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  1. Good morning, all; One other point to be considered is to have your older system that may still have in it the old Freon Type R-12 or Type R-22 serviced withing the next year or so. I seem to remember something about 2015 will be the last year that R-12 and R-22 can be sold or used in this country even by certified A/C technicians. I need to check on this to confirm it. That is 20 years from the time when the OEM phase-out in the USA of R-12 air conditioners took place. Yes, having someone put reclaimed or old stock R-12 or R-22 into your system is expensive at this time (I remember buying 14 ounce cans of R-12 for $0.70 and a 30 pound cylinder for $17.00), but it will be even more expensive to have your older system converted to the new R-134a refrigerant, plus the new oil that is compatible with R-134a and must be used with it. If you can find an A/C tech who has it, the R-420a or possibly the R-414b would be a better substitute than R-134a without requiring all the changes that are necessary with the conversion to R-134a. R-409a is another possibility. And you will not experience the reduced performance level that you get with the R-134a in a system designed for R-12. Check with a certified and experienced A/C technician to see what is available at this time and will work best with your system. There are other things that are compatible with R-12 and R-22 and do not require all the changes that the conversion to R-134a will need. Enjoy; Ralph Latte Land, Washington
  2. Good morning, Bruce Dixon; OK. There is not too much time before your departure. I am not yet a recognized member of the FMCA, but I am working on it. When I bought my motor home, I had no of all the different motor home groups there are out here. It may be that until I am a recognized FMCA member with an "F" number, I will not be able to send a message to you through their system. Until then, please contact me directly by e-mail and let us see if we can work out something with this antenna. If the e-mail address does not come through as shown down below (some systems have sentries that will truncate the domain name or something equal), you can probably interpret the following to get something that will work to get a message to me. Then we can get down to seriously working on this thing. Enjoy; Ralph Latte Land, Washington
  3. Good morning, Ray - huffypuff; I have an observation on the subject of "combination CO-propane detectors." I am not sure that I can recommend them. The optimum location for a CO (Carbon monOxide) detector is up high, and the CO gas, being also a by-product of incomplete combustion, is lighter than air and will rise and collect up near the ceiling. The optimum location for a propane detector is down low, and the propane gas is heavier than air and will collect down near the floor. The optimum location for one gas will be the worst location for the other. They have conflicting operational requirements for a detection system. For that reason, I chose to go with two separate type units in my motor home; one propane detector down low near the floor in the galley area where the heater is also located, and one separate CO detector up near the ceiling also in the galley area. There is also a smoke detector in the ceiling in the living room area just forward of the galley area. Then there is another smoke detector and a second CO detector both in the ceiling back in the rear bedroom. Also, the propane detector is powered with a separate, fused, constant 12 VDC power source connected to the coach batteries. My propane detector is an audible alarm unit only; it is not interconnected with the propane supply line. Well, at least not at this time. Enjoy; Ralph Latte Land, Washington
  4. I am not very experienced in working with the specific systems used on motor home RV. My question is one that I cannot find in searching the forum topics, so I am asking here: How do you remove the top cover on a Coleman Delta TX Air Conditioner? I can get the four acorn nuts off the studs to lift the cover, but it seems to hit something a couple of inches up at the front. The light colored top part of the cover seems to be firmly attached to the brown colored bottom part, so I cannot just lift off the light colored top part and see what is happening underneath. Is there some special process or maneuver that is required to get the cover off so that I can do some maintenance on the air conditioner itself? I found the long holding bolts underneath inside the motor home were quite loose, so I at least want to check the torque on the top hardware to keep everything together, and also to clean the assembly, lubricate the fan bearings, and check the condenser cooling fins to see that they are clean and the unit will work efficiently, but I do not know how to get the cover off. Enjoy; Ralph Latte Land, Washington
