Camp Xray is our off grid home away from home. Its a basic country lodge design, with kitchen, beds, compost toilet, and of course wood sauna. THERE IS NO ELECTRIC POWER or running water! It’s electromagnetic signature is null!
Camp Xray is surrounded by wilderness, as is most of this part of the country. There are other cottages nearby, but privacy is not an issue. It’s the place to recharge, relax, and to prepare for training excursions in the the surrounding areas. Its been a part of our family for a very long time.
Future updates to Camp Xray
Radio ops and excursions
The main house has the following facilities
propane powered stove
four sleeping spaces
wood burning fireplace
Wood sauna and water purification tank
sleeping for two
The wood shack is a primitive building filled with firewood cut from the surrounding forest. If wood is used for sauna or fireplace, its replaced with wood cut from the local forest.
Water is obtained from the lake which is just meters from the main house. No effort has been taken to bring running water into the house or sauna building. Instead, water is collected from the lake, then boiled in the wood sauna oven. Drinking water can be prepared from filtered lake water, or collected by boiling snow, but generally, we bring fresh spring water for food preparation, coffee, …
Future updates to Camp Xray
Collecting rain water
We have discussed a water collection system for Camp Xray. So we decided to build a small system at our home to test how practical this sort of thing would be. Currently all of our home crops are hydrated using collected rain water. If we can expand this system without it becoming too complex, we my also apply what we learn to Camp Xray.
During last months test “7 days Survival off grid with a 13 watt solar panel” the idea of permanently installing a large solar array has become a reality. There are currently two ideas on this topic. The first is a mobile solar array as outlined by 8DigitPDX on YouTube. The second idea is my own and would include a four panel upgradable array, 100 watts each to start, with Genasun MTTP charge controller, and deep cycles battery bank for energy storage. This would allow us to install LED lighting, and a solar warm water heater for the sauna room. If we would dare to be optimistic, an automatic water pump to bring water from the collected watr tank, through water purification filters and into the main house and sauna rooms for relatively fresh drinking and shower water.
Planting fruit and vegetables is an important part of any home or retreat. 8DigitPDX was discussion the benefits of tree care at his retreat. Based on that video, we are entertaining the idea of apple trees at Camp Xray. Apple trees would not be a new thing there. However, harsh winters and a lack and care and maintenance, killed off the last of them about a decade ago. I think we will discuss it as a family, and decide how to proceed. Ill take the responsibility of their care, so I don’t see any issues regarding replanting them.
Radio ops and excursions
Camp Xray has the luxury of nature paths and trails encircling the lake upon which is sits. These trails and paths are an excellent opportunity to head out into the forest fr camping or distant hiking. One most take care as there is wild life which can and will kill you! Bears, wolverines, viper snakes, wolves, … Still there is no reason why not to enjoy the surrounding areas for camping, hiking, photography or comms expeditions.
The most obvious point of Camp Xray is that it sits right upon a large lake. The lake has many islands which are only accessible by boat, kayak, or Recon Marine. A few of the islands are privately owned, but the majority are public lands and good sports of radio excursions.
There are no permanently installed antennas for HF at Camp Xray. They were removed in favor of portable antennas installed in trees, or from make-shift mounts for field stations. The reason for this was Camp Xtrays height above sea level, and proximity to the lake. Most HF bands can be worked from Camp Xray with modest antennas during most times of day. This is true from HF to 6 meters. With that said, quite often, Russian operators can be a problem when wanting to work DX from Camp Xray.
Portable APRS Digipeater & Igate
Whenever we populate the Camp Xray, a portable digipeater and Igate is setup using an android smartphone and CCW Digi Tracker. This allows us to keep an a log of navigation during excursions, provides two way digital comms between the CX and explorers, and provides a beacon to get back to if lost in the forest on out on the lake. We usually choose whether to use a private APRS network, or to integrate into the local APRS RF network which is about 40km away at the closest digipeater.
The Digi tracker setup is actually quite cool. Its an expansion on my APRS Pelicase Portable Igate, Digipeater, & Messaging video from a couple of months ago.
Internet access at the Camp Xray
Internet access is provided through a device called the N+4G. Its a 4G wireless router, access point, and network switch. Its powered over USB, using a 12v battery, 12v to USB adapter, solar panel and charge controller. There is also a yagi antenna connected to the device, and aimed at the closest base station, which gives us a solid and sustainable 10M internet connection with 26ms ping. Its a flat rate connection and can be used without additional costs, no matter how much we upload or download.