Day 26 July 6, Friday
When we got up it was fairly clear so we got some good pictures of the surrounding mountains with the snow on. We then prepared to depart and we were blessed in that the pickup started fine so our battery problem had not ruined anything on the pickup. We headed for Anchorage and as we got by Glennallen it got quite foggy again and we missed seeing some good scenery. We got to Anchorage at rush hour and twice I had trouble turning getting into the other lane so I need to watch this more closely. I could not get Mike even though I heard him as the 147.210 machine had a tone which I learned was 103.5 from a fellow on 147.300. Fortunately Clyde KL7IBY was on the 6 pm sked and I talked to Bob and Roger. I moved to the rpt with Clyde and thanked him and promised to get together and then qsy back to 147.210 with the right tone and got Mike to respond and he talked us in, although I missed on corner. We got backed in and then they took of and we finally got level by backing up farther. We got set up and finally got the dish network going on 119 degrees but it was a real battle finding the satellite. I finally walked with the GPS to get the bearing correct for sure. We could only get about a 50 on the signal and then it said not enough signal when I finally figured you just cancel out of everything rather than trying the switch or dish 500 set up. One does have to have the right satellite checked. I finally stumbled into the fact that just some of the transponders are strong enough to be seen up here. Apparently at about 8 degrees at 109 degrees for the Canadian satellite was just into to much stuff for me to get it.
The next project was to check out the battery bank problem and I found that indeed the charging wire to the battery bank we shorted to ground so now to determine where? I found that the lug was indeed broke where the charging wire had hooked to the alternator and it had dropped down and was touching the frame. I was pretty happy to see that was the problem and that very likely meant the alternator was fine. The down side was it was going to be a lot of work to fix. We got all our stuff out and managed with the small creasant from the top to get the nut off the alternator. We tried everything else we could think of but this is the only thing that worked. We then took the short piece of short, big flexable wire I had and soldered on a terminal lug and drilled them out to fit the stud on the generator. Again after trying a lot of things I discovered I could turn the nut a long ways by had and then again used the small creasant. WOW WHAT A JOB! We did tape some other wires that were there to protect them some and keep them away from the charging wire. I should try and work on that at McCormicks when I get home. I then put lugs on the original wire and on the other end of the new wire and used a stainless steel nut and rubber taped and black taped and used some wire tires and got it going. I checked for short and it was gone so then I put in new input fuses and they did not spark. I then tried the knife switch and it did not spark so apparently no draw of current. I watched for smoke and there was none so it was time to start the truck and see it it would charge the battery bank. It was charging as I could see the voltage rising. I went and checked the truck batteries and they were higher which would be normal since they were charged up and the battery bank was down to about 12.2 volts. The voltage climbed steadily on the battery bank so all was well. I then but anti-battery corrosion grease on a couple of terminals that were green and then started the truck and let it run about 45 minutes to charge the battery bank some. I then hooked the battery bank to the radios but left the 5th batteries hooked up for the 5th. I then put up the antenna and set up the station and worked at the computer on Quicken, the dairy, etc.
Day 27, July 7th Saturday
Today was a fun day. Parking here at Mike and Lana Melum is working great! We also met Del and Jan Seay KL7HF. We are in constant communication on 147.57 which is crossed banded to 447.570 which has fantastic coverage. It is on Mt Hunter by Wasalia! We also met Randy AL7PJ and he said he would keep me posted in regards to 6 meters. We got an appointment for Wednesday at 9 am for the Jayco dealer to work on the 5th. It is amazing how bear and moose are right in town and are a real nusiance. Del directed us to Walmart, K-mart, Sam's, etc. We were impressed by prices very similiar to SF. We also find all the common stores and will check out Home Depot and Lowes as I need some fuses to replace the ones I blew on the input to the battery bank. I got 12 Zip disks at Sam's which I really need. I have it lined up with Del to work on the web page on Monday and I need to do some on line banking. We spent the afternoon with Edith visiting and helping Lana with some wood chips and plastic. Mike showed me his ham shack and we really looked at and talked about the big dish. He rotated it and elevated it. A very nice job indeed. I sent and got my E-mail and checked in for a short while on th 6 pm sked and talked to Bob and Jack and Roger. I heard Tom but he and Roger were weak but Jack and Bob were strong. We skipped dinner but had a great supper! Tonight I worked on the travelog and will work on the web page.
