Limerick calling Alaska from the lighthouse

Limerick Clare Amateur Radio Club members Derek and Alan at Loop Head Lighthouse.

LIGHTHOUSES and lightships throughout the world, including in countries as far away as Japan and Alaska, were contacted by members of the Limerick Clare Amateur Radio Club from Loop Head Lighthouse Experience last weekend.

The amateur ham radio enthusiasts from across the Mid West had gathered at the West Clare lighthouse as part of the 26th annual International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend (ILLW).

During the 48-hour weekend broadcast, visitors to the lighthouse were able to listen in to communications with amateur radio stations across the world.

Of particular interest was the contact with many of the 500 lighthouses and lightships in over 40 countries that were also activated by amateur radio enthusiasts over the same period.

Contact was made with all continents, with operators in Japan and Australia particularly keen to get in touch. Contact was also made with an operator in Alaska, marking a highlight of the weekend as the location is one of the most sought-after worldwide.

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Dermot Gleeson, Chairman of the Limerick Clare Amateur Radio Club, commented: “The club has always enjoyed its visits to Loop Head. The club operated two stations, one of which was located at the entrance to the lighthouse so members of the public could listen to some of the transmissions, and this proved to be popular.”

“A special QSL Card (confirmation of communication) was designed to mark the event, and this will be issued to the hundreds of stations contacted in over 60 countries, thus ensuring that Loop Head is firmly on the international map.”

Dermot added: “We are very grateful to all of the staff of Clare County Council and the Commissioners of Irish Lights for their help in planning this event and for allowing us to use the grounds as part of the International Lighthouse and Lightships Weekend.”