And Away We Go!

 Posted by at 12:33 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 142011

Our two weeks here at The Great Outdoors went by way too fast, and today we will drive 70 miles or so to the Orlando Thousand Trails preserve, which is actually west of Orlando a bit. We liked Titusville before, based upon our two earlier visits to this area, and the last two weeks have only cemented that feeling. We look forward to coming back here again.

We had planned to drive up to Saint Augustine yesterday, but when we woke up, Terry wasn’t feeling too well, having been up several times in the night with an upset stomach. So we decided to just stay home and take it easy, since we’ve been on the go a lot since we got here. A quiet day at home can be very relaxing, and helps us recharge our inner batteries.   

I had hoped to spend the day working on the sequel to my Big Lake mystery, but my friend Froggi Donna mentioned on Facebook that another friend and fellow Escapee, Brian Gore, had a new book out on Kindle, so I downloaded a sample chapter to check it out. Well, there went several hours of work! By the time I finished reading the sample of A Pair of Second Chances, I had to go ahead and buy it, and then I spent another three hours reading. It’s a story about the modern West, and a man dealing with his inner demons, who is too stubborn to change, and who won’t back down when he sees wrongs that need righted. Brian spent part of his life as a working cowboy, and his experiences are reflected in his book. Check it out, it’s a good read.

A Pair of Second Chances

Eventually, I started feeling guilty for goofing off so long, so I did get to work on my book, and by the end of the day, I had knocked out another 2,500 words.

I sure hope that we have faster internet service at the Thousand Trails than we have had here at The Great Outdoors. I couldn’t get a 4G signal, so I used both our Verizon air card and MiFi on 3G, and even though we had full bars of service, it was as slow as any dial up connection I ever used, and at least two or three times a day both devices would just freeze up and had to be rebooted.

Terry and I always want to help our readers save a buck when we can. We used to run an end of year holiday special, and we got away from it for some reason. So, just in time for your Christmas shopping, here we go. If you subscribe or renew your existing Gypsy Journal subscription for two years, we’ll also send a one year gift subscription ($20 value) to whomever you choose, with a note that it’s a gift from you. This applies to both printed subscriptions to U.S. addresses by Standard Rate mail, and digital subscriptions. Just click this Holiday Special Offer link and place your order. Sometimes the PayPal website gets stubborn and will only let you enter one address, so if this happens, use yours for the two year subscription, and send me an e-mail at with the name and address for the gift subscription. You can take advantage of this special offer even if your current subscription is not yet due for renewal. We’ll extend your subscription to reflect the two year renewal. This special offer is valid now through December 15, so act today to take advantage of the savings!

Before I close, do we have any ham radio operators among you blog readers? Over the years I’ve had an interest in amateur radio, but I have never had the time to follow up on it. One of the regular readers asked me, and I told him I’d ask any of you hams to post your call signs. So lets hear from you, all you hams. Who are you, and how long have you been into the hobby?

Thought For The Day – When a friend does something wrong, don’t forget all of the things they did right.

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Nick Russell

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  24 Responses to “And Away We Go!”

  1. HI4NAI, Palatka, Fla., 6 years (Fulltimers)

  2. Nick:

    Tech (KD0BUY) for 4 years. I had put testing off for 30 years due to morse code–I bit the bullet and purchased the ARRL Tech study guide, then passed the exam pretty easily in Oct 2007. I had wanted to be more versatile with Metro SKYWARN group, so taking a little study time paid off!

    I run a programmable 2 meter handheld most of the time, plus have a 1990’s era Motorola MaxTrac 2 meter 6 channel base.

  3. Oh, and Nick… all license classes no longer require code as of 2007!

  4. KG4RMT, Fuquay Varina, NC 9 years, on the way to fulltiming

    K4HM Fuquay Varina, NC 39 years, on the way to fulltiming (hubby)

  5. My call is WB4PDO and I’ve been a Ham since 1965……..
    Ms Pat is N4ODT she got her lic in 1986

  6. WA0IQM. We started in 1961. Not very active now.
    73s, Gene

  7. W9MCI, got my Tech in 2004 (at the Goshen Escapade), got my General in 2007 and got my Extra in 2010.

    Fonda, K9MCI, got her Tech in 2010.

    Still in the planning stages of a mobile shack and antenna system for our MCI conversion (hence the call signs!).

    K8BRF and K8LMF (Bruce and Linda Faye) are a couple of future fulltime, RVing Hams.

    Nick, the Tech isn’t difficult (no code for any class anymore) and shouldn’t take you too much time to study for, go for it! (If you are interested, I can send you a link to a free and good study guide.)

    You can’t even begin to imagine all of the POSSIBLE GADGETS the ham world would tempt you with! (But, not many are really needs, just wants!)


  8. K6YVE General since 1956.

  9. Our 3G reception, both AT&T and Verizon, has been steadily deteriorating for the past 3 years. We can’t even watch an un-interrupted youtube video anymore without first downloading the whole video – which takes forever.

    A few Sundays ago, the Washington Post devoted it’s whole business section to our nation’s deteriorating infrastructure, including internet infrastructure. Our internet speeds, as well as our roads, bridges, dams, power grids, airports, health care systems, sewer systems etc are rapidly becoming the laughing stalk of the world. In each of the aforementioned categories, as well as many others, we rank behind at least 10 – 20 other nations.