Day 28, July 8, Sunday
Worked on the Travelogue and the web page. I am finding the web page a lot of work find the pictures is want to put in a specific place in the travelogue and it is tough not to misspell something and then it does not work. It also takes time to load and save the pictures to the web page files. On Sunday night I had a lot of excitement after getting back from having eating out a a Mexican Food place with Del and Mike and our wives. I was going to work on the web page and there was an announcement that 6 meters was open to Japan. Edith and up put up our 3 element 6 meter beam and aimed it west to JA. I did not hear anything and called CQ and was thinking it was over but then a copied a very weak CW signal and it was a JA. Then I heard a few more and they got a little louder. The KL9A worked a couple on CW and then I heard a loud CW signal from JA so I called again on SSB as my CW key was packed under the trailer. Anyway a Japan station replied to my call and from 11:20 local until 12:05 local I worked 41 stations in Japan. It was quite a thrill. I thought I was just going to work one or two at best so I was logging on a map. When I started worked a bunch I had to scramble to find some paper. I operated out of the pickup using the battery bank and had the 300 watt solid state amp. I had to turn the light on as it started raining pretty hard and by midnight it was getting a little dusk with all the clouds and rain. I did talk to AL7FS, Jim who was WA0LPK from IA who I worked for Worked All States for two meters for AK. It was an earth moon earth contact.
Day 20, July 9, Monday
We took the beam down and went over to Del's KL7HF and I worked on the web page most of the day. I had more left than I realized even though I was up at 6 am and worked on it until we left about 9 am for his place. There was a bad accident with 4 people killed in a high speed chase between Anchorage and Eagle River and the traffic was stopped for a long time. KL7Y and other hams coming in were stopped.
I basically spent all day on it and got part of it uploaded and seen how big it was so just did part of it as it was getting supper time and I could see we was going to go over my 10 MB limit with my ISP. Edith did our laundry there which was very, very nice of them.
We ordered out Pizza and I treated since I had taken so long. I also made the skeds with Del's station which really worked well! We went back to the trailer via the lookout up the mountain from us. We had bright sun shining in our eyes so one could not see real well but it sure is a high view looking over Anchorage and out over Cook Inlet. At the trailer I decided for the Web Page I had no choice but to delete a whole bunch of pictures so for the two files left I put them on separate ZIP disks and got the size down and attempted to have about 10 of the best pictures for each file. I did that and then loaded them in my browser and fixed my mistakes and then gave Mike a call and he said I could upload them. It took about 1 hour to upload and then I had problems but fairly quickly figured out I did not have the link to the correct page. It is pretty confushing as I am uses two different web sites addresses to load things so I have to line between the two depending on which file I am using. It would be a whole lot simpler is it was just one!
Anyway I got it working and got back to the trailer at about midnight. It was still very light out!
Day 30 Tuesday, July 10th
I tried to send an e-mail that the WEB PAGE was done but could not connect and could hardly hear anybody on 20 meters so we took off for the day. We checked out the ZOO and headed for the ham get together on Tuesday noon at the Royal Fork. I met AL7FS-Jim who I mentioned earlier, KL7D-Bruce who is on the honor roll and chases counties, KL7GN Gordon who chases counties and grew up in White Lake, SD. Randy, AL7PJ was there and Del KL7HF. Clyde KL7IBY was not there.
