Arlington Million Experience!

rickie traeger arlington racetrack arlington million

Rickie Traeger at the Arlington Racetrack for the Arlington Million 2017

As many of you know I had the honor of attending the Arlington Million race on Saturday! It was awesome being able to attend and watch the horse races in person. Been awhile!

Heads up this is going to be a long blog

Rickie Traeger posing with the Chicago Cubs World Series Trophy & the Arlington Million Trophy!

My father in law and I attended the Arlington Million race on Saturday August 12th 2017 at the Arlington Racetrack.  I brought my dad along as well, my necklace with his ashes. We arrived around noon or so.  I decided to park at the very end of the parking lot. A decision I later regretted lol.  I figured it be some good exercise and maybe get out a bit easier after the races.  The parking lot was getting full. We parked and walked up to the entrance.

As we walked up you got to see the size of the place, it is huge!  Very well taken care of and the beauty of the place is just jaw dropping.  From the large building, to the large gates, to the amazing and very beautiful flowers they have out front. They have it spelling out “Arlington”  (I could of swore when I last attended back in 2011 it said Arlington Park) Then another thing that was neat to see was all the limos that were lined up at the entrance, pretty cool sight to see. Definitely a place of shear size and beauty!

Surprisingly we were able to get right in. I thought for sure we would have to wait in line a long time. But they had the lines moving quickly to get in!  They definitely had this planned out and were doing things quickly and efficiently so the fans did not have to wait in long lines. I was impressed.

We paid for our tickets, $30 a piece.

We walked in and one of the first places you see is the horse paddock.  That is a really neat feature I liked about the place. We arrived a little bit before race 1. We enjoy horses alot and we wanted to experience and enjoy the full day. We walked over to the paddock area and got to see up close some of the most beautiful horses I have ever saw in my life! These horses are well groomed and taken care of.  We watched them as they walked them in the paddock area.  Very neat experience. This alone, is priceless! Seeing the horses up close.

We walked through the building and over to the track area. I took the selfie below as soon as we got over to the track area.  As you can see from the photo the sheer size of the place and also the stands were not packed yet. Advantages of getting there early.

Rickie Traeger at the Arlington Racetrack

The one thing I enjoyed about getting there early was there were not a lot of people. Yes, there was alot but the place soon filled up quickly as the day went on. I was able to get up front on the race line fence and get some good photos early on in the day. Later on, I would have to go thru a large crowd to get up front.  So some of my better photos were during the early part of the day.

We went over to the statue of the 2 horses. For the life of me I can’t think of the name of them right now. But I was taking a selfie with the horse statue and a lady was taking a photo of me taking the selfie. Come find out she works for a Chicago paper.  So me taking a selfie, is going to be all over the Chicago area papers lol.  Below is the photo of the statues. I decided not to post the selfie photo, so that way people can view it on their website.

I was not going to bet all day. I was going for the experience and the photos of the horses. Well, that changed and I ended up making a few bets. And the funny thing is, i have no idea if I won, LOL.  I bet some races and put the tickets in my wallet and forgot about them. So I need to check to see if I won!  I should do that after I write this.

I won’t blog about what I did step for step all day.  To sum it up before each race we walked to the paddock and admired the beautiful horses. Then we would walk over to the track and watch the races and photograph them.

I did meet some celebrities and chatted with some!  A lot of them admired my cowboy hat. And came up to compliment me on it.  That was something I was not expecting. I knew it is a big race and many famous people were going to be there. But I never expected to meet any, let alone talk to some. So that was a pleasant surprise!

Another surprise was seeing the Chicago Cubs World Series Trophy & The Arlington Million Trophy!  That was definitely a once in a lifetime thing!  I was able to get my photo with the trophies, posted on top of this blog!  I am super excited about seeing it, and also getting my photo with it!  Priceless!!!

Chicago Cubs World Series Trophy & Arlington Million Trophy

Chicago Cubs World Series Trophy & Arlington Million Trophy

There was something tragic that did happen while I was standing in line to get my photo taken with the trophies. I was standing in line talking to this gentleman (Photo below, do you recognize him 😛 ) when the announcer said a horse and jockey were down.

The whole place went silent, literally. That is something you never want to see or happen. The race was the Grade 1 $400,000 The Secretariat Stakes. The horse that went down was the well known horse Permian. From Ireland. They had to put the horse down near turn one. I am thankful I was in the trophy line and did not witness it. My heart aches just knowing what happened and seeing the tarp up and knowing the horse was being put down there on the track 🙁   Words can not describe how the place felt. You could see women crying and people that were smiling earlier and now had sad faces. Very tragic incident. May Permian Rest in Peace.

Permian horse from Ireland at the Secretariat Stakes

Permian from Ireland, being put down 🙁


I am going to stop blogging now and just post several photos below. I had a wonderful time at the track and it was one I will never forget!  I highly recommend you going to the Arlington Racetrack if you get the chance.  It is a really neat experience. You get to see the beautiful horses up close! Words can not describe how awesome it is.  If you love horses, then this is definitely the place to be!  I can not wait for next year!


