- Truckin' News -

- A New Digital HDTV Antenna for the Camper -

Winegard RayZar Automatic Rayzar Auto
   I recently did some research on Digital RF TV Antennas for my truck camper. The camper came with an omnidirectional, non-crankup antenna and I found the performance very poor. We camp on a beach on Cape Cod, MA, facing Cape Cod Bay. Theoretically, we have a straight shot at Boston from our position on the beach. The most our TV could find for channels was 38. That sounds good but the majority of those 38 were coming in at fair to poor signal and we were constantly losing the channel we were watching or experiencing pixel drop out. It was time to do something about the situation.

   I have friends who have the "Batwing" style directional antennas and they have excellent reception. I really didn't want to punch a hole through the roof of a new camper so I was looking elsewhere. I was reading some info on the Winegard RayZar Automatic RX-8500 when I noticed a link to a weekly drawing to win one. I clicked on the link, filled in the blanks and about four days later, I received an email congratulating me on winning an antenna. I NEVER WIN ANYTHING so this was awesome. It took about a week and a box showed up on my step from Winegard. I will continue with the installation and testing in the next few paragraphs. I hope you like the review.


   First, I was able to mount the RayZar Control Box in the same opening where the Jensen wall plate was for my original antenna, so that saved some time. I had to mount an auxiliary cigarette lighter plug to power the TV itself though. One was included as part of the Jensen plate and thatís gone now. After getting the connections all done on the new control box, I re-installed it in the cabinet wall under the TV. Now for the antenna installation!

   Removing the Jensen ANHD20 Antenna was fairly simple. I used a sharp putty knife and carefully scraped off the sealant until I could see there was a separation between the roof material and the antenna base. I removed the locking screw and disconnected the antenna from itís base, exposing the coax and the pass through hole in the roof. I carefully removed all the antenna parts and unscrewed the coax from the antennaís pigtail.
Roof Plate Winegard provides a nice plastic coax plate and several screws to clamp the coax AND seal the hole in the roof at the same time. After thoroughly cleaning the roof with solvent, I positioned the new antenna where I wanted it and screwed the coax to it, just for positioning purposes. I took some of the used putty sealant and pushed it down into the coax hole leaving about ĹĒ for new sealant. I did this to keep the new sealant from dripping into the camper. I marked the plate position on the roof with pencil, covered the bottom side with new Dicor self-leveling sealant. I also pooled some Dicor around the coax, itís entry hole and into the remaining screw holes in the roof. The new plate
was large enough to cover all of the old holes. I pushed the new plate down against the coax, onto the roof and screwed it down with the provided screws. (Winegard also provides an outside metal plate and inside plastic plate for cases where you might have a crank-up antenna and need more coverage to seal the holes from that previous installation).
   Before mounting the antenna, I went inside and powered up the control box. I ran the antenna through itís paces to make sure there were no problems BEFORE drilling holes in my roof. Once the test was complete (and I saw a tremendous gain in channels, by the way), it was time to mount the RayZar Automatic. I positioned the antenna using Winegardís recommendations and marked the feet and mounting holes with a marker. I also used a leather punch to start all nine screw holes for convenience. There are three holes in each of the three mounting feet. I lifted the antenna and set it on a piece of wood so I could put a generous amount of Dicor at all three mounting foot positions. Once caulked, I carefully set the antenna onto the roof, over the sealant. I put three provided screws in each foot and tightened them up. I then completely covered each foot with Dicor and let it pool to guard against leaks(see picture, below - right). I also completely covered the plastic plate just for peace of mind. I put my tools away, cleaned up and called it a day. All of what I just described only took about 3 hours by myself!
   Once I get the rig to the beach where we were having the problem with our previous, omni-directional antenna and run a thorough test, I'll finish this review. As for right now, my preliminary thoughts in the driveway are "It's getting MUCH better reception and I don't have to turn a knob - it's all Automatic!" 
Rayzar Auto Rayzar Auto
Looking forward from the back corner... ...and straight down showing mount and coax cover.


2015 Ford F-150 unveiled at Metro Ford - 10/15/14

   A group of four NEW Aluminum Ford F-150 trucks drove in from Detroit this evening - all for the public to see and test drive. It was all arranged by Metro Ford, as well as food and refreshments for customers, perspective customers and anyone interested in driving one of these new units. A knowledgeable group of men and women from Detroit accompanied the trucks and were available to answer any questions about these new vehicles.
As you can see by the license plate, straight from Detroit...
A vastly redesigned sliding rear window was a departure from days past...
...smooth lines, better security and an overall modernistic look!
The Lariat models have a luxurious interior... I drove this one!
The rear seating was roomy and comfortable!
Nice color spilt on the door panels with polished aluminum trim.
How about a dual Moon Roofs... rear is stationary but the front one opens.
The Tailgate made my back feel like my surgery was already done... press a button and it opens for you, smoothly and slowly. Closing it is power assisted and it feels like it weighs 5 or 10 pounds.
The loaded model had the new "Blindspot Radar" - really nice feature for highway driving.
They are offering several new colors with this series too... nice!
   Metro Ford goes out of their way to make sure you are completely satisfied before you leave. I just purchased my new F-350 Super Duty on Friday, October 10th and Patti and I witnessed it then. Tonight was no different - they put on a great spread and offered test drives. Taking a Test Drive also automatically entered you in a drawing to WIN a 2015 F-150 at the end of their tour. I bet Patti could handle that... I can see her now!
   Thanks to the Greico Family and all of their Raynham Ford Staff for their hospitality and a great event!

- BYOB - Spring 2013 -

Metro Motor Group holds First Annual Car Show!

   The First Annual Metro Motor Group Car, Truck & Bike Show was held Sunday, June 9, 2013 at Metro's Ford/KIA Dealership on Route 44 in Raynham, MA. The weather was perfect, the turnout was better than expected for a first time car show and everyone had a great time. Domenic Grieco, General Manager of the Raynham Dealership, as well as his brothers Michael and Robert, have a passion for fine automobiles. Domenic thought "Why not bring together area Car, Truck and Motorcycle enthusiasts for a day of showing off their hard work and chatting with fellow enthusiasts?" As a truck and car enthusiast myself, as well as a Metro Customer, I first decided I'd take a ride down and see the show. After a little coaxing from the guys at Metro, I washed and waxed my truck and became a first time participant.
   When I arrived, I realized I was totally outclassed by the rigs that were there. Wow, what beautiful vehicles these guys and gals have put together. It's amazing the hours that go into building some of these babies! As you'll see as you browse through the few photographs that I took and posted here, there's a lot of time and money tied up in some of these vehicles. It's an art just being able to stay focused and keep working on an older vehicle. Parts availability isn't as simple as with newer vehicles... you have to chase Antique/Automotive Flea Markets, etc. just to get what you need. Some of these rigs are the product of many years of work... I admire the people that do it.
   Metro put together a first class show... they had a DJ, a Cotton Candy machine for the kids, Hamburgers, Hot Dogs and soft drinks. Cape Cod Cannolis was there serving there delicious cannolis too. As mentioned earlier, the turnout was much better than anticipated so plans for future events have not been made as yet. I do know that I spoke with Domenic as I was leaving and I stated how well put together the event was. I said "I hope we don't have to wait until next year for another" Domenic just smiled and said "I don't think you will - hopefully, after today's turnout, we can get to work on plans for more!" Check Metro's web site or check back here too... I'll list the next event here as soon as I hear about it from the folks at Metro! 'Til then... keep on Cruisin'!

Show 1
Metro Ford's Main Lot turned into a Show Floor!
Show 2
One of Metro's Ford Super Duty Dealership vehicles.
Show 3
A better view of the 2013 F-350 Super Duty crew cab.
Show 4
Looking East down Route 44...
Show 5
The front lot transformed... with my truck hiding at the end of the line.
Show 6
There's my beast... the 2008 Super Duty Beach Truck!
32 Ford 1
Eventual "Best Truck" winner, this gorgeous 32 Ford pickup truck.
32 Ford 2
I heard it coming before I saw it... the Blower whine is unmistakable!
32 Ford 3
Every detail was immaculate... the deep Merlot Metallic paint glistened in the Sun!
32 Ford 4
The interior was neat, clean and functional... not over done.
32 Ford 5
Then there was the Horsepower... let's just say you could feel the ground shaking.
32 Ford 6
The truck was lowered so much, it took some creative wood working to work the bed.
427 Cobra 1
This Black Cobra is Domenic's younger brother Robert's car... NICE!
Since a teenager back in 1964, the Cobra has been a dream car of mine.
427 Cobra 2
...note this one is autographed by the late, great Caroll Shelby!
427 Cobra 3
The first Cobra was extremely fast with it's 289... imagine this one with it's 427?
427 Cobra 4
That's Robert Grieco checking out the Cobrajet.
 This red Cobra was hand built by Metro's Parts Manager, Andrew Whelan.
427 Cobra 5
Simple, "built for the driver", all business interior.
56 Ford Truck
Who could forget the Classic 56 Ford pickup?
Cobrajet 1
The Cobrajet was creation of Ford Racing, originally back in 1968...
Cobrajet 2
Brand new Goodyear Racing Rubber... ready to go!
There were also a couple of Shelby Mustang GT 500's in attendance...
...Yep, that's the nose of a Supercharger... how do you spell Q-U-I-C-K?
Mustang Bracket Car
This very nice looking 1/4 Mile Bracket Car had a lot of interest.
This is Domenic's 2006 Harley Davidson Screaming Eagle Fatboy...
...with only 1200 miles, it's actually For Sale... anyone interested?
Super Duty 1
Last, but not least... the Super Duty truck section...
Super Duty 2
...I was doing fine until this white beauty showed up!
...and finally, my new Tailgate artwork including Custom Metro plaque.