We then went down town to the museum. It cost $5 to park and we just are not cultured enough for the art. It cost $8.50 each but fortunately the Alaskan History Exhibits upstairs saved the day and were very worthwhile and well done. The rest you can forget about unless you are into looking at paintings which is great for those that are. When we came out it was raining so we aborted our plans for a downtown walking tour. Anchorage is tough for me to drive in as the streets are narrow and lots of one ways so it is hard to know where you can turn and not turn and a lot of streets do not go thru. Also a lot of streets are apart, then combine and then separate again so the names change. Also streets go part way with one name and then change to another name.
We then checked out Cook Inlet and Earthquake Park and then took Northern Lights across town to the east and the traffic was terrible. We went to KL7CC place to look at how they made a small Cushcraft tri-bander very portable and also they had a couple of portable trailers with a crank up US Steel tubular tower. One tilted forward and one backward. They rotate with a rope and have a diesel generator on thems. It goes up to 40 feet. He had a great shop and station and had a 40 Hygain beam, TH7, and a WARC beam on another tower along with 6 meters and two meters. He also had satellite stuff. They had a new Class A motor home for the KL7AA Club. They have a gaming license because they are a public service organization. They contract out their license for Bingo. They clear about $100,000 a year so the club has lots of money. We tried to go to a Fred Meyer but the traffic was terrible and we could not get in the correct lane. We got back to the trailer, got my e-mail and had some neat e-mails for Janet D and Chris and Carol so that was neat and sent out a couple of e-mails announcing the web page. I have to remember to send a QSL card to PJ5JP.
Day 31 Wednesday, July 11th
We got up early and did the preparations to move the trailer to the Jayco Dealer along the Glenn Hwy about 10 miles to the north of Mike's AL7OB where we are parked. We were getting pretty comfortable and really had a lot of our stuff out and about so it took quite awhile to get ready to go. We were ahead of the traffic and got up on the Glenn Hwy in good shape and stopped at a station and Dumped and filled with water. We tried to get propane but they did not have anyone available to do it. We got to the Jayco dealer and it started off pretty shakey but I had the faith. He said he doubted if they had the leaf spring and he doubted if they had the thermostat for the bedroom fan and was not sure if they could get either. He also said they were to busy to do anything but the absolute essentials. It is the biggest RV place in Anchorage. They had a huge crew typically working on about 10 RV's at once inside or parked by the building. It was the typical RV ZOO that we have become accustomed to. We did all the paper work and I showed proof of purchase to qualify for warrenty service. The said it easily could be more than one day and said they would plug us in and we could stay in the trailer that night. Fortunately Del KL7HF had told us right away after getting to Anchorage they had an extra bedroom and we could stay there. We then spent the day there, Del is retired but his wife Jan works. I got my E-Mail for my dial in ISP and was please to have less than 100 messages after about 1 month. I replied to the ones that needed a response and then did my Internet banking which is the real deal. I confirmed that my state and federal pension checks had been direct deposited and what my auto pay VISA bill was. The auto pay VISA card makes it very easy to be able to buy things while on the road and not have a bill arrive in the mail. So far it looks like all our planning is paying off and we are getting zero bills in the mail. Anyway we have not heard of any from our son Jack who we are forwarding our first class mail to. I went thru my checking account using Quicken and came out to the penny as to what the Internet Banking statement said so I am very pleased about that. We converted U.S to Canadian before leaving and paid for absolutely everything with Canadian cash so we could keep our bank balance correct. The credit card gives you the best exchange rate but it varies from day to day so there is no way of getting the amount correct if you use the credit card until you get the statement so just using cash worked great. We are going to do that on the way home and also next summer when we go to eastern Canada. The banks in Canada give and my local bank give a very fair exchange on the money.