I decided to live stream the Arlington Million with my cell, instead of using my DSLR camera.

Excited About The Arlington Million

Quick blog for Friday August 11th 2017.

As you know I am going to the Arlington Million tomorrow at the Arlington racetrack. I am super excited about going there! I recently realized the last time I been to the track, was many years ago. After my dad passed away, I kinda stepped aside from horse racing. I am kinda getting back in the groove of things again and am getting back into the horse racing. I will say it again, I am super excited about the Arlington Million!

I been wanting to photograph the KC-135 that is doing touch and go’s out at the Rockford Airport. He is flying by my house and pretty low. But guess what, low clouds and its raining right now. I been out there and it was up in the clouds. Still neat to know it is in the area again. I know several fans contacted me and were asking about it, so I made a brief article on it

I saw online an awesome antenna analyzer I want. My buddy Jeff (N9IMI, R.I.P.) owned one. It is a comet caa mark 5 II I think the model number is. If it is not that it will be something similar. I hope one day I can get a good antenna analyzer, because I need one.

August 26th looks like the launch date for the balloon!  Super excited about doing that also! More information on a previous blog I did recently.

I am getting a little tired, I am really exhausted so I am going to pop off here.



ARES High Altitude APRS Balloon Launch

I am looking forward to doing the ARES balloon launch coming up. The  ARES team is a great group of people and I am proud to be a part of them. I think the idea of the APRS balloon launch is a great idea for many reasons.

I think it will be a great way to get together and just hang out and do the project together.

Not only that we get together and build the balloon from scratch. We get to see the skills of one another and help build our weak spots in each other. Help each other and learn and build from that.  As they say, you can never get enough training.  And stuff like this is a good way to train and build on our skills and help others.

A lot of planning will be involved. Planning in building, launching, tracking and retrieval! This is one of the most essential parts of the whole project. I think the planning stages are the most essential because it is exactly that, you plan and expect the best but train for the worst case scenario and it also helps you gain knowledge and make things easier for when you do the project. The ARES team is a great group of people and are very smart and have a good head on their shoulders and are dedicated.

I think building the balloon from scratch is a good because it shows that our hearts and souls are dedicated in the project. I think this will be the best part of the project, for myself. I think its the best part because not only spending quality time with friends but also learning. Also we can learn if we make any mistakes and build off that for the future. We get to examine and use the tools and build the balloon and help us understand the tools and items involved.

After building it, it will be the launch. We do have one place in mind to launch from but I will not say it publicly yet. Our leader Marianne choose the spot and she has tremendous leadership skills so I am sure she picked a good spot. I have yet to research it myself, but I trust her abilities. I do not yet know if there are any backup launch sites yet.  I think we should have at least one or two backup sites, to be safe.   I think the launch will be a fun experience for everyone 🙂

Next will be the tracking of the balloon.  We will be using APRS. If you are not familiar with APRS, Click Here.   This is by far the best way to track it.  It will also train of team to use APRS and track stuff in case we need to in the future. I have been using APRS ever since I became a ham radio operator. It is one of my favorite things to do with ham radio. I like how it is going to help the team learn it and use it and experience it. It is really accurate and a good way to track things via ham radio.  We are going to run several models to see the general path of the balloon flight, before we launch it to see where it may land.

The retrieval, this will be a fun adventure. As you know what goes up must come down!  I have tracked many balloons via APRS over the years and have saw them land in some interesting places. So this part is definitely going to be an adventure. As you know the winds go in all directions, but mainly everything goes East. Guess what lies to our East, yup Lake Michigan!  So worst case scenario I think would be landing in the lake.

Overall, It will be fun project to do. I think it will test our abilities on several levels and we can see what our strengths and weaknesses are and be able to learn and adapt to those. I think it is one of the better training exercises we can do as ARES because it will test us on different levels for future events. I think it is a great idea by our strong leadership in the team and I think it definitely will be a fun experience!  I know myself and the team are all looking forward to it!

Quick Blog: Arlington Racetrack & The Mist

I am catching up on the tv series THE MIST.  I enjoy this show. Pretty interesting tv show. If you haven’t watched it yet, I recommend you watching it. Its kinda based off the book. But at the same time, there are twists. It is a really good tv series.

I am super excited. I am headed to the Arlington Racetrack next weekend!  It has been 6 years since I last went there. I am super excited to go! As many of you know I love horse racing. It has been 6 years since I last been to the racetrack. I can’t express how happy I am to be going!  I plan on taking many photos, and I will post em here.


July 31st blog. Shout out to RS fan Talia, Quadcopter flight for a friend, Colder weather on the way grrrrrrr…………….

Shout out to RS fan Talia!

Note: Yes, I did shave off my goatee earlier today. Feels weird without it, lol.

