Why Ham Radio Fans Want to Spend Next Summer on an Island Full of Bird Poop – Atlas Obscura

A map of Baker Island, where any year goes to die.
A map of Baker Island, where any year goes to die. NOAA/Public Domain

Baker Island, a small, void atoll about median between Hawaii and Australia, boasts a few claims to fame. As we wrote final year, it’s one of only dual named spots in a universe that tumble within time section UTC-12:00, that means it’s a final place on Earth to ring out a aged year. Despite these charms, distinct many places, it had a sincerely still 2017: as usual, it spent a time hosting cenobite crabs, lizards, and a heck of a lot of peculiarity bird poop.

But in 2018, things will be different. Baker Island will acquire a organisation of people who have (actually!) always wanted to go there: fourteen intensely vehement ham radio operators, who call themselves a Dateline DX Association, will be journeying to a island in June. There, they devise to spend 12 true days fielding approximately 75,000 radio calls from Baker Island fans all over a world.

A seabird sits on a Baker Island sign.
A seabird sits on a Baker Island sign. Joann94024/CC BY-SA 3.0

Amateur or “ham” radio had a heyday in a early 20th century, when meddlesome hobbyists began putting together their possess wireless communication systems and holding to a airwaves to lamp messages to their friends. “We were a strange Facebook,” says Don Greenbaum, one of a leaders of a Baker Island team, who has been concerned with a ham radio village for about 50 years.

“There are millions of hams out there still,” he continues, pleasantness of enthusiasts who build radio towers in their backyards and call adult their peers overseas. Some contest to see how many contacts they can make in a given weekend. Others devise concerned trips, famous as DX-peditions, centered around communicating from ever-more remote places. (“DX” is radio shorthand for “distant.”) Small groups of people make these trips, and tons of others take a event to call them up, channel another plcae off of their wireless bucket list.

Don Greenbaum with his radios, in front of postcards from all the<p>Reposted from <a href=https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/baker-island-ham-radio-expedition-2018.