Greater Seattle area virtual campfire

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Matt Hixson

Rank V
Member
Adventure

Member I

1,415
Big Lake, WA, USA
First Name
Matt
Last Name
Hixson
Member #

25367

Ham Callsign
KJ7FZJ
Anyone here familiar with the Gallagher Head Lake area (north of Roslyn, WA)? I took my Hummer there many years ago with some other owners. Thinking about towing my M1101 up there for an overland base camp and then doing mtn biking and hiking on day trips from there sometime this summer.
 

mtn

Rank I

Contributor III

146
Washington, USA
First Name
Ole
Last Name
H
Ham Callsign
KA7OLE
Anyone here familiar with the Gallagher Head Lake area (north of Roslyn, WA)? I took my Hummer there many years ago with some other owners. Thinking about towing my M1101 up there for an overland base camp and then doing mtn biking and hiking on day trips from there sometime this summer.
Yes, went there July last year with my son in our 4Runner. Popular place, might be hard to find a spot if you're coming up on a nice Saturday.

Hardest part is probably dealing with oncoming traffic, be prepared to back up a bit when you meet someone coming the opposite way. Other than that, the trailer shouldn't give you any problems.

IMG_2206.JPG
 

outside.perception

Rank III
Member
Adventure

Member II

664
King County, WA, USA
First Name
Brian
Last Name
Aurich
Member #

26163

Ham Callsign
GMRS: WREY362
Let's see, looks like April 25th and May 2nd are difficult if we'd want everyone along and from what you are saying May 8th and 9th will be difficult for your @parrotheadnw?

That would point towards May 15th / 16th for either a day trip or potentially a one-nighter, would that be too close to memorial day for you @Ubiety or not an issue?

With regards to the WABDR, I think most sections won't be accessible for a while from what I gather from the FB groups, but I am not sure. There is a section just south of Ellensburg that is accessible (Durr road) but it isn't particularly long and won't allow for camping as far as I can tell:

View attachment 195899
I could be up for a meetup on May 15. I am not sure if I can do an overnighter yet, but will explore the option. Is anything being planned?

I think the LT Murray, Whiskey Dick, and Wenas wildlife areas are open now as well.
 
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Ties

Rank II
Member
Adventure

Contributor II

301
Seattle
First Name
Ties
Last Name
de Kok
Member #

25474

Ham Callsign
KJ7RJT
Greg (@Ubiety) has been having some back issues so he might be out and I haven't corresponded with him recently so our planning lost some steam.

However, I'd still be down to head out on May 15th, I am not too familiar with those areas east of the mountains but the LT Murray area might be interesting to explore. Have you been there before?

I'll also try to come up with some more concrete suggestions / plans in the next few days and post them here.
 
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outside.perception

Rank III
Member
Adventure

Member II

664
King County, WA, USA
First Name
Brian
Last Name
Aurich
Member #

26163

Ham Callsign
GMRS: WREY362
Greg (@Ubiety) has been having some back issues so he might be out and I haven't corresponded with him recently so our planning lost some steam.

However, I'd still be down to head out on May 15th, I am not too familiar with those areas east of the mountains but the LT Murray area might be interesting to explore. Have you been there before?

I'll also try to come up with some more concrete suggestions / plans in the next few days and post them here.
Yes, I've been out there once before earlier this year. Also Durr road into the Wenas area is interesting and I did that last year. I should be OK to go for the day outing and will have one of my kids along.
 
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Ubiety

NorthWest Region Member Rep Seattle WA
Member

Educator I

5,048
Sammamish, Washington, USA
First Name
Greg
Last Name
E
Member #

6193

What did you use for the bracket? I have the Warn winch interrupter as well and need to install it on my JLU. My winch is directly wired to my battery at the moment.
A buddy (who also has a JT) made the bracket for me when he was fashioning his own (he talked me into interruptor and fuse). Simple aluminum angle iron with holes in strategic locations. I added pneumatic hood struts to my JT and am happy that the bracket fits well even with the struts.
I did pick up a piece of aluminum angle iron stock before he delivered the bracket so we could make one for you...

Here are a couple more shots to help. I had to shave down the bolts (silver, not Jeep bolts) that hold the interrupter and fuse to allow the hood struts to clear on the "back side".
IMG_5718.jpegIMG_5716.jpeg

As @Ties mentioned I tweaked my back last Thurs and was down last weekend and am struggling to recover mentally and physically. Also have some other stuff going on - so sorry for my absence.
 

Ubiety

NorthWest Region Member Rep Seattle WA
Member

Educator I

5,048
Sammamish, Washington, USA
First Name
Greg
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E
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6193

Yes, I've been out there once before earlier this year. Also Durr road into the Wenas area is interesting and I did that last year. I should be OK to go for the day outing and will have one of my kids along.
A buddy hit the Wenas area last weekend and had a good time. He stayed to the West side.
 