As many of you know I fly quadcopters. Some people call them drones.  I had the honor of doing a flight and filming another fellow ham radio operators antennas. I have did several flights for area hams in the area over the years to film their antennas, towers, etc…  It has an honor to film his. I won’t say his name for privacy reasons. But it was an honor to talk to him in person awhile as well.  I am about to go through the videos and see how they turned out. Here are 2 photos from the flight.

Not to much going with me otherwise. Just kicking back and enjoying life as much as I can. As they say, we only live once!  So live it to the fullest!

I see cooler weather is in the forecast. Not looking forward to that at all. Grrrrrrr.   This is supposed to be the hottest time of the year, and here it is cooling off. Won’t be long before fall is here, then the dreaded winter……… Speaking of weather, I see the flood waters are starting to finally go down.  I don’t know if I posted the Martin Park flooding video/photos on here. If not, I will do that in a bit.

I am chilling to Marilyn Manson right now. I love him, but haven’t listened to him a long time. Good to kick back and listen to him. Many hate him and label him many things. But he is truly an artist. A heck of an artist at that. He used all that negativity that was being tossed at him, and spun it.  Yes, many don’t like him, but those people need to sit down and look at the big picture.  Life is about the overall big picture, and many don’t understand  that.  People pick at the little stuff, and miss the bigger picture. And Marilyn Manson saw that bigger picture.


Amazing Drone Photos Of The Flooding At Martin Park

Rickie Traeger Rockford

Amazing Drone Photos Of The Flooding At Martin Park
Note: 4K Video Will Be Posted Later Today

Martin Park Flooding July 2017

Martin Park Flooding

July 26th Blog (Weather, Photography, APRS, Blogging)


I am sitting here and thought I would blog a bit.

I am sitting here watching my APRS, and thinking of my buddy Jeff (N9IMI)
Rest In Peace Jeff!   It looks like there is a band opening, there was a huge band opening last night. The band opening last night was a huge area over us. Right now it is over us a lil bit, but mainly to our East.

It has been hot and humid outside. My kind of weather! I am loving summer time!
Storms rolled through the area earlier, prompting a flood warning for us.  Been floods all around us, but now they have issued it for us.

I been doing time lapse videos recently.  I will have to upload those soon.  The time lapse part turned out good, but the subject not so much, LOL.  I enjoy doing those, neat projects.


July 23rd Blog (Skywarn, Jeff Celebration Of Life, Shout Out To My Cousin)



We recently had some storms roll through the area over the last few days.  I was the Skywarn Net Control on Friday night. We didn’t get much here, but to our north and south they got hit pretty good.  I ended up going chasing later on that night, and got into a good cell to our south. I chased a lil further than I wanted to, but it was still fun.  A TON of cloud to ground lightning and rain! I still have yet to go thru my videos and photos, to see what I caught. I need to do that soon, lol.

I want to give a shout out to my cousin, Robert Collins. He has been on the USS Nimitz for a very long time now. I was just thinking of him, and wanted to send a shout out to him. Keep up the good work and stay safe out there.

Went to Jeff’s celebration of life. As many of you know I talked to Jeff on a daily basis. My heart has been aching since he has passed. I miss him dearly.  I attended his celebration of life, and got to meet his family. It was an honor to meet them. You could see him, in them. It was an honor talking to them. O just wished it was under different circumstances. Words can not describe how much I miss him. He always said when he passed, to not mourn but to celebrate. And it was an honor to meet his family and friends.

I just learned that the well known and respected pilot Vlado Lenoch  passed away recently after his P-51 crashed.



Awesome View Of The Shelf Cloud, Rockford Illinois 2017

Awesome View Of The Shelf Cloud, Rockford Illinois 2017

R.I.P. Jeffery Mulrooney N9IMI, I Will Miss You ALOT!

So I am going to open up a bit in this blog. My heart aches as I type this up.  Please bear with me as I am crying as I type this up, but this will be a deep and personal blog.

On July 9th my good friend Jeff Mulrooney (N9IMI) passed away.

I met Jeff years ago. I was tossing out on the 520 and he came back to me. Him and I hit it off and  talked every night since then.  I quickly learned Jeff was a very smart man with a heart of gold. And would tell you like it is. He never lied and was an open and honest man. He loved his family and friends dearly. And

I had the honor of first meeting him at the hamfest in Belvidere.  That day was the first time I met him, besides the airwaves. I had talked to him for a long time on the air, before meeting him in person. I could tell he was really into the ham radio and doing CW. He was very good at CW and enjoyed his radios.  He knew a lot about older radios and I was very impressed. He enjoyed doing CW, DX, and anything to do with radio.

Not only did Jeff like radio he also had many other hobbies as well.  Him and I had a lot in common!  Pretty much everything he liked, I liked.  Quadcopters, photography, paranormal, native americans, history, political beliefs, etc… I mean you name it we talked about it.

The one thing I quickly learned about Jeff was he was open and candid and told you like it was, and NEVER lied. He was as real as they become and I admired that most about him.

When I first met him on the air, he would tell me things and I would google the stuff and sure enough he was right. He was ALWAYS right.  LOL.   I quickly learned to stop googling, because he was right. He was a very smart man and had soo much knowledge on things. It truly was mindblowing.

