Monday, December 17, 2018
Home DX Oceania KH1/KH7Z – Baker Island

    [NEWS] KH1/KH7Z – Baker Island

    UPDATE — Dateline DX is pleased to announce the final design of the front of our commemorative QSL highlighting both the history of and the unique nature of the Baker Island National Wildlife Reserve. Inside you will find the story of colonization, Amelia Earhart and our operation.

    OQRS is now open at and we expect cards will be in the mail by the beginning of September. Over 25,600 QSL records have been uploaded to LoTW already (as a result of OQRS orders and donations) with over 19,000 matches.

    Lastly, here’s a little video to excite you about upcoming presentations at your local DX convention our team will be participating in:

    Thank you to all our supporters who helped make the 2018 Baker Island DXpedition a success.

    73 Don, N1DG, Kevin, K6TD, Tom, N4XP, and the whole KH1/KH7Z team

    JULY 5 – KH1/KH7Z is QRT. The last QSO was with JA2FJP on 80m FT8. We expect to be off island by 00:00 UTC 6 July for journey to Fiji. Our trip will take six days and cross the Dateline again. The team is very tired but proud of QSO totals, over 16,000 unique calls in the log, and successful deployment of new DXpedition Verizon of FT8 that showed over 6,000 unique calls in our log.

    JULY 4 — Happy 4th of July America from Baker Island where we will celebrate with hot dogs and burgers.

    After 9 days on Baker it’s time to think about going home.

    We’ve put about 60,000 QSOS in the log. By sticking to our commitment to keep stations on 20 meters, we have over 16,000 unique calls in the log. Many have thanked us for ATNOs. Despite it being June we have over 1200 top band QSOs and many European stations on the other low bands in the log. And the use of FT8 has allowed many hams with moderate stations to get us.

    We start tearing down at daybreak and plan to have 3 of the 8 radios and 5 of the 10 antennas in their boxes and on the boat by lunch.

    We will operate some CW and SSB in the afternoon until dark and dismantle more in the evening. Final shutdown occurs at our sunrise Thursday and we must have the camp dismantled and on the boat by Thursday night.

    Thanks for all the well behaved pileups

    73 Don, N1DG/KH1

    JULY 2 @ 14:00Z — Things are humming on Baker Island.  After storms, SAT phone failures, extreme heat and a storm that damaged both our low band antennas everything is fixed and we have over 40,000 QSOS in the log.

    We are all happily working radio shifts handing out ATNOs and making memories that will remain with us forever.

    Our pilots have requested we shift our 30 mtr frequency to down 1 to 10.107 to avoid EU QRM.  We also will try FT8 normal mode on 1.840 at 09:00 UTC 3 July for East Coast USA who have been hard to work. If successful we will stay on 160 through the night giving Eastern EU a shot.

    We are still getting lots of FT8 callers using the wrong software. Also we hope to activate 60 mtrs (FT8) on 4 July. Lastly because of the tides and heat we start tearing down late on the 4th and leave Baker on the 6th.

    JUNE 29 @ 15:00Z — For the first time since we got here, we have had all 8 stations on the air, and antennas are now up covering 6 through 160. Today was one of the few days without a storm. The weather should no longer be a factor, as the last 2 antennas have been deployed. We are still having issues with our BGAN but are uploading logs via SAT phone; a slow, and expensive way.

    The team has settled into a routine of 4-hour shifts. We are all tired, but happy to be on the radio and not building, or repairing things. The weekend is here and we are all looking forward to giving out many ATNO.

    JUNE 29 @ 11:00z — Good news. All but one station deployed. We are running up to 7 stations on all bands and making many QSOs after a weather related slow start. We hope to provide many ATNOs over the next week.

    We are now well over 10,000 QSOs, with great rates on CW, slightly slower rates on SSB, and FT8 has been effective. Please make sure to read our primer at baker2018.net on working us on FT8.

    The bad news is our BGAN terminal system for log uploading refuses to link up with the bird. We have two BGAN terminals on island and neither are correctly connecting to the satalite. We will continue to work to sort this out, but right now we can’t upload logs.

    The weather continues to be extremely hot and humid. But that is what we expected. Temps have been exceeding 110 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, and only drop to around 100 at night. This coupled with only two, 4-6 hr windows to access the island from the boat each day makes things challenging.

    Tomorrow we plan on constructing the 6 meter antenna.

    That’s all for now. Many people to work.

    Don, N1DG.

    JUNE 28 — Weather 1 Baker Island Dxpedition 0

    We did get 3 stations up and running last night one day ahead of schedule.

