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6/19/2018 0330z Update

6/19/2018 0330z Update: 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.

 

Photos from Pago Pago:

9V1YC, K6TD, K6MM, N1DG, N4HU at a meal together.9V1YC, K6TD, K6MM, N1DG, N4HU at a meal together. 9V1YC, N4HU, K6MM, AA7JV, HA7RY, N1DG, and JN1THL enjoying a few drinks together, and working out final trip details.

 


6/16/2018 0200z Update

The NAI’A has set sail from Lautoka, Fiji, and is on her way to Pago Pago, American Samoa, where the team will depart aboard her on 6/20.

Departing the dock in Lautoka!

Off she goes!

Our *highly* trained experts evaluating the #2 situation. 


Team Equipment Loaded Onto The NAI’A

Update: All DXpedition gear has been loaded into the NAI’A as she prepares to sail from Lautoka, Fiji, to Pago Pago, American Samoa, where the team will board the vessel and depart for Baker Island on the 20th.

Radio gear being stored in the NAI'A dive camera room, our gear storage space.
Radio gear being stored in the NAI'A dive camera room, our gear storage space.
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Loading the Nai’a…as told by Kevin, K6TD

We arrived at the boat about 9:30AM 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 ver pleasant.

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

Kevin, K6TD


N4HU has arrived in Fiji.

Rick has joined the advance team on Fiji just in time to help Kevin, George, Mike and Tomi to move over 2 tons of gear on the ship.


Advance Team In Fiji!

Our advance team has arrived in Fiji and visited the Nai’a support warehouse in anticipation of loading the vessel in 3 days. Here is Tomi, HA7RY, George, AA7JV and Mike, KN4EEI with the Nai’a warehouse crew.

Photo by Kevin, K6TD.


June 4, 2018 Press Release

June 4, 2018
Press Release #10

Propagation Forecasts:

The 2018 DXpedition to Baker Island occurs during the declining side of the solar cycle where propagation is usually much, much worse, nearing the bottom (https://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/solar-cycle-progression).  In addition, there are limited hours of darkness in some Northern Hemisphere locations.   However, this is the when our permit is valid and we are planning to maximize the time we are available to work to propagation challenged areas.   For instance, stations will be on 20 meters 24 hours a day.

First, thanks to Stu, K6TU, we have imbedded his tools in our website where you can run forecasts specific to your grid square and station properties.   Please visit http://www.baker2018.net/pages/propagation.html to see when and on what bands to look for us.  We have also run these forecasts by geographic area to know when we should be listening for you.   The forecasts are grim.  However, stations on the Equator report working EU in June/July is one of the better times. During noon, local time, we don’t expect to hear any signals.  We will mostly likely take our main meals during that time, and rest up, for a long night of productive QSOs.

Remember, these are predictions – like climate versus weather.  Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get. Keep an ear on the bands – you might catch an opening.  Check the daily space weather forecast – http://sunspotwatch.com

Our network of worldwide pilots will also report how well we are being heard in your area to keep us abreast of propagation.

Our permit restricts our antennas to 43 ft vertical antennas.  We won’t get the gain of a Yagi, nor the directionality. We will be using Steppirs and special design antennas to take advantage of the salt water ground. One of the antenna designs has been adapted by AA7JV from the recent 3B7A operation.

We will be using FT8 to find openings we might not hear, and to serve as a beacon. When we find an opening, we will put as many radios/modes/ops on as we can.

Our group helped develop the latest WSJT-X software to incorporate a DXpedition fox/hound mode.   Please download version 1.9.0 before we are QRV around 27 June.  This may expand the bands we are able to use at this point in the solar cycle.  We’ve also put a “how to use the new FT8” primer on our site.   You can view it and our planned operating frequencies at https://www.baker2018.net/pages/plan.html    It will help those new to the mode to quickly master the new version.

As previously mentioned, we will stay on 20 meters continuously and jump to other bands from one of the other 7 operating positions.   Our 15 operators will rotate on and off in 3 hour shifts.   We have one goal, maximize the number of ATNO QSOs with this 5th most wanted entity.

All our equipment has arrived at the departure point.   Our permit has been issued.   Our callsign is set, KH1/KH7Z.   All our plans for the past 11 months have led to this month!   We are excited, and trust you are too.

We are nearing the start of the operation, as the ops leave for Pago-Pago within the next two weeks. We still could still use your donation at this time.  http://www.baker2018.net/pages/donate.html

Thank you in advance for your support.
The Baker Island 2018 Team


Key Operating Information

KH1/KH7Z DXpedition!
Destination: Baker Island, South Pacific
0°11′41″N 176°28′46″W 
IOTA OC-089  GRID AJ10  CQ Zone 31  ITU Zone 61 ARLHS BAK-001
QRV Dates: 
27-June thru 06-July