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ILLW Final Countdown

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by G4TUT, Aug 12, 2019.

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  1. G4TUT

    G4TUT Ham Member QRZ Page

    ILLW Final Countdown

    With only a few days to go registrations for the 22nd International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend (ILLW) are nearing the 400 mark.

    Germany is leading the field with 57 entries closely followed by the USA with56. Australia is a creditable third with 40 entries which represents about 10% of its total lighthouse numbers.

    A new country in the event is the US Virgin Island with Buck Island Lighthouse being registered for the first time. It is a typical example of the main objective of the ILLW which is the preservation of lighthouses.

    [​IMG] Cancel
    This lighthouse was built by the Danish government shortly before the islands became a U.S. territory in 1917.

    Critically endangered, the lighthouse was added to the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List in April 2004.

    Located at the highest point of Buck Island, about 3 mi (5 km) south of St. Thomas. The island has been a wildlife refuge since 1969. Accessible only by boat. The function of this light as a navigation aid has been taken over by the steel skeletal tower adjacent.

    The ILLW is now in its 22 nd year having started in 1993 as the Northern Lights Award run by the Ayr Amateur Radio Group in Scotland. It proved so popular it morphed into the International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend in 1998 with 158 entries in 40 countries. In 2014 it recorded 544 entries in56 countries which for an event that is not a contest, there are no awards or prizes, is quite a remarkable achievement. It has become one of the most popular events in the Amateur Radio calendar.

    The usual batch of late entries is expected over the next few days which should put the total around 430. Numbers are not important as long as all those who enter enjoy the weekend and show the public what lighthouses are all about and how they need to be protected.

    Kevin vk2ce

    ZS6SID, W0MSN, MM7ALZ and 8 others like this.
  2. KK4RXC

    KK4RXC XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    W0MSN, BI8EJM, AC7DD and 1 other person like this.
  3. W6LDX

    W6LDX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Part of my responsibility in the U.S. Coast Guard was Aids to Navigation. Our area of responsibility was from Half Moon Bay, CA. to Noyo River, CA
    which included Alcatraz Island, Mile Rock Light, and Farallon Island. It was a time of change as many of the light houses were being automated and the light station crews were transferred to other duties. Most of the stations have been turned over to the park service and the light station houses are now rented out to parties who like to be at the old light station sites. Some of the stations that I have visited in recent times have fallen into disrepair. When the stations were manned by Coast Guardsmen the stations were well maintained. The old air operated fog horns have been replaced with fog detectors and electric horns and the lights that were so magnificent have been replaced with plastic housings with electric lights. The light ships have been replaced with Large Navigation Buoys (LNB) or monster buoys as we used to call them. And it is called progress, very sad to see them all come to an end.
    AC7DD and KC9ONY like this.
  4. W6LDX

    W6LDX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Very good to see that the 22nd International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend is taking place. What bands and frequencies will be in use?
  5. NN6EE

    NN6EE Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Slightly off-topic question OB!!! Like here in the SF/OAK Bay Area that "FOG-HORNS" are NO LONGER UTILIZED, WHY??? In that where I live in Concord, over in the river area of Benicia northwest up to the junction of the "Sacramento/San Joauqiun Rivers a "FOG-HORN" was very noticeable when we were experiencing (TULE FOG), BUT since the changing weather patterns here most of AUTUMN & WINTER the "Dew-point" creating "Tule-Fog" isn't there anymore!!! Though even on the few mornings that we have the thick FOG that "ICONIC/BELOVED SOUND" IS NO LONGER THERE??? I like many other "Bay Area OG residents" miss the "B-OOOO" sound in the early morning hours!!! JUST WONDERING!!!

  6. W6LDX

    W6LDX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I was in Aids to Navigation over 50 years ago. I have no first-hand knowledge as to what happened to the horns. The last air horns that I know of were the duo diaphones on the Golden Gate Bridge. When I was stationed at Fort Point Motor Lifeboat Station on the Presidio they used to sing us to sleep. All I can say about missing fog signals is that people must have complained or the advent of GPS made them unnecessary.
    When the Indians were on Alcatraz, we got a directive from the Commandant of the Coast Guard to keep the two horns and the lighthouse operating 24/7, but there was no GPS in those days. After East Brothers Light Station was automated I fired up the old air horn just to see if it still worked. It was a clear and sunny day and I had let the horn run for about 15 minutes. It caused such a stir that there was an article in the San Pablo paper about it, but it sure was nice to hear that wonderful horn sounding again. That was the last time that it ever sounded.
  7. K6CLS

    K6CLS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not the last time... The East Brothers stationkeepers fire up the diaphone regularly, usually in the morning for the delight of the overnight guests.

    The air system is amazing! Pull start the gasoline motor, to start the diesel, to run the compressor.

    What a sound. Rumbles my tummy. Might be better than the rumble of the 4 radials 8n a B-17.

    Editorial: I wish the coast guard just maintained ATONs and didn't have the distraction of interdiction. Although in 1789 they were a branch of the Treasury, intended to collect taxes and prevent smuggling.
  8. W6LDX

    W6LDX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    It sounds like someone changed the system from the way it was when I fired up the horn.
    The electricity had to be turned on at a fuse panel and there was a switch to turn on a very old electric motor that drove a two cylinder air pump via a leather belt. The air went into a receiver tank that was hand-made and stood 10 feet tall by six feet across. The tank was amazing as it was made of panels that were riveted together. Once the pressure got to 120 PSI the timer had to be turned on. The timer consisted of a small one RPM motor that drove a notched disc that was followed by a set of points. When the points got to the notch there was an electrical closure and that sent current to the horn solenoid and opened the air to the horn. A one RPM motor was used because the horn had to have a certain on/off characteristic that matched the timing on the navigation charts so that it could be identified by vessels. The horn itself was pointed straight up with a cone atop the horn to disperse the sound in 360 degrees. When I first fired up the horn it blew out a fair amount of water before it started to make a loud and clear fog horn tone. The last OIC of East Brothers Light Station was Chief Dennis Thompson who I worked with until he died in a traffic accident in Richmond, CA.
    The original horn used a fire to make it operate. The lighthouse keeper had to watch the fog coming in from the golden gate and time his lighting of the fire to get the horn to operate by the time the fog reached his area.

    East Brothers has a very colorful history and I hope that the leather bound guest book that we recovered is still in existence as it had such entries as the President of the United States and the Queen of England among others.
    W0MSN likes this.
  9. KC9ONY

    KC9ONY Ham Member QRZ Page

    We need more USA lighthouse activations!

    Our club will be at the 1860 Light Station & Museum in Port Washington, WI.

    Some history of the lighthouse:

    Hope to work some other lighthouses and lightships.
    QSL information is on the W9CQO biography page here on QRZ.

    Here's a video of the club from 2013:

    Lighthouse QSL 2013 Facebook.jpg
    KG7VTO likes this.
  10. N5LB

    N5LB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    the link appears to be broken at 1634h 8/15.

    "Hmm. We’re having trouble finding that site.

    We can’t connect to the server at"


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