“Most Unusual Expedition” Ever To Rely On Amateur Radio

Sixty-seven years ago, on August 7, 1947, the maritime mobile station LI2B concluded its journey from South America by washing ashore on an island in French Polynesia. It was better known as the Kon-Tiki, a raft constructed largely from balsa logs. Norwegian explorer and ethnologist Thor Heyerdahl wanted to prove that people from South America may have migrated to Polynesia, and he took Amateur Radio along on his ocean journey.

A December 1947 QST article, “Kon-Tiki Communications — Well Done!” called the trip the “most unusual expedition ever to place reliance on Amateur Radio for communication.” The Kon-Tiki departed Peru for Polynesia on April 28, 1947. “It was the theory of Heyerdahl, [the] leader of the venture, that the settlement of the Pacific Islands resulted from a migration of American peoples who had sailed there many of years ago, rather than a trek from Asia as claimed by other scientists,” the QST article explained. Much later DNA evidence proved that Heyerdahl’s assumptions were at least partially correct.

The expedition carried three watertight radio transmitters — one for 40 and 20 meters, one for 10 meters, and a third on 6 meters......

Kon-Tiki 'on the air'


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