The next project at Del's was to get my Field Day log from the operation in the Yukon completed and submitted electronically. We then went to check on the 5th wheel. I have been around these RV places a lot so rather than check in at the service department I go back to the work area and see if I can spot our 5th. Sure enough it is setting by one of the big doors and much to my joy it has a new, heavy duty spring on it and a complete brand new hub and brake assembly. About that time the tech who fixed the 5th spotted me and said he would like us to back up to the trailer and hook up the trailer cord to be sure the brakes worked and they did not. It turned out we had a busted wire that goes thru the axle tube to the other side! I helped him check it with the ohm meter and pull new wires thru. I could see we were going to run out of time and I wanted him to check all the brakes so he said he would finish it in the morning. We got back to Del's just in time for some great steaks. We had a nice evening and Del and I took a drive and looked at some property. I forgot we checked out a Fred Meyer store earlier in the day. They are nice! Again in these main name stores the p
Day 32 July 12, Thursday
We got up about 5:30 a.m. and had some tea and headed to Walmart to get all our point and shoot pictures we left to be developed the first day we got to Anchorage. They were done and only cost $2.12 for each roll so for 7 rolls it was less than $15.00. It is not hard at all to get used to no sales tax. Anchorage in my opinion in the main part is very hard to drive in. First there is lots of construction, second there are a lot of one way streets and third on the west side of town a street has one name and on the east side another. Lastly people drive like crazy so it is tough! One more thing, if you are not in the correct lane you can not get turned so you try to be clear over and things are going good and all the sudden your lane becomes a turn lane and you are forced to turn before you want. It is not a simple matter typcially to correct this situation because of all the one way streets and streets that don't go thru. I am not going to miss driving in Anchorage. It is laid out pretty decent it is just that the streets are to narrow to handle the traffic so they had to go to all these one way streets. We also got two 12 ton stand jacks to assist if we have to change another tire, forbid! We also got our fishing licenses and King Salmon tags. We then headed for the Jayco dealer and spotted a place that had diesel for $1.52 WOW! The best of the trip and cheaper than at home when we left! We made a mental note to fill up there on the way back. Again when I got to the Jayco dealer I went back where the 5th was and crawled under neath to check things out and was very, very pleased to see a very neat job, rubber grommets where the wire came out of the axle tubes, all connections capped with insulated caps and all the wiring neatly lashed with adequate slack. I found Greg and told him I was pleased and also picked up the old leaf spring and the U bolds and nute(they are pretty tough looking) but the spring would work if one had to use it. The new spring is as good as the other three and still has some bow up.
I then went to the front office and they had to do a bunch of paper work and I had to sign about 5 sheets but it was all No Charge, under warrenty! We hooked up and were on our way after I thanked Gregg again! We then found the station and filled up the F-350 and also our two empty 5 gallon containers as we were down to our last 5 gallon container having ran short before getting to a station a couple of times. Propane runs $2.40-$2.50 which is outrageous. I got along good with the guy filling me and he told me if we would go to Suburban Propane we could get it for $1.32 a gallon. Supposedly the fuel stations really have to pay thru the noise for insurance for having propane in a residential area Anyway the secret is to try and find a coop out in the country or a propane dealer. We got the trailer back to Mikes and then toured the ZOO. It was very good and had a lot of northern animals. We then came back and got set up, did our book work and had dinner. Hopefully we will hike up Flattop Mt. Yet today if Mike can get this schedule to work out OK! IT IS NICE TO HAVE OUR HOME BACK AGAIN BUT SURE DID WORK OUT NICE STAYING WITH DEL and JAN. We thanked them profusely as we really appreciated it. We plan to leave the 5th here and do day trips out of here for awhile.
Day 33 July 13 Friday
We went to the Hatcher Pass road today so we got to see Wasaila and went north on the Parkes Road and then across the Hatcher Pass road and into Palmer. It was a pretty road with high mountians, old mines and summit lake. Snow was on the mountains, a lot was above the trees and there were streams of water coming down the sides of the moutains We did have about an hour wait for detour.. We tried to call Bob in Eagle River but could not find him in the phone book. We then took pictures at KL7CC of the KL7AA Club trailer and RV station. Edith took us out to MacDonalds. We were fortunate that it was not that cloudy today and we could see things good on the Hatcher Pass road. By the time we got back to Anchorage it was raining and cloudy. I did not hear anyone at 5 pm but did talk to Bob and Roger at 6pm mobile. The signals were up and down.