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Ubiety

NorthWest Region Member Rep Seattle WA
Member

Educator I

5,048
Sammamish, Washington, USA
First Name
Greg
Last Name
E
Member #

6193

Yes, went there July last year with my son in our 4Runner. Popular place, might be hard to find a spot if you're coming up on a nice Saturday.

Hardest part is probably dealing with oncoming traffic, be prepared to back up a bit when you meet someone coming the opposite way. Other than that, the trailer shouldn't give you any problems.

View attachment 196954
We have been eyeing this area... Thanks for the "traffic report"!
 

Haris

Rank I
Member
Adventure

Contributor I

233
Kirkland, WA, USA
First Name
Haris
Last Name
Husain
Member #

27185

Greg (@Ubiety) has been having some back issues so he might be out and I haven't corresponded with him recently so our planning lost some steam.

However, I'd still be down to head out on May 15th, I am not too familiar with those areas east of the mountains but the LT Murray area might be interesting to explore. Have you been there before?

I'll also try to come up with some more concrete suggestions / plans in the next few days and post them here.
Yes, I've been out there once before earlier this year. Also Durr road into the Wenas area is interesting and I did that last year. I should be OK to go for the day outing and will have one of my kids along.
I might also be able to join for a day trip next weekend, will get my off-road tires and rims this week. Been keeping an eye on FB groups and it seems activity has started around the Wenas area.
 
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Ties

Rank II
Member
Adventure

Contributor II

301
Seattle
First Name
Ties
Last Name
de Kok
Member #

25474

Ham Callsign
KJ7RJT
I might also be able to join for a day trip next weekend, will get my off-road tires and rims this week. Been keeping an eye on FB groups and it seems activity has started around the Wenas area.
That'd be awesome, can't wait to see your LR4 with those new wheels.

Yes, I've been out there once before earlier this year. Also Durr road into the Wenas area is interesting and I did that last year. I should be OK to go for the day outing and will have one of my kids along.
Great, looks like the Wenas area is a hit so let's aim for that!

Do you have a route in mind or are we talking about the WABDR section that goes from Ellensburg to Hwy 410? According to the WABDR FB group this is clear and open (as per the report from today, see below):
1620440324160.png
1620440694861.png

I suggest we get a route mapped out and then we can figure out who is coming from where and we can settle on a meetup point + time. Do you have radios? I have FRS/GMRS/HAM and a spare handheld radio in addition to my mobile unit (I am not an expert but @Ubiety and @M Rose are an amazing wealth of knowledge in that regard).
 
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Haris

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Contributor I

233
Kirkland, WA, USA
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Haris
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Husain
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27185

I might also be able to join for a day trip next weekend, will get my off-road tires and rims this week. Been keeping an eye on FB groups and it seems activity has started around the Wenas area.
That'd be awesome, can't wait to see your LR4 with those new wheels.

Yes, I've been out there once before earlier this year. Also Durr road into the Wenas area is interesting and I did that last year. I should be OK to go for the day outing and will have one of my kids along.
Great, looks like the Wenas area is a hit so let's aim for that!

Do you have a route in mind or are we talking about the WABDR section that goes from Ellensburg to Hwy 410? According to the WABDR FB group this is clear and open (as per the report from today, see below):
View attachment 197387
View attachment 197388

I suggest we get a route mapped out and then we can figure out who is coming from where and we can settle on a meetup point + time. Do you have radios? I have FRS/GMRS/HAM and a spare handheld radio in addition to my mobile unit (I am not an expert but @Ubiety and @M Rose are an amazing wealth of knowledge in that regard).
I’d love a radio if someone could lend one. Haven’t bought that yet.
 
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Haris

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Contributor I

233
Kirkland, WA, USA
First Name
Haris
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Husain
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27185

Btw what radio do folks recommend? My use case would generally be going out in a group. Perhaps something with 2 handsets so if I go with someone who doesn’t have it I can lend one.
 

Ties

Rank II
Member
Adventure

Contributor II

301
Seattle
First Name
Ties
Last Name
de Kok
Member #

25474

Ham Callsign
KJ7RJT
Btw what radio do folks recommend? My use case would generally be going out in a group. Perhaps something with 2 handsets so if I go with someone who doesn’t have it I can lend one.
There is tons of materials out there but it might be helpful to give a pragmatic summary based on my experience:

The primary ways (besides your phone) that you can consider are:

- CB
- GMRS
- Ham (amateur radio)

Skipping over the technical details I'd say it is fair to say that their capabilities scale in that order as well (with ham being the most capable). Capability here is defined by range and versatility (e.g., transmitting things beyond voice and repeaters).

Having said that, transmitting on a Ham frequency requires a license that is obtained through an exam. GMRS is a limited version with predetermined channels that also requires a license but one that is obtainable without an exam (i.e., purchased). There are some pricing changes on the horizon here though which will probably go into effect later this year (Google fcc gmrs price change).

