Monday, November 20, 2006

First conference call

We just finished up our first conference call for the group. I must say, this was a very useful exercise! Not everybody could attend, but those who did got a lot out of it, I think.
Here are the big things we discussed and decided:
  • No club call -- We had discussed on our email reflector the possibility of getting one call that would be used by the group (like the big DXpeditions do). In the end, we decided it didn't add much. Sure, it would mean we would be able to upload just one log with all contacts to LoTW, eQSL, etc., but it probably caused as many problems as it fixed. So, we'll all have separate callsigns. I even suggested there might be some who would wish to work all seven of us. Why not?!
  • Flights are all set -- Chris seems to have nailed down that last leg from Antigua to Montserrat. He will let us know how much we owe him and each of us will give him a check to cover this expense. This, and the licenses, were the last two big hurdles that were making us nervous.
  • Equipment database -- I had asked everybody to give a quick synopsis of the kinds of equipment they were going to bring to the island. There is going to be lots of interesting stuff going! To sort all this out, and remove duplication, we're going to start a planning area within our Yahoo! group to identify what equipment each of us will bring. I'll work on that over the next few days.
  • Model release forms -- We agreed that the one I had made looked good. I've already received one (though I didn't know it as I had not opened the envelope yet). Everybody else agreed to sign theirs and get it to me. Since Buddipole antennas will likely need it more than me, I'll just collect them all and give them to Budd and Chris once this is over. (Let them be responsible for them!)
  • Baggage won't be a problem -- There had been some concern early on that we might be facing a 20 Kg (44 pound) limit on baggage going to Montserrat. That would have been almost a deal-breaker for many of us. Now, it appears that Chris has negotiated at least the full 100 pounds for our 100 Pound DXpedition.
  • Golf bags -- I had posed the question, "Who wants to share a golf bag?" The Buddipole 16 foot masts break down to 41 inches, but that doesn't fit in most luggage. I had planned on bringing my golf bag and thought others who would also be bringing long masts might wish to share it. Now, because of the kinds of activities we're anticipating, many on the call thought they might not even be bringing the big mast. If it is true we are bringing no long pieces, we might not need the golf bag.
Well, I'm bringing the golf bag anyway. I want to bring my Big Buddipole system (described here), small Buddipole system, and some other long stuff, too. So, I'll have the golf case. (It will be interesting to see how they get it on to that twin otter. {grin}
So, I declare this first call a success. It is a good group! The free conference call system worked fine, except that Budd couldn't get in because "all circuits are busy". We hope moving to Sunday night will fix that, too.


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