INTERNATIONAL LIGHTHOUSE AND LIGHTSHIP WEEKEND (ILLW).
AHARS often takes part in the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW).
AHARS holds the special call of VK5CWL....
VK5 Cape Willoughby Lighthouse.
VK5BAR operated at the Marino Rocks lighthouse. Operators were Hans VK5YX, Lesley VK5LOL, Patrick VK5MPJ, John VK5EMI, and Doc VK5BUG.
Doc VK5BUG and XYL Ingrid and their display at the ILLW site at Marino Rocks.
Lesley VK5LOL and Hans VK5YX braved the elements and ventured out and activated the Marino Rocks lighthouse, in the Marino Conservation Park.
In 2016, the following amateurs from AHARS headed over to Kangaroo Island.
John VK5EMI and wife Deidre.
A total of 547 QSOs were made on the 160m, 80m, 40m, 30m, 20m, & 2m bands on SSB, PSK31, JT65, CW.
A total of 36 different countries were worked.
A total of 61 QSOs were made with other lighthouses (of those 57 were in Australia, 3 in New Zealand, and 1 in Scotland)
VK5BAR operated adjacent to the Marino Rocks Lighthouse (AU0118), within the Marino Conservation Park.
Operators were Doc, VK5BUG, Patrick, VK5MPJ, and John VK5EMI.
This year for the 2013 annual International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend (ILLW), members of the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society (AHARS), again activated South Australia’s oldest lighthouse, the Cape Willoughby lighthouse on Kangaroo Island, IOTA OC-139. Completed in 1852, it is also the 17th lighthouse to be constructed in Australia, and lies at the easternmost point of Australia’s third largest island, Kangaroo Island.
It was a cool but pleasantly sunny Friday morning, when eight members of AHARS arrived at Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Peninsula, about 108 km south of Adelaide. It was from here that we were to catch the 9.00 a.m. ferry, and it was also from here that the weather conditions spiralled down hill rapidly. After boarding the ‘Spirit of Kangaroo Island’ ferry to cross the 11 km stretch of water known as Backstairs Passage, the cold front hit with vengeance. The wind picked up, as did the seas, and the docking at the little town of Penneshaw on the eastern end of Kangaroo Island was interesting to say the least. Little did we know that this was the last ferry to operate due to weather conditions for the next 48 hours.
This was the second year that AHARS members had travelled to Kangaroo Island for the ILLW. This year’s group consisted of David VK5KC, Paul VK5PAS, Roy VK5NRG, Trevor VK5ATW, Andy VK5AKH, John VK5AJQ, Joseph VK5FJOE (10 years old); Doc VK5BUG, and budding operator, 9 year old Mitchell, who is the grandson of VK5KC.
Our accommodation for three nights on the island, were the ‘Thomas’ and ‘Seymour’ cottages located adjacent to the lighthouse. The cottages which were constructed in 1927 to replace the original 1850’s cottages, have been beautifully refurbished and offer all the comforts of home. Despite the fact that we had arrived on the island early, our intentions of erecting any antennas were thwarted by ‘Huey’. Unfortunately the weather was so bad that we were forced to retreat for most of the day to the warmth of the cottages, with the wind speed at the lighthouse gusting up to 106 kph.
Fortunately a break in the weather late on Friday afternoon gave us a small window of opportunity to erect our antennas, which consisted of an array of dipoles and a hex beam. John VK5AJQ and young Joseph and Mitchell climbed the 102 steps to the balcony of the lighthouse, about 22 metres from the ground, where John secured a lanyard to the railing, allowing us to erect our dipole antennas.
This year we used the special call of VK5CWL for the ILLW, and we also participated in the Remembrance Day Contest, utilising the club call of VK5BAR. A number of different operating positions were established including the old weather station and the lighthouse museum, both being adjacent to the imposing lighthouse structure.
The set up in the old weather station building, was primarily used for DXing. It consisted of an Icom IC-7600, 100 watts, and hex beam.
Whilst the museum station which consisted of a Yaesu FT-450, 100 watts, and a broadband folded dipole, was used primarily for 40m. The dipolewas erected in a sloper configuration from the railing of the lighthouse, and performed very well on 40m for both local contacts and some DX.
