Tag Archives: amateur radio

Staying on the Warm Side of the Door

We’re in Kannapolis NC, home of the fabled textile giant, Cannon Mills. This morning we awoke to 11 degrees Fahrenheit!  We aren’t here for the weather, right? Very cold, dry days are great for some things, but we’re not here for those.

We have a fun backpacking book entitled Pleasure Packing.  The author, Robert Wood, strongly makes the case to daydream your way through the difficult segments of a hike by thinking of your favorite places. We’re trying just that, thinking of warmer times past and future.

I started this morning to complete posting about our nice warm sunny trip to the NC Outer Banks this past fall.  We traveled south on the Outer Banks to Ocracoke, had a neat visit, and no one has heard further about the the trip.

This cold morning seemed so appropriate to think and write of warm places I’d rather be.  Until our mail arrived.  Then I wanted to talk about the cool package from perhaps colder places than NC. I’ll get back to the warm, sunny coastline of NC another post.

We received an envelope this morning from the QSL Card Processing of American Radio Relay League.  QSL cards are the written confirmation of a radio conversation between two amateur radio operators, or hams.  We receive cards infrequently, maybe once a year, and we receive between three and five QSL cards.

QSL cards don’t describe text of the conversation, only the date, time, what radio band we used, and how well we could hear each other.  The cards are often colorful and usually from across one of the oceans although sometimes from USA or Canada.

The Bulgarian card is a special card dedicated in honor of Bulgarian Saint Kozma Zografski. It is probably the prettiest QSL card we’ve received. It also was the most enigmatic, and prompted me to try, unsuccessfully, to learn a bit about Saint Kozma Zografski.

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The special call sign LZ1323SKZ, by the Blagovestnik Radio Club in Voinyagovo, Bulgaria, (near Sofia, 43 degrees Fahrenheit today) is part of a program their club does for “All Bulgarian Saints” award and for another award as well. Here’s the map showing their location:

lz1323skz

The three cards this morning are from last March 2013 and are from some talking I (Jim) did from a county park in southwest Miami from our trailer.  The two Ukraine ones are from Alexey and Yarik, individuals I spoke with at their respective home stations.

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The icy-looking card is from UW7LL in Kharkiv Ukraine (7 degrees today).  You can see where his station is in this picture, below:

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The other Ukrainian card is from UR5GDX in Nova Kakhovka (14 degrees F)  along the  Dnieper River in southern Ukraine.

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Nova Kakhovka was built to house workers for the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant in the 1950s.  Nova Kakovka seems most similar in intent to Boulder City Nevada.  Both cities were intended to be model cities built to house workers in clean, attractive, safe communities.  Nova Kakhovka became known as The Pearl of Lower Dnieper and The Monument of Architecture.

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Full time RVing has vastly improved our knowledge of North American geography.  Amateur radio has done the same for my knowledge of places across the globe, if their amateur radio operators talk to me.  (e.g., none so far from China, Kazakhstan, Syria, Iran, Jordan, Iraq, or Egypt, among many I have not reached)  I would automatically have figured Bulgaria and Ukraine were much colder than we (in North Carolina).  Maybe it’s the “any given day” rule.  I’ll just have to check back in with these guys, see how’s the wx!

People often ask us about our Airstream trailer, “Do they still make those?”   Similarly we get the question about amateur radio, “Do people still use those?”  Two good yes answers are these: There are more licensed amateur radio operators in the USA than ever in its history; and I have spoken to amateur radio operators in every European country, several Russian countries, Israel, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, a couple in Central America, and several South American ones.

And I am a casual radio operator, often just getting on the radio a few times a month.  Yes, amateur radio is still both effective and fun.  For more info see this link about ARRL, the Amateur Radio Relay League.

As soon as we get back to “our house” I will dig out my QSL cards and mail one to each of these guys.  Hopefully it won’t take ten months for them to receive.  Ham radio, at the speed of light, is much faster than the mail, eh?

See you down the road!

Jim N5RTG and Debbie N4RTG
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Airstream maintenance fun

We’ve temporarily moved into the in-law’s house while Jim takes apart our trailer for improvements and repairs. We last painted hitch and frame three years ago, never painted the battery box, and haven’t replaced the brakes or magnets. Some of this work is a little hard to do while full-timing. This sojourn seems the perfect opportunity to get things in shape for another bunch of dreamstreaming.