    They say it never rains on Baker. At midnight giant squalls came through knocking out one of our 3 antennas we worked so hard to get up. We worked through the morning and have 6 stations available for the scheduled startup tonight at 05:00 UTC.

    Tomorrow before it gets too hot we will erect 2 more antennas making 8 stations available as the bands allow.

    The team is exhausted but excited about settling in and making QSOs around the globe.

    JUNE 27 – The team made good progress in building out the operating facilities today. Island conditions are extremely hot, and difficult. Long work periods in the sun are challenging. All stations are now setup, and the computer network is just waiting for power. The team is taking a short break to escape the sun, with hopes of being QRV in the next 12 hrs.

    JUNE 26  – We arrived at Baker at sunrise at 5:30 AM local time. The advance team of Kevin K6TD, George, AA7JV., Don, N1DG, James 9V1YC and Allie FWS were on the island by 7:30 AM. The landing was not too bad but the island is an oven.  By 10 AM it was well over 100 degrees. The tide got too rough as well but the Nai’a crew got all the tents generators and emergency supplies with Mike, KN4EEI, Rick, N4HU, Arnie N6HC, and Tomi HA7RY, joining before the tide cut off access. This team put up the operating tents and storage tents.

    At 2 PM high tide allowed reinforcements to arrive with fresh energy, and the original landing team departed totally exhausted.  They are putting up the sleeping tents and moving radios antennas and generators to the storage and operating tents

    By sunset, everyone will be off the island so we can rest up for day 2.  We have antennas radios and generators left to set up and the plan is to be QRV by sunset.

    JUNE 25 @ 18:00Z – The KH1/KH7Z team now anchored offshore Baker Island. Initial landings underway. The advance team made it to the island. Landing conditions a bit difficult, but very manageable. The weather is quite hot, with LOTS of birds around. Keep an eye on KH7Z.net for more updates.

    JUNE 25 – As we enter Day 4 of our voyage, we are enjoying our last day at sea. We expect to be at Baker by dawn tomorrow. Today we start pulling the boxes out of the hold and organizing them according to when we want them landing on Baker. We are also filling our emergency water jugs (300 gallons) and loading fuel canisters.

    We will also wash down all the antennas and shipping cases to protect Baker from outside contamination.

    We have a full day of work so when we arrive tomorrow it’s all about the landing, building tents and setting up for the safety of the team. Time permitting (read: light) we will also start working on antennas.

    Our original timetable was to be QRV by 05:00 UTC 27 June. We think we will beat that by 24 hours.

    We are all smiles and excited to be nearing our destination

    Don and Kevin and the KH7Z team.

    JUNE 24 – The voyage to Baker Island continues.

    JUNE 20 @ 22:00z — The 2018 DXpedition to Baker Island is proud to announce that on 20 June around noon local time the team made an on time departure for Baker Island. We still plan on arriving on the 26th of June and immediately build the infrastructure for a safe and productive stay.

    Please monitor our website for updates along the way. We plan to activate several (rare) grid squares along the way too.

    We look forward to providing many ATNO contacts over the next few weeks. Links to our Garmin tracker and blog are available at http://www.baker2018.net

    Thank you in advance for your support.

    The Baker Island 2018 Team

    JUNE 19 @ 21:00z — The NAI’A has arrived Pago Pago. So has the full KH1/KH7Z team. Baker Island next stop.

    JUNE 19 — The majority of the team is now gathered in Pago Pago, American Samoa. 10 out of the 14 team members have arrived, and the other four are all in route. The NAI’A is expected to arrive in Pago Pago at approx. 1900z today. The team plans on boarding the NAI’A tomorrow to get ready to leave port Wednesday.

    KH8/K6MM (credit WJ2O)
    KH8/N1DG (credit WJ2O)

    JUNE 18, 2018Don, N1DG says: “Dinner in Samoa. Took 3 planes and 36 hours to get here. Later today we go to American Samoa to meet the Nai’a. Departure Wednesday to Baker. [L-R] N4HU, K6TD, N1DG, JN1THL, 9V1YC, K6MM”

    (credit N1DG)

    JUNE 17, 2018 by Kevin K6TD — “We arrived at the boat about 9:30AM on 15 June Fiji Time. The freight agent’s flat bed truck had just arrived. They were waiting for a forklift to unload the 9 pallets of equipment. The forklift arrived quickly. Pallets were unloaded, and then items taken off the pallets and handed onto the ship. The crew made quick work of getting all the barrels, and cases.

    All the equipment was stacked into the outside prep area, adjacent to the storage area. The crew moved all the equipment in, repacking it twice.