  5. Good morning; You might check first to see that the problem is really with the camera or the monitor. You can easily get to those and take them down and set them up close together and see if they work fine over a protracted time period. If they do, then you may indeed be looking at a wiring problem. Yes, I know that you do not want to get into this, but it may be necessary. And, yes, pulling new cables will be expensive if others do it for you. Sorry, but that seems to be a fact of life at times. However, it is also possible that you do not need to have the cables replaced, but you might need some maintenance on the cable connectors. You did say that it was failing intermittently, so the fact that it comes and goes may be saying that there is a problem with either the 12 VDC power going back to the camera, or there is a problem with the video cable bringing the signal up to the monitor. Especially look at the connectors on the outside of the motor home where they attach to the video camera. Look for any sign of corrosion on the connector contact mating surfaces. Check to see that the connectors go together with some pressure and that they are tight, and not loose or worn. You may be able to reform the larger outside body so that it again makes a snug contact with the mating connector. Bend just a little, and do not over-do it, or you may crack the thin sheet metal outside body if they are the old RCA phono plug style video cable connectors. You can replace the connectors on the existing cables if required and the cable itself tests OK. With the cable connectors clean and snug, you can put some silicone grease on the contact mating surfaces to keep water out and reduce corrosion. Try to put some weather sealant over the connectors and that junction when you are putting it back together after your tests are complete, and any required work has been done. That may help to keep the connections reliable and continue working into the future. If the cables must be replaced, you may be able to tie the new cables onto the old cables and pull the new cables into place as you pull the old cables out, or you can tie a pull line onto the old cable that will go in as you pull the old cable out, and you have the pull line as something to use to pull in the new cable If you can do a good job of making the place where the two cables go together, the old and the new, physically small so that it does not hang up on other things inside as you are pulling them through, then you can pull the new cable in directly, and you will be OK. If it does hang up, do not just yank on it. You may pull apart the cable junction and then have both cables inside with no way to pull the new cable through with the old cable. Then it does become much more difficult. Just pull back a little on the new cable, and try it again. If not, then pull back and take off the new cable and tie a pull line onto the old cable you have just pulled back in, and try again with that method. The best way probably is just to go ahead with the pull line method. Once you have the new cables installed, check to see that the connectors do go together snugly, and use the same treatment with the silicone grease to prevent oxidation and help keep out water, and weather seal the connector junction. Again, it is rather likely that you have a connector problem or some similar cable problem that is causing the intermittent. The "bench testing" of the camera and monitor will show whether the problem is in the camera and monitor, or it is still in the cables, and there is more work to do. If it does it on the bench also, then go ahead and either repair or replace the camera or the monitor, depending on which one seems to have the real problem. Here is a place where having a second compatible camera or monitor will help in identifying which one has the problem and needs work. If the camera has the same problem on both monitors, then look at the camera. If the camera works properly with one of the monitors but not the second monitor, then that second monitor may have the problem. If you can get a second camera, and the second camera works with your monitor, then you probably can say there is a problem with your camera. This modular testing process will at least tell you where the problem is. Enjoy; Ralph, N7KGA Latte Land, Washington n7kga@arrl.net
  6. Good morning, Bruce; It is a funny thing that you are working on your CB (Citizen's Band, or the old ham radio 11 Meter band) antenna right at this time. I am working on mine also, and it is turning out to be a many faceted endeavor. Kay Smith has already given to you the standard length of a full size naturally resonant CB radio whip or radiating element length, or 102 inches, or 8.5 feet. Kay and I have talked a couple of times. Rich, the masculine half of "**** and Lois," has also mentioned that in many cases, we will need to use a "loaded" or shortened antenna length or radiating element length in order to meet the nominal height limitations of our vehicles, usually about 14 feet, which is up from the old limit of 13.5 feet. For best radio results, the antenna radiating element should be vertical. And you also said that your antenna is "coil loaded," so we do know that it is a shortened antenna radiating element. Without actually seeing it, or a photograph of what you have left of the antenna. it is not easy to suggest what length whip to install to restore your antenna to functionality. One other quick point to keep in mind is the diameter of the hole where the replacement whip will go, as that will dictate what diameter the whip will be. And, yes, stainless steel is probably the best compromise and most easily obtained material to use in this application. Stainless steel is not the best material for an antenna radiating element due to its electrical resistance, but it does remain fairly constant over its lifetime, while other materials will oxidize and increase their resistance and deteriorate over time. Herman also suggested going to a CB radio shop, which may be located at or near a truck stop. That is a good idea. You may be able to purchase from them a replacement stainless steel whip with the anti-static ball or enlarged diameter tip at one end. It will probably be too long, but it can be trimmed in steps going just one-half or one quarter of an inch at a time untile you get very close to being in the CB radio band, and then you might go in just 1/8 inch increments to get its resonance centered in the band. Yes, it probably is easiest to just take the motor home to them and have them install and trim the replacement whip to get