Reports from entrants in the 2018 ILLW event.
Thanks once again to all the entrants for joining in the fun of the Lighthouse Weekend and for making it another wonderful year.
Web Links, Youtube etc. These are just some of the Youtube videos that I did a search on. Enjoy:-
FROM Far North Queensland:-
Firstly a big thank you as organizer for the ILLW as it is setting a standard for Amateur Radio in that it gives the public a positive view of Amateur Radio and the fact that these folk are enjoying their hobby and are proud of their Lighthouse and know its history.
At Grassy Hill we had a steady stream of visitors to our site and they were able to see the collection of QSL cards from around the world and hear the friendly banter as stations make contact and talk about the cold weather and how good it is to make contact with the regulars.
The Team at Todd River Lighthouse put a smile on visitors face as we told them about the actual lighthouse that had been built and we could hear the music and the voices of the many thousands that were gathered for the Todd River Boats races. They made the point that it was a "false lighthouse" BUT were still a part of the growing enjoyment of the ILLW.
It certainly has gained much appeal as its not the contest 59 and number and gone but time to pass info about the lighthouses and the operating conditions and what the weather is doing plus us regulars catch up for a yarn and a laugh. You were correct about the call sign VK4GHL for the light as its accepted as our identification as much as the place with the reputation for strong winds !!
Another great weekend of fun and friendly on Amateur Radio.
Mike Patterson VK4MIK
From Windmill Point Lighthouse, Canada:-
I decided to try my first activation of a lighthouse on Saturday, August 18. I activated Windmill Point Lighthouse, CA0036, which is part of a small historic park managed by Parks Canada. It is situated on the shore of the St. Lawrence River, just east of Prescott, Ontario. I operated /3 since I am from Quebec (VE2) and in two hours, I got one contact on 20m and eight on 40m. The set up was rather simple: sitting at a picnic table, I had a Yaesu FT-817, a small 45W amplifier and a vertical antenna. All operated on batteries.
I liked the experience and it is to be repeated with a bit of a twist...
The people doing the basic maintenance of the park are members of the Friends of the Windmill. Five or six of the members were present and came to say hi, including their president, James VA3HL. James did not know about the ILLW so I briefed him on it and, of course, he thought that this is a super idea. He invited me to come back next year with other amateurs. With some advanced planning, he would like to make this a public event to not only promote the park but amateur radio as well. Invitation accepted on the spot! He even mentioned the possibility of making special QSL cards for the event.
So, it is on for next year.
From New Zealand:-
Our club ZL1AA, tied ILLW and our regular general meeting into one as a Club Event. We operated from the local Yacht Club, which was beneficial for all, Light House awareness, exposure of Amateur Radio to the public, and some wanted information on the Yacht Club. Most of the people walking past were more interested in the A1 size poster made about the light house history. Many walked away with new found knowledge, and the ILLW Handout.
Our club members also had new experiences - Setting up a public event and two exercising their new licenses for the very first time.
Kudos to Kevin for keeping this event going.
From Wales, UK:-
Well, we did it! (First time in ILLW)
So firstly, many thanks again for listing Porthcawl.
Unfortunately, the weather did its worst, and we only had a limited time to do the activation. However, we are very pleased with what we did, and the way the kit performed (a Buddipole 20m OCF at 5 m, and an Elecraft KX3 using 10 watts from a LiFePO4 battery). Unbelievably, at one point, I was scribbling down QSOs at a rate of 1 a minute on 14.221 - a bit of a QRP pile up even!
And despite the weather, we had lots of people wandering by asking us what we were doing. One guy thought I was launching a kite, but another chap was closer - he asked if I was talking to shipping:-)
I have been asked to do a write up for Practical Wireless, which will appear eventually (its part of a new series I’m doing) - I’ll send you a preprint when it does. One of the points I will make in the piece is about the contesters. These guys appeared all over the band as 12:00GMT arrived. I see that there are comments on the web site about this, and your very cogent reply - find me a better weekend!! Absolutely right!
