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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've been sleeping in the back of my truck under a fiberglass bed shell for years. It was never warm and there always seemed to be mosquitoes that found their way in, sometimes by the hundreds. I finally bought a nice used slide-in camper so things will be different from now on!! It's a fully self-contained '99 Fleetwood Elkhorn 8R that is in good condition and has been fairly well cared for. It came with a very nice custom made aluminum back platform that is big enough for 2 large coolers and a small generator. I'm updating a few things like adding a flat screen TV with a modern digital antenna and also adding a 160-watt solar panel to the roof. I'm heading out to Portsmouth Island this April, so looking forward to camping on the beach in relative comfort!!

 

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Your in tall cotton now , wish I could get the wife onboard for a rig like that , that sir is one fine fishing shack .
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Your in tall cotton now , wish I could get the wife onboard for a rig like that , that sir is one fine fishing shack .
It was not easy, she put up the good fight for 4 months, but when I told her that I had committed to buy one and was going to get it the next day, she actually rode with me to pick it up and was excited (well, as much as a woman can be). It's more for me and my 3 boys and she knows getting a break from them is worth it. Plus, she will eventually go camping too.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I had a great trip out to Portsmouth, we caught 16 nice Puppy Drum that were on the upper end of the slot, and we caught 2 good sized Black Drum. The camper did great and slept well, it will quickly spoil you. Just need to replace the marine type batteries with some true deep cycle 6-volt batteries with higher amp/hr rating (already ordered) and it will be perfect.

 

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Click For Full-Size Image. Slept in the back of my Jeep for 5 years in 30 degree weather back when stripers were still around. Tough to go without a camper. Glad you decided to get "comfy" :) :) And obviously I still can't figure out how to post a photo on this site!!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Added a second 170-watt solar panel to the roof and 2 more 6-volt 225 amp/hr batteries. Getting ready for another trip out to Portsmouth. This camper has been a good investment, should have done it years ago.

 

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Very nice.

Looks like a good number of holes in that roof.

Make sure you check them often. Since she will see a lot of flexing on the beach.
 

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Question: How does that digital antenna work for you? I removed my permanent antenna on my RV because just no stations available that were worth watching..........are you able to find channels??
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Not sure if these panels will be enough. The panels are 340watt and 19amps total, but I know that's figured on prefect direct sunlight conditions. The key will be power usage and cloud conditions. I have future plans to add a wind turbine to give me some power recovery during windy conditions, which always seem to be present on the OBX. The one I'm looking at is 250watts / 8.5amps made by Free Spirit Energy. It's compact and made for smaller RVs with limited space. The four 6volt 225amp/hr batteries should have the legs to go longer than the two mismatched marine batteries that came in the camper. They were extremely inefficient being different sizes, being separated on different sides of the camper, and connected with too small and too long of cables. The new 6volt batteries will be connected in series (to make the four of them into a pair of 12volt batteries) with 1awg battery cables that are 9 inches long and then in parallel with 1awg cables that are 12 inches long, and they will be grouped in one location. They are also the AGM-types so they are maintenance-free and do not vent gas. If I'm figuring right they will give me 550 amp/hrs total.

Reference the holes, I used the good lap sealer on every screw and bracket, putting down a fair amount then screwing down into it, then covering the exposed screw heads and entire bracket with a finishing cover. It's really good stuff that stays pliable and flexes. I know Mother Nature is tough and determined, so I'll keep an eye on it!!

The digital antenna works great, IIRC even out on Portsmouth it picked up 24 channels!! It also takes up a lot less space on the roof than the old crank-up antenna. It's a neat little device that you turn from inside the camper, a set of lights tells you when it's pointed in a direction that gets the most stations / best signal, then you use the TV's channel finder feature to set the channels.
 

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Thanks for info on the digital antenna, however, are you getting any real TV or just infomercials and off-the-wall channels? Last time I used mine I got nothing but PBS and weird junk channels. Occasionally, I'd get a news channel. Don't really want to punch a hole in my ceiling for the digital antenna if the results are much. I did read online that even in NY they had a hard time receiving channels due to the buildings ( I take my RV to NY city often and wanted to watch TV instead of the DVD movies I have ). Even at Buxton NC, I rarely got anything worth watching. Just picking your brain since you're getting 24 channels. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I got a couple of local/news channels (ABC and NBC affiliates), a sports news channel, a good western classics channel, a cool travel channel, some spanish channels, several PBS channels, then some cartoon channels. There were several fly-by channels that had info crap on them. I already had the old antenna, and this one used the same hole, so it was a clear choice for me. I have an xBox One in there for movies and games for my kids.
 

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Yep, was going to remove the housing from old antenna and mount digital there as well......but, doesn't sound like much has changed on the channels available. I'll just keep watching my tv series dvd's like Seinfeld, Two and 1/2 men, etc. which has worked so far. Glad you're enjoying your new comfortable fishing vehicle as I have mine for 14 years! Who says fishing has to be uncivilized!! Thanks for your replies.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
True, if I had known how good it was to have a camper, I would have bought one years ago. I actually took a shower for the first time ever while on the beach, with hot water and all, it was like being in the presidential suite!!

These antennas are fairly inexpensive and simple to install when you already have an existing hole, I'd say just get one for the sake of having news and weather.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Well, got lazy this summer and finally got around to wiring in the new 6 volt batteries and building a basic battery box. Should have plenty of power this time. We are heading to Portsmouth this weekend for 3 days.



 
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