The other thing I admired about him was he always had a smile everytime I saw him. He was always so positive. He would always look for a the positives in things. He passed away from cancer. He battled the cancer and was always positive about it. He always was positive about the situation, even though it was a very bad situation. He was always positive.

He was a fighter. Very strong willed and fought until the end.  We would be talking and he would get sick, and then come right back to talking to me. He would rest up. He would come right back and keep talking. He was definitely a fighter and a strong willed person.

We would talk about our families. He loved his family dearly!  He was soooooo proud of his family and heritage. He definitely was a proud papa.

Like I said above, we have a lot in common. One of those things was the paranormal. I thought I was knowledgeable in the subject. Talking with Jeff, I quickly learned I still had a lot more to learn, LOL.  He taught me a lot in the subject. Many thought his beliefs were “Out There”  but in reality his beliefs I understood completely and it was good to know someone else that thought the same as I did.  We would talk for hours on the paranormal topic.

Another topic we would talk about is obviously ham radio!  Him and I thought a like on many things. He loved his radios. He was an excellent in the topic of antennas. He would build them from scratch. He recently built a very good 6 meter antenna. And he taught me how to use some of my equipment. I am working on my Work All States award. And he would always say DX is better lol.  My setup I can’t work much DX, so stateside is my thing. He had an excellent setup there and would work DX alot lol.

Jeff’s CW keys

He was a CW person. He would literally use a CW key and do it free hand. he was good at it too, all by ear.  When I met Jeff for the first time in person, at the hamfest he bought some CW keys.  I might learn CW in honor of Jeff. Right now, I suck at CW, LOL.  But he always told me if I put my heart into it, I would pick it up quickly.  He was always right, so I may just do that in his honor.

Him and I would do APRS all the time. He enjoyed that a lot. If we couldnt chat on the airwaves we were sending messages on there.  His APRS beacon always said “Hello From Earth”  I enjoyed that a lot. He always believed our airwaves traveled further than Earth and if there was intelligent life out there, he was telling them “Hello”   I liked the way he thought about things.

He loved motorcycles.  I like looking at motorcycles, but never rode on one. He always told me it was easy to ride one and how riding is like freedom. He always said when he rode his bike, there was no other feeling in the world. How peaceful it was and how much he enjoyed it and how I should do it. I might get my motorcycle license as well, in his honor.

He loved photography. He would tell me about his photos and techniques. He would tell me about photographing the wildlife that was in his yard. He definitely knew alot about the equipment. I learned a lot of stuff from him on photography as well. He enjoyed doing wildlife and nature photography. We did some SSTV and he sent me some his photos. He definitely was a good photographer.

He also enjoyed aircraft. We would listen to the aircraft bands together and track the planes as they came and went from the airport. He was able to hear the ground frequency, since he was closer to the airport. He hated that he wasn’t able to watch them come in, because of his location. But he was able to listen to em.

I have met no other person like Jeff.  He was always so positive and truthful.  That is a rarity these days. Truly one of a kind.  I am honored to have known Jeff for as long as I did and talk to him for hours every night.  Words can not describe how heartbroken I am, with him passing away.  He always said to not mourn him when he passes, but to celebrate. That is easier said than done, because he was such a good friend of mine and it literally has taken a piece of my heart. I know he is in a better place now and he is looking down on us. And he is now in a place where the airwaves are best.

Rest In Peace Jeff (N9IMI)
I will catch you on the airwaves again one day!
Miss you bro! Love you lots!

73 for now

Rickie Traeger

Jeffery A. Mulrooney 1961—2017
Jeffery A. Mulrooney, 56, of Rockford, IL lost his lengthy battle with cancer on July 9, 2017. He lived an energetic life, was an avid Ham Radio operator (N9IMI). Jeff lit up every room he walked into.

He is survived by his mother Janet Mulrooney, sisters Kathy Godare (Frank Carlson), Lori Day (Chuck); brother Greg Mulrooney (Jeanne); his children Sean Mulrooney (Jessica), Jordan Meeks (Seneca), Devon Mulrooney and Kelsey Mulrooney; 12 grandchildren. Jeffery was predeceased by his father Bruce “Grumpy” Mulrooney and grandmother Edna Jacobson.
A celebration of life will be held at the Rockford Knights Club 1429 Myott Ave in Rockford on July 22, 2017 from 12:00 until 4:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the family. Condolences may be sent to


Just A Quick Blog To Catch Up On, To Be Continued…



It has been a few days since I last blogged. Sorry!   I been outside enjoying the weather as much as possible.  Been fishing a few times, My daughter caught a fish 🙂   I have yet to catch anything. I have had many bites, but have yet to set the hooks lol

We went to the Rockford Speedway over the weekend. That was fun. Not many cars racing, but was still fun. The grandstands and bleachers were packed. Was kinda cool to see.  I haven’t been out to the races in awhile. Even though I sponsor some cars out there, LOL.