This week Jim removed the L-sofa cushion support to repair a relay-controlled circuit beneath. The circuit provides power for all components of the amateur radio station at our dinette and failed a couple of weeks ago. It didn’t exactly fail, at least not by itself. Jim helped it — he “borrowed” the relay control for an experiment with our solar charge controller. He connected power from the solar panels through the relay and accidentally also powered the relay coil with 24- 40 volts dc. The relay got pretty hot about this mistreatment and wouldn’t work anymore.

Jim replaced the relay and restored the circuit to exclusively 12vdc purposes and connections. It works perfectly again. The solar charge controller is waiting its turn, and we’ll come back to that story later. The L-sofa cushion support wants a different arrangement instead of requiring removal of two dozen screws just to access the nifty wiring beneath. Jim bought materials to frame a removable panel in the plywood lid so access will be much easier.

some of the fun stuff under our L-sofa

Last fall we towed through a soft deep mud twenty miles in Arapaho National Recreation Area while trying to find a campground at picturesque Granby Lake. The campground, as it turned out, wasn’t open anyway. Worse yet, our a-frame was just hammered by rocks carried in the mud. Mysteriously the rocks flew up from our tires, swung around our way-wide Enkay Rock Tamer mudflaps, and beat holes through the paint on the a-frame.

Gorgeous Granby Lake

We might have fixed the mud flap problem, we bought Duraflaps and mounted them at the rear of the truck’s wheel wells. The rusty spots on the a-frame needed more elbow grease. Jim removed the tongue jack, gas bottles and their shelf, and guts from the quick-bite hitch. He stripped the several coats of paint from the a-frame then sanded the frame smooth.

Duraflaps might protect the trailer much better

A heavy coat of Rust-Oleum red primer went on the a-frame, coupling, and all exterior surfaces of the battery box. Light sanding smoothed the primer nicely. Jim dusted it all with a dry cloth then applied a thin coat of Rust-Oleum black enamel. Jim says he’ll sand and re-coat with the enamel finish several times. The Equal-i-zer hitch parts and jack stand are at a local shop for powder coating and we’ll get them next week.

Next up is removing the trailer’s big 6V batteries to prime and paint the battery box interior surfaces then remove the brake drums for machining and replacing the trailer’s brake sets. We need to troubleshoot the solar charge controller still to determine why it won’t automatically reset each morning. The truck’s oil needs changing. The trailer’s roof needs washing and waxing. And there are probably other things we can find to do while we’re parked. But some of these tasks will have to wait their turn.

We have more pressing things to do than just maintenance. We have ham radio antennas to hang and tennis and fitness workouts too. After all, we’re here for awhile and don’t have to get everything done in one week, do we?

We attended a fun cardio-tennis workout this morning at the local tennis club and are looking forward to, hopefully, a lot of tennis while we’re here. And Jim moved the jpole antenna from the trailer’s bumper because it wouldn’t hit the Boone 2 meter repeater, 80 miles away. Elevated thirty feet by hanging it from a nearby tree, Jim can talk to friends in Belmont, Glendale Springs, and Winston-Salem some mornings. Also Jim installed our dipole antenna between a couple of tall trees in the backyard.

The work took only an hour with help from Pop and Debbie and put the dipole thirty feet above ground. Just one small problem — it’s over fifty feet from the radios in the trailer and we’re fresh out of coaxial cable. We need 75 feet of coax to reach over and up to the antenna’s connector. We’ll find out later if the antenna location and height are sufficient for good radio work. Jim’ll just have to wait until his order for RG-213 coax arrives in a few days to find out how this installation works.

All the truck and trailer maintenance is entertaining Jim very well but he’ll get his fill soon. The work does seem to be going more quickly than usual and with surprising organization. Apparently Jim thinks he can play tennis all the time once he finishes these maintenance tasks?

Jim and Debbie

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©2007-2011 Dreamstreamr

A little work now and then

All play and no work makes Jim a dull boy. We played tennis a couple times daily in Arizona. When we weren’t playing tennis we were hiking or hanging out at the swimming pool. It just didn’t seem like there was much time for projects at Towerpoint. Lots of playing, not much working. We’re in Okeechobee FL now and Jim’s finding time and inclination to get a few projects done.