  10. Dee K4DAW 1999 Full time 2009

    Jim K4FIJ 2000 Full time 2009

    We use our ham radios to communicate between Jim and myself on the road. I drive a car behind the fifth wheel. It’s been a great ride with ham radio. I joined to be part of the skywarn emergency system.

  11. KF7ET Got my lisence in 1972 and now advanced class. First lisenced as KA1BWE in Vermont. Work 160 to 440 QRO and QRP both mobile and base. Wounder if anyone is interested in just getting tgogether on the bands like the good sam group.

  12. KD5BXZ for over a decade. Ham Radio is a great hobby for RVers. I’m looking forward to the time when we can get on the road more in the RV, and I can hook up with friends on the radio. It’s a great community to be a part of.

    One of the great things about ham radio for RV travelers is that with a modest amount of radio gear, you are never alone. There are many places in the US where you can’t get a cell phone signal, but with a decent HF radio and a modest antenna, you can get out a call for help from just about anywhere. And if you find yourself in the midst of a disaster, when electric power, cell phones, and just about everything else is knocked out, you can be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

    If you want to get an idea how big ham radio is among RVers, just do a search on the FCC amateur license database at for hams in Livingston. Take a look at how many of them have addresses on Rainbow Drive at the Escapees Rainbows End RV park. Most of those will be for the Escapees mail service for RVers.

    Good stuff!

  13. Here is some chicken soup for Terry, sure hope she is feeling better, make sure she gets lots of rest. We do not have a ham radio set up. We are waiting on a part for our mono-sat setup. Our modem bit the dust. We debated whether to get a replacement for it since we have an air card, since we still find areas that the air card is really an iffy and as long as there is not to many trees it is a good standby.. It is pricey to have to replace it, but since we use it 24/7 and it is six years old I guess things break.Feel better soon Terry, I know that Nick will take good care of you.

  14. WA5MUD Since 1961. Off the road now. Fulltimed for 16 years.

  15. Hey Nick….I have been a ham since about 1982. Call sign is AE7OZ. My brother is AE7OY and I think he follows your blog also. We both live in your old home town of Show Low but motorhome to Southern Arizona for the winter to avoid shoveling snow. Ham Radio is a great hobby for a mobile lifestyle.

    Take care and have a great winter in Florida!

  16. KB3OA have been a licensed ham for over 30 years. Got the bug when in the boy scouts, but did not get licensed until I was in my late 20’s. I was an Advanced Class until the last license realignment. 73’s to all.

  17. KA5WAC and KA5WAD Amateur radio operators, RACES, ARES, 10-10. Old MISS members. We do not participate in the RV Net on 40 meters but do enjoy our ICOM IC-706MK II G multi Band Radio in the Fiver. We use a “screwdriver type” antenna mounted on the ladder.

  18. Greetings Nick,
    Thanks for the great read each day.
    My call is N0VFJ and I have been a HAM for about twenty years.

  19. Hi Nick:
    My call sign is KE5WIR, been trying my hand at it for 4 years, still learning. Look forward to seeing the both of you in Orlando, we will be their on the 21st.

  20. My call is kw0k and Dee’s is ac0de. We met you about 10 yrs ago in LAS in a campground and I am the one that bought a bunch of years subscriptions for the newspaper (6 yrs, as I recall). We full timed for over 12 years but hung it up in ’03 here near Gun Barrel, TX. The MH is fully Ham equipped despite little use nowadays. Many RV/Ham clubs and Nets are active, including nets in the day and one club that meet at night every day of the year. Try looking at Makes it easy and quick from the base Tech to the top Extra. You will love it. It will change your lives. 73 and 88 as we Hams say. Doug and Dee Boswell

  21. Hi Nick,
    My call sign is wd4kaq and i have been a ham about 30 years. Not active at all anymore as interests have changed.

  22. I am KC0JQE and have been a ham for 10 years. Not at all active. You will find that the hobby has an aging problem.


  23. AC0NM.

    I am a code-less, instant extra — I took all three exams in one sitting, after starting full-time life in a motorhome three+ years ago after a career in electronics, broadcasting, and computers.

    Active on 20-meter SSB (voice on a “day-time” shortwave band) and WSPR, a low-power digital signal propagation mode that I can run in the motorhome all the time without disturbing my wife.

    I can confirm that 2-meter handheld units will often work in areas of National Parks far out of phone range.

    However for just playing around, shortwave is the most fun for me. I have had conversations with hams around the world using 100 watts (or less) with extremely modest antennae in trees or a pole attached to the back of the motorhome.

    Also note that because of an increase in sunspot activity, the 10-meter shortwave band is starting to become active again. Technician Class license holders have privileges on 10-meters. A 10-meter-only radio is less expensive than a multiband radio and an easy way to get started on shortwave. An 10-meter antenna is also smaller than other shortwave bands.

    Ham test study guides are available online, but I would recommend finding a friendly local ham (called an “Elmer”) to help you get started. Also try a web search for local ham events and ham clubs. Many will go out of their way to help a newbie with interest.

    Two big annual U.S. ham events are HamCation in Orlando in February (with RV parking with 20 amp electricity) and the Dayton Hamvention in May.

    And then there is Quartzfest, a “gathering of Amateur Radio Operators in RVs near Quartzsite Arizona” in January, with free boondocking on BLM land.

  24. Hi Nick,
    My hubby, Andy, is N3HHH – been a ham for over 20 years and is still pretty active and enjoys the hobby.
    I am N3LHM, Diane – use to be more active but now just enjoy listening.

    It is a great hobby…:-))) You would enjoy communicating with people all over the world.

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