Saturday, April 9, 2011

Another Hamfest, in Yakima

Today Tess (my dog) and I got up at 5:00AM to drive 150 miles to Yakima Washington for the W7AQ Hamfest.

After spending a lot of time in my shop, I need a change of scenery and the drive would be fun (maybe). The local weather was threatening rain, which may mean snow on I-90 Snoqualmie Pass (at about 3K feet). I planned to drive as far as possible (with my light van) without tempting destruction on slippery roads. Off we went, with foul weather gear, Cell Phone and the FT-817.

The big shock was at the Fuel Pump - $3.96 per gallon.

My Droid Cell Phone was set to simultaneously run; the GPS Navigator Program, Monitor the On Board Diagnostic (OBD) via bluetooth, and run the APRS reporting program.

Interesting; the Navigator Program reported that we were going to "Yeah Kee' Ma", which was good for a chuckle. It is obvious the "text to speech" program is not familiar with the Pacific Northwest Indian names.

It will be fun to see the OBD engine information showing; engine load, fuel usage, input air temperature, and air mass, while driving over the passes.

As it turns out, all of the roads were clear and dry, traffic was rolling along about 75 mph over the I-90 pass. The snow was stacked about 12 feet on the sides of the road near the Ski Lodge at the summit.

The one-way trip, with a few stops, took about 3.5 hours, arriving 45 minutes after the doors opened. I understand from a few attending friends that the "good stuff" was sold within the first 20 minutes - Oh well, I was there for the trip.

The place was crowed, with lots of conversation and hot deals. It seems the major volume of the crowd arrived about 10:00AM.

As usual, I found the Air Variable Caps for sale, with some good prices, but again, I resisted temptation for the need for more. From previous posts, you might know, I have a fetish for Air Variable Caps.

There were several interesting Fixed Air Caps, the like I have never seen before, very large with plate gaps of about 1/4 inch (see center right of photo). They look like Variables, but the are Fixed. I would loved to have them, but I do not know where I would ever use them.

For a treasure, I purchased some small 5K POTs (with switches) for use in my small projects, 20 for a buck. I am not sure of the taper, but should be good for tuning via varistor or a simple volume control.

On the way home I decide to go north toward Wenatchee and the tourist destination town of Leavenworth (the GPS Navigator also had fun with those two names) and then crossing the Cascades at Stevens Pass (US Route 2) . This route is less traveled in the winter because it is mostly a two lane road, and at much higher elevation (4K feet), but it is normally plowed and well traveled by the skiing crowd. At the top of Stevens Pass, the Snow was stacked about 25 feet, the road was clear and dry.

Note: While researching the included links in this post, I learned something new, "US Route 2" should have been named "US Route 0", assuming the naming convention was strictly upheld. The Highway Department did not want a "0" name route, and therefore picked the next even number for this road. It is also the only US Named Route that was planned, from the beginning, to contain two disconnected segments. Guess where the missing segment can (not) be found.

At home, while reviewing the APRS data it appears that my Cell Phone APRS reporting program was not always running on the return trip, or it had trouble accessing reporting stations. Maybe I forgot to restart it after a fuel stop, and/or I know the cell data connection was lost in the tight turns of the narrow river canyon.

Along the way, I listen to 2m and scanned the bands. I still do not have the FT-817 programed well enough for interactive use while driving.

It was a great trip, and it only cost me; $8.00 for admission, $1.00 for POTs, plus some for Fuel and Food (which works out to be about $6.00 per purchased part!).


1 comment:

  1. $3.96 a gallon! Here, gas is over $10 a gallon. Count your blessings!

    I had the same problem with cellphone APRS on the trip to and from the hamfest I went to last weekend. I lost cellular data coverage and even lost GPS fix on part of the route.