Watch Tim Duffy, K3LR, Interview Rig In a Box (RIB) Innovator George Wallner, AA7JV

You Still Have an Opportunity to Contact the RIB Activation of Ducie Island VP6A—the First Full DXpedition Using this Minimal-Footprint Concept

From its humble beginnings, amateur radio has continually been moved forward through the decades by innovative hams thinking outside of the box. But the latest step ahead in ham radio technology comes thanks to someone thinking inside the box.

Rig In a Box, created by George Wallner, AA7JV, and funded by the Northern California DX Foundation, is a self-contained station that’s designed to allow DXpeditioners to activate rare entities without actually camping onsite.

Wallner said the idea for the device came after Baker Island, KH1/KH7Z. Baker Island is one of several environmentally protected DXCC entities that are rarely activated because obtaining a permit to operate from these locations is so difficult. He wondered if there was a way to make it easier for governing fish and wildlife services to greenlight DXpeditions by taking any potential environmental impact out of the equation, while also cutting the many hours it takes for DXpeditioners to establish camp—meaning more time to make QSOs.

“The idea here is very simple,” Wallner said. “Put the entire station into a box and put that box on the island connected to a microwave-based IP link and operate from the boat. That way you eliminate the need for camping, you eliminate the need to go back and forth to the island, and you substantially reduce the time to set up.”

Wallner gives an explanation of the Rig In a Box concept, what’s inside the box, its challenges, and potential in the interview below with Tim Duffy, K3LR, DX Engineering CEO, from December 2022. DX Engineering remains a strong supporter of leading-edge technology that promotes the advancement and enjoyment of amateur radio. The video includes a slide show titled, “Rig In a Box—Technology for Small Footprint DXpeditions.”

There’s Still Time to Make Contact with Ducie Island VP6A

As of June 16, the self-funded VP6A Ducie Island DXpedition team had made 20,000 contacts. They are scheduled to be on the air until June 24 on 160M-6M in CW, SSB, and FT8, though actual dates are subject to the weather. Find updated information about VP6A here and other sites online. The team of three operators (W6IZT, KN4EEI, and AA7JV) are using the Rig In a Box system from their boat, The Magnet. In addition, 14 land-based hams from North America, Asia, and Europe are connecting via the Star Link system and operating remotely. As of this writing, four RIB units are deployed on the island (two remotely operated FT8 stations, one locally operated CW/SSB station, and most recently a remotely operated CW station). AA7JV noted that local CW/SSB activity has been curtailed by difficult operating conditions.

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