Monday, November 27, 2006

Concall and spreadsheets

The four day weekend wasn't quite enough to finish all that I had put out in front of me. There are so many things that need to be tested, organized, and arranged, I'm starting to think I should have started this much earlier than I have!
I made copies of all of the licensing materials and now have them organized and ready to go in the morning. I just need to stop by the Post Office, get the money order, and head off to Federal Express. What a relief that will be!
Our second conference call was scheduled for this evening. Five of seven made the call, including Paul from Puerto Rico. We covered a lot of ground in the 75 minutes. Here is the agenda for the con-call:
  1. Status updates on the big stuff (flights, licenses)
  2. Equipment organization
  3. Recording our adventure (Still photography, Audio recording options, Video recording options)
  4. Marketing
    • Web site plans and updates
    • DVD/video planning
    • Dayton planning
    • Thoughts on magazine articles to be written
  5. Alternative power options for portable operation
  6. Logging (QSL collection and record keeping, Web site updates, Paper QSLing, eQSL, LoTW)

We also covered some other stuff as the discussion proceeded. Here are some of those thoughts presented in no particular order:
  • Clothing: No dress up stuff. Casual only.
  • PowerPoles: We should standardize on PowerPoles for all 12v connections. Everybody put PowerPoles on their stuff.
  • Can we wash clothes while at the villa? Probably. We should plan on it, even it means doing it in the bath tub.
  • Can we locate a hardware store on the island? How much use of local materials can be made?

We then covered again the general list of equipment we're considering for the trip. For the long items, like the long masts bundled with the Buddipole, a golf bag might be best. This is the one I have: The Vault. The current thought is I might be able to bring the case from Boston and use it to hold all the long pieces for the group (the other long pieces are likely going to be supplied by the Buddipole guys, and they'll already have them staged in Florida for a ham fest they're attending).
One other point: I'm taking Southwest Airlines from Manchester, New Hampshire down to Florida. Southwest allows three checked bags. Some of the other guys are traveling very light (perhaps one bag plus carryon), so my third bag, the golf bag, could be handed-off to another member of the group when we leave Florida.
We decided that the best way to organize all this stuff is for each of us to create an Excel spreadsheet with a complete inventory of each bag. The columns in the spreadsheet are name, bag identifier, item description, weight, and serial number. Here is a portion of my spreadsheet that I began pulling together tonight (only showing the first bag and omitting some information):

BSA Weight Description
13 Pelican 1510 case
4 Alinco DM-330MV 32A Power Supply
0.5 Super Whatt Meter
2 LDG AT-7000 autotuner
5 Icom 7000 transciever
1 Icom CT-17 level converter
0.5 Icom HM-151 hand microphone
1 RIGrunner 4005 Power distribution

2 Red accessory box
# (2) CT-17 power connectors
# LDG autotuner to radio cable
# Heil traveler adapter cable
# Heil ProSet adapter cable
# (2) 1/8 inch patch cables
# one foot PL259 patch cable
# PL-259 to BNC adapter
# Keyspan USA-19HS serial
# USB patch cord

0.5 Radio Shack 22-820 VOM
0.5 Power cord spades / PowerPoles
1.5 Power cord PowerPoles / Molex
0.5 Power cord Cigarette / PowerPoles
0.5 2/440 magmount antenna
Alinco manual and service manual
Minilog book
Icom 7000 Nifty mini-manual
0.5 Radio Amateurs World Atlas
Small screwdriver
(2) ferrite blocks
33 Estimated total
30 Scale shows weight at

The other bags will need to contain the Heil headsets, antennas, coax, tools, antenna analyzer, etc. I will try to complete my spreadsheet before our next conference call.
These detailed lists serve a couple of purposes. First, it helps ensure we don't leave some critical piece of equipment at home. If we all review these lists, the chances of forgetting something important is small. Second, making these lists help coordinate between the group members. We all don't need to bring, say, an MFJ-259B antenna analyzer. One should be sufficient for the group. As we go through these lists, we can eliminate unnecessary duplication and its associated weight. Third, the government of Montserrat will be checking all of the stuff we bring on to the island and will wish to either collect duty on it, or at least a deposit. Similarly, we need to have a complete list to get back out. These spreadsheets can go a long way towards helping organize that detail.
We covered more stuff in this call (it was a very good call!). I'll try to cover more in the next blog entry. It is getting late here on the East Coast and tomorrow is a work day. Plus, I just noticed how long this entry had become. My, I'm long winded! {grin}


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