Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Status report 6 December 2006

I sent around a status report today to all Montserrat DXpedition members (us BUMS). I hope the team members find them as helpful as I do. The correspondences within the group is private to the group (and should be), but sharing portions of it here will show the kinds of things I’m worried about at this stage of our planning. I edited this a bit, excising things that should remain private.

Status Report
December 6, 2006

Team members
NE1RD - B. Scott Andersen
AB7ST - Bob Follett
W3FF - Budd Drummond
W6HFP - Chris Drummond
WZ1P - Dan Gagnon (not traveling)
KB9AVO - Paul Van Dyke
KC4VG - Mike Greenwood
W4OKW - Tom Clarke

Last status report was November 5, 2006.

* All flights and hotels are booked.
* Licenses received via email, 5 of 7 received via post.
* Slogan "Not rare, but well done!" adopted.
* DXpedition "official T-shirts" distributed (magnet, too).
* Weekly conference calls established: {details followed}

We have completed all the stuff that is "out of our control":
flights, hotels, island rentals, and licensing. Now, we have
a long list of stuff that _is_ within our control (that is,
we can complete it as quickly as we like because we need not
depend on anybody else to get it done).

The big things, as I see them, fall into these categories:
[1] Log file and QSLing strategy (computers, log programs).
[2] Ham equipment planning (radios, antennas, power needs).
[3] Non-ham equipment planning (scuba, video, etc.)
[4] On-island logistics: vans, cars, bikes, etc.
[5] On-island excursion planning: helicopter, MVO, scuba, etc.

I would like everybody to continue to work on their ham
equipment list spreadsheet, but I would really like to
complete the logging and QSLing strategy THIS WEEK. I have
software to write and would like to test it with the log
files produced by the programs we will actually use on the
island. Also, Budd, let's finalize the QSL manager so I can
put that information on the web site ASAP.

Actions since last status report
* Slogan adopted (complete).
* Second license application package sent (complete).
* Final flights obtained (complete).

There are a number of hot issue. Please look down this list
and take actions that have your name or ALL next to them.
If there are questions or problems, please notify the group

* ACTION: Chris: Bio + picture for web site.
* ACTION: Budd: picture for web site
* ACTION: ALL: Plans for computer logging to Scott.
* ACTION: ALL: Pay Chris $xxx for share of flights.
* ACTION: ALL: Send Scott signed Model Release form.
* ACTION: Scott: Finish web site QSO log processing tools
* ACTION: Budd: Finalize paper QSL manager stuff and tell Scott.
* ACTION: Scott: Make QSL information page on web site.
* ACTION: ALL: Create eQSL account for your VP2M call sign.
* ACTION: ALL: Create LoTW account for your VP2M call sign.

Open issues - not critical
* DXpedition manual
* Marketing and Public Relations
* Legal Documents: general agreement
* Equipment inventory
* Pay Chris for flights and resort
* Power voltage and connector shape
* Renting a van while on the island.
* MARS membership...

The rest of the message provided addition details on each of the “open issues - not critical” list, inventoried the “closed issues” from the last few rounds of status, and documented the group’s itinerary again (for convenience).
For my part, I added my new call sign vp2mrd to my Logbook of the World account. It was easy. You can find a link with details of how to add a new call sign to an existing account on my home page (I’ve had this domain for a while but only recently made it point to my home page.) The only extra step I needed to take was to supply the ARRL with proof that I had actually received that call sign officially. I followed the directions on the LoTW pages and emailed an electronic copy of the license to the email address listed with a nice note. Within a couple of hours, I received a message from Wayne Mills (N7NG) with a file containing my new credentials. By the way, if you recognize the name or call sign from Wayne Mills, don’t be surprised. I’ve been telling you to read his DXpeditioning BASICS white paper for some time now!
I also set up a new call sign on eQSL, though that process isn’t complete yet. The eQSL service allows you to have your account marked as Authenticity Guaranteed, meaning the service has made reasonable steps to ensure the cards produced by this user will be authentic. You can gain this status four different ways, but the easiest way is to have eQSL ping the LoTW service. If you’re good on LoTW, they give you the nod on eQSL. It is quick and easy to do it this way. Unfortunately, you need at least one QSO in the LoTW account for this to work. It ends up being a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem, really. I’ll likely just wait until my first upload to LoTW on the island to make this final step on eQSL.
Finally, the blogging service you are reading now, Blogger, has had some major changes of late. I’m now converted over to the beta version of the service and, I must admit, it has given me fits. I write my blog entry within an editor on my Macintosh, spell check it (at least occasionally {grin}), and then paste it into an editing window at the blogger web site. That’s been working for me since the beginning, until Sunday evening. Now, with this new software, my HTML links within my posts are mangled when I paste them into the service’s editor. Once I discovered the problem, it was a matter of updating my browser to the latest version of Firefox, and then repairing one-by-one each of the broken links.
If you notice a broken link, please let me know. It just means that one more was mangled than was found by me during review. I suspect this little problem will be resolved by the Blogger people in good time, but for now it is quite irritating.


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