Ham radio enthusiasts will convene at Loop Head Lighthouse in County Clare this coming weekend to connect with fellow enthusiasts based at hundreds of lighthouses and lightships around the world.
The Limerick Radio Club, comprising members from Limerick, Clare, Offaly and Tipperary, will broadcast non-stop for 48 hours from the West Clare Lighthouse on 19-21 August as part of the 19th International Lighthouse / Lightship Weekend (ILLW).
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 the Communications Regulator.
During the broadcast, visitors to the lighthouse will be able to listen into communications with some of the other participating ham radio operators broadcasting from 400 other lighthouses and lightships in 50 countries.
Last year, Limerick Radio Club members based at Loop Head Lighthouse successfully connected with fellow enthusiasts as far away as Hawaii and Australia.
The annual event, which is sponsored by the Ayr Amateur Radio Group (AARG) in Scotland, is always held on the third full weekend in August starting at 0001 UTC on Saturday and finishing at 2359 UTC on Sunday. It also coincides on the Sunday with International Lighthouse Day, an event organised by the Association of Lighthouse Keepers whereby many world lighthouses are open to the public for the day.
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.