Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Xfinity “Fastest In Home Wireless”

I received a letter from Comcast a few weeks ago that they were upgrading my speed tier to a higher speed that my current modem wouldn’t support. Color me impressed, they actually notified me about something that wasn’t going to cost me more? Unheard of.

Last night I received a large box filled with a new Xfinity modem, good quality coax cables wrapped in Velcro wire ties with expensive embroidered labels, a cheap Ethernet cable and a lot of instructions. I should have taken pictures I was that impressed. Then reality sunk in, it has the same wireless all in one gateway they gave my Father in law. Disappointed smile

He has a lower tier and the gateway they sent him is crippled, they claim he has to pay for the wireless to function yet, I was able to get it working, albeit at very low wireless power making it useless, also I was unable to install a wireless router in essence crippling his home network unless he pays Comcast extra fees to unlock it. I’ll be bringing my test gear to his house and I’ll be calling them to either get his gateway replaced or to allow us the ability to use a wireless router, my guess is his gateway needs to be replaced, we’ll see.

Back to my installation. I plugged it in and followed the directions, it didn’t work so I called the activation hotline and gritted my teeth because I’ve been on the hotline with Comcast before and it was a horrible experience. This time the automated process worked, yes, you read that right, I know shut the door right?? So I set it up and ran some tests, ok, this is much better than the 30Mbps down and 10Mbps up that I was getting before but it ain’t no 100Mbps. I’ll be contacting Comcast to find out if the speed upgrade has happened and if so when will it hit my house, but honestly, this is fine for my needs. See that ping time? SWEET!


So now for the wireless tests, as configured from Comcast it was set to use channel 6, just like all the others they ship, and that AT&T ships etc… so signal range suffered because all of my neighbors are on the same channel. My D-Link DIR-655 had better signal coverage but strangely enough, lower performance. I set the Xfinity to channel 11 and signal coverage improved and performance to the internet was the same as my wired connections so I removed the D-Link from the network.

So, aside form the not 100Mbps benchmarks it works nicely and reduces the equipment I have to keep running down to this one device. Is it the fastest in home wireless, well for now in my home it is but people who know me know that I will tweak, oh yes I will!

Here is the device, it’s very light so God only knows how long it will last.. more to come after I have spent a few long nights tweaking. Smile





Sunday, July 28, 2013

Quest for MeTV Continues

It’s kind of a joke now, trying to get in one extra station on the bottom of the UHF band…. and losing… so we received the SensarPro RFL-342 in white, I ordered the black one, go figure. If you look at the amplifier panel that Keystone installed, it has an output on the front of the panel for the bedroom TV. The new SensarPro does not have an external port for the TV, ugh.


So, I bought an extension box, drilled a hole in it and inserted a  coax connector for the bedroom TV. Here it is after drilling the hole and installing the coax connector.


I drilled new pilot holes for the bracket that will hold the new box and screwed in the frame.WP_20130727_022

I then fished the new coax cable into the opening up inside the roof and connected the one leg to the connector that will feed the bedroom TV. I had to trim the box as well because the connectors hit the frame, so I trimmed until everything fit.


I then re-used the splitter from the factory and connected the outside TV connector and the new bedroom TV coax, this way everything works like it did from the factory.


This is the completed install, all connections work as they did from the factory, I also now have a correct connection for the bedroom TV. I have ordered a white dual coax plate for the other connectors so they match. The new SensarPro did absolutely NOTHING to improve channel reception in this park so it looks like I need to order the JACK HD antenna to help, but I think this park just can’t get the channels no matter what I do, but when we go on the road the new UHF wingman add-on and the SensarPro will bring in a lot of stations so future trips will reap the benefits of this work. I also like how well the new box looks, plus the wiring is solid, no chance of bad connections.


Does it look ok? I am going to replace the other plates with white so they all match.

Oh yeah, I also installed a Gen-1 Apple TV, so now we have more options for when we have good Internet connections. Winking smile

Thursday, July 25, 2013

SensarPro RFL-332

Well, in our quest to get METV in the rig I added the UHF booster forgetting the METV is in the VHF range. I know I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed at times so I also ordered the SensarPro RFL-332 amplifier, signal strength meter with the ability to add 10db of gain. Will it work? Will Ronda and Erik actually be able to get METV without one of us having to stand in a specific place in the RV?

