Skip to content


Summer 2011 in Copper Falls State Park, Mellen, WI

Jan and I are former high school English teachers. In 1975 we met during our student teaching at Hamilton High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, fell in love, and married soon after in August 1976. Actually, we eloped (much to the displeasure of Jan’s father) and were married by a judge in McHenry county, Illinois.

Out first teaching jobs were many miles apart. Mine was in Stockbridge, WI. This town of 500 or so was known as the “Sturgeon Capital of the World” because of all the ice fishing on nearby Lake Winnebago.

Jan’s first (and  only) teaching position was in Germantown Wisconsin.

We lived in Fond du Lac and Jan’s commute to school was almost an hour while mine was half that. After two years we moved to a Milwaukee apartment near 57th & North Avenue and left teaching soon after that — Jan became a lawyer and I became a technical writer.

Bookends — Ellie (left) and Jack (right)

We have a pair of dogs — Jack and Ellie — who travel with us.

Jack is an 11-year-old Golden Retriever and Ellie, a rescue, is a 10-year-old Golden.

On May 22, 2012 we had to put Jack down. He had developed bone cancer, apparently common in Golden Retrievers. We have lost pets before, but it it always devastating as I’m sure many of you know.

Jack and our previous golden, Wrigley, came from similar bloodlines and the same Grand Dame Amberac’s Asterling Aruba. We were fortunate enough to know Amberac’s breeder, Ellen Manke. I can’t say enough for Ellen and her magnificent goldens. But when we contacted her after Jack’s death to see if she might have any golden puppies, we discovered that she had stopped breeding Golden Retrievers. However, Ellen recommended Dichi Goldens in Portage, WI.

We contacted Dick and Chris Reents, the owners of Dichi, and after visiting their kennel we were put on a waiting list for the next litter.

On November 14, 2012, we picked up our new Golden Retriever Flirt.

Flirt at 8 weeks

Flirt at 8 weeks












44 Comments Post a comment
  1. John Kelsey #

    Hi Tom,
    Wally just told me about your blog and your adventure.You guys are doing what Margaret and I have wistfully but unserioiusly talked about doing. It must be a serious and consequential commitment for anybody without Wally-level $$$ — aina? Or maybe you do have lotsa bucks. But If I had to think of anyone among the pitifully small handful of people I’ve ever known who might’ve actually done what you did, I think I would have come up with Tom Hughes, seriously. Engage forward thrusters — warp factor 1, right? Possibly retired teacher Dennis Blake (nee Blachowiak) would also consider it. It would be easy to come up with a no f****’in way list of people, yah for sure!

    Speaking of Kurt V., we saw the still alive Kurt V. in Dag Hammarskjold plaza in NYC a few years ago. He was sitting on a bench for a smoke and maybe some quiet contemplation as a steadily growing crowd of silent, awestruck gawkers surrounded the bench at an almost polite distance and stared at him in silence or in excited, hushed conversation. Only one lad had the temerity (gall? chutzpah?) to sit near and speak to him. I have to say old Kurt was a pretty good sport about the whole thing. Might still have the photo.

    You probably have no interest in S. Florida as a winter destination (nobody does anymore tho you may’ve heard that it’s nice and warm when no place else is), but if by any chance you have thought about it, we would love to have you as guests — hang out or even stay at our nice spacious condo with our (practically private) pool and a vast Gulf of Mexico beach minutes away. Also Everglades, pythons, manatees, gators, lizards, storks, pelicans, boats, nearby Miami, Cuban Americans, etc. RVs can’t park here overnight, but I see that as a minor glitch — plenty of nearby options. Allright then, we’ll be seeing you here in quiet, stately Naples this winter, yes?

    John & Margaret (yes, that Margaret) Kelsey

    October 18, 2013
    • Kelseys,

      It is so cool of you to stop by. Last I heard, you were in Chicago — but that was many, many moons ago.

      S. Florida — that’s one of our Winter stops. We’ll be in Lake Havasu City, AZ this Winter and then Port Aransas, TX (Wally’s territory) the following year.

      Ok, here we go . . . Memory Lane . . .

