Thursday, September 21, 2006

Montserrat trip planning update

Here is an update on the planning for the Montserrat trip. First, I must say, we've got a good group. I had picked up some slack when everybody else got busy and that was good. Then, I got busy with commitments at work (and other places) and the rest of the team picked up my slack. I believe that bodes well all around!
I have packaged up all the materials for our licenses and have mailed them to the Monsterrat licensing authority. We've not received a response yet, but I included everything we need (including enough money) to ensure that we should have a license for at least next year and perhaps the year after as well. This really is the most exciting aspect of it all. When I receive my first foreign call sign, I think I'll smile from ear-to-ear.
I also mailed off a nice letter to the Montserrat Amateur Radio Society (MARS) along with a financial contribution to the club. The club offers "Overseas Membership" and, with luck, we will all become members of this organization. I also hope they will join us for a meal (and a cool, refreshing drink!) while we are there. I enclosed a fair amount of money with the letter. I know how expensive it is here in the states to keep a repeater running, I can't imagine how costly it is there! In fact, as I reflect upon this, I suspect we'll leave them with either some money or equipment when we leave the island. These folks are in a place where emergency communication is absolutely critical considering there is an active volcano right in their back yards! They are brave folks. We should give them all the support we can!
After I got this done, I got busy and started falling behind. Other group members, though, picked right up where I stopped. Chris started researching the extra baggage problem, for example. As I may have mentioned, most airlines allow up to 100 pounds of luggage here in the states. The little airline that runs between Antigua and Montserrat, though, limits you to 20 Kilograms (44 pounds)! That is too tight a restriction for us to accomplish our goals. Chris is looking into how easily we can bring extra baggage above that (ridiculous) limit.
One of the other discussions is centered around logging. We know we need to do computer logging there, but how? Should everybody bring a computer? What will we do when we are portable (and we expect lots of portable operation)? We're now vigorously working that issue on our internal email reflector.
Finally, I posted my Model Release Form for inspection. This is one of the two legal documents I thought we should have signed among us. I used to do some photography so I knew about these things. If you want to learn more about them, check out this page. I used a variant of the form they had for my document. The idea is really simple: everybody is going to want to take pictures, videos, and audio recordings and use them in presentations, product brochures (in the case of the Buddipole guys, who are a sponsor for this trip), magazine articles, web pages, and every other place you can imagine. We should all happily release our fellow DXpeditioners to use our images, voices, and likeness for these purposes. This form formally agrees to that very reasonable thing.
I also published my first status report to the group in nearly a month. I'm not proud of that. Hopefully, I'll be able to devote the time this deserves now that things have mostly returned to normal here in the NE1RD household.
There is still lots more to do. I've picked up my DXpedition manual again and started editing it. It is mostly outline at this point but it should have lots of good stuff in it that will be handy to have on the island. That's the plan, anyway. Plus, as Chris pointed out a few days ago, much of what we're building here is experience and materials that could be reused later. I sure hope so!


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