Friday, 23 August 2013

Radio Club makes international connections from Loop Head

A group of amateur ham radio operators from Limerick, Clare, Kerry and Tipperary successfully managed to make contact from Loop Head Lighthouse with 350 other radio clubs throughout the world at the weekend.

The Limerick Radio Club broadcast non-stop for 48 hours from the West Clare lighthouse as part of the 16th International Lighthouse /Lightship Weekend (ILLW).

During the broadcast, visitors to the lighthouse were able to listen into communications with some of the other participating ham radio operators broadcasting from other lighthouses and lightships in 63 countries.

The club said it successfully made contact with lighthouses/lightships as far away as Brazil, Australia, Tonga, French Guiana, Asiatic Russia, Ecuador, The Azores and the US. Virgin Islands. The majority of all radio contacts were made with operators in the United States (200), Germany (155) and Italy (76). 61% of overall communication was conducted via radio with the remaining 39% being conducted via Morse Code.

Simon Kenny of the Limerick Radio Club commented: “The weekend was hugely successful from the perspective of raising the profile of Loop Head Lighthouse amongst radio operators from all over the world. We are delighted with the huge number of successful contacts made and look forward to developing our newly established relationships with other radio clubs in the coming months.”

He added: “The attempt to bridge the Atlantic on 144MHz was unsuccessful. However, we consolidated and forged new friendships with our twinned club in South Jersey. They also responded to our attempt to communicate with them, while using the moon as a reflector. The conditions were not favourable for such an attempt but we learned a lot. It's the first time that the Limerick Radio Club has made such attempts and hopefully the next time will be successful - from Loop Head.”

Clare County Council, along and the Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL), has facilitated the broadcast from Loop Head Lighthouse by the Limerick Radio Club. The Club has also received approval from the Communications Regulator.

Gerard Dollard, Director of Services, Clare County Council described the International Lighthouse /Lightship Weekend as a “wonderful way to connect and promote the shared maritime heritage of countries throughout the world”.

“We are delighted to have been able to lend our support to this initiative. In 2012, the Limerick Radio Club helped to further raise the profile of Loop Head Lighthouse through its conversations over the airwaves with fellow ham radio operators internationally. We wish the members of Limerick Radio Club the very best of luck over the weekend,” added Mr. Dollard.

Further information on the annual International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend (ILLW) is available from Visit or www.clare.iefor more information on Loop Head Lighthouse and the Loop Head Peninsula.