Preparing for Arran
We're in the final stages of preparing for our DX-Pedition to Arran. Any group that puts an event like this on have to be dedicated and focused to get it right. In our case the preparation can be broken down into two sections.
Looking for a Venue/Transport: Kev G6FKE and Ian looked at a couple of venues and their findings were taken back to the group to decide which one we should go to. Once this was done Kev took over the role of booking the venue and looking at transportation and overall cost for the event. Ferry crossing times and costs were also looked after by Kev.
Health and Safety: People going on the DX-Pedition could have medical problems so members were asked to submit details of any problems and who to contact in the event of an emergency. It may sound very negative to be looking at things like that but accidents happen and personal medical details could save a life. Access to the information is restricted and will be destroyed at the end of the event.
Food: Our QM for the week is Mark M0WCR from the Workington Group.
Mark is ordering the meat needed for the event and sorting a list of provisions for us to buy. He will be assisted By Kev's dad Paddy
Paddy, the first part of the Irish Connection is not licensed. Paddy's interest is in walking and enjoying the wildlife he sees. Along with Mark he is also partial to a wee drop of the amber from time to time.
Mark was affectionately re-named as Mick by Paddy and they get on great together.
If anybody has any major dislikes during the week Mark caters for them with a different meal.
Finances: Although Frank G8BME is not joining us for this event he has kindly agreed to look after the finances for the event, making sure deposits and other monies are paid out on time and that all Dxer's are aware of what has been paid and what is left.
Paul M1PAF from Workington took this subject on and it's not an easy task. As with all the sections, communication and assessing the needs of the group played a vital role. The group are running equipment covering everything from HF voice communications to CW and data on both VHF and HF. Paul needed to know what equipment was available so that he could assess where the stations could best be located to prevent breakthrough.
Once Paul had all the information he needed it was the responsibility of each person taking a station to supply not only the radio but all the accessories and spares to keep the station on the air. Along with the six base stations there will be mobile stations operating SOTA and other outside stations around the Island. The majority of base stations are using the Elecraft K3, along with TS-2000, FT2000D.
Kev G6FKE is covering this topic and again members were consulted about their needs. We will have a nest of dipoles covering topband 40 and 80m, along with verticals and antenna's that the guys from Workington will be taking. Martin has a 6m beam he is going to try out and there will be some experimental work with phased verticals.
Martin M0ZIF is covering this topic with Andrew G0LWU.... This includes Data Communications and the antennas and equipment needed.
Again this topic is down to Andrew G0LWU and Martin... They are looking at the possible activations they can do including health and safety issues and what equipment is needed.
Brendan is the second part of our Irish link and he will be doing most of the CW during the DX-Pedition. Brendan and Ian will be setting the internet links up along with linking all the computers together for logging..... Ian has been busy installing the N1MM Logging software on to laptops and the other computers will be sorted out during the week.
QSL Manager for the event
Kev G6FKE is looking after the QSL side of the event and we should have EQSL setup for those who like to use it.
PR and Blogging
Brian G0RDH is covering these topics with a little help from Ian on national and international internet sites promoting the event and his XYL Linda G0YLM who has covered QRZ.com
Overseeing the Event
Ian has been overseeing the whole project and giving encouragement and advice as need.... That may sound like an easy task but it's not.
Ian set up a special collective email address for us all to keep in touch with whats happening. It has worked extremely well for team members who have been able to keep in touch and discuss all aspects of the event so that informed decisions can be made.
Well that's about it for the overview covering preparation of our forthcoming DX-Pedition. For those who have organised DX-Peditions in the past, sorry if I'm telling you how to suck eggs, but I hope it has been of interest to those thinking about organising a DX-Pedition in the future. The key thing is effective communication get that right and you're half way there.
So on to Sunday 12th September and its time for the final countdown
Checking the gear is ready and fit for purpose:
Members were contacted via email to see who from the group was available to checkout the equipment.
Left to Right: Martin M0ZIF, Andrew G0LWU and Ian G0VGS
Andrew took the opportunity to have an autumn clear-out of the garage so that we could work in an uncluttered garage.
Some of the Stakes we will be using to secure the masts and antennas.
Hughie G4UME lending a welcome hand sorting out the rope box..... I caught him off guard with the camera and could not resist the wanted poster..... Hughie really is a great guy and for all the fun I throw in his direction a much valued member of the group and a friend.