Tune in this weekend for the “Quest for METV” drama as it unfolds in the Montana Fiver RV different Bat time different Bat channel, I have no clue what I’m even talking about right now, I have had 1 Vente Mocha from Starbucks and two large cups of dark roast coffee with Baileys Irish Crème (no booze) and I’m buzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzing.

This is supposed to directly replace the generic amplifier that Keystone installed, we’ll see!


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Xfinity X1

Ok, I rag on Comcast a lot because they’re expensive, I don’t complain here but ask Ronda. Smile She likes her shows, I like mine, but we both love them in HD. So when I heard that they had a new service called X1 I looked into it and ordered it when it became available.

They came out today and installed it and the difference between old cable and new cable is unreal! Excellent interface, record 4 shows at once and watch from any room. Apps for Pandora (and others) which are neither here nor there since the TV has even more Apps built in but it’s nice and easy to use. The On Demand interface blows the old one away, the picture offered from X1 is better but this is likely the new HD DVR’s having better video hardware.

There is even a cool screen saver that kicks in if you have a program paused that shows news, weather and HD pictures until you hit play.

There are a few things I don’t like, On Demand programs if paused for too long start over and many don’t allow fast forward so we had to watch 3/4 of Falling Skies over again because of this, that’s ridiculous. Other than that, it’s awesome so I figured if anybody was on the fence, give it a try I think you’ll like it.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pulling The Fifth Wheel

At some point in the next few years we will need to go someplace other than Blackhawk campground. Since I bought a new 2013 Taurus Limited I have no option for a truck for a few more years. Timing is everything right, I traded in my 2010 SEL because I thought the timing was right, cost wise it was a smart decision, 0% on the new one, everything goes to principle and I am driving a car I love. Then we decide to trade in the RV and instead of buying a Class A we decide on the Fifth Wheel, in my mind the right decision as well but now we have no way of moving the new rig.


So, here is the plan, in a few years (no more than 2 I hope?) we are planning on buying an F-250 or F-350 dually. It will only be when they have 0% again on everything which isn’t that often as the F-Series out sells ALL other trucks combined. Just last month they had everything at 0%, hopefully in 2 years they will again, I hope!! Once we have the new truck I’ll be driving it the 6.5 miles to the train station so the diesel usage won’t be too bad.

We have a lot of thinking to do, thankfully we have some time.

2011 Ford F-350 Super Duty

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Almost Killed My Father In Law Tonight

The stairs that lower out of our rig hit the deck so the last step is left folded up. As my Father In Law was leaving tonight he stepped on the edge of the third step and it proceeded to unfold the last step and he almost went down. He just had surgery 2 weeks ago and here I forget to lock down that step and who knows what could have happened had he not been holding onto the grab bar?

Note to self, build proper stairs next weekend!! Embarrassed smile

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Winegard Wingman RV-Wing HD Upgrade

When we bought the new RV it came with the standard Winegard Wingman antenna very similar to the one they have been installing on RV’s for decades. They have this UHF boosting addition called the RV-Wing that is installed underneath the Wingman, simple right? I bought it hoping it would make up for the lack of performance on VHF by bringing in more UHF stations, they brag about a 100% improvement…



According to my signal meter, in all positions on the weaker and stronger stations there was zero improvement in signal strength for UHF… utter waste of time and $30.00. The design is as if the engineer didn’t check the size of the plastic body of the antenna itself and the plastic retaining screws are iffy at best long term. When it rains, water will easily be caught in this housing but at least there are drain holes.

I gave my brother my last HD JACK antenna so I don’t have one to test but on the Endeavor in this campground spot the JACK antenna did very well but I was hoping to get an improvement on what Winegard brags about by using the RV-Wing, unfortunately it does nothing.

Next up? The Winegard Sensar Pro RFL-332, yes, I’m apparently stupid enough to try another Winegard product. This one however got decent reviews plus it replaces the current antenna power supply and offers 10db gain to help get in more channels.


