Paul started us out by giving a report on conditions on the island itself. He spoke with our host David Lea from Gingerbread Hill about the volcano. Those on the island are taking the volcano's state, even the recent rather large eruption, in stride. Unless there is a significant change with things down there, I believe it will be safe to go. We'll still follow the guidelines we've put into place (calling two weeks from tonight from Orlando to verify conditions) but at this point, we are all but sure there will be no surprises.
The meeting then proceeded to hot items. The run-down of various assignments (creating QRZ entries, etc.) went quickly. Everybody promised to get their paperwork to me ASAP (Model Release Forms and General Agreements). I believe all that should be in place before our next call.
I then led a discussion regarding baggage plans. One-by-one we described our two checked bags, weight (thus far), size, and what else we might need. Budd has lots of extra weight capability in one of his bags but needs some space in a golf bag for long masts. I'm seriously over weight with my stuff, but I'm also packing tools for the group and other items intended to be shared. Perhaps Budd can take some of my overflow. The discussions proceeded along those lines.
Mike is our Activities Coordinator. He has three group trips lined up: a day trip on Tuesday to the Montserrat Volcano Observatory and surrounding area, a boat ride on Thursday to see the southern portion of the island, and a trip to Redonda Island on Friday. We've all but given upon the notion of getting a last-minute license from Antigua. I think we're all going to be happy just having a nice day and swimming with the fishies.
Those three activities are the only group activities we've planned. The rest of the time folks are likely going to be spread out, hiking, on a bicycle, on the beach, and operating from various parts of the island. Mike was careful to plan our day trips prior to the weekend as we're sure there will be more people on the air on the two weekend days than during the week. There is also a contest that weekend. The North American Sprint is February 4 from 0000Z-04000Z. I will likely give that a try!
I've got a busy week ahead. There is a local club meeting on Tuesday night and I have another Boston Symphony Orchestra concert on Thursday. That will make it tough to get much done after work this week. Still, after spending all of yesterday morning and afternoon with the scale and bags, I'm feeling better.
This is not to say I am done. Quite the contrary. I've still got to address several gaps I've found during my review: I need to bring more coax, I think I'm going to try to bring the FT-817 and/or Elecraft KX1, I need to make room for my band-pass filters (which better come this week), and a whole host of other small items (spare fuses, iPod charger, diving mask, etc.) that have get to get packed.
I've also started thinking of the things that can be taken out of the bags and left behind. I know I've mentioned this before: packing is an iterative process. I have a few more iterations to go.
So, though I didn't work on the log processing tools (bad nerd!) it was a productive weekend culminating with the conference call tonight. I'm feeling a little less stressed.
Just 14 days to go...