    The dock at Lautoka isn’t large, and we were parked behind a ZL naval ship that wanted to leave. So, we cast off the dock lines, motored out of the harbor, did a triangle route, letting the ZL naval ship depart. And return to the dock. The NAI’A felt very smooth and steady on our short 15 minute out and back.

    Once back at the dock, items from the NAI’A warehouse arrived – generators, tables and chairs, gas cans, lights, etc. Stowing these items required the storage area be re-packed, for a third time. But, it all fit. Which was a surprise to all of us that saw the equipment coming onto the ship.

    The storage area is normally the camera storage and prep area. Right next to this area is a meeting and bench area. When the time comes to move the equipment off the boat, in the correct order, we can move it all into the meeting area, then extract items in the right order. Going to make all this pretty easy.

    George, AA7JV, and Rob, NAI’A owner got a chance to talk boats, routes and issues, such as navigating coral heads. We all came away thinking we can do this. The only issue concerning all of us is the surf at Baker.

    NAI’A has two large skiffs, which they fitted with bran d new engines today. Rob bought a new skiff just for this trip. The NOAA boat that visits the island told Rob about this skiff that makes getting thru the surf much easier.

    N4HU, AA7JV, KN4EEI, and K6TD stored items on the boat, so we don’t need to haul them with use thru APIA onto Samoa. We went over the cabin assignments with Vanessa and Chad, our cruise directors. Got a chance to meet and talk with the cook. The cook even made us all hamburger for lunch. We won’t go hungry on this trip.

    We hooked up and activated the inReach tracker, lent to us by ND2T. Rob’s wife plans to track the boat with it.

    HA7RY found the expresso machine, and proceeded to make several cups while we were there.

    We all got to sit in the air-conditioned dinning room, and review all the items required by DDXA and NAI’A. How much gasoline are we taking (1800L)? What is the island rotations schedule? I forget all the items we covered. We all felt preparations are complete.

    The boat plans to leave Lautoka harbor at 2:00PM on Saturday.

    Weather today in Fiji was pleasant. Not oppressively hot, nor humid. If you were out of the sun, and where a nic breeze blew, it was very pleasant.

    Next stop – APIA, then meet the boat on June 19th in Pago-Pago”.

    More pictures and info here

    JUNE 12, 2018 — George, AA7JV team member of KH1/KH7Z writes:

    “We will be active on 160 from Baker Island from June 27 to July 6 (note that dates are tentative and may change — please visit http://baker2018.net/ for updates). Given the time of the year, KH1 is likely to be challenging for most. In addition to the less then perfect time of year, we are limited to a maximum antenna height of 43 feet. But, we do have a new antenna for 160 meters we will stand it in the salt-water to maximize its performance. We will also have a couple of DHDL receiving antennas with high performance pre-amplifiers. In other words, we will do our absolute best to overcome the handicaps that we were dealt.

    Our TX frequency will be 1822.5 to begin with and we will be listening up. NA stations should call above 1825.0 to avoid the stronger JA callers, who are limited to below 1825.0

    Our sunset will be at 07:45 UTC. We will be on the band at sunset to fully take advantage of the 1 1/2 hours of common darkness with the NA East Coast.

    During that time the sun will be still up in Japan, so we will be able to focus on NA and SA. West coast stations will have more than 4 hours of common darkness with us, they should have a decent chance of putting KH1 in the log. After the West Coast sunrise, from about 12:45 UTC onward, JA, UA0 and SE Asia, as well as ZL/VK, will have an exclusive shot at us. During this time we may move down to give the JA-s more room.

    EU will be…well…difficult. We will stay on the air throughout each sunrise, working as far west as possible.”

    49 COMMENTS

    1. It looks like a nice QSL card, compliments and many thanks to everyone that has helped making this expedition possible!

      Pity though that due to the fact FT8 has taken over “manual” DXing, a QSL card of a most wanted DXCC has lost much of its shine.
      I’ve been chasing DX for almost 20 years (I guess I’m a semi-veteraan) “manually” in mostly CW, and I’ve collected QSL cards ever since (over 3000 of them I’ve scanned and uploaded to my website’s Online QSL Album, as part of my other “hobby”; collecting beautiful QSL cards). But now I’m starting to lose interest. Where’s the challange in DXing when soon everything is fully computerised? Without the challange, the QSL cards themselves will lose most of their shine. Since every poor sod can easily obtain one by using FT8. Pity!
      Still, a superbe endresult (especially considering the conditions) from an excellent DX-team.
      Hopefully future teams will disregard FT8 and focus on the “traditional” modes to keep things challanging enough for real DXers.
      VY 73 de PA1MR Douwe

    2. Good at video editing. Not that good to give Western Europe more opportunities to work this rare entity

    3. Looking at the ClubLog propagation tool, i can notice on 80 meters one QSO for a S5 station and 2 QSOs for YU stations. Those guys should have a very good 80m antennas or using a remote station.