it to resonate in the middle of the Citizen's Band. They can also check the coaxial cable for you while you are there. If you do want to do it yourself, you certainly can, and all you really need for test equipment is the SWR meter in your CB radio. Install the new replacement whip into the antenna, and turn on the CB radio and check the SWR at Channel 1 with a short transmission and write down what it reads. It may be rather high at this time, but that is OK. Just do not transmit too long while checking at this stage. Next go up to either Channel 23 or Channel 40, whichever is the highest you have on your radio, and make another short transmission to see what the SWR is on that channel, and write down that SWR number along side of the Channel 1 SWR number. The same precautionary comments apply here also. Now turn off the radio and look at the numbers. The SWR on Channel 23 or 40 should be a little higher than the first measurement you made at the bottom end of the Citizen's Band on Channel 1. If the readings you have fit the description I gave, keep going. Go back outside the motor home to the antenna and take the whip off and trim off perhaps one-half (1/2) inch. The stainless steel material is very hard and may not cut easily with a pair of diagonal cutting pliers. A Dremel tool with a metal cutting wheel makes short and simple work of this task. But there are other ways to do it, and they do not require electrical power. If you have a small fine metal file, or even better a small triangular shaped fine metal file, use the edge of the file to make a slight or shallow groove around the whip bottom at the point where you want to cut it. Then with a regular pair of pliers, you can hold the whip in one hand and grip the piece you want to break off with the pliers, and then bend the whip back and forth a little at the groove, and it will crack and break off. You can use the fine file to trim any sharp edges now on the bottom end of the whip, and then put the shortened whip back into the hole on the top of the antenna. Go back inside, turn the radio back on, and go to Channel 1 again, measure, write down, then go to Channel 23 or 40, measure and write down there also. Turn off the radio. Again, the measurement for Channel 1 probably will still be lower than the one for Channel 23 or 40, but both of them should be lower than the first set of measurements. Go back outside to the antenna again, and remove the whip again, and cut off another one-half (1/2) inch or so, unless the SWR measurements that you made in the last set are coming down toward about 5 to 1, in which case, you now want to shorten the length you are trimming the whip bottom to perhaps one quarter (1/4) inch, again using the file to make a groove around the whip where you want to break off the next piece. Keep doing this until you get the SWR for Channel 1 down to about 1.5 to 1, or so. It may not go down to less than 1.4 to 1, and that is OK. If the measurement for Channel 23 or 40 is still higher than Channel 1, then go back outside to the antenna, remove the whip again, trim it again but using only a one eighth (1/8) inch cut, reinstall, and test again making both measurements again as you did before. You may find that at this point, both of the measurements will be at around 1.5 to 1, or maybe a little higher, but probably less than 2.0 to 1. If so, you are done. The minimum SWR number of 1.5 to 1 or so should be in the middle of the band. If the Channel 23 or 40 measurement now is lower than the Channel 1 measurement, you can adjust the whip to center the point of resonance in the middle of the band by loosening the set screw and pulling the replacement whip back out one sixteenth (1/16) of an inch or so, and retightening the set screw. Make one final check on Channel 1 and Channel 23 or 40 again to confirm that the SWR is just about the same at both the low and the high end of the band, and you are done. You have adjusted the antenna to the best that it can be with the same number at each end, and that 1.4 to 1 or 1.5 to 1 ratio in the middle of the band really is a very good number. Do not worry about trying to get it down to a 1.0 to 1. While some may question why I suggest such small increments to use when cutting off the bottom of the whip, there are two (2) reasons: (1.) The general prudential rule that you can cut it shorter, but lengthening it is a real chore not easily accomplished while standing beside the motor home. (2.) Most shortened and coil loaded antennas like this will actually tune very rapidly as you cut off a short piece of the replacement whip, so that small increment really is likely to have a much larger effect than you might first think that it will have. Try it. Go slowly and you will get there. If you go too fast and cut off too much, you might need to go back and get another replacement whip, because you have tuned the antenna up into the ham radio 10 Meter band. Not a good thing. Go slowly. Speaking of ham radio, if you know an amateur radio or ham radio operator, ask him if he might be able to help you. He may have an "antenna analyzer" that makes this measurement process really simple and fast, and you can quickly bring the antenna point of resonance right to the middle of the Citizen's Band very quickly. That "antenna analyzer" instrument is the one that the guys in the CB radio shop probably will be using also. Yes, you still need to slowly cut the replacement whip in small incremental amounts, but the measurement part is much faster. The only other thing to think about is the shield side of the coaxial cable going to the antenna. it should be making contact and a connection with the ground or vehicle chassis at the base of the CB radio antenna. If it does not, either make