Thursday, July 19, 2007

Prepping for Lovells

Just a few things to report. My Mosley beam has arrived. Hooray! Unfortunately, I've not had time to even open the box yet. I will try to work with it this weekend. If I can, and if all goes well, it will go with me to Lovells Island for the IOTA contest. But, I really need to be comfortable with the antenna before I attempt to travel with it. The last thing I want to do is trying to work out problems with a new, strange piece of hardware on an island with few tools and no electricity.
Speaking of the island, I'm not much for camping so I needed to make a trip to REI today to pick up a couple of very lightweight sleeping bags, two self-inflating pads, two compact pillows, and a couple of flashlights, and a couple of other cool items. The bad news: this came to nearly $500. The good news (and it better be really good): all this stuff is amazingly small and compact. We had been worrying about how we were going to get all this stuff on-and-off the island. This new stuff has reduced the problem significantly.
Lovells Island is fairly isolated. There is no fresh water on the island. There is no electricity. There are no lights. There are trees. There are remnants of an abandoned fort. There are paved paths, slightly eroded by the elements. Whatever you may need you must bring with you: water, food, fuel, batteries, shelter, and first aid supplies. The island is long and narrow with nearly a half-mile hike from the dock to the camp site. Those coming just to camp probably manage the logistics easily. I'm bringing HF gear, antennas, feedline, batteries, tools, and other equipment. Something with wheels to help haul the mound of loose stuff would be a big help.
I settled on a folding grocery cart to do the job. I should be able to stick the batteries in the bottom along with the large bottles of water we'll need. The 33-foot mast and Buddipole system can go in there, too, along with all the other stuff I bought today. Hopefully, the tent will also fit there. That will leave only the Pelican case with the K2 and the separate shelter for the picnic table to be hand carried. (My backpack should be able to hold the food and miscellaneous smaller items.) That's the plan, anyway.
Unfortunately, my first attempt to order the shopping cart failed (out-of-stock). I've cancelled that order and tried again from another vendor. I did not plan the details of this trip early enough. We'll see if my goof-up costs me.

Finally, I received my copy of the National Contest Journal today. In it was the results of the January NAQP contest where I found I had only made 50 QSOs for some small number of points. Plus, I had entered as 100 watts (not QRP). That's unusual! What was I thinking?! Oh. Now I remember. I used the contest as a way of doing the final shakeout of the equipment going to Montserrat. Contests are a great way to give all of your equipment a good workout prior to your departure. They're also a ton of fun.
See you all on the air this weekend for the CQ VHF contest. I plan on going to the top of Mount Wachusett either Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning (depending on weather and a number of other factors). I'll try to post here when I leave for the mountain.


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