Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Ice Cream Sandwich Theme

Traveling to Swains Island the team's first stop was in Hawaii.  Several of the operators decided to take a day trip to Pearl Harbor.   See my Post below about Touring Pearl Harbor.  While there, just after I purchased my USS West Virginia hat, I bought an ice cream sandwich for refreshment.  Several of the group noticed this and had some fun ribbing me about it.

Later, after the group had toured the USS Missouri, we took the bus to the aircraft museum where there was a restaurant for lunch.   After lunch, we took a short visit to the gift shop where Hal, W8HC, saw some freeze-dried ice cream sandwiches similar to what astronauts used.  I looked at them but an Australian lady near me said she had tried them and the taste was not that great, so I passed.

Once the team reached the Tradewinds Hotel in Pago Pago, American Samoa, I found that the gift shop in the hotel also had ice cream sandwiches.  Obviously, I purchased one then and there.

The team only spent one night in American Samoa so once we got up, packed and had breakfast, we had to wait awhile for the transportation to show up to take us to the port.  While we were waiting, Hal, W8HC, visited the hotel gift shop and purchased a novel ice cream sandwich with the brand name of "Magnum."  This was a very interesting ice cream sandwich.  It was one-half traditional sandwich and the other half had been dipped in chocolate with some nut pieces.  You can see a photo of it on the right and a photo of me enjoying it on the upper left.  Obviously, I was trying to drop the internal temperature of my body before the ordeal of Swains Island.  I knew we would have nothing cold during our visit there so I tried to plan ahead.

Once we completed the NH8S operation, we left Swains Island and returned to Pago Pago, American Samoa.  Upon arrival, we left the ship and I was standing in the assembly area waiting on transportation to the hotel.  Suddenly Lou, N2TU, came rushing up to me and handed me a Neapolitan ice cream sandwich.  He had gone across the street to a store and secured one for each of us.  You can see how much I enjoyed that ice cream sandwich in the photo at the left.

Yes, sir, I certainly did enjoy my ice cream sandwiches on this trip - whenever I could find one!  However, I was not the only one.  Craig, K9CT, co-team leader of the NH8S operation, saw what Lou had done and he went across the street to the store and bought an entire box of ice cream sandwiches for the whole team!

Now that you have that information, you can better understand the "special" medicine I delivered to Hal, W8HC, in the Post below.  BTW, Hal is now home from the hospital, still taking antibiotics for the spider bite/infection and is off work the rest of this week to help his recovery.  Get well, buddy.  There are many more ice cream sandwiches out there!

Monday, September 24, 2012

W8HC Getting "Special" Medicine in CAMC

Today I visited Hal, W8HC, at CAMC Memorial.  He has been a patient there since Saturday when he returned from the NH8S, Swains Island, DX'pedition.  Hal was my tent mate on Swains and it seems he protected me from some invading spiders.  However, that meant that Hal "took one in the leg" - a spider bite that is.

On the serious side, this has NOT been a walk in the park.  Hal has been limping for several days and the leg swelled up quite a bit and was obviously infected.  Upon his return from Swains Island Hal immediately sought medical attention at the CAMC Emergency Room.  After about 10 hours they decided to admit him.  They drained his leg and put him on IV antibiotics.  One of the procedures performed on him was when a doctor stuck a 6-inch needle into his leg at four different places to measure some sort of internal "pressure."  Hal said that even though they had numbed his leg, that needle hurt like the dickens.

The pathology report came in with the finding that his infection was MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.)  That is very serious!  Hal assured me that his doctor was confident that they had his infection under control.  He will finish his course if IV antibiotics and should be released tomorrow.  He will go home on some oral antibiotics.  It may take a few more days to get back to being able to go back to work but he is cheerful and has a bright outlook for the future.

I tried to help with his recovery by taking him some special NH8S "medicine" (see photo.)  Also, I took my tablet computer and played for him the David Jennings song, "Take Me  Back to the Shores of Olosenga" performed by David Jennings and the Swains Island Support Crew.  This recording was made by Mark, NA6M, on our last night on Swains Island.  Hopefully the music and the special "medicine" will help Hal recover as quickly as possible.  As you can see in the photo, Hal was wearing the T-Shirt given to the NH8S operators by Alex Jennings on behalf of the Jennings family and friends who helped support the NH8S DX'pedition.

Hal has maintained his sense of humor about all this by posting on the WVDXA Reflector the following:
"On the upside, since the Swains Island spider bite, I have developed this incredible super strength and am able to sling spider web material from my wrists.  The medical staff here is amused by my ability to climb walls and swing from my web strands. I think I'll use this extraordinary power to fight crime.  Or, see if it will make good antenna guying material."