that connection to the vehicle frame or chassis, or you can also put an 8.5 foot long insulated wire attached to the shield side of the coaxial cable where it connects to the base of the antenna, with the far end of the wire well insulated from ground. It can be inside the wall, roof, or frame of the motor home This will act as the required radial and work with the antenna to make it radiate the signal you want to send out, and receive the signals you want to hear, if you do not have a good antenna base ground or chassis connection for the shield side of the coaxial cable at the base or feed point of the antenna. The center conductor of the coaxial cable goes to the insulated bottom connection of the antenna itself. And, if you get the SWR down to a number less than 2.0 to 1, you are doing fine with that. At a 2.0 to 1 Standing Wave Ratio, it means that you have a ten percent (10%) reflected power that is coming back to the transmitter section output circuit, and it can run all day long at that level with the normal duty cycle for which the radio was designed. Finally, on the subject of shortened antennas, they really are not as good as a full size naturally resonant antenna. Now is a time to discuss "antenna efficiency," since we have been talking about shortened antennas. With the full size antenna as a reference, an antenna that is only one-half the size, or fifty percent (50%), of the size of the naturally resonant full size antenna, that 50% antenna will also radiate a signal that is 3 dB down, or only one-half or 50% as strong as the full size antenna with the same transmitter power going into each antenna. You can hear a 3 dB difference, but it is still pretty useable. Things begin to decline and drop off very rapidly as we go shorter than 50%. At about 30% or about one-third the naturally resonant length, you will be down about 6 dB, or one full "S Unit," and that really is noticeable. It gets even worse as we continue to go shorter. If we go down another 20% increment in antenna length to one-tenth or 10% of the naturally resonant length, there will be a 20 dB drop in the signal (a little over three [3] S units), and the antenna is radiating only about one percent (1.0%) of the Radio Frequency power that you are putting into it. A 1.0% output is really not very efficient. That is a 99% loss in the 10% antenna. There really is a reason why there are no effective sub-miniature antennas. This is not a problem with any antenna design, but instead is a limit in physics which we cannot get around. Sorry. Enjoy; Ralph, N7KGA Latte Land, Washington n7kga@arrl.net
  7. Good morning; DesertDeals69 is right. The name "Light Emitting Diode" does imply that there is a forward biased and reversed polarity possible with the devices. Yes, if the socket is wired "backwards" (and many of them will have two wires coming off the metal base that are to be attached to the source of the electrical power), then the LED light assembly will not work. Normally the center contact in the bayonet base will be wired to the positive or "plus" side of the battery or DC power source. And, if you are wondering about the "color" of your LED lights, see if one of your friends who is a serious photographer (not necessarily just a "professional") has a light "color temperature" meter that he can aim at your lights and read out the "color temperature" in degrees Kelvin. As mentioned also by DesertDeals69, the "color temperature" should be around 2700º K. or so. Enjoy; Ralph Latte Land, Washington
  8. Good morning; This topic did get my attention. I bought a Winnebago Elandan through an estate sale, and one of the things noted was the condition of the upper windshield molding and gasket. I quickly made a temporary patch. While it is something that concerns me, I had also thought that I could have it repaired. It may be that it will definitely need to be repaired, and from all of the suggestions offered here, I have a much better idea of how to proceed. Thank you for that. One thing I did not realize is the point that a Winnebago dealer or repair shop has no obligation nor incentive to be careful with the existing windshield while they are working on the watertight integrity of the rubber molded gasket and seal for the windshield. If they break it while working on it, then it is my responsibility and financial obligation to pay full list price for a new one, does seem a bit unusual in the repair industry. I do not recall a similar policy with any of the service industries where I worked at times in the past, and several of them were with motor vehicles. If I had ever made an error to the extent that it caused a problem with the customer's vehicle, it would be at my expense to correct that problem to the customer's satisfaction. While the mechanical parts of this Elandan seem to be in pretty good condition, there have been an awful lot "little things" inside the coach part that have needed attention. This has turned out to be a "project." Oh, well. It actually is cheaper than golf or visiting the taverns, so I guess it is still a good thing. Enjoy; Ralph Latte Land, Washington
  9. N7KGA

    Radio Noise

    Good morning; There were also some references to "ground wires" for the speakers. Please note that there are many radios made in recent years where both sides of the speaker connections ARE NOT connected to ground, but are floated off ground on the output connections of the final audio amplifier in the radio for each speaker. Connecting either side of such an amplifier directly to ground can damage the amplifier in a way that will not be covered by any applicable manufacturer warranty. Either get the radio manufacturer's installation and servicing information for the radio and understand and use that information, or take the vehicle with the radio to a shop which does work on that kind of equipment, and might even be a recognized service center for that manufacturer. Enjoy; Ralph Latte Land, Washington
