The number of registrations in the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW) reached 506, with 32 countries represented. Activity for the August 15-16 event was higher this year from the major seafaring nations of Australia, England, and Germany, adding to growth from Bulgaria, Canada, Cuba, France, Portugal and Scotland, ILLW organizers reported. That was down from 2014, however, when there were 544 entrants for the operating event.
Michael Sealfon, WA2OCG, put the number of 2015 registrations over the 500 mark, when he signed up to operate from Alki Point Lighthouse marking the southern entrance to Seattle’s Elliott Bay in Washington. More than 70 US lighthouses and lightships were activated for the 2015 event, some identifying with 1 × 1 special event call signs. Cuba this year had 13 registered sites, possibly a reflection of the normalization of diplomatic relations with the US.
The operation of Glenn Alford, VK3ILW/VK7, was typical of the DX available. On the air from Cape Wickham Lighthouse on King Island, he logged contacts in the Canary Islands, Cuba, Baltic Islands, Guatemala, Europe, the US, Alaska, Australia, and New Zealand.
Australia Broadcasting Corporation informed listeners that visitors to the red-and-white candy-striped Point Moore Lighthouse, some 400 km north of Perth and dominating the Geraldton skyline in West Australia, had claimed a new world record for the most people hugging a lighthouse. The lighthouse — built in 1878 and one of Australia’s oldest steel lighthouses — hosted the ILLW operation of Maarten Plug, VK6MP. More than 1000 turned out for the world record-attempting embrace. During ILLW, the doors of the lighthouse were opened to allow a glimpse inside.
Retired physician Gerry Metz, N1QLL, camped out on Mistake Island to activate Moose Peak light, built in 1851 and still in operation on Maine’s foggy Down East coast.
The next and 19th annual Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend on August 20-21, 2016, already has 30 registrations. The annual Amateur Radio event was initiated in Scotland by John Forsyth, GM4OOU, and the Mike Dalrymple, GM4SUC (SK). Lighthouses and lightships in some 85 countries have been represented in the annual event since its inception. — Thanks to Jim Linton, VK3PC, ILLW, Gerry Metz, N1QLL