    4. The RTTY rate was 1,35%, and a whopping 35 QSO’s with Europe …
      FT8 was 24,14%…
      So that’s the way it goes.
      Experience, knowledge … the PC will do it, somehow.
      Now I understand why DXCC was renamed from RTTY to “Digital”!
      But, as I always say, it’s at least HF propagation, and not the internet …
      No further comments.
      73 de Gary, DF2RG

    5. ALoha,
      Great job to one and all that were, and those that still are involved in making this expedition happen.
      Sorry that I missed you on 6 and 60 SSB, but it wasn’t from a lack of trying on either side.

      A big mahalo for all of the planning, effort, and hard work that when into this expedition.

      aloha,
      AH6U

    6. Thanks for another great DXpedition !
      It was hard, but my strategy paid off. It was nice to work all modes and I really appreciate the QSO’s.
      It was so good to see local fellow great DX’ers work KH1.
      Have a safe journey back home.
      73 !
      Johan
      ZS1A

    7. I worked team on FT-8 and I have to say I was impressed with DX mode. The turn time between QSOs is probably slightly faster than RTTY and the mode is more robust. I see future DXPeditions using it more. Thanks for the contacts and safe travels.

      Terry

    8. I can’t believe I worked them yesterday using a 7300 and 80 meter windom on 20 mtr SSB!
      Renee KC3NG

    9. Didn’t work you but no worries! Thank you for a great operation and the number of Qs despite the propagation and time of the year. Safe travels home.

    10. Best wishes to all of team and if possible CW on 40 and 20m for middle east, last chance.
      Happy only on 30m CW, thanks N7CW copy me, 73 see soon as possible.

    11. Crack team, very good operation!

      Managed to work them yesterday, 20m CW. As Always, EU-pile-ups are rather big, regardless the signal strength of the DX-expedition. Sometimes I wonder if the majority of callers actually hears them, or just randomly calls hoping to strike gold. Well.. The ones with 2+ QSOs on the same band/mode in the online log in Clublog are most likely those kind of ‘zombie callers’.

      Looking foreward to seeing a team like this doing an activation of Johnston island, KH3. Even with poor bandconditions 20m is still doable, as we can see with KH1.

      Maybe someone can develope anti-zombie-caller software, so real DX-ers don’t have to wait too long for their shot? Way more productive for real DX-ers than FT8 😉

      VY 73 de PA1MR Douwe

    12. What is the spread between countries of 40,000 QSO’s? Every 14.023 opening to US I have listened to perpetual JAs. Only this morning during terrible local Thunderstorm conditions did I hear NA on 40M CW and after only 5 or 6 Q’s it was back to JAs. I would suspect JAs are like fleas on a dogs back and easy Q anytime from Island. Can you not hear us?

      73,
      Terry

    13. Negative comments or not, the USFWS is exercising ridiculous control over property collectively owned by all American citizens. Most of these cabbage heads in that agency view all of these Pacific Islands along with a good part of our other national lands as their private property where they can go and frolic and do their “research” for months and years on end, but that deserve “protection” from the rest of us. We act like they are doing us a favor by letting a dxped go at the worst time of year with crappy antennas and a myriad of other restrictions. This is just because we let them get away with NOT letting us go at all long enough to get us thinking this way. This needs to change and soon or maybe Yellowstone will be next.

    14. Saw your call on 20 meters 19:36 UTC, 27 June, 2018 at EL88xw.
      -16, -12, -16 @ freq 191
      Good luck!
      KM4ISN

    15. Thanks for all your hard work and for making this possible for the rest of us. Try to stay cool in those hot temperatures and know that we all appreciate your making this available for us. Hope I get a chance to work you guys. 73s and safe travels back home again. W7JI

    16. A small favour from a little station in a rare DXCC – please try to activate FT8 on the 15 metre band. My operating permit does not allow me to transmit below 20 MHz 🙁

    17. Have good and safe trip.I don’t believe it’s possible QSO to ME even with FT8.

      GOOD LUCK – ELI – 4Z5PJ

    18. I wish the guys good luck but think that South Africa will battle this time of the cycle and being winter, but if we dont try we will never know.