Messy bunch of wiring under the bench

So today Jim worked a little to clean up some excess coax wiring in the trailer. Yesterday he built a couple of 12″ coax jumpers for connecting antenna switches to the ham radio. Today Jim removed one of the dinette benches (the one over the wheel well and against the refrigerator chase. Since he first routed coax cables under the dinette it has been a big mess. For a while coax and power wires would slide forward and onto the floor.

That looks a lot better, no coax coils

Jim took control of the excess wires last year by coiling and tying them under the bench. Today Jim cut several feet from each of two VHF coaxes and five feet from one HF coax. Result? Not much change in signal, losses on only three feet of coax are negligible. The coils might have been doing no good, we don’t need any chokes on our antennas. Main effect is housekeeping and freeing up more scraps of coax.

An antenna switch each for HF and VHF

And, Jim installed the second antenna switch today. We bought this at Hamcation last month and waited until today with cleaning up cables routing. An antenna switch is great for alternating between two antennas without unscrewing and refastening coax to the radio.

This is particularly helpful when the radio is mounted against the underside of the table. No more sitting on his knees and trying to see and feel the coax connections — just flip the switch to #1 or #2 to alternate between the j-pole and the 1/2 wave on the trailer’s roof. This keeps things simple and clean, both great things for full-timers.

Jim and Debbie

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©2007-2011 Dreamstreamr

Oldest (continuously running) Hamfest in the World

Parading The Colors opened the W7G hamfest

We witnessed, a few minutes ago, the closing of the 76th annual Glacier-Waterton International Peace Park Hamfest. This hamfest was most like a very laid-back rally, not so much like any hamfest we’ve attended. The tempo and mood was mellow, not focused upon finding the best source and price on gear, throughout the weekend. This weekend’s greatest opportunity was meeting and talking with other folks.

Just enough tailgating to lure us out awhile and meet with each other

Absent also was the stimulating, yet somewhat tiresome, browsing past dozens or hundreds of tailgaters’ tables of electronics. Instead we saw perhaps one dozen tailgaters with the normal sorts of electronics gear and old books. Since the hamfest did not designate a special section just for vendors and tailgaters, the few tailgaters were mixed in amidst all the RVs. And it felt just right.

We could count on finding groups of hams ready to talk

Browsing constituted, as much as anything, walking about and socializing. Ask a ham about his antenna or his radio, or her truck or RV. And sit down and get to know each other a while. The hamfest was large enough to fill the pavilion, and beyond, at mealtimes yet the seminars and tailgaters operated at a relaxed pace.

A great hamfest site and a nice campground

Glacier Meadows RV Park rented sites this week to hamfest attendees only, and we nearly filled the park. All sites with water or electric rented early through reservations. Most of us parked in the meadow with plenty of space and sunshine. Our weather was ideal with cool evenings, warm and dry days, and steady afternoon breezes.

We had the luxury of picking the compass orientation of our parking

We lucked out and were able to face our RV to the north. Our large curb-side awning shaded the camper throughout the mornings and provided us a shady patio all afternoon. We were less lucky, sunshine-wise, for having lost, just one week ago, our solar charge controller. So much sunshine and nowhere to put it.

All this sunshine is raining upon our two 125-watt solar panels and coursing through the copper wires down to our connectors. Alas, the stuff is still pouring out on the ground for lack of a charge controller to translate the potential power into something our batteries can store.

We’re hopeful, though, we’ll pick up our refurbished charge controller at the post office tomorrow. We called the manufacturer two days ago and he advised he had already repaired it and shipped it to us. Our forwarded mail and the charge controller both, hopefully, await our pickup tomorrow. We’ll see.

The temporary loss of our solar charging has not been any problem, though, for our batteries or us. Our batteries have maintained greater than 12.2 volts since we arrived two days ago, Friday early afternoon. We’re intermittently using our water pump, reading lights, mobile hf/vhf/uhf radio. Our refrigerator and natural gas detector and other phantom loads have run more or less continuously.

This is our first-ever run-down test for these two 6-volt golf cart batteries. We very rarely disconnect the feed line from our solar panels to the charge controller. We almost always, when dry-camping for more than two days, set up and connect our generator to the RV’s 110v electrical input to allow occasional re-charging of the batteries. And, our generator is sitting alongside the camper.

