Counting You!
You're Visitor #
Nothing in this site is copyrighted -- I'd be honored if you'd reuse anything you find here for your website
CLICK HERE to return to the index of my periodic Retirement Tips and RV Stuff newsletters. 
If you'd like to get on the distribution for the next newsletter, send me email at
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Retirement Tips and RV Stuff Newsletter
Issue 2009.08         Aug 2009
Publisher, Bob Hoffman -
Back Issues at -
PRIVACY STATEMENT: This newsletter's email addresses are never sold or otherwise made public.
If you're receiving this by email and don't want it, just email me and I'll take you off my distribution list.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Well, they really did it ... after hearing about the digital TV conversion for a couple of years, then seeing it postponed once, I decided to not worry about it until I was convinced that they were really, really, really going to do it. My home TVs are on cable, so nothing was required there, but I knew that sooner or later I'd have to do something in the RV. I got my coupons and bought two of those conversion boxes last year sometime, then stashed them in the RV in case I (or someone I knew) needed them.

We made that class reunion trip in May as planned, prior to the June 12th DTV deadline, so no problem there. In mid-June (June 7-12), we took a fishing trip to Jupiter Inlet in South Florida. Just under the deadline! Then, another fishing trip July 19-24 - they got us! Turned on our TV and all we could get was the Spanish-language channels (why didn't they have to convert?). After spending a few hours trying to understand enough Spanish to figure out what was going on, I decided to attempt the conversion.

I've been watching the RV newsletters to see if someone else could explain it much better than me, but haven't seen much. I saw a short article in the Lazydays newsletter today that essentially said if you've got a flat-screen, don't worry about it. If you've got a switch box, it's easy. It didn't really tell much for those of us who aren't too mechanically (or cable-ly) inclined, so I thought I'd throw out what I learned in case that might help someone.

My coach has two TVs and one of those switch boxes that allows you to switch from antenna to cable to VCR. It sits in an overhead compartment in front of the passenger seat, is velcro-d to the top of the VCR, and has a spaghetti-bowl of wiring in back of it. I opened one of the conversion boxes and read the directions. In the boxes that I got from Walmart, one TV coaxial cable is included. Instructions say if you're connected via the coax, all parts are included. If you're connected using those multi-colored plugs, you'll need to go buy a couple of extra sets. Mine was coax, so I proceeded.

I found where the cable comes in from the antenna and thought I'd try attaching there first. I simply unplugged the cable going from the antenna to the switch box, plugged it into the converter box, ran the new cable from the converter box to antenna connection, and turned it on. All worked well, the remote for the converter box picked up all the channels nicely, and I had convinced myself that it actually worked. Only problem was that, by connecting on the antenna plug, both TVs were tuned to this converter box so both had to watch the same channel and any channel-changing was done up front. Fine for the fishing trip, but when Joyce joined in on a future trip, we'd definitely need a separate control for the rear TV. It's a rare occasion when we both want to watch the same channel, and that's usually only because we're camping someplace with a very limited choice.

So, next step was to tear the switch box loose from the VCR and take a look at the wiring on the back. I did so and found the cable that provided the antenna signal to the front TV, disconnected it, and ran it to the converter box and the other from converter box to switch box. Turned all back on and Viola!  The front TV now worked and the rear went back to Spanish channels.

Rear TV was easier to figure out, but harder to implement. I actually had to figure out how to unscrew the wooden frame holding the TV up in the corner, lift the TV out, and connect the cables to the back of the TV. I even got real industrious and drilled holes in the bottom of the wooden support to run the wires outside the TV receptacle to make a neater appearance. Hooked it back up and it's working fine, and on a separate channel!

So, what's the value of all this? Well, from what I can tell, the channels are much clearer and there are more of them. We now have a couple of all-weather channels, which is good for fishing trips, plus some all-news channels, etc. Bad news is that when reception gets weak, the picture freezes or goes to a bunch of little digital squares, where it used to just get snowy.

Only question remaining is what happens when I get to a campground with cable. I don't think this setup works when you're plugged to cable and I'm not sure what really happens when I push the AUX (cable) button on the switch box instead of the ANT (antenna). I figure I'll wait until it happens to figure out what to do. I suspect the easiest thing will be to get one of those cable connectors, pull the two cables off the back of the converter box, and simply hook them together. We'll see ... when it happens.

November Add-on: That works! Just take the converter box out of the loop by detaching the two cables, connecting them with a double-female connector, and it works fine on cable.

Hope this helps someone out there who hasn't used their RV since June 12th. Be sure to get a converter box ahead of time and use one of those $40 discount coupons if they still offer them. If you have any problems connecting ... don't email me. I know little more than what I've put in this newsletter.

