Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A quick glance back

Before I begin dumping a lot of details for the upcoming trips, perhaps it would be good to just mention some of the past work (since that is feeding into the planning process for these next efforts). Earlier this year Sandy (my XYL) and I went to St. John USVI for our vacation. It happened to coincide (by design) with the ARRL's DX SSB contest. There were a couple of reasons to take this trip when we did and pick the place we picked:

  1. We wanted a great place to visit. This was our vacation and we wanted to go someplace nice where both of us could enjoy a little peace and quiet and relax. We rented a little house on St. John atop a nice hill overlooking the edges of the island. What a view that was!

  2. We picked that time because I love to do radio contesting and this is a fun contest. It isn't quite so "cut-throat" as some of the other contests yet it is a 48 hour affair so you've got plenty of time to operate. I've been in this contest before, but this time I'd get to be a (hopefully wanted) DX station.

  3. The place was remote and isolated, but there were still hardware stores around and even a Radio Shack (on St. Thomas) if I had a real problem. This isn't like a trip to a desert isle where if something was broken you'd be totally hosed.

  4. The island of St. John is a numbered IOTA island and I'm very interested in that program. I'll write much more about IOTA later.

  5. We went in March, just about the time everybody was going stir-crazy from the long Boston winter. We needed a break!

As you can see, many of the reasons for going were associated with family and fun. This isn't some work assignment; this is play-time! I've worked hard in the planning and execution of the trips I'll describe here but at no time did I lose track of the fact that I was doing it for fun. I had made a trip to Hawaii in 2005 which was really, really fun but had brought only the bare minimum of equipment to operate (just a K2, a Buddipole, and some other pieces) that just helped me get started in this. The St. John trip was the first trip where I'd gotten serious about putting QSOs in the log.

This was also the first trip that I had really buckled down to see how close I could get to that 100 pound limit imposed by the airlines for checked bags. In the end, this part of the exercise was much more important than I had originally imagined.

My work on this concept of a "100 pound DXpedition" have been going on for some time. If it isn't too confusing, I'll likely bounce back-and-forth in time trying to fill in the history as I document the work in progress for the future trips.


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