International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend
Working from lighthouses can be a weekend of fun during the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend in August each year. Lighthouses that are on the mainland and accessible by road are usually relatively easy to set up work from. Although permission is required many lighthouses are now operated by local tourist associations and they usually welcome an added attraction to the site. Working from the actual light is not necessary and an adjacent building such as light keepers cottages is a comfortable location. Some of the more accessible lights offer accommodation in these now unused cottages. So that other lighthouses around the world know which lighthouses are being activated all participating stations are requested to register on the International Lighthouse Weekend Website, see http://illw.net/
Cape Naturaliste was manned by Michael VK6TU, Nigel VK6NI and XYL Jane VK6FJPD. Cape Leeuwin was manned by Anthony VK6AXB and crew. The Rememberance Day contest was also on during the weekend and contacts were handed out by both stations. The Capes Lighthouse GRoup has been formed and more information can be found on their Facebook page.
VK6CNL at Cape Naturaliste and VK6CLL were activated. Both locations experienced variable weather but operations were a great success. Operating was at times hectic as the local Rememberance Day contest was also on.
VK6CNL at Cape Naturaliste was a great success given that we (Nigel VK6NI and XYL Jane VK6FJPD) could only operate during lighthouse opening hours. The 20m 2 element monobander work well with contacts around Australia and New Zealand. On Sunday afternoon an opening into Europe long path saw over 40 stations worked in less than one hour including lighthouses in England and Portugal - dog piles are fun! The lighthouse itself recognised the day and waived normal admission fees in favour of a gold coin donation and the local sea rescue organisation mounted a static display and sausage sizzle. Many people went passed our operating position as it was strategically located adjacent to the cafe and the opportunity was taken to spread the word about amateur radio. We have already received a thank you note from the Geographe Bay Tourist Association and an invitation to return next year.
VK6CLL report to follow
Another successful year with both operations enjoying glorious weather of cool breezes, blue skies and temperatures around 18 celius. Point D’Entrecasteaux (VK6CNL) was a success working from the car park beside the light with fairly basic equipment of an IC7000 working into a quarter wave vetrical on 20m and a trapped dipole for 40 and 80m. We also successfully worked Cape Leeuwin on 2m over a 95km water path - hardly suprising given that Point D’Entrecasteaux is 100m above sea level but fun anyway and the cliffs are spectacular! Around 25 lighthouses contacted across Austrlia with little daytime DX around the world. Cape Leeuwin report to follow.
We operated from both Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin. Nigel
and crew at Cape Naturaliste, and Wally and his team, Tony
VK6HAU, and Shaun VK6FSAP, at Cape Leeuwin.
The link between the lighthouses on 80m worked well with members of the public having a go at working on Amateur Radio. Onno (VK6AHR/p) at North Mole in Fremantle also joined in for a three way QSO at one point. The linking was well worth the effort and will probably be repeated in the future. More details as we get time to update the page.
We operated at both Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin. Cape Leeuwin did well operating under the call sign VK6CLL set up in the light keeper’s cottage and working with dipoles and an XK40.
Cape Naturaliste as VK6CNL did not do so well, first there was problem with a radio and then there was electrical interference from power lines nearby that created a constant S3 to S5 noise level making operating almost impossible.
We operated both Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste Lighthouses again this year, both making contact with over 20 other lighthouses.
Wally operated from Cape Leeuwin, VK6CLL, on his own this year which made for reduced operating time, and limited antenna setup due to the rather windy and blustery conditions, however an overall enjoyable weekend again, and once again my thanks to Paul and all the others who work at the lighthouse for making me so welcome.
With the winds up around 120 Kph on the Friday afternoon/evening, there was no possible way to setup the Spiderbeam. It would have ended up in Albany! So, a compromise antenna setup with single feed to 80/40/20 metres was made, although that was also further compromised by not being game to set the antenna apex at the full possible height of around 12 metres and settling for about 7 metres. I actually chickened out when I saw how much the fibre glass pole was bending in the wind, and did not think it would last the night let alone 2 days. The horizontal rain and hail was interesting. It is also very difficult not to get frustrated when every loose string, rope or wire instantly wraps itself into a ball with the wind.
Here is a short badly made video of driving down and operating from Cape Leeuwin this year. On my own, I found it a little difficult to film and set up at the same time, so did not capture all that I wanted but hopefully this gives a short look anyway. 73 Wally VK6YS
Cape Naturaliste was little better with high winds on Friday and Saturday, fortunately not much rain. We operated from the home of the current manager of the tourist facilities as the light keepers cottage we had used in previous years was being renovated for a cafe - opening soon! Many thanks to Luciano and Karma for the very kind use of their home.
Antenna used on the Saturday was an Emtron four band vertical that did good service on 20m but after a lot of flexing around in the wind had an intermittent fault in the 40m trap and became unusable. On Sunday we finally managed to get the Spiderbeam up and worked a number of stations in the VK/ZL/P29 Remembrance Day Contest. The highlight of the weekend was working V55V, Namibia at the Shark Island Light, we also heard W6A at the Point Fermin Light but could not get back to them - maybe next time. A total of 37 contacts with 13 lighthouses, not as good as in previous years but propagation was poor and the weather awful. Nigel VK6NI
2008 International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend
The two lighthouses were activated again in 2008 with better antenna - Spiderbeams in both locations, and a Force 12 40XK at Cape Leeuwin with dipoles for 40 and 80 at both lights. Much improved antenna made contacts easier although poor propagation and the advent of the RD, meant that only lighthouses in Australia and New Zealand were contacted.
Shaun, VK6FSAP, helped Wally VK6YS set up the antennas at Cape Leeuwin on the Friday afternoon, and then came back to assist with operations on the Sunday. Help which was greatly appreciated given that there were literally hundreds of visitors to the Lighthouse over the weekend and on the Saturday most time was spent talking to the visitors rather than on the radio making contacts. There were many other activities at the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse during the weekend, with talks by retired lighthouse keepers, discussions with people born and raised at lighthouses, and local craft and country ladies adding displays. A particularly interesting aspect was that all the lighthouse guides and even the ladies running the cafe/restaurant were dressed in costumes from 100 years ago. Overall a wonderful weekend for the many tourists and local visitors to the light.
2007 International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend
The group activated the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse as VK6CLL with Wally VK6YS assisted by Bruce VK6CX, and Cape Naturaliste as VK6CNL by Nigel VK6KHD during the International Lighthouse Weekend in August 2007 using only basic equipment and were allowed to use the Light keepers cottages as the operating location.
The 2008 log for VK6CLL, Cape Leeuwin can also be viewed using Adobe Acrobat reader.
Cape Naturaliste photographs
Cape Leeuwin photographs
The first pic is sunrise on Saturday morning. Fantastic weather for this location.
Pic two is just some of the people heading up for a tour of the light.
Pic three shows the Spiderbeam with the 40XK and one of the groups at the Lighthouse keeper’s talks.
Pic four is a sunset shot of the antennas.
Pic five shows the light and the old support buildings-operation was from the little hut which was originally built as the telex room.
Pic six is a shot I could not resist with the moon right at the pipe on the old laundry - it’s kitch I know, but I liked it.(Wally)