Giving up on Firewood… Maybe :)

Since buying a pellet fire pit and seeing how well it works, it got me thinking about the ease of wood pellets, at least for me.  I heat alternatively with a pellet stove in my house so I typically have a pallet sized stack on hand.  The bags weight 40 lbs each.  A bag provides a day and a half worth of heat.  I buy a ton and a half each summer. A ton of pellets is 50 bags stacked on a pallet and runs me about $220 or $4.40 per bag.  Living in the Northwest, there is no shortage of firewood, but I just don’t have easy access to it.  To get wood, I put feelers out with friends and coworkers and sometimes find somebody with a dead or fallen tree, or search it out on craigslist. We can purchase a permit to cut for a small fee that allows us to take 3-cords but often you are limited to areas many miles or hours away and it just doesn’t make sense to me. Then there’s the cutting, chopping, hauling and storing it in this wet climate. Sounding lazy? Well yes! I am a bit these days I guess.

The second part of my issue is that my wife and grandson both have asthma and just can’t handle the smoke of damp wood fire.   I currently have a propane fire ring.  It looks nice and with the addition of some lava rocks, it does put off some heat.  Problem is that it will burn a 20#er of propane pretty quick and it’s quite a drive from our lake place to get them filled.  Secondly, I tried Presto type logs.  They have a weird smell, are a bit expensive, and don’t put off a lot of heat. So when I found a pellet burning fire pit, I was curious and ordered it right away.  I purchased a Flame Genie Inferno 19 off of Amazon.


I love this thing!  It puts off a bunch of heat.  You need to add pellets pretty frequently.  A small feed scoop works great for this.  Dimensions are 12 X 19.  This model runs about $100 and they have an optional carry bag for $15 that makes it more portable.

So now what? can I live without a wood fire? 

Well… not yet. A friend of mine brought a Discada to camp one weekend and we cooked EVERYTHING in that.  We pulled coals from the fire and used concrete blocks that we found laying around to “fashion” up this “stand”.  Adolfo has become our camp cook.  He loves to cook and we love to eat so it’s a match made in heaven.  We had fun razzing him about his “Mexican Wok” but I was impressed by the versatility, easy cleanup, fire for fuel, and of course, his food.


This was a whole pork shoulder that he boiled down and turned into some pretty tasty burritos.

So…. back to burning wood…. 

Until I saw this YouTube post from BlueDogGarage:

Look!!  A Discada!!  And there are other videos of guys burning pellets in them.  I gotta build one.  Stay tuned.  I had an idea to add a hitch somehow so I could haul it on my front or rear receiver of the truck.  Make it a bit more overlandable and not have it tearing up the bed of the truck or inside of the popup camper.

What do you think?






Homebrew DMR Repeater / Hi Power Hotspot

I am not sure of who here is aware of the RB_STM32_DVM by Scott Zimmerman

Its truly an amazing device for a MMDVM, now there is version 3

Now the seller offers cables for various radios if needed

models vary depending upon your purpose

by Scott

Vehicle Recovery

Since we covered this topic during a net

I thought it would be neat to see what others do or have planned for such

I have the smittybilt 12K winch, 2 30ft 30k lb straps, chain, hi-lift, snatch block, shackles etc just in case


DMR AMP‑U25D Amplifier

Seems neat and cheap enough, but I dont like all the cables involved


online military field manuals

online military field manuals


these will help us all as topics progress

Dehydrate food in your oven.

We were discussing drying our own foods on the talk group the other day.  Found this in my old Boy Scout Field Book…. of all places.   Would likely be much more energy efficient to use an actual food dryer but it does talk about some steps to avoid spoilage that I hadn’t considered….

Dehydrate Your Own Food

Commercial processors market hundreds of dehydrated and freeze-dried foods, though you can dehydrate your own meat, fruits, and vegetables in an oven at home.  Here’s how.

To make beef jerky, slice a pound of lean beef into strips about 1/4-inch wide, cutting with the grain.  Season strips with a little salt and pepper, then drape them over the bars of the rack in your oven.  Place a cookie sheet underneath to catch any drippings, and leave the oven door open just a crack to let moisture escape.

Turn the oven’s temperature control to its lowest setting-around 120 deg F and let the meat dry for about 8-hours until it is shriveled, chewy, and delicious.  Seal the jerky in plastic bags and you’ve got a great addition to your back country larder.

You can dehydrate vegetables and fruit in much the same way.  Begin with fresh, ripe produce. Wash it well, remove cores and stems, and slice it thinly. Next, break down natural enzymes that could speed deterioration by briefly steaming the fruits and vegetables in a colander or vegetable steamer placed in a large pot, containing 1/2 inch of water. Cover pot, put it on the burner, and bring the water to a boil. In a few minutes the produce should be limp and ready for oven drying.

To prevent slices of fruits and vegetables from falling through an oven rack, tightly stretch cheesecloth or a tea towel over the rack and secure it with safety pins. Spread the slices on the cloth.  Check after about 8 hours for the fruit to be dry but not brittle, pack them in plastic bags. During a trek you can eat them as they are, add them to dishes you are cooking, or soak them a few hours in water to restore their original sizes and shapes.

Canned Bread! Anyone else like this stuff?

This is something I have always carried with me.  Apparently not common out west here as everybody seems perplexed and makes faces when I punch a hole in it and rotate it on a rock by the fire to heat it up.  Most like it after I can get them to try it.  A bit heavy for backpacking and best with a little margarine….  But a great thing to have in the food box. Only a few stores carry it out here in Oregon/Washington and it’s usually found with the baked beans… I grab a can or two of those too.  Winco and Fred Meyer stores seem to always have it on the shelf.



Pi to Go!


Preliminary setup for the Pi to fit into an enclosure.

HotSpot Box for mobile ops

I use a rubbermaid container I found at a dollar store for $2

my usb battery pack is 30000mah, it has 2 usb ports and comfortably handles the shark rf, and tp-link all at once. Havent turned this on in about 9 months, still charged. Has built in light Ive never found a need for too.


Walmart sells these outdoor products water tight, airtight, lockable which would work well too