However, I do have a suggestion to try to help - get on the air early, before the contesters get going, especially if you are QRP, or rather are not in the kilowatt class. I was on the air on Saturday morning. The contesters hit us at 12:00GMT, making life more difficult. In combination with the weather, we were forced to pack up shortly after this. We didnt get out Sunday, because of the weather. The contesters finished midday - and thereafter I heard lots of Lighthouse activity, on a quieter band. So the lesson is get out early Saturday, and stay late on Sunday!!
Keep up the good work
From W2LGA in the USA:-
Message: Great job once again to Kevin and the entire ILLW crew. Weather in upstate New York was not kind but we managed over 125 contacts just Saturday. 22 lighthouses and 5 lightships! Many visitors and quite a few ILLW brochures handed out. Already planning next year!!
From Lindau on Lake Constance, Bavaria,
Thanks for those who called Thomas and I in Lindau (DE0138 & 140). We had some local QRM but my biggest memory will remain trying without success to call other lighthouse stations, being hammered on by high powered lighthouse-chasers. While some lighthouses could have a full field day set-up with generator, beam and possibly linear, we were runing basic QRP and only wire antennas.
In the end both of us ended up with one LH-2-LH contact, but there could have been several more, if the chasers (some of whom could hear us I'm sure by their timing of their transmisions) had let us in. It seems the protocol to give LH-2-LH contacts priority does not exist as S2S does in SOTA.
It was an enjoyable 3 hours of operating in any case - with brochures given and discussions with 4 visiting groups.
73 Ed DD5LP
From Amateur Radio Victoria Aust.
First up……. Thanks Kevin VK2CE for your continued energies into and organisation of the annual ILLW. It is most appreciated by all participants.
In 2018 members of Amateur Radio Victoria again braved wild and windy, stormy weather to activate the Williamstown Timeball Tower (AU-0036) across the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend held Saturday 18- Sunday 19 August. ARV Callsign VK3WI made 205 contacts across the weekend from inside the Timeball Tower, including contacts with 19 VK Lighthouses, 1 VK Lightship and 4 ZL Lighthouses. DX contacts were rare this year with only one Russian station exchanging details on 20m. Evidence of current difficult band conditions.
Thanks to all participants at the Williamstown Timeball Tower and the many public visitors for making the weekend another success and we look forward to the ILLW in 2019.
ARV Council member
From Shoreham Lighthouse in the UK:-
The Worthing & District Amateur Radio Club (WADARC) put GB8SL on the air from Shoreham Lighthouse UK0023. We were on the air both days although we always close down overnight. This year we used WADARC’s Elecraft K3 and a Tokyo linear amplifier to produce the full legal UK limit of 400 Watts. Our antenna was a multi-band trapped dipole, with one end tied to the railings at the top of Shoreham Lighthouse and the other end to a pump-up mast. We went on the air on Friday evening and made 30 QSOs to test our setup. Two contacts were with stations in Brazil but the highlight was when ZS1FRC Slangkop Lighthouse (ZA0015) called us on 40 meters. This ended up being our best DX of the whole weekend, despite the QSO happening a couple of hours before the ILLW officially started!
We made all our contacts using SSB and almost all were on 40 meters, apart from a handful on 80 meters and 20 meters. We did manage to work the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon in addition to Brazil and South Africa, but the rest of our contacts were inside Europe. Last year 40 meters suffered from extremely deep and rapid QSB, especially where signals had been very strong initially. The trend this year was for signals to be very weak but consistently so. QSB was present at times but nowhere near on the scale of 2017. On Saturday afternoon the skip distance shortened for many hours which allowed us to make a lot of contacts within the UK; this made a pleasant change from the year before. Unusually propagation ran towards Spain at times, as well as the more usual countries such as France and Germany. These are the three foreign languages that I speak… so I had my work cut out! Even the weather was kind to us. There was no rain but more importantly the temperature was comfortable. Southern England experienced a heatwave throughout July and the first half of August. The operating tent would have been very uncomfortable if the temperature had not dropped significantly in time for the ILLW.