I going to pop off here, just wanted to do a quick blog to catch up a bit. I will do an in more in depth blog later on tonight


Happy Birthday To Me, Quadcopter Flight At Rock cut State Park Beach, 4th July Fireworks


It has been a few days since my last blog. Time to catch up.

As many of you know, I love summer time. So I been trying to enjoy it while it is here!  Won’t be long before fall is here. Hard to believe it is July already!

Speaking of July, today is my Birthday!  (July 6th)  Yup, I am now officially one year younger! OK, We can all wish that lol. Nothing planned for my birthday, just spending quality time with my family. That is the best birthday present anyone can have. Quality time with the family. 🙂

What did everyone do for the 4th of July?

We were going to go to downtown and watch them. But we choose not too, that ended up being a good decision. We went to Shorewood Park instead. The Ski Broncs cancelled due to the no wake law right now. Was hoping to watch them, they are good. The fireworks were pretty good. Good quality family time watching fireworks. Priceless.

I did a sunset video with my quad a week or so ago. (CLICK HERE TO WATCH IT)   Well my next goal is to do a sunrise video.  The other day I went out to the Rock Cut State Park beach area to do the sunrise video. I think the lake part would be a good scenery for the sunrise. Well by the time I got out there, it was to late to do the sunrise video. So I just did a flight with my quad.

I setup in the middle of the area. In the grass area just south of the beach, but in the middle. That way I could view the quad and keep in in line of sight the full length of the beach area.

I setup, lifted off. I saw some ducks swimming in the lake. So I thought it would be a good thing to video. I followed the ducks for a bit. I kept my distance, that way I did not scare em. They had some baby ducks too!  Was pretty neat watching them from the quad while they swam in the lake.

After that, I decided to lift up a bit maybe 150 feet or so. I forgot how high. I thought I would get some scenery video. Even though I missed the sunrise, I was still able to get some good scenery video. I was amazed at the stunning and amazing video I had gotten with this flight. I have did several flights here before, but I think this one was one of my favorites.

After getting some scenery video, I decided to mess around a bit to train myself with the controls a bit. You can never have too much training!  Train, train, train. This way you know the controls and are really good. I am really good, but at the same time I always enjoy training and messing around to know my quadcopter controls.  I was in an open area, no one around, in the line of sight and under 400 feet. So what better place to train 🙂

4th of July Tips, Parade Information, Viewing Locations, Etc….

See it Snap It Send it

rickie traeger

Here are some personal tips I wanted to personally share with everyone
for the 4th of July. 

I hope everyone has a safe and fun 4th of July. 

4th Of July And Davis Park Information ~ CLICK HERE

(Parade information near the bottom of the article)

Tips : 