Will it work? I hope so, I just need to get 2 more channels, TheCW and METV, if I can get them I’ll be a happy camper, literally. Smile If not, I’ll order the JACK and pray the first one works, remember last time? It took 2 of them.

It would be nice to be able to watch the channels we like when it’s real hot or when its storming, so cross your fingers!

I hope everybody is having a great weekend!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Montana 3725RL Repair List As Of 7/18/13

I know I posted some of the items but this way I can track the dates I send the info to the dealer.

1. Kitchen slide has either a loose screw or a screw driven in too low so when the slide is operated it gouges the floor. Tried to locate the screw but I’m too darn chubby to see low enough to look.

2. Bathroom AC vent doesn’t stay up, needs to be replaced.

3. Rear window on passenger side is hard to close, must remove screen and help it close.

4. Top right freezer door sometimes is hard to close, seems to depend on outside temp, if cooler outside it’s fine, when it gets hot its not.

5. Kitchen Island GFI outlet refuses to stay on, it clicks open, system fault or bad GFI outlet.

6. Bathroom door veneer is coming off in one corner as it makes contact with the slot it goes into when closing.

7. Shower is not caulked where the shower track meets the tub.

I believe that’s it, after reading the forums for new rig’s this is a very short list (so far)! We are scheduling a trip to the dealer this fall where they will take care off all issues and they are also going to store it for the winter which I love because it will be out from under the trees and it will be easy to check on since the campground is locked down during the winter.

Update for getting the remainder of our warranty money back from Shabbona Creek RV, they have ignored requests for the check we are due so I’m contacting a lawyer to send them a letter. For a dealer that only sells repo’s they sure seem like they don’t like paying for their obligations, we’ll see after they get a letter.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Finally Checked Out Bartlett Train Station & Rude People Rant, Vent Arrrrrggh!

The buildings on the left are Condo’s, the train station is straight ahead, don’t see it? I think it is a quarter of a mile from this point. What you’ll find funny is I pass this station every day on my way to the Hanover station, call it habit, call it bad experiences from using this station in the past but they built a new station building so I figure what the heck, let’s give it a shot and save 5 miles a day, heck that equals a gallon of gas a week saved.


There it is, I had to zoom in the picture! I have to remember NOT to get off at Hanover tonight!


I have a question for you folks, do you think Karma visits a holes who try to walk through you, this includes teenage girls who think they own an entire sidewalk? I stepped aside for 3 teenage girls who were walking side by side and actively trying to not move when people walked by, the girl closest to me as I was walking towards them is walking with her arms out hands on her hips and as they go by she elbows into me as I tried to step out of the way all the while her friends are giggling.

Well, as can be expected, this 100lb girl bounced off of me, I had nowhere else to go except the train tracks. They stop giggling and glare at me, I glared back and said “watch where you’re walking rudeness” (I don’t typically say anything, but they were clearly doing this on purpose) then turned around and went into the station.

As the train pulls into the station and the doors open a man pushes past everybody, including the ladies and walks onto the train. I have the strength if I want to, to force most people out of my way if I want to. I was raised better than that so I open doors for ladies and if a rude person shoves by I give them a “hi a**hole” look and continue on my way.

Working in Chicago is a full time practice in not pounding a person into the pavement, rude people out number polite people. For instance a lady walked into me (how do you NOT see me??) and I was ready to glare at her when she very politely apologized and smiled. I was in shock, I had to remind myself where I was at because it’s so bloody rare these days.

They call Chicago the city of broad shoulders, not from my perspective, it’s a big city full of rude arrogant people so self involved they don’t care who they push bump or knock out of the way. Teenage girls are absolutely the worst, they walk in packs and expect everybody to clear a path and it takes a large amount of will power not to hold both arms out and bowl them all over…. are all teenage girls like this? I could tell you horror stories about what they talk about when they’re on the train… they’re worse than the boys and they talk loud enough for the entire train to hear them, it’s like listening to a dozen cats meowing all at the same time, or listening to fingernails on a chalkboard… and the gum chewing with their mouths open, imagine 10 of them all smacking their gum, saying the word LIKE 3 or four times a sentence…   Disappointed smile …….. breath, desperately look for ear phones….