Hopefully Hal's new "Spidy Sense" will enable him to avoid such encounters in the future.  Wishing you a very speedy recovery, mate!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Breakfast at the Tradewinds

I got to bed at 11:15 pm and was awake at 5:15 am.  We were downstairs at 7:00 a, (2:00 pm Eastern time) for breakfast in the Equator restaurant.  You can see most of my breakfast on the right.  I had hot Chocolate, Rice Krispies, thick toast with Smuckers grape jelly, and lots of very nice fruit.  I also tried something that looked a little like biscuits and gravy but was sweet.  It is called Suafai and the liquid is made from bananna, coconut and tapioca.

Make VERY you ask Hal about his encounter in the Equator Bar last night.  I believe "it's" name was Veronica!  But whatever happens in Pago Pago stays I Pago Pago!

Right now it is 7:50 am local time and we will be leaving the hotel at 8:30 for the port.  I had Arnie put my transderm scop patch behind my ear after my shower this morning.  So I should be protected in case of sea sickness.

This will be my last Blog post until I return.  Look for Hal and me as NH8S.  This is going to be SOOO much fun!!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Hat Number THREE !!!

OK, here we go again!  On the right you see Hat #3 for W8TN on the Swains Island trip.  I was able to purchase this one in the hotel gift shop after breakfast for only 30% more than I paid yesterday.  It is exactly the same style as the one I bought yesterday at Walmart.  Let's hope I have better luck holding on to this one.

All but one of the NH8S team was at breakfast.  Craig, K9CT, has extended our checkout time until 1 pm so we will all meet in the lobby at that time and have a team meeting before taking the shuttle to the airport.

We are scheduled to arrive in American Samoa at 9:25 pm local time tonight after a 5-1/2 hour flight on a Boeing 767.  This will be 4:25 am Eastern time tomorrow.  We will go straight to the hotel and will be up at 7 am local time for breakfast and then off to the boat.  All the team is in high spirits and we hope to be able to get on the air very quickly from Swains Island.

At breakfast Craig, K9CT, announced that an instant LoTW upload (after the completion of the DX'pedition) would be made for all those who made a donation to our operation.  I will send him a list of all the WVDXA members who donated as soon as I return in 3 weeks.  DX IS !

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Touring Pearl Harbor

 I went to bed at 9:15 pm local time last night.  I had been up continuously for 24-1/2 hours.  Had some foot cramps that kept me awake for almost 2 hours but finally did get to sleep OK.  Got up at 6 am, showered and met 7 other team members, including Hal, W8HC, at a little after 7 am in the lobby.  We took a city bus to Pearl Harbor to tour the Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri.

On the Arizona Memorial, I leaned over the railing to take a photo of the oil that is still leaking out of the USS Arizona and a gust of wind blew my high-tech Outdoor Research hat into the water!  As the specs for the hat said it would do, it floated serenely on the ocean.  In the photo at the left-above you may be able to enlarge it by clicking on it and see, over the point of my shoulder, the hat floating toward the white mooring station for the USS Vestal.  Last seen, the hat was headed in the direction of the mooring station for the USS West Virginia!

Once we had returned from the Arizona Memorial, I went to the gift shop and purchased the hat you see at the right.  Not a wide-brimmed model like the one I lost but a fitting replacement.

We then toured the USS Missouri for quite some time, ate lunch at the aircraft museum, and made our way back to the hotel by 2 pm.  Contrary to what Jim, K4JWA, posted on the WVDXA reflector, I did not forget my underwear!  I am however about to head out to some shops to look for a few souvenirs because the duty free shops on Swains Island closed quite some time ago and I will need to make those purchases here in Hawaii.

The remainder of the NH8S team have now all made it to Hawaii (except for the two that are on American Samoa) and we will be leaving tomorrow for American Samoa.  Keep the bands hot until we get on the air!

UPDATE:  Tonight I took "The Bus" for a 45 minute ride to Waikiki to visit a Walmart.  I was looking for some souvenirs and some more mosquito repellent.  Plus, I wanted to get a replacement for the hat I lost.  Short story, I bought the hat - but by the time I got back to the hotel, I had lost it ! ! !  It looks like I'm snakebit on the hat issue on this trip!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

W8TN is in Hawaii

The photo at the right shows W8TN outside the baggage claim area at Honolulu International airport.  You should be able to verify that by looking at the traffic sign above my head.  We landed at 9:34 pm EDT.  Of course, that is 6 hours earlier here in Hawaii (3:34 pm local time.). I'm squinting a bit as I'm looking right into the sun.  Temperature here was 86-degrees when we landed and there was a 15 to 25 mph breeze.

As I write this, I am relaxing at my hotel before joining the rest of the group and several KH6 hams for dinner in an hour.  Hal, W8HC, is still in the air on his way here but I hope to see him at dinner.

None of my luggage had any problems with TSA, nor did I.  Arnie, N6HC, and I flew together from LA and are sharing a room.  Arnie is the team doctor and his medical kit made it here in fine shape.

After resting up for a couple of days here in Hawaii, I'll be refreshed and ready to continue the travel to Swains.  Looking forward to working ALL the WVDXA members so warm up the ionosphere for us!