We have not connected the power cord to the RV, instead periodically noting the batteries nominal voltage. It helps we have had such nice warm days which excite the batteries a bit, and very late daylight each day. And we haven’t done after-dark cooking to require lighting. We are using the batteries very lightly, so this isn’t too much a test. Nonetheless, we’re enjoying the quiet boycott of our generator.

The Only burgers in town were also excellent

The potluck yesterday evening, and the hamburger lunch earlier yesterday, were NOT characterized by a bunch of RVers showing up an hour early to eat. We arrived for the potluck at the scheduled hour and were surprised we were among the first ones to bring our food to the table. The hamburger lunch did kick off a little early to accommodate the large number of attendees already gathered nearby for other activities.

There were not many activities in conflicting times, so it was easy to attend the seminars and still enjoy enough time on our own or for socializing and learning. A ham also, Debbie chose not to register and participate in the seminars or meetings. This is the most expensive hamfest we’ve attended, at $28.00. Only Hamvention (Dayton) was close, at $25.00 for walk-in tickets.

Beams and dipoles for special event stn W7G in bkgrd

And the price is worthwhile to us. We like helping support a long-running hamfest for this very isolated part of the United States and Canada. We tire of hearing of activities, events, and membership organizations cancelled or terminated from apathy. When the hamfests disappear we all lose the option to stop and shop, browse and barter, talk and trade.

The nearest large amateur radio vendor might be 600 miles distant, in Portland, OR (HRO). No equipment vendors showed this year, saving some of our money (for now). Last year they showed and next year vendors will show up, and they support the hamfest every year through donated prizes and discounts to attendees. One supporter, QRZ.com, drove approximately 1,400 miles to attend this hamfest.

The biggest ham shack on the grounds this weekend

We enjoyed meeting and visiting with Fred AA7BQ and Robin. They are a lot of fun to talk with and have interesting stories. They showed us their new old motor home, a gorgeous behemoth (at least by our standards), in which they are representing QRZ.com at hamfests across the nation this summer and fall. If you’re in the neighborhood and can make it to the Shelby Hamfest (in Dallas, NC) on Labor Day weekend, take a minute to say hi to these friendly folks from Phoenix.

A ham who has attended this hamfest since 1937 won the pre-registration Grand Prize, a new Yaesu FT-2900r mobile. It seems fitting, for someone who has supported this hamfest for so many years, to win the dandy mil-spec Yaesu amateur radio. The most special prize, the 1937 unopened beer bottle, was awarded through a hotly contested special auction. Two bidders were deadlocked for the honor of 2010-2011 custodian of this special bottle, and the honor was decided through paper-rock-scissors.

We survived this enjoyable hamfest and people are pulling out in droves and calling out, “this is VE7xxx, mobile” as they hit Highway 2. Other hams chime back, “Safe travels, VE7xxx, from W7xx” and the same from several other hams from above and below the 49th parallel. We’ll hope to visit this hamfest when we’re again in this part of the country at the right time.

Construction on this grand old Lodge started 100 years ago

And now we are sitting on the veranda at the Glacier Park Lodge. This 161-room lodge, built in 1912, is a grand place to visit. We visited two years ago and are just as excited to see it this time. The main lodge is magnificent, with tremendous tree-trunk posts and beams. The views from the veranda are great, looking northwest at Dancing Lady Mountain. The mountains still have snow on them, just in a few north-side spots. What a great part of our great country!

We hope this is, for us, one of many encounters with the Oldest Hamfest in the World. As much as we like checking out new radio and antenna gear and parts, we both enjoyed more this most sociable and friendly Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park hamfest.

See You Down The Road,

Jim and Debbie
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©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr

Will your cell phone work?

Our cell phone service (Verizon) is pretty good but not always within reach of a cell phone tower. We have an air card and cell phone which work well in 75% of our locations. The other 25 percent of the time we get no phone service and no email either. One must be careful where he has an emergency, right? T’would be very sad to break down in a location unreachable by any communication means.

And there are other reasons a cell phone won’t work for communications. Obviously we must be within five or ten miles of a cell phone tower to use our phone. Disasters throughout the world have also shown cellular telephones can be a very unreliable means of communication. Towers fall or emergency power is lost or the cellular band is lost to an overwhelming number of calls. Enter, amateur radio.

