2 meter ham radio into the 4runner

I got some time today to install my favorite 2 meter ham radio into the 4runner. It’s an Icom IC-V8000 radio that I’ve had for a few years, and has always been awesome to use. Installation was typical of this type of radio, so I won’t go into too much detail, except to note that I took the usual precautions. A short ground wire, and running the coax for the antenna clear of any power wires is important. Check out the pictures by clicking on the gallery for a photo tutorial of the install.

Wiper switch upgrade for the van

Swapping in the new wiper switch was an easy upgrade
Swapping in the new wiper switch was an easy upgrade

One of the things that I’m not too fond of with older cars is the lack of intermittent wiper functions. Having to deal with a drizzle by constantly cycling the wiper switch by hand is a good way to break the switch and the only other option is to let them run dry (and listen to it) or not run them at all. Not too safe to even have to worry about it.

I’ve been looking for a solid option to fix this problem for a while now, and after some serious digging I found the solution. For only a few years, in GM trucks from 78-83, there was an optional wiper switch available. Swapping in the switch and controller from these trucks is actually an easy swap, the only thing that needed modification on my 78 van was the opening for the switch in the trim piece. Easy.

It’s funny how such a little thing can make a big difference.

Here is the wiper switch that I used and here is the wiper delay control module that I used. The switch plugs into the module and the module plugs into the factory harness where the old switch used to live.

If you have an old van like mine and want to do this upgrade, this is the way to go. It’s not cheap, but it makes life so much better that it’s very worthwhile.

The hole in the middle

It’s a strange feeling, being in the middle of two jobs and not having a paycheck coming in. I am beyond positive that this move is a good one, but it still marks the end of an era and that makes it a little hard.

Over my 7 years working for Lindblad expeditions I watched the company change in a million ways. Some good, some bad. It went from a small company that was as close to being “family run” as is possible to being another corporate entity. The good part of that is that when I started we were constantly worried if it would last, money was always tight and things were always chaotic, but now it’s not like that so much. Financially they have it together now. The bad side of it is that it went from a place where everyone worked together and everyone knew each other, to a place where employees are simply a wheel in the cog.

I get it, this is a natural progression, but it’s still hard to swallow. If I were starting there now, it wouldn’t be such a big deal, but just know too much. If you are planning on going to work for them, here’s what I can say. Working on the Sea Bird and Sea Lion is a great place to start as a sailor. You can get a job fairly easily, and see if the lifestyle is what you want. Then from there one can get started down the road to licensing and that is what matters. I’ll say that this goes for the other small cruise lines as well, Uncruise, Allen Marine and others. Use them to get started, it’s what they are for. I you do go to work there, set a timeline of say three years, and don’t expect much more than that. After 3-5 years on these boats you are wasting your time, so keep that in mind. Some folks don’t mind wasting time, but I’ll advise against it here.

This is getting a little long-winded, so I’ll wrap it up now. The last few years have been pretty good for me, but now I hope to make the next few years REALLY good! I’m excited about the next job I’m headed to and will tell all about it when I get there.