Inside the Seymour cottage was the RD Contest station which consisted of an Icom IC-7000, 100 watts, and a 40 metre inverted vee dipole, and an 80 metre inverted vee dipole. They were supported by a 7m pole attached to the wooden clothesline in the backyard of the cottage.
Over the duration of the ILLW event, we managed 444 contacts all around the world. A total of 35 different countries were worked on 80m, 40m, 20m, & 15m on SSB, CW, & PSK31. A total of 25 different lighthouses around the Australian coast were contacted, along with one New Zealand lighthouse. A further 142 contacts were made during the RD Contest.
Although Saturday saw the wind drop to gusts of up to 70 kph, the rain and hail hit hard, making it quite difficult at times with the acoustics from the old granite and sandstone buildings we were operating from. Cape Willoughby recorded 22.4 mm of rain on Saturday, and this resulted in the Willoughby Road becoming flooded and inpassable to 2wd vehicles. Sadly this impacted dramatically on visitors to the lighthouse.
Despite the excitement of the lighthouse surrounds, and the presence of their game boys, young Joseph and Mitchell also got on air on Saturday afternoon, working into the eastern states. In fact Mitchell managed his first ever QSO on amateur radio, with Ray VK3ACT in Victoria. This was under very trying conditions, with torrential rain on the tin roof of the museum.
On Sunday afternoon, Andy VK5AKH and Paul VK5PAS ventured to the western end of the island near Cape Borda, and activated a Summits on the Air (SOTA) peak in very blustery and wet weather conditions. The wind speed was gusting up to 80 kph and about 13 mm of rain was recorded, with a temperature of about 11 C.
Ashley Walsh from ABC local radio was kind enough to call us again this year, and a live on air interview was conducted on Sunday morning, which promoted the ILLW and the hobby of amateur radio in general.
An added bonus this year was the inclusion of 2 dedicated CW operators, John VK5AJQ and Doc VK5BUG, who were both kept very busy during both the ILLW and the RD Contest.
By Monday afternoon, the wind had dropped considerably and maximum wind gusts were 80 kph. So after a very enjoyable 3 nights, it was time to board the ferry and travel back to the mainland. Again this year, our thanks go to the friendly Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources staff at the Cape Willoughby lighthouse. Additional thanks to Department of Planning Transport & Infrastructure, who allowed as to attach our antennas to the railing of the lighthouse.
More information on our journey to Kangaroo Island can be found on our website at
Another lighthouse weekend has unfortunately come and gone. This year, 2012, was the 16th anniversary of the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW), and coincided with the 160th anniversary of South Australia’s oldest lighthouse situated at Cape Willoughby on the easternmost point of Kangaroo Island.
A team of seven operators from the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society ventured to Kangaroo Island, Australia’s third largest island, and operated from remote Cape Willoughby, using the special call sign of VI5CW from the afternoon of Friday 17th August through until the morning of Monday 20th August.
The group consisted of Paul VK5PAS, Sasi VK5SN, Mark VK5VW, David VK5KC, Hans VK5YX and his wife Lesley VK5LOL, and Trevor VK5ATW. Not to omit the other important members, our XYL’s, Marija, Ash, Michelle, & Joy, who kept us fed and watered.
Early on the morning of Friday 17th August, 2012, eight of us journeyed to Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Peninsula, about 108 kms south of Adelaide to board the 8.30 a.m. ferry. Three of the group were smart enough to catch the later ferry at midday. Enroute to Cape Jervis we encountered some blustery weather, including hail which was not a good omen for things to come.
The 45 minute journey aboard the Sealink ferry, across the 11 km stretch of water called Backstairs Passage, made for some interesting times. The weather was particularly inclement that day and the trip quite rough. Fortunately only one case of sea sickness resulted though.
Our adventures didn’t finish there. After arriving on the island at Penneshaw, the 30 km dirt stretch of Willoughby Road to the lighthouse was quite challenging at times with mud, large sheets of water, and big pot holes. Fortunately no one became bogged and the view along the shrub lined dirt road to the lighthouse was spectacular.