  • DO NOT light off fireworks downtown while waiting for the downtown fireworks. Many people have been injured in the past because of this. Use your heads……. DO NOT light off your fireworks in or around crowds! 
  • Anyone who plans on flying their quad-copters/drones to video the fireworks you will be within the 5 mile rule of the airport, also the FAA rules prohibit amateur drone pilots: #1 from flying over crowds of people: #2 in the dark, : #3 at heights exceeding 400 feet. So that alone pretty much means you are not able too. 
  • Make sure to keep your lawns watered and nice and wet. Preferably a sprinkler.
  • Make sure you get downtown way early, otherwise you WILL be stuck in traffic. I learned this the hard way a few times in the past.
  • Traffic downtown is going to be a mess, with construction and the Hanley building fire, etc…  I will say it again, get downtown early to avoid any traffic headaches.
  • If you park in the parking garages, do not expect to get out anytime soon. Those things are a nightmare getting out of after the fireworks.
  • When the fireworks are done, traffic is a mess. Many people drive unsafe. If you are involved in an accident, be sure to video or at least photo the other parties vehicle and driver. Video is better, because night photos are usually blurry and also video will show them fleeing.  Because MANY flee on the 4th of July. Many hit and runs. It is LEGAL to photo/video anyone in a public place, so it is LEGAL to do so.
  • I personally think the Morgan st bridge (Will be closed to traffic at 4pm and pedestrians will be allowed on it)  will be the best place to view the fireworks from.  And best of all, it is FREE! 
  • RPD has made it very clear this year they will be moving pedestrians along, near the Sinnissippi area along the roadway. So those of you who like to sit there the RPD has made it clear they will move you along this year. So you may want to find an alternative place. I will be posting more of this information at the bottom of this article.
  • All the city parking garages are free to park in, except the one next to the BMO. They closed the one next to BMO this year for parking for the 4th.  As stated above, park in these at your own discretion because they are a mess to get out of at the end of the fireworks show.
  • Bathrooms, last year this was one of the biggest complaints I heard of. Lack of bathrooms. With that being said Davis Park has a lot of bathrooms. It would worth paying, just to use the bathrooms plus entertainment and fireworks. Also the bar at Madison and State was nice and let people use their bathrooms. But overall, there were not many bathrooms readily available to the public outside of Davis Park in the past. Yes, there were some. But few and far between. I saw that RPD posted there will be 37 port a potties this year, plus 6 at the city market. Locations are posted below. Sounds like they might be addressing this situation this year.
  • We all know Illinois sucks for fireworks laws, you can only have “novelty items” such as sparklers and smoke bombs and snakes. But many of you choose to go buy “fireworks”. Please keep in mind when you light off the “fireworks”, that it is illegal. I hate to be the Debbie Downer here because I love fireworks. But the law is the law. (I should toss a disclaimer in here) Fireworks are illegal in Illinois. If you buy them and light them off, you do so at your own risk/discretion.
  • Think of the pets! When you light off fireworks you are scaring the pets nearby. I am a huge animal lover, so I personally beg you to think of the pets before you go lighting off fireworks.
  • Rock River has a NO WAKE restriction on it this year. CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL INFO ON RESTRICTIONS  Police have said they will patrol the river pretty heavily this year. River conditions are not the best this year, due to the recent rainfall. So be very careful if you are out on a boat. Be sure to put lights on your boats!  Last year I personally saw a couple of accidents that almost happened, because some the boats had no lights, or minimal lights. And they almost collided.
  • Please show your support and buy from businesses downtown.  Instead of bringing food, drinks, etc… downtown, Just buy them at a local store downtown. Show your support!
  • I will say this one again: DO NOT light off fireworks downtown while waiting for the downtown fireworks. Many people have been injured in the past because of this. Use your heads……. DO NOT light off your fireworks in or around crowds!
  • Some of the best viewing places: Morgan st bridge (Personally recommend this one), Davis Park (Information HERE on prices and rules), Any of the bridges north of the fireworks display (State st, Jefferson, Whitman, etc..), Anywhere along the rivers edge, Sinnissippi Park (Some places here you are not able to see them from),  Parking decks, if you know someone in a highrise building downtown it might be a good time to contact them and say hi and see if you can watch from there, etc…
  • Shorewood Park in Loves Park, has the Ski Broncs show and their own fireworks display. But you are not able to see the downtown fireworks from this location. Their fireworks are pretty good too! You get to see the Ski Broncs and their fireworks, FREE!
  • You can avoid the Rockford Downtown and watch the Cherry Valley fireworks show. I personally have never saw them, but I have heard they are pretty good. So it might be worth going to check them out this year!
  • Also Durand has their show at the High School and Also Winnebago as well. I heard these smaller towns are better to attend, then downtown. I personally have not attended these, so I do not have an opinion. But several people said these events are better than the Rockford. So it might be worth going to check out!  And you beat the traffic mess from the Rockford events.
    Durand and Winnebago and Cherry Valley, are all in Winnebago County. So not far away at all! 


If you have some tips you want to add, please contact us.
These are general tips with common sense.
We hope everyone has a safe and fun 4th of July!

Share your fireworks videos with us at

Disclaimer: These are my own personal opinions. They fall under the Freedom Of Speech Amendment.
You may or may not agree with them, but they are my personal opinions. Please abide by the laws. Use common sense. And have fun!

From the RPD:

The annual July 4th parade will be held on Tuesday, July 4, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. in downtown Rockford. The parade steps off at 7th Street and 6th Avenue with the traditional “Motorcycle Parade” at 6:50 p.m. Please note, this year the parade route will end at Elm and Church Streets.

The Rockford Fourth of July Committee will provide entertainment and refreshments at Davis Park from 5:00 p.m. until the fireworks show begins at 9:30 p.m. Visitors to the downtown area are also encouraged to visit the many restaurants and stores that will be open; market vendors will also offer food and beverages from their carts near E. State and Water Streets.

As always, safety is a top priority and several street closures will be in place to ensure that the heavier than normal pedestrian traffic in the downtown area can be safely accommodated.

State, Chestnut and Morgan Street bridges will close for pedestrian traffic by 4:00 p.m.
– The Jefferson Street Bridge will only be open for vehicular traffic, not pedestrian traffic.
– South Main Street northbound is closed between Kent and Cedar.

Rockford police will be directing traffic at all major intersections and will be present along the parade route and in the greater downtown area.

Attendees are encouraged to allow ample time for parking and walking to their viewing site. There will be no parking allowed in the 4th floor of the Church Street South Parking Deck located at 200 S. Church next to the BMO Harris Bank Center. All City owned parking decks will be open to the public and free of charge on July 4th. There are an additional 300 spaces in the UW Health Sports Factory parking lot at the south west corner of Madison & Walnut Streets which will provide excellent fireworks viewing opportunities. Downtown visitors are reminded not to park in private lots where signs are posted as violators will be towed.

Attendees are advised that stopping to view the fireworks from the roadway, especially in and around the Whitman Street Bridge and the North 2nd Street overpass over Auburn Street and Spring Creek Road will not be allowed. Rockford Police will be patrolling the areas to keep traffic moving and to ask that viewers to move to a safer, more appropriate location.