Recent Travel: As mentioned above, reunion trip in May (as described in Latest Site Updates below) and fishing trips in June and July. Didn't catch anything earth-shaking on the fishing trips, so didn't do Travel Log chapters for them. Did see the biggest Hammerhead Shark ever, but didn't get a photo, so ... nevermind.

Upcoming Travel: We're looking seriously at a cabin in Mentone, Alabama, so if we can get the finances worked out, we'll be making a trip back up there soon to decide if we really want to do it.

Read on for notes on my latest site updates, some words about how I'd make some money if you guys would buy something off the website, IOTR News (Oops! Deleted that), Art News, and wrapping up with my RAMBLINGS.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


- Chapter 87. Reunion and Road Trip , my 50th high school reunion, some neat stuff in Mentone, Alabama, and my cousin's "digs" on the island of St. Lucia.

- WWII Maps, a website I started back in 2005, then never finished. I've recently put a little more work into it. If you're a World War II buff, be sure to check out the "Great 1941-1945 Animated Europe" Powerpoint presentation!

- America Views has been overhauled. If you've never visited, you should! I'm sure you'll find something there that will interest and/or entertain you.

- Various tweaks and updates through various websites.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Three great links, only one of which is RV related:

- : A great website I learned about when I was looking for a new Fifties jukebox for our class website. UpChucky has great music from the Forties through the Nineties, plus a BUNCH of other stuff. You could spend hours wandering around this site and not see it all.

- International Space Station Comes Together : Positively fantastically amazing! I thought I had been following the ISS fairly closely, but had no idea how big it is and how much work has gone into it. This USA Today animated graphic presentation is really something!

- Would You Like Chips and Salsa With Your RV Paint Job? : If you're anywhere near needing a paint job on your RV, this might be valuable info. For those who don't want to wade through all the forum responses regarding buying USA vs Mexico, the price on that paint job was only $2250 as compared to $6000+ in the USA!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Here's a list of some interesting products, some of which will make me a few bucks if you need them and buy them here:

- Camp at Half of What Everyone Else is Paying!  No home park, no monthly maintenance fees, no long-term obligation, just pay the small annual fee and camp for half-price. Check it out here.

- 50+ ways to get to the internet when you're on the road! Read'm at Internet On The Road.

- Amazon Books : Buy from Amazon through this link and I get a couple of bucks  -- Click here to check them out.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Nothing much new on the art front beyond what I reported in my last newsletter. HOWEVER, if we get that place in Mentone, part of the plan is to set up an art gallery there, featuring art by Joyce, her artist friends in central Florida, and maybe something from others to be announced later. We shall see ...

If you see anything on the that you'd be interested in buying, email Joyce for info on size, price, etc. Also, if you have a topic, pet, or whatever that you'd like an original painting of, just let her know. As mentioned above, she's doing mostly portraits now and can work from a photograph.

Did I mention that Joyce is Treasurer of Brevard Watercolor Society (BWS)? Well, she is and she's getting very involved in all of the BWS activities, events, workshops, and shows.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


I'm not going to do any rambling here this month, but just going to put in a video that I bumped into. I realize there are hundreds (thousands?) of videos on YouTube and there are many people that think each one of those is fantastic, but I thought I'd throw this one out in case you'all might think it was as neat as I did. This is a first! ... including a video in my newsletter ... but since I no longer email out the entire text, I decided to venture forth and try it out. If you like nostalgia and great music, as I do, maybe you'll appreciate this:

This video presents a performance recorded in 1987 at historic Storyville Night Club in New Orleans. Here's something you don't see every day: Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis and Fats Domino --- three of the greatest "ivory-ticklers" of their day --- playing pianos on the same stage at the same time. Brace yourself and make sure your sound is ‘on’ because this show will rock you out of your seat. This is a once-in-a-lifetime appearance, and one you will not soon forget! Ron Woods of the Rolling Stones, Carl Perkins (Blue Suede Shoes), and others playing back-up, a cameo appearance by Rod Stewart, and all directed by Paul Schaeffer, Letterman's band leader! This is ‘boogie’ at its best… & played by "the Kings". 


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Email to sign up for the next newsletter, coming whenever I'm in the mood again.
Permanent Mailing Address: R. Hoffman, 1033 Jacaranda Circle, Rockledge, Florida 32955.
If you're looking for a specific topic in one of the old newsletters, the Search box on the right will find it for you. It will also point you to other references to the topic throughout the website.

The sponsors listed below do not in any way endorse or even necessarily agree with the information included in these newsletters.