We began in the hobby of amateur radio from an interest in reliable continent-wide communications. Our full-time mobile lifestyle, towing and living in a travel trailer all about North America, means we aren’t “connected” to land lines or other utilities and sometimes cannot use the cell phone either.

our radio station

The amateur radio bands are always alive with hams listening and talking. We can reach many regional networks at scheduled times each day. Our amateur radio equipment and licenses allow us to take advantage of many regional ham radio nets. These nets provide us familiarity with the net processes and reassurance we can reach them with our radio equipment.


When all else fails, amateur radio

Our cellphone and laptop email otherwise would be our only means of emergency communication. What would we do for communications if cellphone service went down? And for many people the cell phone is their only telephone. We enjoy amateur radio as a hobby, but also enjoy great peace of mind having such a robust communications back-up.

This, in an article about a most recent earthquake in Chile:

” . . . but in the capital of Santiago, 95 miles north of the epicenters, windows rattled, buildings trembled and cell phone service went down.” [NY Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/12/world/americas/12chile.html, March 12, 2010]

What can we do if our cell phone service is interrupted? We can resort to our very convenient and reliable means of communication, amateur radio. Learn more here and here.

N5RTG Jim and N4RTG Debbie
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©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr

Six weeks is a long time to stay

It hasn’t seemed so long, but we’d been in Mesa six weeks yesterday. We did have a feeling we’d been here awhile — we’ve both been getting itchy feet for the last week or two. So we started making lists to help get us ready for departure.

That’s right, we’re checking our list carefully before we head back East. We’d hate to get a couple of thousand miles down the road and then realize we left something behind, like the RV. These things are avoidable, you know?

We both are list-makers for any number of purposes. We’ve been accused of being extremely linear (I think it meant I always added 1 + 2 before I did anything to 3). You could, at any given time in our RV, find a couple of active to-do lists and a grocery list (for the things we didn’t find and the things we’ve since discovered we wanted).

We have a pre-flight list of things we’ll do before we leave Mesa. The big things are arranging the radio antennae for the trip, programming the amateur radios for enroute repeaters, setting tire pressures for all eight tires for highway driving, dumping the RV’s two holding tanks, securing all loose items in the RV, donating clothes to local Charity, and getting groceries for the 2,300 mile ride.

We have only a couple of loose ends with the resort park office, like turning in our mailbox key, paying our electric bill, submitting the mail forwarding request. Jim has one more tennis match tomorrow morning. Deb wants to play tennis one more time before we leave.

We’d love to get the truck (and maybe the Airstream) cleaned up before the drive. Clean windows, floor mats, and a clean hood are all we really need — we can’t see the rest of the truck from our truck’s seats anyway. And it’s nice to at least clean the windows and door on the Airstream, if we can’t get it all washed before we leave.

We’re facing a long four days, or we may take a fifth day, for the 2,300 miles from Mesa, TX, to Kannapolis, NC. Yet we’re looking forward to the drive, the scenery, the change. And we’re especially excited about returning to green North Carolina.

Mesa, and Towerpoint particularly, has been wonderful. We enjoyed so much here, from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesen West to Scottsdale’s Old Town and the Sugar Bowl; desert hiking with friends from Towerpoint and visiting Tempe; finding our way around vast metropolitan Phoenix; playing tennis every day and having nice soaks in the park’s hot tubs.

We’ll miss the tennis club facilities and people, just 100 yards from our RV. We’ll miss the interesting and changing desert weather. We’ll miss our Towerpoint friends and our fun times with them. We’ll look forward to another season here, another time. Now it is time for us to go.

Let’s go somewhere. Six weeks is a long time to stay.

Jim and Debbie
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©2009 Dreamstreamr

Goose Island on the great Mississippi River

We are at Goose Island, five miles south of LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Staying a few days to celebrate Jim’s birthday (today, July 12). You should be able to see a map of our location by clicking here. Thanks for your birthday greetings, Jim is sure your cards are heading from our mail forwarder (Livingston TX) to Clear Lake, Mn to await our mail pickup there next week.

Jim checked into the RV Service Net on his ham radio both these two mornings, pretty cool to be able to get wireless voice without cellphone towers from just about everywhere on this continent. Thanks to W8ACT Charlie for relaying Jim in! While on the amateur radio net, Charlie told Jim to check out the Memorial Park in Arcadia, Wi. A little later Jim received an email from Charlie with some more details. We’re looking forward to steering through Arcadia next.