Upon our arrival at the Cape Willoughby lighthouse, we were informed that Cape Willoughby had experienced 55 knot winds (100 kmh) that morning, making it the windiest place on record in Australia. This made the erection of antennas quite a challenge. David VK5KC & Trevor VK5ATW made the 102 step journey to the balcony of the lighthouse and secured some ropes to the railing, some 22 metres from the ground. From here we were able to erect a dipole antenna.
Our accommodation was the ‘Thomas’ and ‘Seymour’ cottages located at the lighthouse. These are the old lighthouse keeper cottages constructed in 1927, which have been beautifully refurbished and are self contained and offer five bedrooms. They provided very comfortable accommodation for our three night stay.
During the blustery Friday, we established four operating stations at the lighthouse in what could only be described as trying conditions.
The first operating position was located in the old weather station, about 15 metres from the lighthouse. This consisted of a Yaesu FT450, 100 watts, and a broadband folded dipole which was attached to the railing of the lighthouse in a sloper configuration. This was our main operating position. The refreshing voice of Lesley VK5LOL was often heard from here. Mark VK5VW and I also operated regularly from here, as did others from our group. Operating conditions were quite difficult at times, as this small room constructed of granite and sandstone, did not offer great acoustics.
The second operating position was located in the back porch of the ‘Thomas’ cottage. This was the domain of Sasi, VK5SN, who was active on PSK31 on 20 and 40 metres. Using a Yaesu FT857d, and a vertical and an OCF dipole, he made about 30 PSK31 contacts to a variety of countries, including Australia, USA, Poland, France, Papua New Guinea, Reunion Island, Turkey, and Russia.
The third operating position was located in the back porch of the ‘Seymour’ cottage. David VK5KC & Trevor VK5ATW, were highly sought after on 2 metres from stations on the South Australian mainland. A total of 60 stations were worked on SSB & FM on both 2 metres and 70 cm.
The fourth operating position was in the ‘Seymour’ cottage. Hans, VK5YX, used an Icom 7000 and a multiband HF whip on his 4WD parked out the front of the cottage, and made a number of contacts on 80, 40, & 20 metres.
With the performance of the broadband folded dipole being quite poor on 20m, on the Sunday afternoon we erected a 20 m dipole and this made a considerable difference to our success on 20 metres. An extremely large ’pile up’ resulted into Europe.
During the 3 days we were active on 20, 40, and 80 metres on HF, and also on 2 metres and 70cm. A total of 511 QSO’s were made around Australia and overseas. A total of 30 different countries were worked on 20m and 40m, including Asiatic Russia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Estonia, European Russia, Federal Republic of Germany, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Indonesia, Italy,Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Puerto Rico, Reunion Island, Scotland, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, United States of America, and Wales.
A total of about 39 different lighthouses around the Australian coast were worked in all states except for the Northern Territory. Five different overseas lighthouses were worked. These being the Punta Gorda lighthouse, California, USA (40m SSB); the Punta Higuero lighthouse in Puerto Rico (20m PSK31); the Los Morillos lighthouse in Puerto Rico (20m SSB); Castle Point lighthouse, New Zealand (20m SSB & 80m SSB); and Bean Rock lighthouse, New Zealand (20m SSB).
Some of the highlights of the weekend were speaking to a number of pedestrian mobile stations in the United Kingdom, an on air interview with Ashley Walsh from ABC 891 Radio, and a special tour of the Cape Willoughby lighthouse.
Unfortunately due to the weather and road conditions out to the lighthouse, visitor numbers were limited. However we were lucky to be visited by Wren Lashmar who previously worked at the lighthouse for a total of 15 years, and a lady whose husband was a SK amateur operator. They found our operation and our small display which we had erected on the hobby of amateur radio interesting.
The weekend was a terrific success and most enjoyable, and all of us are looking forward to next year, and another possible trip to Kangaroo Island.
Special thanks must be mentioned to the Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources staff at the Cape Willoughby lighthouse, including Adele and Quentin. They made us feel particularly welcome and showed a keen interest in our operation. Also our thanks goes to the Department of Transport Energy and Infrastructure, who kindly allowed us to attach antennas to the railing of the lighthouse.