Ok, got that out, now I can continue to be knocked into and do it with a smile/glare on my face knowing sooner or later a person will apologize and give me hope that not everybody is a self absorbed arrogant ahole.

This, is a 2 huge cup of coffee day!  Smile

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Jared, Blu-Ray & RV Update

We went straight to the RV on Friday after work armed with a Blu-Ray player I bought last year for $30.00 from my boss. It’s a decent Samsung with apps and networking built in. We also wanted to get the fire going because Jared was coming for a fire pit for the last time before heading to boot camp (today ay 2:00pm) and I wanted to get it going and per usual when things get a bit hectic I forget to take pictures.

When Jared got there he startled me by sneaking up behind me (sneaky bastard!), then we went inside while the fire built up some coals. I decided to install the Blu-Ray and found that Keystone built the cabinet in such a way that there was only one outlet in the lower cabinet. I came prepared with AC cord splitter (should have brought a power strip) but this worked so all I needed to figure out was how to run the HDMI cable from the lower cabinet to the TV in the upper cabinet.

They had two access holes, both are very small and very tight so I tried to fish the cable from the top down but the cables inside the cabinet we hampering efforts… what to do? I got the flashlight and shined the light at the hole, I pulled out the grommets and 10 minutes later success!

I brought along a Samsung remote however it was the wrong one, doh. I found that the front panel will run all options except the DVD menu, hitting play on a movie with multiple version like extended cut’s or directors cuts require the remote. Disappointed smile We were about to give up and just watch a standard DVD when I grabbed the TV remote and hit the arrow down button, low and behold it worked! The Sony remote works all the functions except for eject perfectly! Who would’a thunk it?

Ignore the wiring, Keystone isn’t as neat as I am, this will be cleaned up soon.


We went outside and spent a few hours enjoying Jared’s company, talked politics and the military and then went for a long walk around the campground. After Jared left we talked about how proud we were of our nephew. So young and he knows exactly what he wants to do, you have to respect that he chose to become a Marine, when he completes boot camp he will be a Devil Dog and will be part of Marine Corp history.

Yesterday family got together for a little party to send him off, he has the typical butterflies and today he leaves and doesn’t return until October. Good luck Jared!!

We are in our second weekend in the new rig so we are building our list of things for the dealer to take care of. For instance, the pocket door veneer is peeling back on the lower corner already, one bathroom door is solid wood but the pocket door that has to fit into a slot when closed isn’t, hopefully they have an easy way of fixing it.

One of the rear windows refuses to close, this rig has the new flush mounted windows and in order to close it I have to remove the screen and hold the rods so they don’t bend and bind.

The kitchen slide must have a screw sticking out because it keeps making contact with the floor. Last week we put a hard plastic sheet down to help protect the floor during slide operation. When I opened the slide this week it also scarred the hard plastic. I told the dealer about this and after it’s fixed the only fix is to cut out the gouged floor tile around the fake grout lines and put a new piece down. I’m not a fan of this idea, we may just fix up the one gouge that’s there, we’ll see.


Next up is an AC vent in the bathroom that keeps coming loose, it just needs to be replaced, the rest of them throughout the coach are fine. Forgot to take a picture of this one.

Next, the kitchen island power keeps tripping, it can’t handle anything plugged in even if everything else is turned off.


The last item is Keystone forgot to caulk the shower rail along the tub facing the bathroom, I need it to dry out under the rail so next week I’ll fix that. Other than that we love the rig!


I hope everybody had a great weekend!!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Just one of those days

Ever have one of those days where you should have stayed home in bed? I couldn’t sleep again last night so instead of watching the ceiling I got out of bed at 3am and washed our cars. I also vacuumed Ronda’s car and then I went home and finally fell asleep.