    19. I don’t get the idea behind it why many major expeditions to rare ones use primary 500 W PA in the last couple of years. I believe since Elecraft is a major sponsor they had to use the KPA500 but now they have the KPA1500. Why is it not used as primary PA for all Workstations for this one?

    20. I hope for NO miracles on 80/160m Band, not a single minute of common darkness EU vs KH1.
      Let’s wait for phantom qsos 🙁

    21. I congratulate the team for going there.

      No matter what the non-sayers say, if it was easy, it won’t be challenging.

      Best 73

    22. Hi friends I wish lots of good luck for this excursion on this island. Of course if I can I would go for this tour.
      I hope to hear the amateur radio teachers on the frequencies quoted.
      Congratulations to all good luck friends.
      I stay here in QAP in the frequencies and I await an alo of voices.
      Fort 73 ”

      J.Carlos PU2OLT
      Blog: http: //qsldobrasil.blogspot.com

    23. Not sure why EU griping over costs or conditions. Most cost for all the major DXPEDS usually shouldered by US/NA Operators, next would be JA, EU normally last (cheapest) but lead all with griping. Look forward to easy pickings from here for ATNO just as EU had easy pickings on the Indian Ocean DXPEDS. Safe Travels.

    24. As a W6 I am expecting an easy collection of an ATNO and new bamds. The gift is appreciated after the weeks of frustration with silence from the Indian Ocean operations. Good luck guys and pay no attention to the crabbing about your decision making. They have no idea about the politics and other difficulties involved in dxpeditions.

    25. Now or never ? ? ?
      We need to “PRAY A LOTS” for a good propagation.
      But trust helps the audacious.
      I’m sure will be a good dxped.

    26. It amazes me the number of negative comments, some from operators who have never been on a major dxpedition. It is what it is so get used to it. They are going and instead of gloom and doom comments, wish them luck and a safe landing/departure from the island. They are the ones risking life/limb to bring us a new one or fill-in while you sit in the comfort of your home. At the very least, send them a few bucks…..Nuf Sed!

    27. Probably a complete waste of time and $400,000 as far as EU is concerned!
      Solar minimum conditions – OK, none of us can do anything about that!
      PLUS, mid-summer condx, instead of planning for spring or autumn to maximise possibilities for EU.
      PLUS, quoting:
      “Our use permit for access to the Baker National Wildlife Refuge restricts the type and height of antennas we can use for KH1/KH7Z”
      So, totally compromised antennas as a result of the paranoia of the eco-brigade about suicidal birds flying into antennas – surely there are way of scaring off suicidal birds?

      Best of luck to those in W EU who need this as an ATNO – you’re going to need it!
      73
      Chris, G3SJH

    28. “Donovan -“…But I do understand they have to work with what they have been given. …”

      I do not think, that is good reason to spend $400000 ….”

      Why they need to spend it now ?

    29. Donovan -“…But I do understand they have to work with what they have been given. …”

      I do not think, that is good reason to spend $400000 ….

    30. Roger. Already putting strategy (Top Secret) into place to make the QSO. Really not a great time of year.
      But I do understand they have to work with what they have been given.
      Some first class Ops going and that will make all the difference….and a few sunspots..Hi
      73
      Donovan, ZS2DL

    31. ZS2DL…do whatever it takes to work them if you need KH1, the odds are that the USF&WS wont allow another expedition for some time. Dont wait
      for the next one. The choice of vessel is interesting, Rob and his sister grew up a couple of miles from me, he is a good skipper but suspect he has never been to Baker. The trip from A to B is easy, there is only one way on-off the island and I doubt they know it. I still climb my tower but wont attempt that reef crossing, you need to be sure footed and in good shape. We last visited Baker a couple month ago to supply the Amelia Airhart search expedition and the waves were pounding the reef, common mid-summer conditions. Howland is ok, Baker is terrible.

    32. By choosing this timeframe with no common darkness between KH1 and EU you automatically put out of the game 80-160. 40/30 will be marginal as well. Not a wise choice considering high bands will be marginal (due to low SSN/SFI) and anyway K1B did a great activity on 10-12-15-17-20 back in 2002.

    33. Best time is Autumn or Spring for Low bands in Europe.
      Too much money passed for expedition and no possibility for Eu on Low band. Strange.

      73! Voctor UA4HBW.

    34. At the low of the cycle, mid winter is a great time for ZS. Low bands will be open much longer than in summer. If any one should be griping it would be Europe as conditions on the high bands and low bands are likely to be poor in June.

    35. Middle of winter in ZS. No propagation. Guess I will have to wait for the next Group to go there.

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