      Remember living in that basement “condo” apartment near UW-M with me and Gig? I’m sure it was one of the high points in your life. Anyway, I remember writing a check to pay for hashish that a guy had personally smuggled from Turkey. Knowing me, I probably wrote “drugs” (or maybe “entertainment”) in the check note. The guy actually took the check.Love it. I was such a knob.

      No, Jan & I are not wealthy as we had to choose between a house in Green Bay or wandering the Republic. Turned out to be a pretty easy choice.

      Yes, we will hook up in the future. Send particulars via email.

      We’re doing the West Coast next Summer. Then Texas in Winter. Stay tuned.

      Tom & Jan

      October 18, 2013
    • Tom, I’m writing this simply to say thanks! I’m a DIY guy. This week, I’ve been searching the internet to find the information I must have so that I can upgrade to a Hopper 3 system. I didn’t expect best source to be a RV enthusiast’s site. Everything I need to know is here—in well-written, easy to understand language. Nothing else on the internet comes close to being as good. So when I clicked “About”, I wasn’t surprised to read about your having been an English teacher and a technical writer. By providing this information freely to the public, you’re doing a great service to DIY RV’ers and home owners. Thank you so much, Tom. If you and Jan are ever driving through Mississippi (my state), you might want to travel the Natchez Trace. It’s a peaceful road with lots of dogwood in bloom at Easter time. But do avoid Mississippi in July and August. The heat is… more than impressive.

      David Collins

      February 17, 2017
      • David,

        Thank you. We’ll probably be traveling through Mississippi (along the coast) around April. We’re going to Austin’s SXSW in March then heading south along the coast till Florida. Then probably heading north in May/June to avoid the heat.

        We can’t go north too early as it can snow in May. Been there, done that.


        February 17, 2017
  2. Ralph Nerlson #

    Very nice wiring diagrams. Thank you. I have Hopper + Joey + Sling for my two TVs in my HOME. I would like to do the same thing for my MOTORHOME,, but Dish Network said I am not allowed to do that. They told me I had to install two 211k receivers and pay 2x$7/mo. Money is not the issue with me. I would just like a Hopper system, the wiring is already available in my motorhome, and your beautiful drawings show me how to hook Hopper up. What is your take on this issue with regards to Dish?

    Thanks, Ralph

    December 21, 2013
  3. Ray #

    The diagrams and info helps a bunch. How to programming help with Hopper/Sling 1000.2 & DPH. What Hopper/Sling receiver steps are necessary to connect to a new portable dish. Setup/Diagnostics/Dish Point …… , what about Check Switch ?

    Thank You !

    January 8, 2016
    • Please post your question in the Yech Docs section. I’ll answer it there.

      January 8, 2016
  4. al meyer #

    hi great info. I just got our motor home out to get ready for a future trip and no satellite service kvh r5 with dish 500 service. . I read that dish had changed the parameters for sat 110 an 119 last fall. I flashed the main board and the rf board a nothing, changed the sat info and still did not work. Called kvh and was told that dish had also changed something else about decoders and that my r5 now could not find any sat. I was told that my only options now were to either buy a new satellite or go to direct tv. I have dish in my home now. do you know anything about this situation with dish?
    thanks Al

    March 20, 2016
  5. gjurrens #

    Hey guys… we just started following your blog. Not sure exactly how we found it (maybe googled dish hopper 3…). We just started a 2-3 year full-time RV adventure and about 4 months in. So far, awesome! We have a 2005 Newmar Mountain Aire 4304 and we pull a 29′ enclosed car hauler containing two motorcycles and a little car. I “inherited” a MotoSat auto sat TV dish that won’t work without a $850 upgrade by RF Mogul, so I’m going Dish manual (I refuse to pay $1700 for a “Traveler”). So I’m very interested in your setup. We have a condo in SW Florida, but it sits empty (family uses it) and my association pays for cable TV, so I do not want a non-mobile Dish account upon which to piggy-back an RV account. So in addition to acquiring appropriate hardware, I’m going through the process of creating a mobile-ONLY account (sheesh, we are NOT the major demographic here!). Lots of questions, but researching like crazy (including your blog). That’s what I did at IBM for more years than I care to admit. Thanks for posting your sat TV stuff for us newbs!

