Monday, November 02, 2015

Day Trip to the Conrad Weiser State Forest

Yesterday I went up to the Port Clinton tract of the Conrad Weiser State Forest and had the chance to try a few pieces of gear.

1. Sony DSC-W810 digital camera. I chose this as my 15 year gift from my employer. I used it to take the pictures in this post. It takes good quality still photos but for video it sucks -- grainy, focusing problems, etc. Disappointing.

2. Etowah Outfitters 10 x 10 tarp. It's polyurethane coated ripstop nylon, and is nice and light. Instead of grommets it has nylon webbing loops sewn on. If one tears out you can sew it back on in the field.

I bought the Etowah tarp so that I could have a larger shelter than my USMC field tarp, for when I go camping with my daughter. The 10 x 10 tarp will allow me to set it up with enclosed sides but still give us adequate room. I brought it yesterday to try setting it up. If I was planning to spend the night I'd rig it so that the sides touched the ground, to block as much wind as possible. This pitch would work to protect you from rain pretty well, however. There was plenty of room underneath it for me and my gear.

3. Etekcity canister stove. Ten bucks on Amazon Prime and it works great for boiling water. I used it with my Stanley cookset to boil water for my Mountain House chili mac & beef lunch, and a cup of coffee. I've lit it a few times and each time, the built in piezo igniter started it on the first click. I don't know how well it'll hold up in the long run but for an occasional use unit, it looks like it'll do the trick.

4. Stanley 24 oz. Adventure Camp Cook Set. Well made except for the plastic tab handle on the lid. I previously replaced that with a stainless steel key ring. I didn't use the plastic cups that came with it. I'd left them home so I could store the stove, a bandana, and a fuel canister inside the pot. An Olicamp or GSI cup will nest over the outside. It is too tall and narrow for eating from, but it's good for boiling water on a canister stove. It has graduations stamped into the side for measuring water.

The foam pad was from Dick's Sporting Goods. It was good for kneeling on, but next time I'll schlep my REI camp chair, which is a lot easier to sit down on or get up from.

I made myself a cup o' joe after lunch using a Folger's coffee single. It's basically a tea bag, but with coffee. I'd rate it as better than instant coffee but not as good as coffee made using a drip, French press, or percolator. However, it's very convenient.

Finally, I practiced a little bit of fire starting. Pic of the ashes before I doused them:

FT-817 Legs

The Yaesu FT-817 is a great all band, all mode QRP rig, but one feature it lacks is a set of legs to prop it up so the face is at a good viewing angle. My previous solution was a stand made from a CD jewel case. A nicer fix is to add folding legs.

Back on October 17th, I ordered a set of "Black Edition Carbon Fiber Sport Legs" from eBay seller radioshackus (not to be confused with Radio Shack). Anyway, they arrived today from Hong Kong and I installed them tonight.

They came sans instructions but after looking at the pic on the eBay listing I figured it out. I'll note that if you get these legs or something similar, you will need a good, properly fitting Phillips head screwdriver to remove the OEM Yaesu screws holding on the carry strap brackets. They are in tight.

A couple of pics of the legs as now installed on my radio:

If you prefer to order FT-817 legs from a US vendor, see here. Note that while the seller is American, these are made in Germany.

Compared with an external stand, the folding legs are a lot more convenient and add no noticeable weight to the radio.