Author Archives: Bryan Bibeau

TrailRax Modular Roof Rack for the Jeep Gladiator JT

April 11th, 2024 update: Trailrax listened to their customer feedback and redesigned the brackets for this product! They proactively reached out to me offering to send the update parts to me at no cost. They are now using a carriage bolt from the backside, similar to my solution. I’m happy to hear they stand behind their product and strive to produce a solid and safe rack solution.

In anticipation of our new Oru Tenfold wedge camper that we’ll pick up in March at their San Marcos, CA factory, I decided I wanted to add some roof storage as well as an air deflector. The TrailRax looked like the best option, covering only the front part of the roof and leaving enough room for the camper cabover section. The biggest concern was losing access to the removable roof panels!

The rack arrived quickly after I placed the order, well packaged! Zoey was very interested.

After opening to verify all the parts were there, I began assembly on the living room floor.

The rack looks really great on the Jeep! I had to look at their website for assembly instructions as none were included in the package.

While assembling, one part made little sense. TrailRax uses clinch nuts for the gutter mounts, but they have them on the wrong side of the plate! These clinch nuts are pressed into the metal, but that attachment only has enough strength to keep the nut from rotating or falling out before assembly. Clinch nuts are designed to be mounted on the opposite side of the part from the bolt that pulls it. TrailRax uses these on the same side as the pulling force. While mounting the bracket, the first clinch nut pulled out of the bracket with minimal force as expected. The instructions actually call for blue Loctite, and say to barely tighten this. Do not use these brackets as shipped! It’s dangerous. There’s nothing to prevent these brackets from falling off while driving down the road.

I emailed TrailRax with this information and some photos. Their response was to send another replacement bracket. I asked them to redesign the bracket to be safe and functional, and they did not reply back to me. For $800 for a 20″ roof rack, I expected much more in quality and customer service.

My solution was to install a 1/4-20 SS bolt from the backside of the rack bracket, passing through the clinch nut from the back of the bracket, effectively pulling the clinch nut in the direction it was designed to be used. I added a star washer to help keep this bolt from rotating while installing the nylok nut at the end. There is enough clearance between the hard top and the bracket to slide a wrench in there if needed.

Rack and bracket mounted on the Gladiator gutters.

Clamping plate installed using a 1/4″ SS washer and 1/4-20 nylok nut. This is how TrailRax should be shipping these. It might not be as pretty as their truss-head bolts, but it’s functional and safe! I might pick up some UV stabilized black nut covers to dress this up, but really it does not look bad.

In the end, I’m very happy with the rack. I expect to pay a bit more for a niche product like this, but I also expect it to work. The rest of the workmanship from TrailRax is great. The metal bends are well done and precise. The rack looks awesome on the truck. I’m anxious to see it with the Oru camper installed! We’ll likely add a Roam or 23Zero roof box to store our iKamper disco, electric chainsaw, and other outdoor gear to keep the camper itself more organized and clear.

Posted in B's Blog, Product Reviews

Salida lights

Some group did a great job making this Christmas tree on the hillside in Salida! Captured with my Mavic Air 3 from our AirBnB in downtown Salida.


Posted in B's Blog

ARRL Field Day 2022

For Field Day this year, Tony KZ5ADV, Logan KF0ADY and myself N0BCB headed up to the Routt National Forest outside Gould, CO to operate in a quiet HF environment. What a great location! We had our share of mosquitos and rain, but the weather was really great during the contest, which runs from noon Saturday to noon Sunday MDT.

We ran one of the 100W stations (Yaesu FT450) with a 100A/h Battleborn LiFePO4 batteries connected to 250W of solar (roof of Gladiator). The other station (Yaesu FTDX10) from a 100A/h Renogy LiFePO4 battery and 400W of solar. The FT450 station utilized a G5RV Jr and a 40m double bazooka. The FTDX10 station used a Chameleon CHA MPAS system.

My camper, and our FD station under the Jeep awning
Tony’s 4 Wheel Camper setup and his station (under awning)
The team from (your) left to right: Bryan N0BCB, Tony KZ5ADV and Logan KF0ADY
Aerial view of our camp
Posted in B's Blog

Zimmerman Lake Snowshoe

It was great to get up for a snowshoe to Zimmerman Lake! This is an easy, year-round trail of the Poudre Canyon Highway (Colorado 14). With all the recent snow, the trail was only packed up to the lake. I had fun blazing trail for about 1/2 a mile! Since it was a weekday and the roads were still a bit slick, there weren’t too many others up there. I really enjoyed the quiet of the mountains, and the clear, blue skies.

Posted in B's Blog

Walnut pig cutting board project

I had a little 5/4 walnut left over from another project and was looking for a project for the family white elephant gift exchange. Growing up, we always had a maple pig cutting board (I think my mom still has it!). I searched the Internet for some template inspirations then drew this guy out.

Lately I’ve been trying to improve something in my shop every time I work on a project. Having recently installed a dust collection system, I decided it was high time I added a port to my older Enco 18″ band saw (pic to come). What a difference it made! No more fine dust in the air. I’m becoming a dust snob now that I know how well a proper dust collector can work ;).

The finished product came out exactly how I had hoped! I put a couple coats of Howard’s Butcher Block Conditioner on it, wrapped it up, and headed to the party.

Posted in woodworking Tagged , , , , |

Buddipole mini 9-section shockcord whip

Today I spent some time playing around with my new mini 9-section shockcord whip.  I started out on 10m and used the standard mini-buddipole parts.  Versatee –> 2×11″ arms each side –> coil –> standard whip.  I set this up as a horizontal dipole, with the coils tapped in 1.5 turns on each side.  Whips fully extended.  I fed the Versatee with the TRSB at 1:1, with 25′ of RG-8X coax.  The antenna performed really well with low SWR, and I was easily able to work a Brazil station.

Next up was 12 meters with the shockcord as a vertical.  I put the 9-section whip on the versatee, with the stinger retracted and no accessory arms, no co

Posted in B's Blog

Adding racks to my Century truck topper

Yesterday I did some craigslist shopping to get the pieces and parts needed to add racks to my truck topper. I was going to weld up custom racks but liked the flexibilty of these commercial track systems. The towers and crossbars I found are Thule, but the tracks I found are Yakima. Everything I found online suggested the tracks are identical, but that is not true!  The plates used in the Thule system are too thick to nest correctly in the Yakima tracks. Using them like that could lead to serious failure. So, I machined the plates down a little to fit correctly. 


Posted in B's Blog

2016 NCARC Hamfest

This was my first year as a vendor at the Northern Colorado Amateur Radio Hamfest.  I did pretty well with 1 table and a bunch of junk!  I managed to sell almost everything I brought, and made enough money to fund a kegging system for my homebrew beer endeavors.

Posted in B's Blog


So far behind on this blog, but it is still active and I hope to update it more in the near future.  I have many projects that I would like to document here.


Bryan N0BCB

Posted in B's Blog