DXpedition Team Set to Depart for Baker Island, Ducie Island Preparations on Target

Two major DXpeditions are on track to make many DXers happy campers this year. Just ahead is the KH1/KH7Z Baker Island DXpedition, which commemorates the 81st anniversary of aviator Amelia Earhart’s disappearance on July 2, 1937, near Baker and Howland islands, as well as “the commitment and sacrifices” of the Hui Panalā’au (loosely translates to “society of colonists”) — young high school graduates from Hawaii who were taken to colonize Baker, Howland, and Jarvis islands from 1935 until 1942, and who began construction of a runway for Earhart to land in 1937. The islands were bombed the day after Pearl Harbor, killing two, and the colonists were removed by the US Coast Guard in 1942.

The team’s enthusiasm level was reported to be high, as the KH1/KH7Z Baker Island team prepared to depart Pago Pago, American Samoa, on June 20 aboard the Nai’a, en route to Baker Island. The DXpedition is scheduled to fire up around 0000 UTC on June 28, with eight operating positions active on all open bands. The team will be on the air around the clock — and on 20 meters continuously — for the following 10 days. The KH1/KH7Z team consists of 14 operators.

“But any plan is only good until you meet the enemy in the field of battle,” the Baker Island DXpedition team said in a news release. “We plan on listening to our pilots. Please tell them if we are missing an opening or opportunity. We can and will adjust to the propagation.” Baker Island is the fifth Most-Wanted DXCC entity, according to Club Log.

As reported, KH1/KH7X will employ FT8 digital mode to find openings that might not be obvious and to serve as a beacon. “When we find an opening, we will put as many radios/modes/ops on as we can,” the team said.

The KH1/KH7X group helped to develop the WSJT-X software version that incorporates an FT8 DXpedition Mode (version 1.9.0). The DXpedition said using FT8 DXpedition mode may allow the operators to “expand” the bands they are able to use at this point in the solar cycle. The DXpedition’s band plan page includes a guide to using FT8 DXpedition Mode. The Dateline DX Association (DDXA) is sponsoring the DXpedition to Baker Island. The Pacific Islands Refuges and Monuments Office of the US Fish and Wildlife Service granted the DDXA permission to land and operate on the uninhabited island.

Ducie Island (VP6D)

Meanwhile, the VP6D Ducie Island DXpedition reports that its preparations remain on schedule for its October 20 – November 3 operation. The DXpedition has announced that 15-year-old Mason Matrazzo, KM4SII, of Clemmons, South Carolina, will join the VP6D Pilot Team. In 2017, he operated from Iceland as TF/KM4SII, and in July 2018, he will operate from Curacao as PJ2/KM4SII. Mason will work with North America and Chief Pilot Glenn Petri, KE4KY.

The Braveheart, owned by Nigel Jolly, K6NRJ, will transport the 14-member Ducie Island team to its South Pacific destination in September, sailing from Mangareva, French Polynesia. The Perseverance DX Group (PDXG) is sponsoring the VP6D DXpedition. Ducie Island is the 26th Most-Wanted DXCC entity, according to Club Log.

Source:ARRL


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