The trip from Denver to McMurdo

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    Here is this years process.
    As a supervisor, I arrived in Denver a day before everyone else for training. The second day, the rest of the group flying to the ice at the same time arrived. Everyone gets one full day of orientation and the next day a half a day of safety training. On the full day, you complete any missing paperwork, get your payroll information set up, and do your expense reports for any medical bills you had.
    No lunch provided on the second day. It might be wise to take a snack or buy a granola bar out of the vending machines.
    On the morning of the flight day, you leave your luggage in a secure area of the hotel. They will drive you to the office for the half day safety class, then go back and bring the luggage to the Denver office later in the morning. After the class, you collect your bags and load them on the bus. The bus leaves for the Airport around noon for a 4:45pm flight to LA.
    Arriving at the airport, you use the terminals to check yourself in and get your boarding passes. The system did not recognise some people so we( me included) had to stand in line and check in the old fashion way.  The plane was a bit late getting out of Denver, but otherwise not out of the ordinary.
    You arrive in Los Angeles at the domestic terminal for American Airlines (some flew on United). Your bags have been checked through to Christchurch, so all you have to do is leave the domestic terminal and follow the signs to the Tom Bradely International Terminal.
    Even though you have been given boarding passes for the Quantas flight by the American Airlines desk, they are not good for boarding the plane. Find the Quantas Desk and turn in your American Airlines passes and have Quantas passes issued to you.
    From there go to the gate and wait. Count on your luggage being delayed at some point, so bring a change of clothing in a carry on. I also have noise canceling headphones to make it easier to watch the movies. Since it will be dark the whole trip, unless you like having the window to sleep against, I like to have an aisle seat so that you can stand and stretch during the 13 hour flight without having to crawl over anyone. Request aisle seats early. Exit rows are another great option, they give lots of leg room, but there is no place to have easy access to a carry on bag.
    At Aukland, you go through customs, gather your luggage and pass through the agriculture checks. A small dog walks around sniffing your bags. If he sits down next to you, it is not a good thing. Carrying fresh fruit and other prohibited items into the country can get you a hefty fine.
    You can check your bags through at the international terminal by going to the transfer area. That is what I did.
    You can also get a cart and carry your bags a half mile or so to the domestic terminal and check them through there. For the second year in a row, the flight to Christchurch got canceled for mechanical reasons. The people who carried their bags were able to rebook on an earlier flight. The people who checked the bags at the international terminal had to wait nine hours for another flight. Next year I’m going to carry my bags over.
    There is no longer anyone at the airport to greet you. You should have an email from the travel people telling what hotel you are in. Get together with a group going to the same hotel and book a shuttle. ROYAL offers a deal. 4 tickets for 30 dollars. Not bad. A trip to the hotel, a trip to the CDC the next day for Clothing, a trip home and the trip to the Antarctic center for the flight to the ice.
    More later.


    Just an FYI, Mike – It’s QANTAS (no ‘u’).  It’s an acronym for Queenland And Northern Territories Air Service.
    So the no meet-n-greet in CHC was okay?  Anyone get lost?  Did you have a herd of FNGs with you? 
    Looking forward to seeing you all TOMORROW!  Wx should be good, with windchills in the -40 range.  Dress warm.


    very few fng’s this trip, so the lack of meet and greet wasn’t a great problem. We shepherded them and all is well. Little India for dinner last night. That was my pick. Tonight, [] and the girls are picking a sushi place. The summer cooks are going along and we are giving lots of advice of good foods to make. We’ll see if it helps.
    See you around noon tomorrow. The bagdrag is at 4am at the CDC/ ugh.



    Hey Mike,

    It’s been awhile 🙂 Part of the problem was not remembering my password & then getting sidetracked with life in the isles. But I’m hopeful you’ll remember the call sign. 😉

    I spent the better part of the last hour reading what’s been going on – glad to hear you & Lorie are doing well – homeowners, to boot! Wish I could trade you a nature walk for a day @ the beach! I love the Redwoods, having lived in SF/NoCal for a number of years.

    Will keep it brief, I know you’ve got a lot going on – a supe, huh? my my… they grow up so fast *sniff* 😀

    hey, i still have my ice stock shirt, too… whoa!

    Take care & 73,

    Jan, wh7y


    Sure jan, I remember you well. On odd occaisions I’ve reached Hawaii on the ham radio and asked about you. The bands have been dead for the last few years because of the low sunspot cycle, but should be picking up again. The equipment in the ham shack is getting old and will be replaced next summer. A new radio, antenna and a 1000 watt amplifier. We should be able to talk again. If you want to give it a try this year, send me the times you will be listening and I’ll see if I can’t run up and give a shout.
    KE6ZYK transmitting as KC4USV in Mcmurdo.


    Hey Mike,

    Cool! Last time I spoke with you was on IRLP a few years ago. Haven’t talked to anyone on Oahu who’s spoken with you though.

    Truth be known, I’m off the air atm… moved qth almost a year ago & just now getting the station set up again. Got an Icom 781, but no antenna yet. Been active in a couple of clubs, field day, etc. but not much radio (lack of sunspots is no fun). I had so much noise in my last qth – this place is right next door, so i’m not too hopeful – but at least i might get a vertical outside instead of a wire in the attic.

    you’re xmitting around 14.225, right? If i can get to a Ham friend’s station on the North Shore, I’ll certainly let you know – he’s got the big guns up there – including a henry 2k & log periodic antennas.

    catch you later –



    Jan, send me an email at and we’ll see if we can’t fire up the ham radio here and make a contact this year.


    Ahhhhh….memories..i can never remember how I’ve signed up on this site, so yet another nickname.

    To those of you on the way to the ice…enjoy…to those of you on your off the ice, really enjoy..


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