Roan Mountain State Park Ride

Dale, Tim and I met up in Morganton, took Hwy 181 then 19E over to the Roan Mountain community and had lunch at Highlander BBQ. Food was very good, fantastic service, very staff friendly. Highly suggest that you give them a try when you’re in the area. We’ll sure be going back!

After lunch we headed south on Hwy 143 to the parking area on top of the mountain to enjoy the area. The road was in good shape with only a few sections that did have some minor issues. I did find a grove while in a right-hand curve that slightly wash my front-end out a little. Other than that, the pavement is good.

Once in the parking lot, I made the goofy video in this post. Always having a great time riding with both Dale and Tim. We hung out here for a while, and I told them the time that Sue and I were there, and my truck failed to start. Cell service is very sketchy, however I did have one of my amateur radio (HAM) transceivers with me, and contacted a friend in Lenoir, NC, and had him to dispatch a towing service to my location. Typically a cell phone will always fail you when needed the most. Amateur radio (HAM) always gets through!

Tim lives in Marion, so we continued into North Carolina where Hwy 143 becomes Hwy 261. Made our way down the mountain through the curves into Bakersville, then onto Hwy 226 towards Marion where Tim peeled off. Dale and I continued on back to Hickory to complete the ride. 8 hours out on the bike.

Living the dream…

Footnote. Carrying a handgun in a Tennessee state park for us is 100% legal.

Huntsville Hamfest

The hamfest wraps up today. Many of the major vendors attend this show. New, used, and abused equipment on display. Like any other hamfest some deals, and some overpriced, over worked gear available for purchase. According to many this hamfest has rapidly become one of the must attend hamfest in the southeastern United States.

What to expect at the Shelby Ham Fest

From a purist perspective.

Lots of CB Radios and CB Radio Amplifiers, some heavily used (probably abused amateur radio gear), stacks of used Motorola commercial gear, dated computers, and many unwashed stinky folks (as with many ham fest).

For those who seem to be blatantly naive too reality, the 2 photos (a very small sample) below was taken inside the main building. Yes the main building. Great first impression of a ‘ham fest’. Like going to a ‘gun show’ and the first thing you see are rows of jewelry. Oh wait. That’s reality also!

But wait, there’s more!!!! It was everywhere!

I assure you, there were two, maybe even 3 times as many illegal CB amplifiers for sale at the Shelby Ham Fest, than there were legit Amateur Radio linear amps offered for sale. Not that I’d buy a Amateur Radio amp at a ham fest. That’s another future posting.

And how about this winner with his pornographic table covering.

When I approached one of the ‘yellow shirts’, asking why this person was being allowed to display this pornographic material, when it plainly states on the entrance ticket that material such as this is not allowed. “We don’t tell them what they can sell”, was the response. Oh really I said. Have you even read the print on the ticket stub? Received no answer, just a blank stare. I left, and gave my ticket stub away.

What won’t you see at the Shelby Ham Fest are factory reps from the major amateur radio manufactures, or any major vendors. Most, if not all factory reps, and major vendors pulled out of this event years ago. which is tragic, because this used to be a pretty good ham fest. Some will say eBay, QTH.COM, or the Internet in general, etc., has caused this to be the case. There may be some truth in that, however a large part of the blame as I see it, falls in the lap of the event organizers for allowing the illegal CB amplifiers, and pornographic material through the gate. What seems to be an increasing amount CB radios, and illegal CB amplifier equipment to be sold at what was billed as a ‘ham fest’, has put the Granddady Of Them All on life support. Bill it for what it has become. A watered down Ham Fest & CB Jamboree.

This hobby is long in the tooth, and rapidly losing communication credibility it once had. Caveat emptor. Just my opinion, yours may vary.

135ft Multi-band dipole

With the assistance from Sue, we just completed the construction of the new wire antenna to be installed in our 2nd HF operating location. Her help was greatly appreciated, and made the job go quickly.

The 135ft multi-band open wire fed dipole has been a favorite choice of mine for over 20 years. Takes more effort to construct, and install than a standard coaxial fed dipole, however the results from this design typically outperform the latter. If more amateurs understood the the great signal loss from using a non-balanced feedline, with a non-resonate, balanced wire dipole, they would never use coax.

Unfortunately many hams fall for advertising claims, instead of factual performance data. If the ham using those G5RV’s (and variants of) for multi-band operation would simply ditch the coaxial cable, add a little open feedline, and adjust the dipole length, they would be amazed in the performance upgrade.

But will they? Probably not. They will continue to blame everything under the sun, EXCEPT the actual issue. That crappy G5RV they purchased.