Saturday, August 7, 2010

QRZ's new 22 Ton Mascot - The Zed

Since QRZ was first founded, back in 1993, it's nearly always been a virtual entity.  Aside from a few servers in a rack in downtown Phoenix, Arizona, QRZ has no physical presence and certainly none that it's thousands of fans ever see.  This year, however, that has all changed with the acquisition of a rolling office and headquarters that we've affectionately named The Zed.

The Zed is a 1997 Liberty motor coach that was built on a Prevost bus frame.  It's new to us but it certainly isn't new.  Previously known as The Mother Ship by its former owner, The Zed now has over 104,000 miles under its belt.  It has a 470 hp diesel engine that gets 7+ miles per gallon, which is quite remarkable for a 43,000 pound vehicle.  Just think, it weighs as much as 10 passenger cars which would each have to get 70 miles per gallon to equal the economy of The Zed.

One of the most interesting things about owning a Prevost (pronounced pree-voh), is that as soon as you're seen in one, people think you're either a millionaire or a rock star.  I'm neither but its nice to be mistaken for one.  Right now I'm parked in a Michigan camp ground, surrounded by Holiday Ramblers, Allegro's, Monaco's and all sorts of diesel pusher motor homes.  Almost every single one of them cost its owner more than what I paid for this 13 year old Prevost, and yet their jaws collectively drop whenever they see me pull alongside them in a park.  Fuel mileage is about the same, too, plus or minus a mile or so per gallon.  I'm loving it.

So, if you're a ham, you're probably wondering what all of this has to do with QRZ and ham radio.  Well, nothing as far as the bus goes, aside from the fact that it makes quite an impression at hamfests.  The reason I bought the rig was so that I could take QRZ on the road and meet our fans and users face to face, giving, at long last, a physical presence and live face for QRZ. 

Today, we're parked in Mackinaw City, Michigan after traveling some 4000+ miles from Phoenix.  We've already been to some interesting hamfests which I'm going to talk about in my next few posts. 

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