned unusual for me.

    Jerry, K7PNW

  7. #7
    4x4 Ham Member Supporting Member Jerry's Avatar
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    VHF/UHF or All-Band in Western Washington and Oregon

    Single band, dual-band or all-band? That is the question!

    Jerry, K7PNW
    Last edited by Jerry; 01-28-2017 at 03:26 AM.

  8. #8
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    MY only real problem with some of the all mode all band HF rigs, thy have really small screens. the 706 is not bad, but i still find them harder than a dual band radio. but i do agree if you have the budget for one radio or space constrants all mode all band is not a bad way to go.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry View Post
    I am intrigued by APRS and sometimes follow the routes of those who use it, but it is two levels above my pay grade!
    Jerry, K7PNW
    Oh i am not sure of that, it is just a few settings and a GPS to interface with pretty easy, it took me 5 mins to set the settling on my D710 and i am receiving APRS signals.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry View Post
    I don't know about the Gifford Pinchot, but many of the roads and trails near us in the Wenatchee NF are closed for the winter as are some of the state Wildlife Recreation Areas. So it will be another month or two before we can get on them and that gives us some time to make our vehicles ready.

    We have the ability to do hard-core wheelin', but not so much the desire anymore. My favorite off-road exploring is on dirt roads and trails where higher ground clearance is necessary and where low-range 4-wheel drive is seldom used, places where your Ranger would be at home. My wife's favorite trails are paved. So we usually strike a compromise with the final choice leaning towards the driver...me.

    When it comes to mobile radio gear I try to keep it as simple as possible. I find it most difficult to make the slightest adjustments while driving, let alone do any programming. With poor light, bright reflections, dust on my bifocals, bouncy roads, wind whipped paper maps, empty water bottles and half-eaten sandwiches getting in the way, I NEED to keep it simple! I am intrigued by APRS and sometimes follow the routes of those who use it, but it is two levels above my pay grade! As far as installation goes, I have been lucky in that I have very little vehicular interference. I get some fuel pump noise on 146.800 MHz in the Bronco II, but that's about it. I might get around to fixing it one of these days.
    Jerry, K7PNW
    Any of the Forest Service roads and even the dirt roads have on been a problem for my Ranger I don't use 4x4 much, but nothing on my Ranger is stock anymore.
    Here is a photo that's a few years old.


  9. #9
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    Oh I was going to ask, how are you utilizing the 706 memories?

  10. #10
    4x4 Ham Member Supporting Member Jerry's Avatar
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    Nice looking truck!

    Quote Originally Posted by KF7UVH View Post
    Oh I was going to ask, how are you utilizing the 706 memories?
    I fill the IC-706 memory space with 2m/440 frequencies. All 82 of the WA, OR, ID, MT 2m repeater and simplex band-plan frequencies are programmed including the tones we are most likely to use. On top of that there are a few repeaters in OR and ID with 15 KHz spacing rather than the current 20 KHz that were grandfathered before the current band plans were agreed upon. There are also some 15 KHz in N NV and CA, so I plug a couple of those into the mess. Whatever is left over I use for local 440 stuff. If we are driving down a road in Western Montana and want to join a QSO on 145.21 MHz all I need do is switch the tone from 151.4, Ellensburg, to 103.5, Missoula. Otherwise just listen in and don't change a thing.

    I basically program the 706 in the pickup the same, but in the pickup we also have a Yaesu FT-7900R, 500 channel, dual-band for all the extra 2m/440 frequencies. I have had it loaded up with as many as 228 individual repeater and simplex frequencies, but normally run with between 160 and 200. There are many more 440 repeaters out there than 2m, but most of them are quiet. The way I figure it is that I want them available in case I might need them for emergencies. While in the pickup we usually talk between vehicles on the MKIIG and scan with the FT-7900.
    Jerry
    Reading and Riding Northwest Backroads
    K7PNW

  11. #11
    4x4 Ham Member Supporting Member Jerry's Avatar
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    I had a pretty good 2m hit the other night. I talked with a hunter in the Tollgate area of Northeastern Oregon from my base station in Yakima - 130 air miles on FM SIMPLEX!!! Certainly not a normal circumstance, but it goes to show what is possible on the 2m band.
    Jerry
    Reading and Riding Northwest Backroads
    K7PNW

  12. #12
    4x4 Ham Member Supporting Member Jerry's Avatar
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    We're still alive and well in Yakima. Not much new in the way of backroads or radio. Before Christmas I bought an end fed HF antenna that looks good on paper, but with our cold weather I have not spent any time tuning it. I hoisted it up the flagpole into a sloper configuration, but with no tuning it only worked on 40m and up. It's a shorty so I don't expect it to perform very well on 80 or 160, although they advertise it as covering those bands with a tuner (I can imagine the size of the tuner!). I am hoping it will work out as an emergency antenna that I can carry in the truck.

