Working on RFI issues with the AeroLEDs nav/strobes.
On 12/22 I flew the day cross country required by 61.129 with John P. We were having trouble hearing Austin approach on 119.0, which usually works just fine. We also had trouble picking up Houston Center later in the flight. I demonstrated how the nav radio has always been weak, not picking up Centex until about 3000' over Lakeway.
We talked about this after the flight and agreed it needs fixing.
On the way home from San Marcos, I ran a simple test - turn off the navs. I always have these on, and it never occurred to me that they might be an issue. Turning off just the strobes made no difference. But sure enough, turning off the nav lights, I was able to pick up Centex. Turn the lights on, Centex drops. 100% positive correlation.
A little research on VAF shows that this is a known issue that I somehow missed. It was discussed in detail in 2013, and a set of recommendations was supplied by AeroLEDs.
The weather was going to be bad for a few days so I took the wing tips and lower rudder fairing off to do part of the recommended fix. I'll see if this helps, but may have tear out the existing wiring and add shielded wire runs. If so, that will wait until I do the annual.
As an aside, flew three approaches on the x-country with John, so I'm technically/legally current again for IFR.
12/23 - 12/27
Flew Southwest to Albuquerque and drove a rental car to Durango for skiing. We were there over Christmas with my sister and her family. The weather behaved perfectly. It was clear for the driving, started snowing Christmas morning before skiing, and snowed all day. The skiing was great, no lines and fresh snow. My first time at Purgatory, it has plenty of good blue runs to keep me busy for a few days.