Woke up early and took a shower, walked into the edge of the bathroom door which scuffed my elbow. Went out to the car to clean my windshield and thought it was clean until the sun was in front of me, holy toledo all I did was smear everything. Cars are pulling out from everywhere in my subdivision but I left early enough to try and use a different train station… until I got to the train crossing that a stopped freight train was at, this happens a few times a week, you never know when it will be there but typically 5 minutes and it’s gone, just have to be patient…

Today, it takes 20 minutes, so much for checking out the new train station so I decided to go to my usual station…. lady in front of me is doing 15 mph in a 45 with no passing lanes…. 5 minutes goes by and I finally get around her…. Fire truck blocks traffic… 5 more minutes now I’m cutting it close for making my train…

Get to the train station none of the machines are accepting credit cards, wait, one is but the man using it has no clue how to do it. Train is pulling into the station the guy finally finishes but now it’s time for him to organize… Disappointed smile I have to actually tell him I need to pay as well and he is blocking the only machine taking a card, he very slowly picks up his things, stares at me and slowly walks away… I resist the urge to smack him in the head… it seriously took some effort…

I get on the train and a man sneezes on me…

I just remind myself I’m having a bad day, not a bad life.  Smile

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Re-financing the house

Our house has finally recovered enough value to re-finance it at a lower rate. Unfortunately it waited until the rate went up past 4%, bummer. We have a bank quoting us 4.37%, Quicken is showing 4.5%, what do you guys recommend, or should I say who do you guys recommend? We are filling out the paperwork for one bank but I feel asking for some recommendations from you good folks might help us find a better option.

Let us know! Thanks!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Blog Updated

I finally finished updating the blog theme to reflect the new Montana. I haven’t decided on what background to use so I have one there temporarily. Same with the header picture, the rig wasn’t completely set up, you can see the orange jack blocks and I hadn’t cleaned up the site yet so this weekend I’ll be updating them again.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Day 4.5 Of Owning A New High End (?) Fifth Wheel

The Keystone Montana 3725RL is considered a high end model, supposedly built to high end full timer motor home standards. We looked at this series a lot and one thing I didn’t pay attention to was the sewer hose compartment, the audio system and shockingly, the roof.

The sewer compartment is weak, you close the door and the metal around the door flexes like you wouldn’t believe. Adding a curved piece of something to solidify this would go a long way and wouldn’t cost much. This isn’t a big deal for us since the rig won’t be moved for a while. However, if we were going from place to place it would be an issue for me.

I will say the interior is built to high end motorhome specs, but the roof is rubber, there are no slide toppers and the awning has no cover. We knew this going in and can deal with it. The surround sound audio system lacking Blu-Ray is something I didn’t expect. I understand needing to make a profit but no HD support for a TV that is HD? Ridiculous.

I believe I can install another Blu-Ray player into the TV and the TV’s optical output should handle the 5.1 output to the receiver which means I won’t have to buy anything, I have a Samsung Blu-Ray player in the basement at home that we will try out next weekend. I’m sure that will solve the HD issue.

The roof is rubber, the spot we are parked at drops a lot of gunk from the trees so clean-up is going to be interesting. After 4.5 days there are already signs of the black gunk building up on the roof and slides. So, each weekend on Sunday I’ll be cleaning the slide tops and when we leave I’ll close the slides, which we did today.

So far we LOVE this new rig, small issues aside the space is amazing and we love it. Our neighbors stopped by last night to check it out and thought it looked awesome, we agree!

I had an issue flushing the black tank, there was no washer installed so I had water going everywhere but the black tank! I quickly figured it out and flushed the tank and overall everything went great after that.

We found a gouge in the kitchen floor I think the slide caused, I’ll be discussing that and the surround system with the dealer tomorrow, we’ll see what they say. Until then have a great Sunday night and we can’t wait until next weekend!! Smile

No Blu-Ray?!?!

It’s 2013, everything Ronda and I have is on Blu-Ray, well ok, not all but 90% is at least. The surround sound system Keystone installed is the Sony Bravia DAV-DZ170, it’s DVD only which doesn’t bother me except the receiver has NO INPUTS. Disappointed smile  Good grief you’d think this was an Apple product not to include an HD source for an HD screen, sheeesh.