    I think cabin fever is setting in. We can't seem to get away from these four walls. Hmm, reminds me of that old Jim Reeves song.
    Jerry
    Reading and Riding Northwest Backroads
    K7PNW

  13. #13
    4x4 Ham Member AA1PR's Avatar
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    man do I miss exploring in WA

    I lived in midland for a few years

    so many places to wheel as opposed on the east coast

  14. #14
    4x4 Ham Member Supporting Member Jerry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AA1PR View Post
    man do I miss exploring in WA

    I lived in midland for a few years

    so many places to wheel as opposed on the east coast
    Hi, good hearing from you! Midland, Washington is a great place to live. Close enough to work to keep the commute bearable and far enough from congestion for some fresh air. And, it's close to some great backroad and off-road areas. Having Mt. Rainier in the background ain't bad on the eyes, either.

    We spent several years on the west side of the Cascades, mostly from Seattle north, long enough to acquaint ourselves pretty well with Western Washington. We retired to Yakima (south central WA) in 2002 and have been exploring around here as much as we can. We mainly explore Forest Service, DNR and BLM backroads as opposed to more rugged off-road trails. It's all fun!
    Last edited by Jerry; 02-06-2016 at 04:28 AM.
    Jerry
    Reading and Riding Northwest Backroads
    K7PNW

  15. #15
    4x4 Ham Member Supporting Member Jerry's Avatar
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    Just an update. Took the WRANGLER to the shop for some routine maintenance as well as a lowering job. I have some physical problems that prevent me from comfortably climbing into the Jeep the way it sits and can no longer handle breathing in off-road dust so we will probably not be venturing far from the pavement in the future. While it's in the shop we will remove some of the lift and go with smaller tires to allow easier entry. By the end of the week the Wrangler will be relegated to "Town Car Jeep" duty, the little convertible we never had.

    We still have our modified Bronco II and the F-150. I don't know what the future holds for these rigs due to my breathing problems, but I would guess the pickup and the Jeep will be around for a while.
    Last edited by Jerry; 01-28-2017 at 03:36 AM.
    Jerry
    Reading and Riding Northwest Backroads
    K7PNW

  16. #16
    4x4 Ham Member Supporting Member Jerry's Avatar
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    First, I sure hope other folks from the northwest corner of the country respond to this. I am beginning to feel like the Lone Ranger.

    Well, I guessed wrong, the Jeep is sold and as mentioned above, we still have the PU and the Bronco II. Maybe I'll get lucky and trade the Bronco II for an electric car! [DONE]

    UPDATE: Well, the Bronco II is sold and we DID buy an electric car, a 2011 Nissan Leaf! Aren't you glad we are saving the planet? Having a ball driving one of only a handful of electric cars here in Yakima, WA.
    Last edited by Jerry; 01-28-2017 at 03:40 AM.
    Jerry
    Reading and Riding Northwest Backroads
    K7PNW

  17. #17
    4x4 Ham Member Supporting Member Jerry's Avatar
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    Personal Emergency Experience Last Night

    Last night, Sunday, 7/19/15, I was home and talking with some local hams on a 10-meter net when a ham friend broke in with a call for help. He and his family had been driving backroads in their Jeep Cherokee when they broke down with engine problems. They were on Manastash Ridge (Eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains) at the intersection of the Bald Mountain Road and the road to Funny Rocks where you overlook Manastash Lake, close to the gate between the National Forest and the Oak Creek Wildlife Area. They had been sightseeing and were on their way home.

    They broke down at about 6:00 PM and were out of cell phone range so he used his 2-meter radio to call for help. He finally reached a local ham on 2m simplex who made some calls on his behalf including one to his insurance company to request a tow. It was two-and-a-half hours later when our friend checked into our net at 8:30 PM and told us of his dilemma. He had not heard anything about the tow truck at that time. Another ham friend offered to drive up with his truck and trailer (all the way from Grandview) and I offered to go up with my pickup to tow him out with a strap. It was now almost 9:00 PM. Not knowing whether the tow truck driver would ever find them and after weighing his options, he decided to request the truck and trailer from Grandview. Wise choice.

