International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend

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The International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW) is an annual event held on the third full weekend of August each year. The event was the brainchild of John Forsyth and Mike Dalrymple who were members of the Ayr Amateur Radio Group in Scotland. The event, which started in 1998, has developed into an international gathering of amateur radio operators from an estimated 95 countries.[1] Concurrent with this event the Association of Lighthouse Keepers conduct their Lighthouse Heritage Weekend whereby lighthouse managers and keepers all around the world are encouraged to open their doors to the public for a viewing of their lighthouse and its history. The event is currently managed by an Australia amateur radio operator, Kevin Mulcahy vk2ce, who has been involved with it since 1998 and who now owns the domain name and web site. A small team of volunteers assist in the running of the weekend activity. Major amateur radio organizations such as the Radio Society of Great Britain, the Amateur Radio Radio League of America, the Wireless Institute of Australia support and promote the weekend which accounts for the large number of countries that participate each year.


The objective of ILLW event is stated as "to promote public awareness of lighthouses and lightships and their need for preservation and restoration, to promote amateur radio and to foster International goodwill."[2] A classic example of what should not be allowed to happen to a lighthouse is shown here on YouTube featuring the lighthouse remains on Culebrita Island[3] in Puerto Rico. Unfortunately quite a lot of these magnificent structures are suffering from neglect and vandalism and it is the function of this event to make people aware of the need to conserve these historic aids to navigation before their existence is lost.


The basic format of the event is that a local amateur radio club will set up a radio station either in, or near to, a lighthouse. They will then operate from that station over the whole or part of the weekend. The goal is to contact other amateur stations, particularly those operating from other lighthouse sites. Visiting public are invited to watch the operators and even use the equipment under supervision while visiting the lighthouse. YouTube[4] has numerous video clips about the weekend which have been submitted by participants.


[1] ARRL - Lighthouse Lightship Event Anticipating Record Participation (2013)]
[2] ARRL - International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend 2012]
[3] ARRL - International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend 2010]
[4] ARRL - International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend 2009]

  1. ^ "International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend- 2013". Pittwater Online News. 18–24 August 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
  2. ^ "Purpose" Official ILLW web site
  3. ^ "Culebrita Island" Youtube video clip
  4. ^ "Youtube" Youtube "ILLW" search results

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