  10. Good morning, Skip, K4EAK; Thank you for providing your list. There are more than I had thought, although I also admit that for nationwide net coverage during the day, I had been concentrating mainly on 20 Meters. However, I think that the FMCA-ARC Net on 20 Meters follows the RV Service Net on 14.3075 Mc mainly on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at this time. 40 Meters is a possibility down into California, but I am not sure that I can get much further east than Idaho, Western Montana, Utah, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, part of Nevada, and maybe Wyoming and Colorado. I know that I can cover those states on 80 Meters at night fairly often, and usually down into Arizona, from my location here in Latte Land. For me, 20 Meters has been my main long range band most of the time during the day, although it does not really seem to wake up during the Winter until perhaps around 0700 PST or 1500 UTC in the morning. Of course, this is from the home station. I have the feeling that true mobile operation, or even operation from a parked motor home, will not be as easy. There will be a Hi-Que screwdriver type vertical on the front of the Winnebago Elandan for mobile operation, and I will mount a Hustler-Newtronics Type 6BTV vertical antenna on the 2 inch square tube receiver on the back for parked or "portable" operation from 80 Meters to 10 Meters. The 6BTV is only about 27 or 28 feet long, but it is better than the mobile antenna, and the assembled 6BTV without the capacity hat sections will slide very nicely into the 30 foot long 4 inch diameter plastic tube along the right side of the roof. I can also put out more radials when parked. One nice thing about a vertical antenna is that it is always aimed in the right direction. The radios and everything else are pretty easy. At least I know that there is a selection of radio nets out there for us to play with and for keeping in touch. Thank you, Skip. Enjoy, and 73; Ralph, N7KGA Latte Land, Washington
  11. Good morning; A small possibly minor point of correction: The main publication for traffic signals, signs, lane striping, and other "traffic control devices," is a Federal publication commonly known as the MUTCD, or the "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices" published by the FHWA. The current version is the 2009 Edition with the 2012 updates. And there are sections in there applicable to Red Light Cameras and other non-attended photographic devices. The minimum Yellow light or amber light time period is 3.0 seconds. However, there can be a longer time period as a function of the posted speed limit and other factors. And local jurisdictions may adopt a variation to a longer time period. For example, here in the State of Washington, we used two (2) common minimum time periods for the length of a Yellow light. For speeds under 45 MPH, it was 3.5 seconds, or maybe 4.0 seconds. For speeds of 45 MPH and higher, the minimum time period we used was 5.0 seconds. I believe that this practice is still in use here. A similar practice is followed by many counties and cities. I still have my old copy of the MUTCD that I kept when I retired after working on traffic signals for about 30 years. For several years, I had "The Most Hated Traffic Signal in the State of Washington" (dubbed that by KOMO radio, 1000 Kc AM) in the group for which I was responsible for maintenance, on US Highway 2 in Sultan, Washington, on the way to Stevens Pass. Enjoy; Ralph Latte Land, Washington and HamRadioHFMobile on the FMCA forum
  12. Good morning; There has been some progress. The main frequency of interest on 20 Meters now is 14.3075 Mc. Both the Recreational Vehicle Service net (or the RV Service net that started as a part of the Wally Bynum Caravans back in 1963), and the FMCA-ARC net can be found on that frequency. The RV Service net comes on beginning at 1800 Zulu or 1300 EDST or 1400 EST, on 14.3075 Mc USB at least on Monday through Friday, but often there does seem to be people there on an informal basis on Saturday and Sunday. I believe that the FMCA-ARC net comes on following the RV Service net on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so that will be probably in the range from 1830 Zulu to 1900 Zulu or so. But not on days beginning with a "T." At least the frequency is the same. There is at least one VHF net out there, including an EchoLink Net on Tuesdays at 9:00pm ET (6:00pm PT) on Conference Node *FMCA-ARC*. I do not know about the repeater in what city that may be associated with that EchoLink Node. This has been an interesting activity searching out the nets. Larry Hayduff, N7LWD (who used to live out here), and who can be found in the FMCA-ARC [ www.fmcaarc.com ], provided a lot of this information. I am still looking. Enjoy, and 73; Ralph, N7KGA Latte Land, Washington
  13. Good morning; Is the ham radio "Family Motor Coach" net (FMC net) on 20 Meters at 14.262 Mc still around somewhere? It used to be hosted by Leon who lived down in Texas, but I have learned that Leon died about two years ago. Is the net still active? Did someone else take it over? Where is it now? The last time that I checked into that net was probably about five years ago, and it was only as a guest. I did not have a motor home RV back then. I do now, and I was hoping that the net might still be around, noting that now I can be a fully participating member of the net. Enjoy, and 73; Ralph, N7KGA Latte Land, Washington n7kga@arrl.net .
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