Offroad and on the Trails

Baofeng UV-5R, Part 2

Builder Bracket and radio.
The brackets are constructed from 14g steel and so are pretty much bombproof without being overly heavy. They are designed to hold a UV-5R with either a standard or extended battery pack. They come unfinished but can be used as-is.

– Editing CSVs and import into CHIRP can be tricky. It’s like your CSV gets converted to CHIRP then to the radio format, and things can get a little weird in the multiple translations. I also encountered some values listed in the CHIRP documentation that weren’t supported by the radio. Even after fixing that, I wasn’t able to import a CSV file I had edited with an expanded list of frequencies. » Continue Reading

January 16th, 2017 at 3:40 am | Comments & Trackbacks (1) | Permalink

Initial Impressions – Baofeng UV-5R

Baofeng UV-5R and some accessories

(This post originally appeared on my Facebook page, but I decided I should add it here for reference.)

For Christmas Carrie got me a new HT (handheld ham radio), the very popular Baofeng UV-5R.
It lacks the features of the radios from companies like Yaesu, Icom and Kenwood, but it’s a lot of radio for the money. At around 25 bucks from Amazon (which includes a charging stand) it cost just 1/10th of many of those radios, and about half of what companies like Yaesu often (over)charge for just a cable!

Using a good quality data cable (20 bucks) I was able to get the memory channels programmed pretty quickly using my Mac and the free CHIRP software. The software is pretty clunky like most ham radio programming s/w is, but it worked. » Continue Reading

January 3rd, 2017 at 2:07 am | Comments & Trackbacks (1) | Permalink

Drive #31 – Schooner Creek Road


Schooner Creek Road

Date Driven: 12/23/15

Length: 13.2 miles (6.7 miles of dirt)

My drive time: 49 minutes

Start: Highway 101 and SE 48th Place, N44º 55.782′ W124º 01.0074′.

End: Highway 18 and N. Bear Creek Road, N45º 00.342′ W123º 53.231′.

GPS Track: GPX or KMZ format. (right click -> Save As)

Source(s): N/A.

Summary: A quick backroad drive through part of the Siuslaw National Forest.

Description: I had a little free time one weekday afternoon during our Oregon 2015 Christmas Road Trip, so I eagerlly zipped out to make what would be my one exploratory drive of the trip. I had hoped to do several others, but circumstances interfered. Maybe next time.

This goal of this drive was to check our Schooner Creek Road, which starts off paved but seemed to turn to dirt in the Siuslaw NF. I was hoping to connect up to some of the dirt roads there I had previously explored. Sure enough, this dovetailed into the end of Drive #10: Devil’s Lake to Rose Lodge.

I started from Highway 101 in Lincoln City on the coast and finished up back in the Rose Lodge area and Highway 18.

A light rain fell for most of this drive, but eventually turned into a pretty impressive hail storm. Naturally, it started pelting me the minute I pulled to the side to adjust the GoPro camera on my roof rack. Fortunately, the hail was tiny, but there was enough to coat the roads quite thoroughly!

Early in the drive, I also had to wait for a road repair crew that was finishing up work on a section that had washed out in the recent winter storms. Still, the dirt roads were well graded and mostly graveled, so it was a very easy drive and I could have easily completed it in a passenger car. But it was scenic and pleasant, if too short.

The start of this drive would pair nicely with the end of Drive #28: The Valsetz Route – I-5 to the Oregon Coast.


Disclaimer – This information is provided from the best of my recollection and is necessarily subjective. GPS data is from a personal device inside my vehicle, so coordinates will not be exact. Use of any of this information is at your own risk and responsibility – period. Conditions change (especially in winter), vehicles and driver skills vary, etc. and I have no control over these things. Don’t let anything written here override your own personal common sense or safety.

January 12th, 2016 at 5:47 am | Comments & Trackbacks (2) | Permalink

Another Oregon Road Trip – December, 2015


Christmas season meant it was time for another Oregon road trip. Because our usual winter trip last year had been delayed until February, this was technically our second trip there in 2015.

The trip was pretty standard. We didn’t blaze any new ground, unfortunately, due to time and family constraints and also some serious winter weather. I had several possible side trips prepared but none panned out, other than one brief exploration of the Siuslaw National Forest. Despite that, we achieved the main goal of the trip which was to spend time with family and enjoy ourselves.

The weather cooperated by keeping things interesting, even if no one but me was excited by the idea of hiking in 70mph wind gusts. Throughout our 10-day trip we experienced plenty of rain as well as fog, many hail storms, snow, sleet, high winds and pounding ocean waves along the coast. I felt a bit like Dr. Who when he said “Has someone been peeking at my Christmas list?”

Besides our usual time in Lincoln City (and overnights in Grants pass) we again spent Christmas at Dan & Kathy’s beautiful log home in Clatskanie, just up from the Columbia River. They’ve had the place up for sale but haven’t gotten a buyer yet, which was good news for us. We sure love visiting their place and it’s a fantastic location for Christmas. We we even blessed with a brief snow flurry on Christmas day, just enough to tick the box for having an official White Christmas.

We made several of our usual stops on the trip – Wild River Brewing and The Train Depot in Grants Pass, Lillie Belle Farms chocolate and Rogue Creamery in Medford, Rogue Brewing’s headquarters and Made in Oregon in Newport, Moe’s in Cannon Beach, McMenamins Sand Trap & Gearhart Hotel, and Tidal Raves in Depoe Bay. One new stop was at Yak’s by the 5, a pricey but very good lunch stop in Dunsmuir, instead of our usual Cornerstone Bakery there. The food there was quite good. For lunch on the way home, we ate just down the street from Ninkasi Brewing in Eugene, and a food truck with a small indoor and outdoor seating area, called Sandwich League. Everything there was also excellent. I imagine that these two places will become new standard stops on our future trips.

On the last day I hit upon the idea of getting lunch in Chico at Sierra Nevada Brewing. Eating there had been on my “to do” list for some time. Unfortunately, when we arrived we discovered that the wait for seating would be an hour or more. Disappointed, we found another pleasant little restaurant not far away, and that worked out well.

One other first for this trip was that we listened to the audiobook of Bill Bryson’s “A Short History of Nearly Everything” on the drive up, With some breaks, it lasted the first day’s drive and up until our lunch stop on day two.


With no real side trips to speak of, we covered fewer miles (about 1,300) than I had anticipated. Because of that, it wasn’t until a week after we got home that the odometer rolled over to 250,000, which was not very poetic. Sorry. I took hardly any video with my GoPros this time, but took a decent amount of photos with them, my dSLR and my iPhone.

Oregon Winter 2015 Road Trip Gallery

January 10th, 2016 at 1:10 am | Comments & Trackbacks (1) | Permalink