This doesn’t mean I can’t install a Blu-Ray player, it just means we would have to listen to it on the flat screen TV and not the sound system. Disappointed smile This is their top of the line full timer rig and they go cheap on the entertainment system, well, at least it’s not Jensen but come on we can’t watch 90% of our discs?

I’m calling the dealer who will tell me that this is what's installed, too bad and I get that but this cheap ass system has no inputs so I can’t even install my own Blu-Ray player without buying their upgraded product which can’t be purchased separately, you have to buy the entire surround system including the craptastic speakers.

No Gen-II Remote control and now no Blu-Ray, nuts! These are small things but considering what we paid they add up. I’ll be calling tomorrow and asking to swap out the NON-HD Sony for something built AFTER 2008…. doubt I’ll get it so this will be a $350.00 cost if we want to watch our movie collection. Kinda frosts me a bit…

EDIT: Forgot to mention, we love the rig!! Negatives aside the rig is awesome! Smile

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Birthday America!!

To my adopted home, happy birthday!




Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Whew, that was a long day!

I cut the grass, emptied all basement storage bins, rinsed out the tanks and then went through the walk through and then spent 2 hours moving everything from the Endeavor to the Montana.

It rained so I didn’t take pictures, if they haven’t touched the Endeavor I’ll take pictures of it since I forgot the toilet paper there.

Here are some pictures of the rig in place, Jeff at Collier did a fantastic job of backing her in.

One big disappointment, there is no remote control for the slides and jacks. Apparently at some point earlier this year they decided to stop including it. Disappointed smile Guess who didn’t know, EVERYBODY. I was pissed, last years model that we turned down comes with it, it’s 10k less and you can operate all the slides and jacks from outside.

Keystone says on their website all Montana’s come with it, so I’m contacting them Friday to tell them what I think of this. Here are some pictures, I am still working on the fence, sewer and water connections so it will have to do as it is until tomorrow or Friday.





It’s moving day

Yesterday at 4:00am two squirrels decided to have a knock down drag out fight on the roof of our rig. After an hour of that I opened the door and broke them up, 20 minutes later another creature started running back and forth on the roof… this morning the chipmunk is back up there at 5:00am running back and forth. I opened the door and couldn’t see him, 20 minutes later he slides off the front of the coach and you could hear him desperately trying to hang on.

It’s now 7:05 and he is back! Good grief man! Disappointed smile Apparently the creatures of the forest have decided I will not be sleeping much…. little buggers…

Anyway, Ronda and I paid for the new rig yesterday and signed the papers so we officially now own the Montana! After signing the papers and handing over a monster check we picked up dinner and ate our last meal in the Endeavor. I thought I had everything planned so of course I forgot what I was going to do… ack.

Full gray and black tanks, RV is situated on a slope so what do I do? Why take the RV off of the boards that had it close to being level of course so today I’ll have to use the dump station to properly drain both tanks. Not a big deal but I wanted to really give both a good cleaning so hopefully there aren’t any people wanting to use the dump station because I’m going to be there for awhile! 

I’m going to take pictures of the move and also of how disgusting the Endeavor looks from sitting for almost 3 months under trees. Yes, it’s that dirty.

More to come! Stay tuned same bat time same bat channel!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Flag at half staff for the Granite Mountain Hotshots

I’ve been so wrapped up in the new RV I forgot to lower the flag after the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots died. The owners of the campground have 2 sons who are fireman and we talked about the tragedy, you could see how the deaths of those men affected them. It’s hard to understand 19 people dying while doing something they loved, they were hero’s who did the hardest job imaginable. Our thoughts and prayers go to the families.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Getting closer!

It’s marked as sold on their website, we also see what we owe showing up on our Credit Union’s account dashboard so we technically owe money on something we haven’t picked up yet!

TWO MORE DAYS…. I have vacuumed our old rig three times today to fluff up the carpet. I’m cleaning everything inside and I am power washing the tanks, why, because I have OCD, ADD and everything else that ends in D!!! The outside of the rig has 3 months of tree gunk and black crap from the forest on it. The dealer will care for that but inside will be spotless! I have a sickness… I know I know… Smile and yes if I could the outside would be spotless as well!