Day 34, July 14th, Saturday
The weather forecast called for temporary clearing in the morning before the next low pressure and rain moves in so we decided to get headed out early and go south on the Seward Hwy and go to the Alyeska Ski resort to take the ski lift up. The Seward Hwy goes south of Anchorage along the Cook Inlet and the tide was low so we seen lots of mud flats. It has the second highest tide in the world only surpassed by the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia where were are going next year. We got to Alyeska about 8:30 am and found out the ski lift closes for the summer but the tram out of the hotel runs but does not start for the day until 10:30 am so we decided to just wait since the it was clearing up some. They had a pretty good deal of $18 (15+3) for the tram ride and lunch combo so we took that. It turned out to be a great deal because food was very expensive at the lodge up top and we had a great view! We got a lot of good photo's as the clouds lifed quite a bit! After that we headed south for Portage Glacier and hopefully to take the train or car to Whittier where our friend Dave Carmichael was stationed when he was in the army. We took some pictures of Portage Glacier and decided to bypass the visitors center and get right to Whittier while we still had some time left. It turned out that the car was the way to go and we only had to wait about 3 minutes and the train cleared the tunnel and we were off. The tunnel is one way only and the train and vehicles share the tunnel. It is about 13,200 feet long or 2.5 miles long so it was quite a tunnel. Whittier is a small town with very little private land. Nearly all of it is owned by the U.S. Government or Alaska Railroad. We got a picture of the large building Dave was stationed in. The building had lots of things in it such as a bowling alley and rifle range as well as rooms to stay. We decided to check into a charter but found they only go once a day at 1:00 pm but then we spotted a small shop that had tours for six. The big charters have from 80 to 200 people in the big boats. He said he was going out yet today for about 5 hours but was full but some might cancel as they were leery about getting sea sick. We ended up getting on and met a nice couple that were working at Denali. I continue to be amazed at people. This is about the 4th couple we have met that have quit their jobs (good jobs) and are traveling and working part time and seeing the county and over-seas and after a few years will settle in a place and get back into the work force full time. We are talking about good, solid people, college education and not drifters. They were great to visit with and we are going to see them when we visit Denali Park. This boat was a 40 foot boat and we got to sit up top with the Captain and found out lots of things. We went to Blackstone glacier and seen it calving, we seen many other glaciers, sea otters, beautiful mountain ranges and other scenery. We did not see any whales. It was totally sunny and no clouds and by far the clearest sunny day since we have been in Alaska so we are glad we got on the tour. We left about 9 pm and again got right thru the tunnel without waiting which was really a miracle as you usually have to sit and wait for up to 30 minutes but we just hit it right. The traffic back in Anchorage on the Seward highway was really heavy. Apparently a lot of Anchorage people go down to Seward to boat and fish all summer long!
Day 35, July 15, Sunday
We are taking it easy today. This afternoon I helped Mike AL7OB pull out the roots of a few bushes with his suburban and Edith is watching some satellite TV and I am doing some things on the computer. Mike got it lined up so Mike-WG0F from Redfield, who is visiting in Eagle River, AK is coming over tomorrow evening about 7 pm. I checked the pictures I took yesterday and have some good ones so they will be nice on the web page. I made some real progress on web page development today learning that it works best to take my Word Perfect traveloge and converting it to html and then adding the links to the pictures and any text to that by bringing up the new htm file using Word Pad. Went to the Methodist Church tonight on OMally down by the Steward Hwy. I talked to Roger and Doug tonight at 6pm and K7BI Curt for the 3rd week in a row. It seems to start out weak at 0400z so I need to use the 400 watt amplifier from out in the truck. It really helps! Got the web page practically done with the Anchorage and Whittier pictures
Third upload in about 2 weeks of KENAI Peninsula Soldotna, Kenai, Homer and Seward