Having spent the majority of my military career doing "expeditions" and "deployments" with massive amounts of communications equipment to every place from desert, mountain and jungle locations, to Five-Star Hotels' roofs I consider myself to be very well trained at setting up emergency communications equipment, and operating under sometimes extreme or emergency conditions. At least twice in my life, I've operated radio systems while taking fire from enemy combatants. So... ok, let's just say that setting up a radio system, an antenna and a power supply ought to be an absolute cake-walk in a tropical destination. Ought to be.
Old habits, however, die hard. One of the things I used to do for deployments was to write up communications and operations plans for our communications units, and generally write trip reports after-the-fact, to provide valuable "Lessons Learn" information for the next groups of folks who would follow in my footsteps.
Thus, I have written a full blown communications and operations plan for "DX Jamaica 2007". Now, it might seem a little over-blown to do this, since there are only two operators, and only one of us is probably actually going to do most of the operations. On the other hand, my wife is learning the ropes, so it should give her some guidance, and for others who would love to do such a thing, a plan for them to examine and perhaps glean information from when they do their own mini-dxpedition.
That's what this site is about. I will be posting the plan here, in little pieces. For our purposes it is a full manual, containing even emails back and forth to the hotel where we will be staying, as well as emails and letters sent to the Spectrum Management Authority of Jamaica (the Jamaican equivalent of the Federal Communications Commission).
With a little luck, we will be getting our licenses in the mail sometime in the next couple of weeks so those can be published as well. I'm not 100% sure they will arrive in time, and this entire DXpedition is contingent upon a foreign government sending our papers in a timely fashion. Normally, in many countries it takes months to process paperwork.
In our case we knew we were going to Jamaica, but not exactly when. We also didn't know in the beginning we were going to do the DX portion of the trip. The plus side of all of this is very simple, we still get to spend a week in Jamaica on the beach and in the sun, enjoying ourselves even if we can't do the DXpedition.
Otherwise, we will definitely operate from the beach for three of the days of the trip. That part is going to be as much, if not more fun than other things we have planned. Below I am providing the first few paragraphs of the trip plan. This is so that others can know our thinking on what we're going to do. I'll publish more of it over the next few days, and remember that some things are definitely subject to change -- and probably will -- before the trip is over.
One last note... We will NOT be doing any blogging from Jamaica. The internet costs are somewhat prohibitive down there, cellular phones we use don't work on the island, and I'm going to have fun not to spend my time writing a lot. I might take a lap top and record a few things, but even my logs are going to be pen and ink and paper.
More to come!
Amateur Callsign NØNJY
Operations Plan -- first paragraphs. (Photos later!)
October 2007 --
Purpose: This plan is to provide detailed planning information for the Runaway Bay, Jamaica DXpedition and resources required to support the objective of putting up basic High Frequency communications on an island in the
Scope: This document describes the communications capabilities to be provided by the DXpedition during a portion of our vacation. The Operational DXpedition from
JoAnne Donaldson, US Amateur Call: KBØIRW
Rick Donaldson, US Amateur Call: NØNJY
Visit Dates: Arrival 9 Oct 2007 – Departure 16 Oct 2007
Operational Dates: 12-14 October
Operational Times: 1700-2100 UTC on Friday and Saturday, and 1700-2000 on Sun
Frequencies: Split frequency operation during operations hours on 14.190 +/-10 KHz, TX, Listening 14.200 – 14.230 (+/- 10 KHz)
Radios: ICOM IC-735, Power Supply, Antenna
Associated Equipment: Minimum necessary to bring station online (Equip. Listing)