Some time ago, I removed the television antenna from the telescoping rotating mast on the top of the RV and installed in its place a directional cellular antenna. We tested it up in the Catskills in a location where my cell phone by itself got no signal, and when we raised the antenna, aimed it at a tower, and powered up the booster, we went to four bars on the cell phone. The mast is raised by cranking a handle on the inside of the RV, and rotating the mast is accomplished by turning a rotating bezel that is on the outside of the handle.
Today I added a wifi grid antenna to the mix, the image and video below show it in action. In order to get them all to fit, I kept the cell antenna in its mounting bracket but mounted the WiFi antenna directly to the mast so that they both lay flat when the mast is lowered:
Here’s the video:
If you don’t laugh heartily when watching the video, you can’t call yourself a geek!
When planning this trip, we realized that we would be spending a good bit of time on dirt and gravel roads while camped on public land out west. At the same time, we very much enjoy road biking, so the question was what kind of bicycles to bring on the trip. Realizing that taking eight bicycles was impractical, we decided to purchase a set of low-cost cyclocross bicycles.
Cyclocross bicycles are basically a road bike with a slightly beefier frame and wider tire clearance to allow larger knobby tires. We also purchased a second set of wheels, so we have one set with off-road wheels and one set with on-road wheels.
One thing we needed was a bike rack that could carry both the four bicycles and the eight wheels. The bike rack we had used previously stack the bikes in depthwise, so if you wanted to access the innermost bike, all four bikes had to come off. Also, the bikes were rather close together, so there was a lot of juggling to get all the pedals in the correct position so they didn’t rub against their neighbor’s frame, etc.
I first decided to prototype the bike rack using wood:
Once it was clear that everything was going to go together okay, I purchased some 2 inch square tubing and went to work welding together the final rack. Here are some photos with all four bikes mounted as well as the two extra wheels for each bicycle:
It looks like I’m going to have to move the hooks that hold the handle bars up top into a wider position to reduce the amount of movement I get from the bicycles while they’re on the frame. I also need to purchase a set of balls bungees to hold the bike onto the Rack. Finally, I need to weld a receiver on to the RV’s back bumper so that we can use the rack both on the RV and on the truck when we have left our RV back at the campsite and want to do a mountain biking or road biking adventure away from camp.
We are very much hoping to get out of here this week and get on the road, so we’ll see in the next couple days if that actually happens!
…over troubled waters? Well not exactly, but we are pretty far from the house here in the driveway and the question was how to get wireless access here in the RV. The solution was to use a pair of the devices pictured below to setup a wireless bridge between the house and the RV. From a network topology perspective, it’s like the RV is plugged into the network in the house. We then hang a normal wireless router off of this device, and all of our wireless devices in the RV connect to the router as if the router is installed in the house. Pretty slick!
Our RV was clearly not designed for full time living, and one of the ways in which it falls short is in its lack of storage. We tried to solve the problem by installing shelving in the bedroom over one of the walls. Unfortunately, there was a window there, but no matter. We started by removing the drapes and valance, and covering the window with a privacy coating:
With the shelving supports installed, we started to add the shelves:
We still have to figure out which containers go where, but here’s what it looks like so far:
B decided she needed a doorbell outside her bunk, so today she got out her littleBits kit and got to work. She built a pretty cool circuit that allows a visitor (like a brother) to ring the doorbell if her privacy curtain is down. If she is available, she pushes a switch inside that causes the “come in” sign to light up. I was really impressed with her design because she used the “and” bit, and she also made a cover for the button to make it look more like a real doorbell!