KH1/KH7Z Baker Island

For Immediate Release:

Friday 27 April, 2018

Following a successful Visalia DX Convention, the KH1/KH7Z team met in Cupertino this week to assemble the stations and network in preparation of landing on Baker in 2 months.   The DXpedition is now in the final planning stages and this step was the last before packing and shipping our gear to Fiji.

Stations
DXpedition sponsors Elecraft and DX Engineering provided the required gear.  There will be 8 stations on Baker Island consisting of 8 Elecraft K3S transceivers — 7 powered by KPA500s; the 8th low band station powered by a KPA1500 amp.  This is the first expedition to use a KPA1500 and the team and Elecraft are looking forward to seeing this exciting new amplifier in action. 

There will be 3 separate tents for CW, SSB, and Digital stations. Co-leaders K6TD and N1DG, and AA7A, K6GFJ, K6MM, ND2T and N6MZ assembled the stations, activated the BGAN satellite network, interfaced the NUC computers & monitors, and installed N1MM+ in a complete on-island simulation (including generator power).   We also successfully simulated making QSOs and uploading sample logs to ClubLog via the BGAN.

The network was designed by our IT team led by AA7A and N6MZ and consists of rapidly deployed transit boxes containing the switches power hubs and POE repeaters. Upon reaching the island the team will deploy these cases and run out cables from the central CW tent to SSB and Digital tents.   All N1MM+ computers will be networked to our center administrative PC allowing 2 uploads daily via satellite to ClubLog to minimize duplicate contacts.

Antennas
Although limited to 43 feet, our 80 and 160 meter antennas are newly designed AA7JV “fat” verticals, which will sit just inside the high tide mark.  The SteppiR verticals for 75 through 10 meters will also be mounted just inside of the high tide mark while four 2-element vertical arrays will be mounted away from the water for 15, 17 and 20 meters.  In this way, we can maintain a 24-hour presence on 20 meters to maximize the number of unique callsigns and enable the most ATNO contacts.  We also intend to install a multi-vertical array for 6 meters at the digital radios.

Testing the SteppIRs and our own design of vertical arrays is all that remains before cleaning and sterilizing our gear to meet the FWS Biological Protocols and sending the gear to our freight forwarder.

Please visit http://www.baker2018.net/pages/pretrip.html to see more pictures relating to our testing activity this week.

As with any DXpedition to the really rare ones, this will be another large budget operation.   The operator team will contribute over 50% of the expected budget of $400,000.  You can help make this DXpedition happen by visiting our website, and contributing today. http://www.baker2018.net/pages/donate.html

Thank you in advance for your support.

The Baker Island 2018 Team

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For Immediate Release:

28 February 2018

WILDLIFE!

As a protected US National Wildlife Refuge, Baker Island is a place few humans ever get a chance to see. In fact, the protected status of the wildlife is the main reason why landing permission is so rare. There are strict conditions laid down by the US Fish & Wildlife Service to make sure our DXpedition does not disturb the island’s delicate ecosystem.

The Baker Island Sooty Tern

The Baker Island Sooty Tern

Eleven species of seabirds nest on the island including boobies, frigate birds, and almost a million pairs of sooty terns. There are also skinks, geckos, sea-turtles and staggering numbers of hermit crabs.  As DXpeditioners to other remote Pacific islands have found out, crabs pose a particularly difficult problem. They emerge at night, and eat their way through just about anything that has a trace of organic matter.  This includes cardboard, rope, paper, clothes, bedding, leftover food and even coax.  Keeping the pesky crabs out of DXpedition tents has become sort an art-form over the years, and many different techniques have been tried on other islands such as Clipperton. The most popular to date has been the “DXpedition Crab Fence”, which is basically a 15” high roll of sheet metal strung out around each tent.  It’s not 100% crab-proof, but its highly effective.

Even with the abundance of crabs that exist on Baker, the risk of an invasive plant or animal species from the mainland gaining a foothold is very high, and could mean catastrophe for native seabirds. This means everything we bring with us including clothing, footwear and equipment must be pre-cleaned and specially treated prior to our departure.  Even the food we bring is controlled, with fresh fruit and seeded vegetables both prohibited.

The land is not the only place where we’re bound by permit conditions. The marine environment at Baker is also under protected status. Surrounding the island are extensive thickets of living staghorn coral which dominate on the eastern side. Table, plate and many other coral formations are also common on the rest of the reef slopes. Larger heads of lobe, disk, and brain corals – some up to nine feet in diameter – are found along the deeper slopes. A total of 104 species of coral has been reported since Fish and Wildlife began documenting the area.  Because of this, diving is strictly prohibited at Baker, and waste from our ship must be disposed at a distance of 50 nautical miles. 

While our movements and equipment may be regulated in order to protect the environment, luckily the hours we can be on the air are not. Therefore, we intend to be active as much as we can on all available bands.

This project presents a great opportunity to prove to the US Fish and Wildlife Service that DXpeditioning is a highly compatible activity on an ecologically sensitive island. Our protection of Baker is just as important as the number of QSOs we make, so when we’re done we intend to leave the island exactly as we found it – to ensure future operations are possible.

As with any DXpedition to the rarest and most remote islands of the world, this trip needs your help.  March 2018 will mark a significant milestone for the team as our next payment on the ship is due. Though the operator team will contribute over 50% of the expected budget we still need your support to make this trip happen.  If you haven’t contributed yet, please consider helping by visiting our website:

http://www.baker2018.net/pages/donate.html

Thank you in advance for your support.

73 from the Baker Island 2018 Team

*********************************

Radio Amateurs members of the Dateline DX Association, will be active as KH1/KH7Z from Baker Island, IOTA OC – 089, 27 June – 7 July 2018.
Team: 9V1YC, AA7A, AA7JV, HA7RY, JN1THL, KN4EEI, K6MM, K6TD, N1DG, N4HU, N4XP, N6HC, N6MZ, ND2T, WJ2O.

Pilots:
AA1V Chief Pilot.
KE1B Western USA.
NF4A Eastern USA and Caribbean.
MM0NDX Europe.
V51B Africa and South America.
JA1WSX Asia, Pacific.

QSL via K4TSJ direct, ClubLog OQRS, LOTW.

Ads for direct QSL:
K4TSJ, Box 333, Bethlehem, GA, 30620, USA.

 

 

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