Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Ham Radio Users Light Up the Airwaves at Loop Head

11th August 2014
Ham Radio Users Light Up the Airwaves at Loop Head

#loophead – A group of amateur ham radio operators will wind back the clock at Loop Head Lighthouse this weekend when they attempt to communicate via radio and Morse code with hundreds of radio clubs throughout the world.

The Limerick Radio Club, which features members from Clare, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary, will broadcast non-stop for 48 hours from the West Clare lighthouse as part of the 17th International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend (ILLW).

During the broadcast from midnight on Friday to midnight on Sunday, visitors to the popular tourism landmark will be able to listen into communications with some of the other participating ham radio operators broadcasting from 400 other lighthouses and lightships in 65 countries.

Last year, the Limerick Radio Club successfully made contact with lighthouses and 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.

The group also attempted to communicate with its twinned club in South Jersey using Earth-Moon-Earth communication, also known as "moon bounce". First developed by the US Military after World War Two, the radio communications technique involves radio waves travelling from one transmitter to another using the Moon as a reflector.

Clare County Council, along and the Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL), is facilitating the broadcast from Loop Head Lighthouse while the Limerick Radio Club has also received approval from Ireland's Communications Regulator, Comreg.

"Thanks to Clare County Council and the CIL we will once again be basing ourselves on the edge of the Loop Head Peninsula at the lighthouse in an effort to open long distance communications with regions in Asia, North and South America, Australia, New Zealand and throughout Europe," explained Simon Kenny of the Limerick Radio Club:

Mr. Kenny said Loop Head Lighthouse is particularly suitable for long distance radio and Morse code communications attempts due to its isolated location on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and the lack of radio interference in the general area

He added: "A special QSL Card (confirmation of communication) has been designed to mark the event. The club will operate two stations, one of which will be at the entrance to the Lighthouse so members of the public can listen to some of the transmissions."

Loop Head Lighthouse, located at the mouth of the Shannon Estuary, is steeped in history and rich in maritime heritage with its origins dating back to the 1670s. The existing tower style lighthouse was constructed in 1854 and was operated and maintained by a keeper who lived within the lighthouse compound. In January 1991, the lighthouse was converted to automatic operation, and today is in the care of an attendant and is also monitored by the CIL.

The 19th century lighthouse was opened for a fourth successive season in late April and will remain open to the public each day from 10am until 6.00pm until the end of September. More than 8,000 people, 43% of whom came from abroad, visited the lighthouse during May, June and July.

"We are delighted to be able to facilitate members of the Limerick Radio Club, who have helped to further raise the profile of Loop Head Lighthouse through their conversations over the airwaves with fellow ham radio operators internationally," commented Gerard Dollard, Director of Services, Clare County Council.

He added: "The International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend is a wonderful mechanism for connecting and promoting the shared maritime heritage of countries throughout the world. We wish the members of Limerick Radio Club the very best of luck over the coming weekend."

Further information on the annual International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend (ILLW) is available from www.limerickradioclub.ie and www.illw.net. Visit www.loophead.ie or www.clare.ie for more information on Loop Head Lighthouse and the Loop Head Peninsula.

Published in Lighthouses
Afloat.ie Team

About The Author

Afloat.ie Team

Email The Author

Afloat.ie is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Irish Lighthouses

Irish Lights is a maritime organisation delivering essential 24/7 safety and navigation services around the coast of Ireland 365 days. Its focus is reliable and cost-effective services which protect people, property and the marine environment, and support marine industry and coastal communities.

Irish Lights is responsible for providing marine aids to navigation under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention. This remit includes: providing and maintaining over 300 general aids to navigation, managing about 4,000 local aids to navigation and marking or removing dangerous wrecks outside harbour areas around Ireland. Irish Lights also provides contract commercial services for ship charter, buoy and marine data services and supports tourism and heritage activities.

Emergency Response: If you notice any aid to navigation is not functioning correctly please contact our 24-hour emergency number 01 280 1996

Great Lighthouses of Ireland

St John's Point, Co Donegal 
Fanad Head, Co Donegal
Rathlin West Light, Co Antrim
Blackhead, Co Antrim
St John’s Point, Co Down
Wicklow Head, Co Wicklow
The Great Light and Titanic Walkway, Belfast
Hook, Co Wexford
Ballycotton, Co Cork
Galley Head, Co Cork
Valentia Island, Co Kerry
Loop Head, Co Clare
Clare Island, Co Mayo
Fastnet Rock Boat Tours

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2022

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating