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John Stewart

Medium Speed Vehicle Laws Detailed

IIHS makes state law table and interactive map describing medium-speed vehicles available online

In September 2008, NHTSA denied a petition for rulemaking to create a new class of motor vehicles known as medium speed vehicles (MSV). The petitioners proposed that MSVs have a top speed of 35 mph and that they be held to less stringent safety standards than passenger cars. NHTSA, taking environmental and fuel consumption issues into consideration, denied the request due to increased risk of death and injury.

Despite NHTSA's denial of the petition, 9 states (Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington) have adopted a definition of "medium-speed vehicle (MSV)" and all except Colorado allow MSVs on specified portions of their public roads. Colorado's law states that medium-speed vehicles cannot be titled or registered until the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has adopted safety standards for vehicles that operate at greater than 25 mph but less than 45 mph.

For details, go to http://www.iihs.org/laws/mediumspeedvehicles.aspx

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John Stewart

Antique and Classic Boat Show

Antique and Classic Boat Show

The few drops of rain were not enough to wash off the dust but they did not hide the banner strung across the entrance to the town of McCall.  An Antique and Classic Boat Show was set to open for public viewing for the weekend.  Hopefully the rain was temporary and would not linger.

McCall, Idaho sits on the shores of Payette Lakes and is home to year around recreation opportunities.  In the winter, skiing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing are popular.  In the summer, skiing (water), wheeling, and fishing are popular.  This August weekend featured an Antique and Classic Boat Show hosted by the local chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society (www.acbs.org).

The name Chris-Craft dominated the makers of boats on display.  All were meticulously restored to their former glory years when moved from factory to show room to the water.  From the 28 foot speed boat powered by twin Mercury Marine V-8 engines to the sleek 14 canoe powered by sail, the boats were high polished wood.

It is evident the owners loved and cherished their classic boats and seek to protect the heritage of boating by promoting the preservation and restoration of historic antique and classic boats.

See more pictures of Antique and Classic Boats in the 4x4Wire Galleries.

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John Stewart

Get Ready for the Perseids!

August is the month to view the night-time skies and the annual meteor shower.  The below may appeal to the techincal side; but anyone can (and everyone should) spend a little time watching this amazing sight.

On the night of August 11 and well into the next day, Earth will make its annual passage through the bulk of the debris shed by a comet known as Swift-Tuttle <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/109P/Swift-Tuttle>. Much of the debris is composed of dust-sized grains, but when these fragments come plunging into our atmosphere they can create a dazzling meteor display. Not only are the meteors fascinating to watch, they also leave short-lived streams of ionized gas in their wake. As hams have known for years, these meteor trails are excellent reflectors of radio waves.

The Swift-Tuttle meteor showers are known as the Perseids <http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/31jul_perseids2009.htm> because they appear to come from a point in the sky that lies within the constellation Perseus. This year's shower is forecast to be especially active because we're about to pass through a somewhat thicker filament of dust that boiled off Swift-Tuttle in 1862. If you own a 6 or 2 meter SSB/CW transceiver, you can get in on the action, bouncing your signals off Perseid meteor trails and making quick meteor scatter contacts over hundreds of miles, and possibly even as much as 1200 miles <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteor_scatter>.

Meteor scatter operation is particularly easy on 6 meters where 100 W and an omnidirectional antenna will do the job. On 2 meters a directional antenna (such as a multielement Yagi) usually yields better results.  Some meteor scatter operators prefer to use SSB, making rapid exchanges of signal reports and grid squares. In recent years digital meteor scatter has been increasing in popularity. With the free sound-card-based WSJT software suite by Joe Taylor, K1JT, it is possible to make digital meteor scatter contacts almost any time of the day or night, not just during annual showers <http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/>. Most WSJT scatter operators use a mode known as FSK441 and center their activities on calling frequencies at 50.260 and 144.140 MHz. They also announce their availability by using Web sites just as N0UK's Ping Jockey Central <http://www.pingjockey.net/cgi-bin/pingtalk>.

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John Stewart

Camping Goes 'Green' at Pennsylvania State Parks

HARRISBURG, Pa., July 8 -- The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has developed guidelines and a demonstration campsite that can help campers reduce their impact on the environment, Bureau of State Parks Director John Norbeck said today.

"Normally we think of tent camping as a fairly natural activity, but there are things that campers can do differently to limit the impact they have on their outdoor surroundings," Norbeck said. "Using a 'green' approach to camping is not only good for the environment; it also can reduce your costs and make camping more enjoyable."

The demonstration "green" campsite is being set up at state parks across the state this summer as a weekend program for visitors. It features a tent and sleeping bag made from recycled materials; fuel efficient cooking stove; an LED flashlight; solar charger and reusable batteries; reusable cook set; solar camp shower; non-toxic bug repellant; bear-proof food container; a clothes line; and reusable marshmallow sticks.

Park staff will also provide outdoor recreational, amphitheater, and family and children's programs that tie in with the "green" theme.

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John Stewart

Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument

The Parashant trip was, by all accounts, spectacular.  The trip was organized well in advance and we were able to see and do everything that we had planned. The Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument covers a vast area by itself but it is seamlessly connected to both the Lake Mead National Recreation Area and the Grand Canyon National Park. Combined, there are thousands of miles of off pavement roads to explore.

Our travels allowed us to visit, Gold Butte, the Tassi Ranch, the Grand Wash Cliffs, the Pakoon Basin, Hidden Canyon, , the Townsite of Trumbull, Twin Point, Kelly Point, Mt Logan, Mt Logan Wilderness, the Colorado River, Nampaweep Rock Art Site, the Witches Water Pocket and Toroweep. We exited through Colorado City and stopped at the "Merry Wives Cafe" for some snacks and drinks.

Elevations ranged from 1500 feet to over 7500 feet. Temperatures ranged from over 100 degrees in some areas to as low as the teens (19 degrees at 6:30AM) in other areas. Patches of snow still covered some areas in the higher elevations and it seemed like the middle of summer in the lower elevations.

One of the greatest thrills was being able to find a road that went to within one tenth of a mile of the Colorado River. Reaching the water did require a bit of a hike, dropping over 800 feet to the bottom of the Canyon. Three of us made it to the bottom and were rewarded with the cold refreshing water of the Colorado.

Click here to read more about the Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument April 2009 from Outdoor Adventure USA

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