At the conclusion of the fireworks, guests are asked to please be patient and to note that their departure routes may be different than how they originally arrived. Commuters must drive with caution and obey all police directives for routing traffic. All bridges will open immediately after pedestrian traffic is cleared, approximately 20 minutes after fireworks conclude.


Severe Weather Hits My Area, Tornado Sirens, Flooding, Etc…

Rickie Traeger Rockford
I want to first say THANK YOU to everyone who sent in their storm photos and videos!  

Much appreciated. Keep up the good work.

Hopefully everyone was able to make it through the storm safely.

flood, loves park, rockford, winnebago, rain, gauge, illinois,

My personal rain gauge here in Loves Park

Above is just one of my personal rain gauges in my yard.  As you can see, there is a LOT of rain that fell during that storm.  Some places down the road had just over 6 inches!

I was listening to a lot of water rescues on the scanner. Pretty intense. Many KUDOS to the first responders! They did an awesome job rescuing people.

We had the tornado sirens go off 2 times. I saw a funnel cloud here at the house. We all went to the basement!  Thank god it did not touch down!

I love severe weather, but not this close to home, LOL.

Be sure to SUBSCRIBE to Rockford Scanner on Youtube!
Watch these amazing videos that people sent Rockford Scanner by fans!

Here are some photos~ CLICK HERE

2017 Ham Radio Field Day


I went to the ARES ham radio field day over the weekend.  I had fun kicking it and working some stations. I mainly kicked back and relaxed and socialized.  It rained a few times. I swear it rains every field day, lol.  Max (everyone knows him as the RRSTAR photographer)  was kicking butt and taking names on the radio. He was making a lot of contacts.  I am not sure how many contacts the ARES team made. Many kudos to them. I enjoyed seeing how the ARES team set the equipment up. All the different antennas, radios, etc…  They did an awesome job. I look forward to attending next year again.

I was able to work several stations on my home station. The bands were poor and tons of QRM. But I made several contacts. Even a Porto Rico station. A lot of people on the airwaves. But that made the bands worse. Too much QRM. I worked several bands. 40, 20, 15 and 10.   I didn’t go up to 6 meters, but I heard it was active. I still have yet to make any contacts on 6 meters, lol.

Hopefully everyone who attended field day or participated, had a great time!

I did take some photos, I will post later on this week

Rickie Traeger Rockford

June 22nd 2017 Blog: The Mist TV Mini Series, Rockford MUFON Meeting, Ham Radio Field Day, Possible Severe Weather Overnight, Etc…

Rickie Traeger Rockford

I watched this show called “The Mist”  it is a new mini series on Spike channel (Channel 32 on comcast) it started tonight. Appears to be on Thursday nights.  Based off the Stephen King book.  I thought it was going to be like the movie (Which I liked a lot) but when I started watching it, I quickly realized it was different.  I like different!  I won’t say much, because I do not want to spoil it for others. But it was good, and already some unexpected stuff.  I liked the pilot show and can\t wait until next Thursday!

I saw they are remaking the movie “IT”  and coming out this year!  That is awesome. I love that movie. They are actually showing the original “IT” on Spike as I type this.  I am watching it (pun intended lol)

Field Day is coming up this weekend. I am looking forward to it. I plan on going to both ARES and RARA field day.  Hoping the weather stays nice, but usually on field day storms always hit. If you are a ham radio operator, this weekend will be awesome. Be sure to get on the airwaves. Sounds like the bands are opening up a bit so that will be nice.

We had to buy a new washing machine. Our last one decided to go out. We went to Al Grace and got it. The delivery people were really nice. They installed it for us and everything, so I want to send a shout out to them.


Possible storms overnight tonight.  I hope we get some storms tonight. But I don’t think they will hit. It looks like they are headed to our north. Go figure, lol.  We did get a few light rain showers earlier. It made things humid out. The NWS said storms were goingto hit overnight, after 11 pm.  I am looking at the radar, the storms are all to the north and still a ways away. Maybe in a few hours. I see some of the cells right now, have hail and looks like strong winds as well.  Hopefully they stick together and make it here sometime overnight. I want to do some lightning photography.

Rockford MUFON meeting is this Saturday! 
Saturday June 24th starting at 10 am till 12:15 pm
The monthly meeting at the Rockford Public Library at the East branch. It is located at 6685 E State St. (Just west of Perryville)

rockford mufon

Rockford MUFON

As you see, I been blogging more.  I am trying to blog daily, if possible.  I can’t promise on how long my posts will be lol.  Some may be long like books, some may be just brief, some may just be random. But I am blogging more 🙂   I know many many people read my stuff and I am trying to blog more, so you guys can follow and keep up to date.


BEAUTIFUL SUNSET VIDEO: Real Time Sunset Video Over Rockford Illinois June 20th 2017

Rockford Beautiful Sunset


I finally was able to do one of the videos I been wanting to do for awhile now!  A real time sunset video of the sunset over Rockford.  I hope you guys like it!  It is real time, it took 14 minutes for the sun to set from the time I hit the record button.

Note:  Click on the wheel thing on the bottom right of the video, change the settings to 4K!  