CB doesn't require a license but the available channels are limited and can thus be busy (I have never used CB though).

What to use ultimately depends on what the people you are trying to communicate with are using. If they all have CBs then your fancy ham radio wouldn't be very useful and vice-versa.

From my limited experience you probably can't go wrong with a GMRS radio as it is capable and doesn't require passing the ham exam. Having said that, it is possible to get ham capable radios that (with a software or hardware mod) can also be used on the GMRS channels. Which is what I personally went with. But that only makes sense if you'd have an interest in getting your ham license at some point and don't mind fiddling with it.

I skipped over the difference between mobile and handheld radios. Without diving into the weeds it is best summarized as: mobile units -> more power + external antenna -> more range & better connectivity. But a handheld radio is a good place to start as you'd probably want to get one of those anyways even if you'd end up also getting a mobile unit down the road (e.g., to lend it out).

I don't have any recommendations for CB or GMRS handhelds but if you search online I am sure there are plenty of recommendations at various price ranges. If you'd be open to HAM down the road, the handheld I got is the YAESU FT-4XR (with a better antenna - Diamond SRJ77CA). It is a ham radio but the GMRS frequencies can be easily unlocked through a "hidden" menu setting. Although it does look like the prices have gone up a bit since last year, but that applies to a lot of things right now unfortunately.
 

M Rose

US Northwest Region Director
Benefactor
Member

Pathfinder III

4,998
La Grande, Oregon, USA
First Name
Michael
Last Name
Rose
Member #

20990

Ham Callsign
KJ7MFV
@Ties summed it up pretty well. A couple of things to clear up though. CB even though it’s 40 channels, only 6,19, and 21/22 (depending on the area) can become congested. And when I say can become, I mean they used to be back in the 1990’s, but CB here in the northwest is almost non existent... my Galaxy 959DX has been on for the past 18 months set to channel 19 (the unofficial “trucker channel”) with about one contact per quarter. So in other words very seldom used.

Second thing to clarify. It is illegal to use any radio not intended for GMRS on the GMRS frequencies. This includes using a Yaesu FT-4XR unlocked to transmit on the GMRS frequencies. A typical amateur radio walki-talkie puts out 1 watt on its lowest power setting, GMRS is 1/4 watt at the lower channels.

So without getting into the nitty-gritty, all CB radios put out 4 watts of power, are actually only made by two manufacturers who outsource the boards to other companies, so a $35 radio is the same performance as a $350 radio. No data signals allowed, repeaters or linear amplifiers.

FRS radios are hand held only but can communicate with the GMRS radios without a payed license. No repeaters, amplifiers, or data signals allowed.

GMRS. Limited to 50 watts of power. Ground Repeater capable, limited data transmission (GPS location only).

Amateur Radio limited to 1500 watts with a power amplifier, you can transmit data, and you can use repeaters (to include satellite and Low Orbit Reflectors).

The best setup is to have all three. I have all three but mainly use 2m amateur band for trail coms. One othe thing to note about repeaters, there are only 20 public repeater systems in the Northwest for GMRS use. While there are over 700 2m public repeaters in Washington state alone.

For more information on radios, check out the communication forums, and the Communication Boot Camp Threads. If I have confused you even more feel free to DM me... or find me on 3.885.50 MHz AM.
 

outside.perception

Rank III
Member
Adventure

Member II

664
King County, WA, USA
First Name
Brian
Last Name
Aurich
Member #

26163

Ham Callsign
GMRS: WREY362
That'd be awesome, can't wait to see your LR4 with those new wheels.



Great, looks like the Wenas area is a hit so let's aim for that!

Do you have a route in mind or are we talking about the WABDR section that goes from Ellensburg to Hwy 410? According to the WABDR FB group this is clear and open (as per the report from today, see below):
View attachment 197387
View attachment 197388

I suggest we get a route mapped out and then we can figure out who is coming from where and we can settle on a meetup point + time. Do you have radios? I have FRS/GMRS/HAM and a spare handheld radio in addition to my mobile unit (I am not an expert but @Ubiety and @M Rose are an amazing wealth of knowledge in that regard).
Yes, I did much of that route (maybe a slight variation) last year from Ellensburg to 410. I'd be happy to do it again.

We could meetup in Ellensburg or I'd be happy to join up earlier if anyone is coming over from the west side along I-90. What time are you thinking?

@Haris I will have spare FRS radios that you can use. FRS/GMRS is great for ease of use. I have the Midland MXT115 GMRS mounted in my Jeep and I have a couple Midland FRS handhelds. I also have a Midland handheld CB just in case I end up with a group where it is needed, but most are getting onto FRS/GMRS. I know Ham is also popular and I may eventually get licensed for that.