Hurry up and glue

Drill, dowel, glue, clamp, wait. That’s been the rhythm for the past few weeks as we glue the wood roof structure together and subsequently attach the ceiling. Dowels connect all the wood pieces together, and after they are glued they must cure for 24 hours. It’s another 24 hours after the ceiling gets glued and attached with plastic rivets. So 48 hours minimum per panel, and there are 6 of them. Thankfully, all but one is done, and it will be finished up once the other 5 sections are in place.  That one will be used to take the “slop” out once the others are secure.  The largest section over the kitchen and dining area took some ingenuity to place on the vehicle, utilizing two extension ladders.

The next step will be to complete all the direct current wiring and to add the 3/4″ insulation, which involved a trip to the metropolis of Salina, KS, to acquire.  That will be bonded to the ceiling, and the thin plywood will go on top of that.  The engineering department is working out a plan to do most of the gluing directly on the vehicle.  We’re expecting a report soon after tests are completed.

The weather has been characteristically uncooperative, with occasional pop-up showers and near 100-degree temperatures. The vehicle gets tucked into bed each night via a large tarp, and the trapped heat has done some interesting things to the PVC ridge pole underneath.

I’ll be very glad to get this phase of the restoration done and move on to other less drudgerous parts of the project!

 

Measure once, cut twice

That’s how it goes, right?  There’s been much to cut and measure as we put the new roof on the Winnebago.  The new structure is going to be significantly different from the old one, consisting of a skeleton of 1×2’s.  Underneath will be a layer of FRP, which will make up the ceiling.  In between the 1×2’s will be insulation, and Lauan and TPO will top it off.

It’s a slow process since everything that will go on the roof has to be mapped out ahead of time, and the CAD modeling has to keep up with the woodworking so that we know where beams are once everything is closed up. (Yes, we’ve created a CAD model of the roof.)  This includes knowing where basic things like vents and the air conditioner are, plus anything that will hang from the ceiling, including cabinetry and curtains.  It also must include add-ons like solar panels, antenna connections and powered roof vents.  All the wiring has to be run at this stage as well, including all the DC, some AC, cell repeater, HF coax and solar panel wiring.  It’s a lot to keep up with!

Everything is done in 8-foot sections, starting with the back.  The wood structure is all pegged and glued together, and then the FRP is attached on the ground.  From there it’s put into place so wiring harnesses can be installed, then removed again from the vehicle for final wiring and insulation.

The pace has been slow but steady, despite having to tarp the vehicle for the occasional pop-up shower!

Off comes the roof

We’re past the point of no return – the QGoLive Mobile is now a convertible, at least for the time being.

It was just a few months ago I was watching videos of this process and hoping I would never have to do that – so naturally, here we are.

But when you see the water damage for yourself, as pictured at the left, there’s no arguing this was necessary.  The two original air conditioners were installed at rather weak points on the flat roof, and didn’t have much to keep them from causing the entire structure from sagging down, which invited water to pool and eventually leak through.

The hole you see in the middle of the picture with no damage around it originally contained a vent.  That area is much more structurally stable and will eventually house the much lighter replacement air conditioner.

This picture was taken after the aluminium skin was peeled off.  All said, it took three pickup truck loads to haul off everything that had been on the roof.

Next step is to construct the new roof, and a lot of design work has to take place between now and then.  Oh, did I mention much of the AC and DC wiring runs through the roof as well?  It’s a fun time.  Luckily, no rain in the forecast… at least not yet.  Knock on 70’s wood paneling.

Winnebago roof update

Work continues on the RV roof.  We’ve removed several hundred pounds of weight, including two very old air conditioners and lots of add-on channel iron that was holding everything together.  All that’s left is some lauan plywood, foam, a few 1 by 4s and the aluminum skin.

The new roof design will be a vast improvement from the original, with steel supports for one much lighter air conditioner.  The new roof design will consist of a fiberglass-reinforced plastic ceiling, 1x2s for support beams, insulating foam, luan plywood and a layer of thermoplastic polyolefin on the top.

Still a lot of work to do but the project is certainly coming along! This is no doubt the biggest task of the entire project.  While it may appear simple, a stock Winnebago roof is surprisingly complex.

Radio Nomad on network show

What better way to help kick off the Radio Nomad project than to share an update on national radio?

That’s what I did this past weekend thanks to Walter Sterling’s show, Sterling on Sunday, aired on almost 100 radio stations including WLS, WPHT, KMOX, KFBK, WBAP and others.

This clip serves as another great example of how a telephone hybrid is no match for QGoLive.  Walter is doing the show via QGoLive, and I’m connected to WPHT using a standard telephone hybrid.  The difference is unmistakable.

What’s going on here?

You may wonder why we’re starting a blog about an RV on this site. Objectively it seems a bit unusual, but I assure you there’s a good reason.

First of all I’m James Copeland – I do support and onboarding for QGoLive – and I recently bought a motorhome. A 1975 Winnebago Indian, to be exact. What on earth possessed me to do this? There’s no one reason, but I think there are a lot of parallels between QGoLive and the freedom of life on the road. With today’s technology, we’re no longer constricted by bulky infrastructure to carry out remotes in the radio industry. Likewise, an RV represents independence, a flow against the norm and self-reliance. There are a lot of features in one place, just like QGoLive – it does a lot in one just application. The only difference is, my application is 25 feet long and can’t be placed in a pocket.

So, what’s the plan?  It’s pretty simple.  I drive this beast around the country and pop into a radio station here and there.  If you’d like me to come and visit your radio station, that can probably be arranged.  This space is provided so that you can follow along, from the renovation updates to life around the country, we’ll present it here so you can live vicariously through the adventure.