    Are you going to the International Newmar Rally in Pueblo this Fall by any chance? We’ll be there. We also now plan to go to Nappanee, IN and Charlotte, MI for annual Newmar and Spartan factory service (just came from there, now in Minnesota visiting kids and gkids).

    At any rate, our blog is at if interested.

    Thanks again for the great sat TV posts!

    Gene & Kay Jurrens

    May 13, 2016
  6. Ernie Gilman #

    Please feel free to delete this from your site as it really doesn’t belong here, but I do no blogging and rarely touch facebook, so this is the only way I can figure to write to you.

    Despite that lack of technical prowess, I’m an A/V installer! But I’ve never done ANY dish network installs, and recently, through miscommunication with a client, disassembled the splitter and hub connections of his Dish installation. I’m hoping you can help me.

    The installation in question has three wires coming from the dish. (It’s a recent installation.) There’s a Hybrid Solo Hub (203952) and three three-way splitters. In the house there’s a Hopper 3 and seven Joeys (sorry — didn’t get their model numbers). To make this worse, there’s also an old Dish network dish at the opposite end of the house, some 60 feet away, with a large chassis that has perhaps eight to ten wires coming off of it. We haven’t touched that and don’t know if it’s still in use.

    After putting the new parts back together the way we think they were, two Joeys don’t work. And one of them is (and was) connected directly to the Hybrid Solo Hub!

    I’m baffled as to the meaning of Host and Client/HVN, that is, what connects to these. I can’t figure out why there’s a power supply connected to the Hub, cannot tell for sure where it WAS connected, and don’t see a power supply in anyone’s online schematics.

    The house is wired for cable, and those wires are being used, but we’ve found it most difficult to locate wires with our usual wire-tracing equipment. Any info you could give me on the hybrid hub, a power supply, and what the terminals mean, will probably help.

    Thank you very much.

    June 3, 2016
  7. Randy Miller #

    Quick question when you explained how to get the 61.5 sat on the hopper 3 was that with the western arc LNB or did you use the eastern arc LNB? Will the Western arc DPH LNB lock on to the 61.5? PS Thanks for all the good info on the hopper 3 and the connection issue. Winegards position as of today is that the hopper 3 will not work on the Traveler and it is under development. This was the only place I found the info and will be putting it to the test on the Rv this week end. The problem I have is that most of the camping that we do is in NY or PA and the western arc is hard to get from there.

    July 7, 2016
    • I use a Winegard Travler fitted with a Hybrid WA LNBF. “Manual Mode” Winegard Travler can be used on a Travler to receiver 61.5.

      I also use a portable tripod with a 1000.2 dish that can be fitted with either a Western or Eastern Arc LNBF.

      Yes, Winegard currently does not have a Hopper 3 “solution” for the Travler. However, myself and several others have made the modification I described, and it works. But it’s important to remember to DISCONNECT the Hopper 3 from a modified Travler during sat acquisition.

      July 9, 2016
      • Alan #

        Hi Tom,

        I’ve been following your blogs on Hopper set ups and have to say this is the best resource I have found for in-depth technical info so thanks!! One question though I am still confused about. On the Hopper with sling is it possible to still use a WA 1000.2 Triple DPH LNBF with a solo node to connect to the receiver, or do you have to use the newer solo hub instead? I can’t seem to get a definite answer on this and have seen that the hub will most definetly work without issue (Thanks for the diagrams on this detailing the sling in one of your other blogs). Is my only other option to use the solo node to revert back to the DPP LNBF’s?


        September 18, 2017
      • If you want to connect a Hybrid LNBF to a Hopper 2 (w/Sling), then you have to use a Hybrid Solo Node.

        One coax from the dish goes into the Hybrid Solo Node.