About the video: I been wanting to do a sunset video over the area of Rockford for awhile now. I noticed the sun was setting and looked pretty, so I headed down to Martin Park in Loves Park. I took out the quadcopter (People call them drones) I went up about 200 feet and hit the record button and hoped for the best. The large parking lot and building you see in the video, is the North Towne Mall area. The music is by the artist Halsey.

Long Blog About Field Day, Longest Day Of The Year, Drone Video, Ham Radio,

I am laying here in bed at 3:15 am and figured I would blog a bit. I think this might be a longer one, so heads up. I will probably bounce from topic to topic and be random, so do not say I did not warn you, LOL

I think the first thing I am going to do after I write this, is to remove or change the song that auto loads when you visit my website. I have a few in mind that I want to change too. But then again I was thinking, loading a site and each time you load a post or page, the song starts all over and it gets annoying quickly. So I may just remove the songs all together. I added it on there, because I love that song and love to listen to it everytime i go to my website.

Technically it is June 20th now, since it is 3 am. The 21st is the longest day of the year. If I remember right, the first day of summer as well. Do not mark my word on it, but I think it is. But it is the longest day of the year. If you like the sun, that day will be your day.  Get out and enjoy it!  I do know rain was in the forecast, so you might not be able to enjoy it.

I think I may go do a quadcopter video of this mornings sunrise. I have a few places in mind. I think the sunrise over some body of water would probably be the best video to do. I may head out to Rock Cut and do the video on the West side of the lake, facing East.  I think it would be a good view of Pierce Lake and with the sun rising over it, I think would be awesome. I have it planned out in my head, and hope that it works as planned.  My quadcopter about 200 feet over the tree tops and over the lake, watching the sun rise.  🙂

I haven’t been fishing in awhile. I been wanting to go fishing. I might take the family fishing this week. I should use worms. I been using lures when I go, and have not caught anything all year….  So it is time to move onto the good ol worm!

Ham radio field day is coming up this weekend. A lot of people will be on the airwaves! Pop on the radio and have some fun! ARES and RARA both want me to attend their events. I am planning on attending. They are going to be fun. Many great people, great talent!  It will be great times.   I will do some video and photos and post em here, so check back early next week.  I don’t have the ARES information yet, once I do I will post it.  Here is the RARA field day information

Alright, I will pop off here. I plan on making a few pages on my website here. I won’t say what they are. Let’s see if you are able to find out which ones.  😉



4 Things Survey

Four names I go by:
1. Rickie
3. Rockford Scanner
4. Trigger

Four places I have lived:
1. Illinois
The other 3 are to be determined, LOL

Four things I love to watch on TV:
1. X-Files
2. Walking Dead
3. Americas Got Talent
4. Paranormal stuff

Four places I have visited:
1. Indiana
2. Missouri
3. Wisconsin
4. Tennessee

Four things I love to eat:
1. Watermelon
2. Pizza
3. Quesedea (Dunno if I spelled that right)
4. Tacos

4 Things I love to drink:
1. DR Pepper
2. Rootbeer
3. Sweet Tea
4. Pepsi

Four things on your bucket list:
1. Fly a plane
2. Go Skydiving
3. Fly in the luxury cabin of an Airbus A380
4. Meet a few people (Danica Patrick, Rick Neilson, Chad Knaus, etc…)

Four people I think will respond and hopefully be fun
1. Candice
2. Megan
3. Will
4. Elle

Happy Fathers Day, US Military Shoots Down Aircraft, Rail Gun



I am writing this a little after midnight, so technically it is not Fathers Day. I hope all the fathers out there had a wonderful day!  And to those mothers who play both roles as well.  Hope everyone was able to spend good quality time with their dads.

Unfortunately, my dad Anthony Traeger passed away. He is now in heaven looking down on us. I hope him and both of my grandpas had a good Fathers Day up in heaven.

I am a father myself, so I was able to spend quality family time with my family.  Quality time with your loved ones, is priceless. Nothing in this universe can beat good quality family time. You never know what God has planned, so you may be here one minute and gone the next. I have lost some really close family members and friends, and know that well. So enjoy the time you have with your loved ones!

I was on FB and some friends shared some videos I thought were pretty interesting.  The first one was from ABC News. Our military shot down an aircraft in active combat. I don’t know much details on it, but I guess that is the first time since the 90’s since we actively shot down another aircraft in combat.  I guess a Syrian aircraft dropped a bomb, and we shot them down. Good!  We need to show them the USA will not back down and will defend ourselves and shoot you down!  More info at

Another neat thing I saw was also on our military, about a rail gun.  This thing is soooooo AWESOME!   I am glad we have this in our military. This thing shoots a projectile at mach 7, Yes you heard that. MACH 7!!!  This thing is an amazing tool in our defense.  I am glad America is awesome and is able to advance our technology and keep our troops and citizens safe!  You guys have to watch this video on it, this thing is amazing.  Excellent job to the US military for keeping our troops and citizens safe!