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.

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 that 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:

Thank you in advance for your support.

73 from the Baker Island 2018 Team


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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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
    Donovan, ZS2DL

  7. 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 ….

  8. “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 ?

  9. 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!
    Chris, G3SJH

  10. 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!

  11. 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.


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