The Pacific Islands Refuges and Monuments Office of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has selected the Dateline DX Association (DDXA) — the DXpedition group that activated Howland Island in 2009 and Wake Island in 1998 — to pursue a DXpedition to Baker Island. Dates have not yet been determined. Baker and Howland Islands (KH1) are part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM), created by former President George W. Bush in 2009. Baker and Howland is the fourth most-wanted DXCC entity on Club Log’s DXCC Most Wanted List.
The group will announce planned activation dates and other details once a vessel has been selected and the FWS has approved the vessel and dates. DDXA co-leaders are Don Greenbaum, N1DG; Tom Harrell, N4XP, and Kevin Rowett, K6TD.
The FWS in early June agreed that a DXpedition to Baker Island would be an acceptable use of the Baker Island National Wildlife Refuge but detailed strict conditions under which it would issue a special use permit (SUP) to allow such use. Earlier this year, the FWS conducted a Compatibility Determination for Amateur Radio operation on the ecologically sensitive island refuge. Baker Island is 1,830 nautical miles southwest of Honolulu — an 8-day voyage.
“While…not a wildlife dependent public use according to National Wildlife Refuge Administration Act of 1966, as amended, Amateur Radio operation is a use that assists in the management of the resources indirectly,” the FWS said in its Compatibility Determination, released on June 8. A DXpedition to the Refuge may last up to 14 days, with only 12 days of radio operation and allowing time for setup and breakdown on each end of the visit.