    I met our friend from Grandview with his truck and trailer in North Yakima and rode with him. While we were on the road we heard over the 2m radio that the towing company had phoned the the fellow who originally called for the tow truck and informed him that the driver would not take the tow truck that far off the road. Evidently he had driven from Yakima to the Bald Mountain Road, decided it was too much and turned around and drove back to town. It took nearly 4 hours to learn that he was NOT coming!

    Don and I reached our friend and his family shortly after 11:00 PM. They were doing well and making the best of it on a warm night under a sky full of stars. Their 11 year old daughter was a little hungry, but that was handled by a Granola bar from a box my wife handed me before I left home. We loaded the Cherokee onto the trailer without event and slowly drove back to Highway 410 over the potholes and washboard of the Bald Mountain and Rock Creek Roads.

    We reached our friend's house in Yakima sometime around 1:30 AM, unloaded the Cherokee without incident and both of us headed for home.

    A BIG thanks to our friend from Grandview for saving the day!
    Last edited by Jerry; 01-28-2017 at 03:48 AM.
    Jerry
    Reading and Riding Northwest Backroads
    K7PNW

  18. #18
    4x4 Ham Member Supporting Member Jerry's Avatar
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    Well, here I am again, hoping someone from our neck of the woods will chime in. Many changes around here since our last post. I already mentioned that we sold the Wrangler and we also sold the Bronco II, both being projects near and dear to my heart. Especially the little Bronco II that fooled so many Jeep owners into thinking it was just a girly car! Heh, heh, heh, that was really fun on the trail. But, so sad, both are gone.

    We still have our '02 Ford F-150 with 48K on the clock. It's a pretty good rig for FS, BLM and DNR roads and we enjoy it on desert roads in SE Oregon, SW Idaho and N Nevada. Besides radio and gps equipment it is equipped with a Flip Pac canopy, a Warn 12,000# winch, a swing away tire carrier including mounts for 2 Jerry cans, a slight suspension lift and BFG MT's for extra traction.

    And another new and really cool thing is that my wife, Evelyn, started studying for her Technician exam after listening in on that emergency a couple of months ago. She was issued her Technician license in early October, then upgraded to General later in the month followed by a vanity call a few days later. All in the month of October. Her new call is K7OMY ("Oh My!", one of her favorite sayings). She has been practicing on-air with an Icom 706MKIIG, the same model as in our truck and also in her daily driver, so if an emergency should present itself she will be proficient at using the radio. In reality, it would be most likely that she would make the call on my behalf rather than the other way around.

    And now, in early November, she is studying the Amateur Extra book. Good grief, this lady is dynamite! And she has had no previous radio, electronic or higher math experience or training. I cannot think of the right words to say about how proud I am of her!
    Jerry
    Reading and Riding Northwest Backroads
    K7PNW

  19. #19
    4x4 Ham Member Supporting Member W6SDM's Avatar
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    Be careful getting the XYL licensed. You would think it would make it easier to get new gear. Not. It makes it harder once they learn what this stuff REALLY costs.

    I am also a firm believer of the two rig rule if traveling off road - at least in distant or unfamiliar territory. While I have made solo runs, it can turn out to be disastrous if something goes south. Getting a tow from some locations can be as expensive as just buying a new rig.

    I am also a firm believer in stocking emergency supplies. I keep enough in the Jeep at all times for at least an overnight stay... more if I know I need to conserve.

  20. #20
    4x4 Ham Member Supporting Member Jerry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by W6SDM View Post
    Be careful getting the XYL licensed. You would think it would make it easier to get new gear. Not. It makes it harder once they learn what this stuff REALLY costs.
    Yeah, that's for sure! I think we are pretty much fixed for gear, at least as long as our current equipment holds up. We bought most of it second hand so we could be at a disadvantage from the starting gate.

    Quote Originally Posted by W6SDM View Post
    I am also a firm believer of the two rig rule if traveling off road - at least in distant or unfamiliar territory. While I have made solo runs, it can turn out to be disastrous if something goes south. Getting a tow from some locations can be as expensive as just buying a new rig.

    I am also a firm believer in stocking emergency supplies. I keep enough in the Jeep at all times for at least an overnight stay... more if I know I need to conserve.
    Good advice and good for you, W6SDM! I wish more folks were as diligent as you. But, even with good intentions we seem to create our own emergencies, don't we? Like those few times when we decide to travel alone. Or when we head out against our own common sense. It happens. Sooner or later it happens and that alone is a good reason to be prepared.

    I suspect that most folks on this forum are pretty well prepared since we all have ham radio in common, but it is good to see it spelled out.

    Thanks!
    Jerry
    Reading and Riding Northwest Backroads
    K7PNW

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