We made 482 contacts altogether which included 34 lighthouses, compared to 300 contacts last year (but we worked nearer 40 lighthouses then). Scotland was in the lead with nine, and England and Germany came joint second with five lighthouses each. Our tally could have been slightly higher if every lighthouse / lightship we heard had actually registered on the ILLW website. We heard at least one callsign that has definitely registered in previous years but did not do so in 2018. Also, the final list contains 440 registrations but it stood at 418 when I printed it off at my last opportunity on the Thursday evening.
Please can I encourage everybody reading this to (1) register on the website if your station is eligible and (2) don’t leave your registration until the very last minute! Not all lighthouses will have a reliable internet connection to check for updates.
GB8SL first went on the air in 1999, so we are looking forward to our 20th anniversary and hoping that 2019 will be a record-breaking year. Thanks as ever to the Shoreham Rowing Club, who provide us with mains electricity and use of their facilities every year. Thanks also to fellow members of WADARC and local radio amateurs who visited us or worked us. I have made a YouTube video that appears at:
73 from Ed M0MNG on behalf of the GB8SL team.
From VK3ILH who was going to Deal Island in Bass Strait but WX prevented this so he had to settle for a museum lighthouse at short notice:-
Well, Deal Island was the aim this year, the less than perfect weather sealed the Deal. 3-4 metre swells in Bass Strait, and that was the smaller swell, rain, hail and wind on Sunday. But the Port Albert Maritime Museum is no second prize either. Its full of historical maritime artefacts, a real hidden gem, and the home to the Citadel Lighthouse. Operating from the museum also gives you exposure to the public, and gives them insight to our hobby. Plus operating QTH couldn't get much better, warm sheltered, tea , coffee, and great support from the museum staff. A short walk across the road, fabulous local coffee shop. Great cappuccino, and carrot cake, cheese cake, then you can work your way through the real menu. Yes we made some contacts, it just wasn't all coffee and cheese cake, filled two pages of the log, plenty of ZL's, VK's, DX of note New Caledonia, France, USA. We had some issues with the 80m dipole section of the antenna, so operated from 40m onwards.
Band conditions generally poor, but we made some good contacts. Low noise levels at Port Albert, and enjoyed ourselves. Kept the feet dry too.
So what about Deal, have registered again for 2019... tough time of year to cross Bass Strait. So I plan to do a summer crossing, maybe 4 days and operate a DX expedition, also IOTA. Thanks to Darrin VK3VDP who came to Port Albert and shared the load, plus he rolls a length of coax to precision. Impressive...
From Moritzburg Germany:-
This year we had several operating rooms and, in line with the character or the ILLW, operators spouses also came along - amateur radio among friends and acquaintances at a lighthouse.
But there was something else special this year - the WRTC site ZAE1 team (members of our club) were also present as was the site package of equipment that the club bought from WRTC organisers.
In Moritzburg, the focus was, of course, on the 14.5 m mast and SpiderBeam. DM5AHA had prepared himself intensively for assembly and disassembly and was therefore the perfect "Advisor", so that within 4 hours and with 5-6 men the beam was standing. Thanks also to Jens, DDØVU, who visited us and shared his experiences as part of the WRTC antenna team.
On Saturday evening the obligatory barbecue was planned and everyone enjoyed the sausages or steaks... with the exception of our "working bees" Veiko, DM9TT, Peter, DGØJT and Jürgen, DL1JAC who were busy clocking-up the QSOs. Also Sunday realy good pileup with a WRTC feeling (hi) By now, all 834 QSOs have been recorded, stored in the cloud via UCXlog, sent out via eQSL, put into the DARC DCL logging system and the labels are being prepared to go on our new QSL card to be ready for sending.
CUAGN ILLW 2019
73 de Steffen, DM6WAN (Full report in pdf format with more photos available for download here.)
From the Netherlands (Lighthouse encased in scaffolding)
During 2018 the Ministry of Public Works restored a large number of lighthouses, it was a nice message for the group of PG6N / L that we could still use the lighthouse. The antennas had to be tensioned from the jetty. Conditions were bad due to the Es conditions, but it was fun within the group. This is also because the lighthouse looked more like an Arianne rocket from the outside. Thanks to ESA-Estec Noordwijk
From Jaap PA7DA
From a German, DL1KVN, in France:-
F/DL1KVN - ILLW 2018 - La Tranche sur mer - FR0022
After activating German Helios tower DE0011 in 2013 and 2015, Dutch lighthouse NL0010 in 2016 and Dutch lighthouse NL0048 in 2017, our family holiday 2018 took us to the French Atlantic coast. the closest lighthouse was 'Phare du Grouin du Cou' in La Tranche sur mer, fr0022.
So i decided to activate this lighthouse this year. after a google search i found that om Gilbert F4ASK lives in a town closed to the lighthouse. so i wrote him a email and declared my illw mission, including some questions about possible portable operations near the lighthouse. he quickly answered me and told me, that he will check the scene for me. that is ham spirit! he drove to the location and took some photos for me. coincidentally he met a man who lives in a house directly beside the lighthouse. so he told him about my lighthouse mission and the neighbour just said: 'no problem, he can use my garden'. wow! so later i got in contact with the neighbour by email and on the illw saturday i went to his house. what a garden, what a view. very kind people and they gave me great coffee! and they even hoisted a german flag. HI
I used my Ft-857d with solar support and abt 50 watts. gp antennas for 17m, 20m and 30m. most qso were done in cw. there is russian contest every year the same weekend. 40m is actually unusable in europe! so i decided not to get qrv on 40m. i made abt 195 qso at all on saturday and sunday. ufb illw weekend with a very kind host and true ham spirit support from a very kind french OM! And a lot of qso fun at lh fr0022.
73 Dirk, DL1KVN
From Cape Schanck Lighthouse in Victoria, Australia
Again the crew from WANDARC headed down to Cape Schanck Lighthouse for the weekend, this year was a little different for us with the new rules from ParksVic we had to jump through a few hoops to get there but in the end our permit was granted. With the help from the guys who run the lighthouse tours we again had a nice comfortable room to transmit from and mingle with the public, We had 3 members with us this year and we were all set up by 10am Saturday morning. With the 9m tello mast and OCF Buckmaster using a FT-991 this year @ 100w we had over 70 contacts for the weekend. We could only operate from 9am till 4pm Saturday and Sunday. On the Saturday we had the pleasure of having Ian Wright GW0VML from OS with 13 contacts on 20m Icom IC706, 20m inverted V Dipole at 5.4m at100w. We had a perfect noise level of 0 on all bands, the weather for the weekend was constant with strong winds and rain and even a hail storm that we heard build up on 40m to a nice 20+ noise. A awesome weekend was had by all involved and plans are already underway for next year.
From Uto Lighthouse, Finland:-
Previously OH1AH held a field days camp every year around in the archipelago and 1998 we decided to hold it on Utö island together with the new ILLW event. Uto is the southernmost inhabited small island in the Finnish archipelago and have a massive lighthouse built of natural stone equipped with the first NDB beacon for ships in Finland. The place is so fascinating that after the first visit we always returned and this year it was the twentieth time we attended. For the most, we have worked on HF 3.5-18MHz but sometimes also at 136 kHz-1296 MHz. This year we were 8 participants. Looking forward to next year's ILLW. OH1AH crew sends greetings to the organizers of this nice event.
73 de Tom OH1XF
From France a cute QSL card and video clip:-