Ham radio operators tune into Loop Head Lighthouse

Ham radio operators tune into Loop Head Lighthouse


Ham radio enthusiasts will convene at Loop Head Lighthouse in County Clare this coming weekend to connect with fellow operators based at hundreds of lighthouses and lightships around the world.

For the eighth year running, Limerick Radio Club members from Limerick, Clare, Kerry and Tipperary will broadcast non-stop for 48 hours from the West Clare Lighthouse on 18-19 August as part of the 21st International Lighthouse / Lightship Weekend (ILLW).

Clare County Council, along with 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 (ComReg).

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 373 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.

Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017

The annual event, which is sponsored of the Ayr Amateur Radio Group (AARG) in Scotland, is held on the third full weekend in August starting at 0001 UTC on Saturday and finishing at 2359 UTC on Sunday.

Loop Head Lighthouse is located at the mouth of the Shannon Estuary on the Loop Head Peninsula, which is one of two “Signature Discovery Points” in County Clare along the route of the Wild Atlantic Way. It also is a landmark location on the Loop Head Heritage Trail and is one of 12 Great Lighthouses of Ireland.  The popular tourist attraction is steeped in history and is 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 monitored by the CIL.

Loop Head Lighthouse will remain open daily (10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.) until 4 November.  Admission to the lighthouse, which includes the exhibition and guided tour of the site, is Adults (€5), Children (€2) and Family Passes for up to 2 adults + 3 children (€12).

Further information on the 21st annual International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend (ILLW) is available from www.illw.net. Visit www.loophead.ie or www.clare.ie for more information on Loop Head Lighthouse and the Loop Head Peninsula.

Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.