I guess I should try to post more often, but I usually can't think of much to write about. So how about this.
Four years ago I bought a Toyota Echo. It got great gas mileage (about 41 mpg highway) but was just a tiny little car that did not come close to replacing my old '89 Ford Ranger (which got over 30 mpg highway, by the way). This year the balloon payment was coming up on the Echo so it was time to get rid of it, or something. So I ended up with a '03 Ranger.
I spent a lot of time outside yesterday with the truck. I gotta say although the mileage is going to stink, it's really nice to be in a truck again. To be up off the ground where I have some decent visibility is just flat-out wonderful. The previous owner had spilled some oil (not motor oil, something like 3-In-One oil) in the toolbox, so I got some Dawn soapy water and cleaned it up, then started putting stuff in it. Then I broke out the owner's manual and figured out how to break out the jack and spare tire (it is actually more like my old Courier than like my last Ranger) and then spent a couple of hours trying to figure out how in the heck to put a radio in the thing (ham radio, that is). It has an extra auxiliary power jack in the cab that is rated at 20 amps, so I might be able to get away with just hooking up to that, and not running power cables all the way to the battery. This still leaves the problem of how to get the antenna cable out. My old Ranger had several rubber grommets in the floor that were seemingly made just for such a thing (as did the Echo, in fact), but no such things exist in this Ranger. It looks like I will have to drill a hole somewhere.
One nice thing is, the extended cab creates a much larger roof area, so large that I could actually get one of those big 4-magnet mag-mount bases and put a big antenna up there if I wanted--although I probably would not actually move with a bugcatcher on the roof. I still have the mount that I fabricated for the old Ranger, and it might work on this one--it might not, because this one is slightly different in the area where I had it mounted on the old one. This magmount scheme might be okay for what is called "Rover" operations, where you drive somewhere and park before operating the radio. There's a special Rover class for the annual Field Day event.
I mention radios because, as I was driving it home the other day, I realized something that I had thought about several years before--an automatic transmission means no stick in the middle of the floor. There's a big empty area there that will hold multiple radios if the proper mount can be created. Some hams are kind of snobby about magmounts, but to me they have always been very useful and versatile. I have even occasionally operated with a magmount stuck the roof of my house. But then, living in a trailer house doesn't give me room to be snobby about much.