Friday, January 12, 2007

Weight, emergency info, and NEC2GO

I brought home the scale again. I'm still running over my weight allowance, but I'm also packing tools, an antenna analyzer, and other things that are shared resources for the group. I've just sent a message to another group members who mentioned they are far under their weight budget. Perhaps we can do a little burden sharing. This should all be worked out once we get the group spreadsheets collected, but that hasn't happened yet (and it is getting late!)
On the planning front, there are two other things in play right now. A couple of members of the group are still investigating whether it is possible to wrangle a license out of Antigua on short notice. We might be able to email scans of the relevant documents to a contact on Antigua and then pick up our licenses upon arrival at the telecommunications office. I kept copies of all the licensing materials (copies of US licenses, passport pages, etc.) so I would be the logical one to scan all that in and provide electronic versions of everything. No word yet on whether this is going to happen. I guess we'll find out next week.
We're also in the process of collecting emergency contact information for all the group members in case something inconvenient happens to somebody during the trip. I'm creating a folder for each operator that has their Monserrat license, backup licensing materials, emergency contact information for all group members, and some other important documents as needed. I'd like to have this completed by the end of the weekend.
All this paperwork probably sounds like overkill, but, again, my premise in all this is that my time on the island is valuable and I would rather spend one or two minutes organizing something here and now, before the trip, than to spend even one minute on the island doing the same thing. Further, the planning exercise, the organizing effort itself, has been very instructive. I've learned things and discovered resources I would not have otherwise found if I had just winged it. For me, this planning has provided me with a richer experience than I would have had otherwise, making it all worthwhile.
Assuming my head doesn't turn to cottage cheese the moment I get on the airplane, I am planning to pull of this experience (it seems presumptuous to call it wisdom) into a single document. I don't know if this will end up as a book, or booklet, or will be a series of web pages on my website. I do know that at least one person will want to read it though: me, when I'm ready to do my next trip! I would like to make all new mistakes next time. {grin}
I stumbled across and interesting site today called I've only spent a couple minutes on it, but it seems to be a site where they will take anybody's DXpedition (or contest?) log and provide a nice web-based look-up for it. I just found my call (NE1RD) in the DX4DL log. Seems simple enough! Perhaps I'll upload our log to this site, also, when we are done. (Gee, maybe I didn't need to write all that software! Naw! It was fun!)
Filed in the Don't you have enough to do?! category is my purchase today of NEC2GO antenna modeling software. While at Dayton last year I ran into the fellow who was working the parking lot hawking the software. I chatted with him and was impressed by the package. I promised to give it a look when I got back home. I discovered that slip of paper with the reminder today (while looking for something else I've still not found, of course). The software is only $39.95 (for a limited time, whatever that means) and seems worth a look. I'll be modeling various weird Buddipole configuration in my copious spare time. Perhaps there should be a section on the DXpedition web site with pictures of the configurations we used along with the models. Sounds like an interesting discussion to have over a cold drink when we all converge on Orlando!
Just 16 days until Orlando...


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