    A Sincere "Thank You" to the Grieco Family for putting this event on...
                                                        ...I'm already looking forward to the next one!

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- BYOB - Spring 2013 -
The Field, early

   On Saturday, May 18th, my wife and I had the privilege of being invited to BYOB - Spring 2013. No, it's not a drinking bash... in this case BYOB stands for "Bring Your Own Bronco". It's a group of early Bronco owners that get together twice a year for these events. The Ford Bronco, originally introduced in 1966, became the first real competition for Jeep as an On/Offroad vehicle. As you'll see in the photos below, these early Broncos have a wide following and for good reason. Once restored, they lend themselves nicely to all sorts of modifications. Just check out the photo section.
   The event, which has been sponsored for the last several years by Lamoureux Ford of East Brookfield, has either been held or ends up at The Eight Point Sportsmen's Club in Sterling, MA. The Spring event is usually held at the club and involves a cookout, games for the kids, and Offroad RC Car Track for the kids and BIG kids and some healthy obstacles for the Broncos to negotiate. The Fall event usually involves a one way Cruise that ends up at the club for a cookout. The food is excellent at both events - I was at the Fall Event back in 2011 also.
   The weather this day turned out beautiful - sunny all day with a mild breeze that kept everyone comfortable. The Obstacles kept quite a few of the owners busy trying to keep their rigs on the poles (again, check the photo section for an explanation) or to balance the feared Balance Beams! No one succeeded on the Balance Beams - as a matter of fact, the last attempt ended up becoming an Offroad Vehicle Rescue operation. The last set of photos show a series of shots but, long story short, the chain that holds the left and right side beams together, pulled out and left a Bronco in a rather unusual predicament. With all the experienced "Wheelers" on site, it became a rather simple task to get the Bronco back on the ground.
   Patti and I would like to again, thank the BYOB family for inviting us (and our Ford Super Duty) to their event. We thoroughly enjoyed the day, the company and the food - it was a lot of fun! We'd also like to thank Sean Gaudette, Dave Farrell and their Team for all their hard work and their sponsor, Lamoureux Ford for helping to make these events possible. GREAT JOB Guys!

BYOB 2013 - Tent
Sean contemplating... contemplating... well, I'm not sure what he's contemplating.
Ouch! Left front got crunched...
These guys really take pride in their restoration work... it's amazing!
Look at this beauty out of Rhode Island!
Another view of the Rhode Island truck...
A bit bigger than most but really nice...
Connecticut had a pretty good showing too...
The Paint and Detailing on this sweetheart was beautiful...
Actually, nobody got the balance beams to hold this year so I had to do it with the camera...
When I saw this guy climbing up on the beams, I thought "I'll try it with the Super Duty!"
Unfortunately, the beams weren't far enough apart for my wider track... thank God!
...pretty nimble for a larger Bronco, hugh?
This guy kept the orange/blue scheme right down to the smallest detail!
New Hampshire was represented too...
Nice bumper fab...
...another MA Truck.
A New York truck doing some exercises...
Dave trying to help balance this Bronco.
Lots of folks tried the balance beam...
Some actually made it... or so it seemed!
Orange Crush... beautiful truck!
Plenty of KC Firepower on the front of this truck...
Beautifully restored early Ford F150 Ranger pickup...
Sharp rig out of New Jersey... love that color!
Massachusetts Black Beauty...
The New Zealand look... nice truck!
Roof Basket - check, Gerry Can - check, Spare tire - check...
...having enough room left for a cooler - priceless!
Lot's of people, lots of nice Broncos and a beautiful day.
Note the chain highlighted below left... this HAD BEEN holding the logs together all day!
See what I mean... oops!
This is actually the BYOB 2013 Official Recovery Training Exercise...
...the chain pulled loose and left this poor guy perched precariously!
...O.K., now what would we do in the woods?
Yeah, that's it... jacks, logs... build up under the wheels... Yeah, now I remember.
O.K., is this really going to work?
Here goes nothing... slowly... easy now...
So far, so good... easy...
...one tire is on the ground... another is almost there...
...front's are down... see, I told ya' - I knew this would work! :-)

- Older Stories -

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