        September 18, 2017
  8. Hi Tom!
    You have an interesting website. It will be interesting to read.We also love to travel by motorhome and we have
    Juris & Ilze
    from Latvija 🙂

    August 19, 2016
  9. Ken Kaahanui #

    Tom, read your post on installing a hopper 3, just a few questions; did you have any problems setting the hopper up with dish?we’re thinking of getting it from dish so there might be a replacement warranty if broken. Did you get the hopper 3 box from dish or buy it somewhere else? We have the wineguard travler do you know if they are working on a fix so you don’t need an A/B box? we are full time in a 40ft RV and only need one TV, so I assume we only need 1 hopper 3 and a joey. your thoughts would be appreciated.

    November 18, 2016
    • First, don’t buy any DISH receivers. There’s no advantage to purchasing when you’re full timing. In fact, when DISH upgrades its receivers, you’ll be stuck with a “book end” like me — I bought a Hopper w/Sling and it’s useless now.

      Second, search for a local DISH sat TV installer who will do your Hopper install. BTW, with one TV you only need the Hopper, not a Joey. Also, DISH does not “support” Hoppers in RV . . . this means that although you can have one installed in your RV and DISH will activate it. However, if the Hopper breaks for some reason, DISH may not replace it.

      Third, I’d suggest going with a Hopper w/Sling instead of a Hopper 3 — unless you really need 16 tuners. I say this because you don’t sound very tech savvy and you really need to be in order to install a Hopper 3 as you have to modify your Travler.

      November 18, 2016
  10. Ken Kaahanui #

    Tom, thank you for the reply, The mod to the travler doesn’t seem like a big thing, I have pictures I can follow (thanks to you). I more then likely will get the hopper 3 (maybe off amazon). The real question about dish is when you move do they give you grief about area code change because of the hopper 3?
    I don’t really need 16 tuners but there are bragging rights…
    I’ve been in and out of the tech field for only about 40+ yrs but can always learn something new, and with people like you putting out great articles with big color pictures how can I go wrong,
    Thanks again for the help…..

    November 18, 2016
  11. Ken Kaahanui #

    Tom, did the Hopper3 install it was successful. Great directions. On another note had a conversation with some installers in San Antonio and they did three other installs with the same equipment without having to add the A/B switch. I’m thinking it has to do with the trav’ler box, maybe a different series or model. I will be checking this out and give you a heads up. Once again thanks for the info.

    December 9, 2016
    • Controllers have different software/hardware versions so that could be it. You can check your Controller’s version:
      Controller Versions

      December 9, 2016
  12. David Collins #

    Safe travels, Tom and Jan!

    March 5, 2017
  13. Stella Rostkowski, AKA, Stellanator :) #

    Hi Tom! Remember me 🙂 I teach Technical Writing full time now and guess who I quote when I teach it 🙂

    I left Wisconsin and now I live in Florida. OMG, love it here, no snow!

    March 10, 2017
  14. joe #

    hey tom, been following ur posts and i believe u are from lk havsue az part of the year. we are coming there for a couple of days and just wondering if u can recommend a campground in that area to stay at.
    thanks for any help in this matter.
    great forum and nice reading about ur adventures.
    take care and stay safe,

    July 8, 2017
  15. Neil h hergott #

    Can you run just two wires from the traveler to the dph42 switch to make hopper 3 work instead of your diagram showing 3 wires coming down

    July 18, 2017
    • Nope. You need all three. If you run two, then you’ll probably just get 2 of the 3 satellites (110, 119, 129).

      July 21, 2017
  16. Neil h hergott #

    I have a hopper,sling now with a joey thru a solo node with my traveler and a 1000.4 and i get all 3 west. Sat,
    why would not the hopper 3 work with 2 cables coming in and a dph42 switch
    Thank you

    July 25, 2017
  17. Myron Truex #

    I would like to thank you for the incredible blog on converting from Direct tv to Dish with a Travler.

    August 27, 2018
  18. Gene #

    Hi Tom, Thank you for the great info you have provided. It has proven to be priceless! I have a winegard traveler & have decided to use the DPH 42 route with a Hopper 3 and one wireless joey. Looking at the wiring diagram, it shows a hybrid node for 2 joey 2.0s. My question is, since I am using a single wireless joey, will I need to include the hybrid node or can I just run the coax from the switch directly to the hopper3? I may install it anyway for yes when I need my 1000.2/4. Thanks!!

    September 20, 2018
    • You can connect directly to your H3.

