Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Weighing in and self-sufficiency

I've got a couple of things to report in today's entry. Things are starting to heat up for the St. Kitts trip. My packing exercise last weekend was a partial success. I have a first cut at the items to be brought with us on the trip but I'm still overweight. Since there are two of us I could bring a total of 200 pounds (100 per person) and still be within my general guidelines but I'm trying to reduce the total weight down to something considerably less. Here's where I stand right now (approximately):
  • Pelican 1610 -- 42 pounds. This now holds the IC-7000, Alinco power supply, LDG tuner, mixer and mixer power supply (for recording audio), and cabling for everything. The only thing missing for a complete station is microphone and paddles.

  • Golf case -- 60 pounds. This puts me over the 100 pound limit if I'm traveling by myself... but I'm not. {grin} In here is the 33-foot mast, Mosley beam, a three 20-foot fishing poles, pre-wired vertical antennas for 40/15 and 17m, radial wire, and a small Buddipole system. Also in here are five mast sections that weigh 2.2 pounds each (for a total of 11 pounds). There is other stuff in there as well, I'm sure. (I'm doing this from memory.) Note that coax and tools are not yet listed.

  • Miscellaneous stuff -- There is also a messy pile of stuff next to the big cases. A tool kit (10 pounds), 500 feet of coax (20 pounds), Heil headset in case with adapters (couple of pounds), antenna analyzer in small Pelican case (another couple of pounds), and a few odds-and-ends (Dacron rope, bungies, etc.).

As you can see, I'm still overweight. But, I could stick all those odds-and-ends, tools, and even coax in another bag (together all this stuff weighs much less than 50 pounds) with Sandy and I packing all our clothes and personal items into her bag. I know I could do this, but I'm hoping to do better.
One of the reasons why the weight is out-of-control is because the antenna plan is not yet complete. Do I need the mast sections? (11 pounds) Do I need all that coax? (Four pounds per hundred feet) Do I need all those tools?
The excess weight is an indication that I'm deferring decisions until I get to the island. That might be the right answer (wait-and-see), but it is more likely that I've just not thought about things enough here at home in my pre-trip planning. As more decisions are made more weight will come off the package.

I'm also scrambling a bit to get my new presentation finished for the talks I'm to give soon. I speak to the local club on Tuesday of next week. I present to the Nashua, NH club in October prior to the St. Kitts trip. I speak to another club in November. The first two talks will concentrate on the Montserrat trip; the November talk will most likely include things from the St. Kitts trip.
I bought a projector this week. It seemed like an extravagance but it takes a lot of pressure off of me. I won't be scrambling to borrow one every time I give a talk. I was on the edge of making the decision when another invitation came in the mail from the Framingham club. OK. Uncle. I picked up a Sharp XR-30X projector from Staples. I had a coupon for an online purchase, there was a $100 rebate on the unit, and overnight shipping was free. As the marketing slogan goes, "That was easy." This projector, combined with a small amplified speaker system, is all I need to do my presentations. I'm now self-sufficient.

Finally, I've been working feverishly on my study of antennas for 100 Pound DXpeditions. I've removed the very early (partial) draft from my public download area because there have been substantial additions (and some changes) since I put it up about a week ago. I've not gotten much feedback -- except that it is long -- from folks. I'm inclined to wait until I have something much closer to a finished product before showing it again at this point.
The last few nights have been spent studying the effects of ground. The type and shape of the ground beneath our antennas is always important but in these 100 Pound DXpeditions the antennas tend to be small, close to the ground, and situated above rocky or sandy dry soil. There are some things we might be able to do about this. I'm running though those experiments this week. There have already been some fascinating results!

That's plenty for today. Back to work!


Post a Comment

<< Home