POINT BETSIE ON THE AIR

International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend Registrations Top 200 and Rising

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 a bit more than 6 weeks to go, nearly 250 planned operations have registered throughout the world. 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 past years, 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.

The Polish DX Club will mark the milestone anniversary as 3Z20ILLW, with six club members at the Jaroslawiec Lighthouse, Poland’s oldest, on the Baltic Sea. In West Malaysia, the Borneo Amateur Radio Club will activate Tinagat Lighthouse for its first time, as 9M6SDX.

Registration guidelines call for operating sites to be officially listed as aids to navigation. That could include a classic lighthouse or lightship with a Fresnel lens, fog horns, time ball towers, and lighthouses or lightships moved to museums. According to the ILLW site, “lights such as range lights, channel markers, skeletal towers, and breakwall lights will probably not be accepted.” Registration for the event is not required, but it does let other participants know which lighthouses and lightships will be active.

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