The 23rd International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend (ILLW) takes place this weekend. The 2-day event begins at 0001 UTC on August 22 and continues until 2400 UTC on August 23. Each year, participants set up portable stations at, or as close as possible to, lighthouses and lightships around the world. This year’s event is a week later than usual to avoid on-the-air activities marking the 75th anniversary of victory in the Pacific during World War II. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has failed to dampen the enthusiasm of 340 registered participants in 43 countries, said ILLW Coordinator Kevin Mulcahy, VK2CE. Last year, 426 registered.
“There have been some cancellations due to changes in lockdown rules, but it is great to see so many weathering the storm,” said Mulcahy, who inherited the job of running the ILLW from the event’s founder, Mike Dalrymple, GM4SUC.
ILLW guidelines regarding proximity to a lighthouse or lightship have been relaxed slightly to suit the local situation, but, Mulcahy says, “the station should still be within, say, 1,000 yards and insight of the lighthouse.” Some lighthouse/lightship stations operate with special event call signs.
“Participation from home or clubs is encouraged, even if only to offer support for those who have made the effort to set up at or near a lighthouse,” Mulcahy said. “Hopefully, 2021 will see some kind of normality return to the planet. Condolences to those who have been forced to cancel operating from a lighthouse precinct and sincere thanks and admiration to those who will be activating a lighthouse or lightship over the weekend. The number listed is far more than we originally expected.”