      September 21, 2018
      • Gene #

        Thank you Tom, I have installed the H3 & the DPH42 with the hybrid node. After endless resets, triple checking connections, check switches, etc I am still only able to get sat 110. My winegard is locked into all 3. I was receiving all sats before I removed my H2. I do have a column where the SATS are listed titled “conn” with all red Xs. Node=NC, Switch= DPH42. at this point I am stumped – any suggestions or ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thank You!

        September 24, 2018
      • Make sure your Power Inserter is connected properly . . .

        September 26, 2018
  19. dale prichard #

    Seems this is the only way I see to contact you. I just heard that Winegard has a kit out for the Traveler and Hopper 3. The only difference is a Solo Node P/N 203952. Winegard P/N Kit RPSK01H. The blog is Can you comment and send me your comments

    September 27, 2018
    • Nice catch! But you need a Winegard Travler that was built in JANUARY 2018 or later.

      September 27, 2018
  20. Patricia Neuzil #

    I want to thank you so much for taking the time to provide this information. It just may save my marriage. 🙂 We are switching from Directv to Dish and have an older Trav’ler on the roof that still works fine. I haven’t found yet the difference between the different Hoppers but I really just want one that records at least two shows at once. We full-time and have no other home so I’m still confused by the Joey and Sling and have more research to do but thank you again. I’m sure your diagrams will be invaluable.

    November 23, 2018
    • Thank you.

      There are 3 Hopper versions: Hopper 2000 (original), Hopper with Sling (or the Hopper 2), and finally the Hopper 3 which also has Sling capabilities. The original and Hopper 2 both have 3 tuners. The Hopper 3 has 16 tuners. Also, the Hopper 3 is much faster than both. By the way, you typically use one of the tuners for PTAT (Prime Time Any Time) which records all the network (ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox) shows each night during Prime Time.

      Sling capability means that a Hopper with Sling technology (that’s both the Hopper 2 and 3) can send (or “sling”) video to a iPad or iPhone. It’s a handy way of watching TV.

      Hoppers and Joeys work like this: if you have 3 TVs, one TV will be connected to the Hopper and each of the other two TVs will be connected to a Joey. While a Hopper can operate all by itself, a Joey must be connected to a Hopper.

      November 23, 2018
      • Patricia Neuzil #

        Tom, thanks so much. You’ve explained this better than their web site.

        November 23, 2018
  21. Bill Richard #

    Is it possible to ask a wiring question for a new traveler to a Hopper one with a DPH 42 switch?
    I have only two cables from the traveler to the tv cabinet. Looks like they ran the third to one of the other TV area. Not being used. I was running one Wally on one of the cables.

    Hi have two wireless joeys. All is running now with a portable twin lmb dish on east arc with a solo hub and one wire into outside sat connection to Hopper.

    I want to set up on traveler. Can I follow the diagram for a Hopper 3 but use two feeds from traveler?

    I have a DPH 42 and inverter and a solo hub

    Thanks for your time.


    November 28, 2018
    • “Can I follow the diagram for a Hopper 3 but use two feeds from traveler?”

      Nope. You need to use all 3 from the Travler. However, you could install the DPH42 on the roof. Then just run one cable into your RV.

      November 29, 2018
  22. Mitchell Gallinger #

    Hi. can I speak to you about the Winegard directv to dish conversion. Thanks!

    April 29, 2020
  23. Moira Wade #

    Hi Tom, Love your doggies. I wanted to ask a question about the Hopper 3 hookup but couldn’t find a place to ask on those posts.
    I have the winegard on the roof and a G2. I will be getting a Wally to hook up to the G2 in case we are in the trees. And I have the Hopper 3 and a joey for the bedroom. I understand I can hook this up wirelessly. I have 2 tvs. I do not believe the coach was wired for the outside 3rd TV although there was a spot for it on the splitter.

    Anyway, is there a diagram or way I should hook this up easy as possible? If we are in the trees, I would just like to swap out the receivers (wally for the Hopper 3) and be done with it.

    Thank you so much and happy 4th.

    July 4, 2020

Leave a Reply to Tom (rvSeniorMoments) Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: