Registrations for the 2017 International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend (ILLW) have topped the 200 mark for the August 19-20 event. The ILLW is 20 years old this year, and with some 8 weeks to go, 220 planned operations have registered throughout the world, including 26 in the US (Germany is leading registrations with 45. Australia has 30 so far). During the annual event, Amateur Radio stations will be on the air from — or in the immediate vicinity of — various historic lighthouses and lightships in more than 25 countries. In the past, more than 500 stations in some 90 countries have taken part.
“Many enjoy linking portable Amateur Radio to the navigational beacons for shipping traffic of the past, and in doing so help raise public awareness of the need to preserve the old structures,” Jim Linton, VK3PC, remarked.
Registration guidelines call for the site to be officially listed as an aid to navigation. This can include a classic lighthouse or lightship with a Fresnel lens, fog horn, time ball towers, and even those moved to a museum for historic reasons. According to the ILLW site, “lights such as range lights, channel markers, skeletal towers, and breakwall lights will probably not be accepted.” Registration is not required for participation but does let other stations know which lighthouses and lightships will be activated.
Sponsors stress that the event is not a contest — and there are no prizes, certificates, or other enticements to participate. Each station’s operators decide how they will operate their station with respect to bands and modes, and participating stations do not have to be on the air for the entire weekend.
Activity does not need to take place inside the structure itself. A Field Day-style setup at the light or other building adjacent to the light is sufficient. “Adjacent means next to or as close as possible,” event guidelines explain.
“The intention behind this requirement is that the station should have a visible presence to the passing public who may be visiting the lighthouse over the weekend. Permission to operate from a lighthouse/lightship should be obtained from the relevant authorities.” — Thanks to Jim Linton, VK3PC