Adam Kroner Hardware

Adam Kroner Hardware

After breakfast we drove downtown, parked the truck, and toured La Crosse on foot. Deb read from a self-guided tour pamphlet the features and uses of the preserved downtown buildings. Jim drew us into Adam Kroner’s hardware store, serving La Crosse for 140 years and still in the same family. Our purchases were very small for them but useful to us — we bought a packet of aluminum rivets and a phillips 0 pt pocket screwdriver (to disassemble the television/dvd player next time).

We were drawn, like a moth to flame or a falling body to the earth, from the sidewalk into a building by baking smells. We found the International Bakery with fresh coffee and big and fresh cinnamon buns and a copy of the daily newspaper. Why resist this? An hour later, properly fortified, we again launched our tour. We found several Richardsonian Romanesque Revival churches and buildings. We hadn’t previously heard of RRR design and found helpful information here.

Did ladies wear sunglasses in 1900?

Did ladies wear sunglasses in 1900?

Deb’s walking tours map showed a preserved home, The Hixon House. We stumbled upon the house in the midst of a summer ice cream social. People were dressed in 1900s period clothes, people were playing old-time lawn games, barbershop quartets sang from the back porch, and people were eating popcorn and ice cream. This was interesting but not what we were seeking. We could have skipped the cinnamon buns if only we had known.

The Hixon House, as it turned out, is a museum of the Hixon’s home as it would have looked in 1900. Over eighty-five percent (85%) of the furnishings are from the Gideon Hixon family. The Limoge china, the silver service, the library, the furniture, lamps (electric and gas), and even the bed linens have been preserved and are on display exactly as they would have been over one hundred years ago.

Hixon House, a great museum

Hixon House, a great museum

Some items did not survive so well and required careful treatment or replacement. The carpets, some wallpapers, and some upholstery have been replaced with the most authentic items available. It was surprising and amazing to find a house in which such a large amount of original possessions have been preserved intact. The admission price, normally $8.50/$7.50(seniors), doesn’t seem to come close to funding the kind of preservation and maintenance required for the Hixon House. The La Crosse Historical Society is doing a great job operating and funding the program. This museum is a gem for La Crosse and we highly recommend it to anyone.

cute babe at the overlook

cute babe at the overlook

We repaired to our truck and drove to Riverside Park, along the Mississippi River, for a really late picnic lunch on the lawn before driving up to Grandad’s Bluff. Grandad’s Bluff is an almost 600 feet high rock outcropping overlooking La Crosse and the river. Visible from the Bluff are Iowa, Minnesota, and, of course, Wisconsin. This reminded Jim of Chimney Rock, North Carolina, where as a boy he was told you could see SC, TN, VA, and NC — but he couldn’t see the state lines!

Wesley UMC built 1886

Wesley UMC built 1886

This morning we attended Wesley United Methodist Church in the 1886 sanctuary. What a testament to its construction and care. The stained glass windows are bright and beautiful, the deeply carved wood pews have a rich lustrous stained finish, and the congregation has apparently done a great job carefully modernizing the building without marring the historic appearance. One case in point is the relatively recent addition of three fan-coil cooling units.

Two are concealed by grills behind the altar and a third is visible but unobtrusive near the rear of the sanctuary. Fan coil units require no ductwork but have fans quietly blowing room air across the cooling fins then throughout the room. Very friendly members invited us, after the service, for coffee and pastry in their fellowship hall and we had a nice visit. We spoke at length after coffee fellowship with Rev. Don Iliff, Pastor. He described another interesting change completed this decade.

The church removed the choir loft from behind the altar and pulpit, added a raised semi-circular stage and pushed the altar and pulpit back toward the wall. The stage is accessed by two steps along the entire semi-circle except at the back right where a ramp affords accessibility. So the choir, as well as any others accessing the altar or pulpit, are not hindered by disabilities but have equal access. And it looks fanastic!

We’ve both enjoyed Jim’s big birthday present this year, our visit to La Crosse, Wisconsin. Goose Island Campground is a treat, and La Crosse is full of wonderful surprises. We’ll look forward to another visit here.