VP6D Press Release #6

18. 07. 23

Congratulations to the Baker Island KH1/KH7Z team. Under extremely poor propagation conditions they put on a excellent DX-pedition. They proved the value of FT8 DXpedition mode and gave many ATNOs to the deserving. A hearty WELL DONE to the Dateline DX Association.

The VP6D – Ducie Island 2018 project is on schedule.

As you may recall, VP6D will use the same Elecraft equipment as KH1/KH7Z. On July 20th the Baker Island radio equipment was returned to Elecraft for inspection, testing and refurbishing. Members of the VP6D team will drive to California the first week of August to prepare the equipment for shipment. We will ship the equipment to New Zealand on about August 15th. Team member Jacky ZL3CW will transfer the shipment to Braveheart.

There’s no question that the Baker team had considerable success with FT8. However, a large percentage of the callers weren’t prepared for the challenges of this new mode. We ask everyone to please read the FT8 DX-pedition Mode Users Manual at: https://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/k1jt/FT8_DXpedition_Mode.pdf. It will be in everyone’s best interest if callers use the most recent software version, correctly configure their equipment, call VP6D above 1,000 Hertz and in the correct sequence. If you are unsure of your configuration please seek assistance before calling.

We plan to use Twitter and Facebook to keep the DX community updated on our progress by sending regular updates from the island. We want to thank Paul Ewing N6PSE and the Intrepid DX Group for the loan of a BGAN unit, giving us an additional Hughes 9201 unit.

During our stay on the island we will collect soil and plant specimens for study by the National Antarctic Scientific Centre of Ukraine in their climate change research. The Pitcairn Island government issued a permit for the specimens to be collected and removed from the island.

Our current fundraising campaign is underway; you may see the progress at VP6D.com. We feel fortunate to have received financial grants from 40 DX clubs / foundations and many individuals. At this writing we’re at 68% of target with about 3 months before we sail. We anticipate additional clubs and individuals will help close the gap.

The team is busily working on the project. We’ll have some exciting announcements in future press releases.

73,
Team Ducie – 2018

H44R – H40D DXpedition to Solomon Islands and Temotu

Cezar VE3LYC provided the EUDXF with a very nice report on his recent IOTA DXpedition to Solomon Islands and Temotu.
Despite difficult propagation and some technical challenges Cezar managed a good QSO numbers with a respectable percentage of European stations in the log from both locations

The full report will be available (for EUDXF members only) in the upcoming EUDXF Newsletter in July.

KH1/KH7Z – Baker Island Propagation Press Release

Dated June 4, 2018

For Immediate Release:

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

 

The EUDXF is proud sponsor of the KH1/KH7Z Baker Island DXpedition