ILLW 2021 from Doubling Point Lighthouse

Steve AA1HF operates 20m SSB

On Saturday, August 21st, the WSSM team activated Doubling Point Lighthouse, in Arrowsic, Maine, for 2021 International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW).

Since the lighthouse is accessed by a single lane dirt road, and can only accommodate about 4 vehicles, the Arrowsic Town Hall was chosen as a meeting place, where participants could park and carpool to the lighthouse. Everyone arrived by 10:00 AM, and soon after, Tim Watson KB1HNZ led the group to the nearby lighthouse, where setup of the stations and antennas began.

Jason W1SFS operates 40m SSB

Club members, including Jason Andrews W1SFS, Dylan Bauer KC1PSD, Steve McGrath AA1HF, Tim Watson KB1HNZ, and Stefania Watson K1GJY, took turns operating HF, on 40m, 17m, and 20m throughout the day using Tim’s Yaesu FT857d, Jason’s Yaesu FT-450, and Steve’s Icom IC-705, along with a variety of antennas, including a BuddiPole rotatable dipole, DX Commander vertical, and a portable loop. All stations ran on battery power.

Stefania K1GJY operates 20m SSB

For 2021, the WSSM team used special event call sign, W1D, for ILLW, and it certainly got some attention on the air!

The band conditions were excellent and the contacts came quick and often. Stefania K1GJY maintained a presence on 20 meters for most of the day, while Jason W1SFS, Steve AA1HF, and Dylan KC1PDS, operated 40 meters with equal success. Later in the afternoon, Dylan and Stefania tried different bands with the Icom IC-705 and loop antenna, and Stefania had a QSO with fellow WSSM member Frank KR5N, in Plano, TX, on 17 meters! Jason worked Rick K1OT, who was mobile, on 40 meters SSB, and Stefania also made several DX contacts on 20 meters SSB, the most notable being a lighthouse in the Azores. The team made over 100 contacts by the time the stations were broken down at 3:30 in the afternoon.

Dylan KC1PDS works 17m SSB

Afterwards, Dylan and his dad, Steve and his wife, Marilyn, and Tim, Stefania, and son, Elliot, all met at the Kennebec Tavern, in nearby Bath, for a nice dinner, before heading back to Southern Maine.

Click here to see pictures of this year’s and previous lighthouse activations.

ILLW Activation of Doubling Point Lighthouse, August 21st!

Please join us Saturday, August 21st, as we venture to Doubling Point Lighthouse, in Arrowsic, ME, to activate it for International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend (ILLW).

Similar to our recent POTA activation, we’ll setup portable battery-powered HF radios, using free-standing antennas. Since this will be the first ILLW activation from Doubling Point, it does not yet have an ILLW designator assigned, but it will very soon.

Doubling Point Light was built in 1898 on Arrowsic Island on the Kennebec River in Maine. It was one of four lighthouses built that year to provide navigational aid for ships on their way to Bath, “the City of Ships.”

ILLW began in 1998 as the Scottish Northern Lights Award, organized by the Ayr Amateur Radio Group. Usually taking place on the 3rd full weekend in August each year, ILLW attracts over 500 lighthouse entries located in over 40 countries. It is one of the most popular international amateur radio events each year.

Doubling Point only has parking for 4 vehicles, so car-pooling is necessary!

For more information about Doubling Point Lighthouse, and for directions, please click here to visit their website.

A donation to the Friends of Doubling Point Lighthouse is recommended.

ILLW SCHEDULE:

10:00 AM – We’ll meet up at the Arrowsic Town Hall, located at 340 Arrowsic Rd., Arrowsic, ME, where some of us can leave their vehicles, and then drive to the lighthouse.

10:30 – 11:00 AM – Setup HF stations and antennas. We’ll be using special event call sign W1D for the event.

11:10 AM – 3:30 PM – On-air activities.

3:45 PM – Breakdown stations.

Talk-in on 146.580 FM Simplex.

See you there!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

ILLW from Owls Head Light, ME

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Join us this Sunday, August 23rd, from 10am-4pm, as the WS1SM team activates Owls Head Light for International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW).

The international event, which sees over 500 light houses and lightships activated in over 40 countries, helps promote the preservation of lighthouses and lightships, and at the same time, gives the community an opportunity to experience Amateur Radio.

The Wireless Society of Southern Maine has participated in ILLW since 2011, activating several lighthouses along the Maine coast and Canada. Past activations have included Pemaquid Point Light, Portland Head Light, West Quoddy Head Light, Cape Neddick “Nubble” Light, Spring Point Light, and Rockland Breakwater Light, among others.

The event also qualifies as a Parks on the Air activation, since the lighthouse is located within Owls Head State Park. The POTA number is: K-2399

We plan on operating mostly HF, on 40m, 17m, and 20m throughout the day. For the latest frequencies during the activation, look for WS1SM on DX Summit.

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

Meeting On-the-Air – This Thursday!

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Meeting On-the-Air Reminder:

7:00 – 8:00pm on the 147.090 (+ / 100.0 Hz) W1QUI repeater

Join us this Thursday evening, from 7:00PM – 8:00PM on the 147.090 repeater, for our monthly meeting on-the-air.

On the agenda, we’ll be asking if net participants have ever operated HF portable, and if so, what was their most memorable experience, and why.

We’ll also discuss plans to activate Owls Head Lighthouse this Sunday for International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend (ILLW).

See you there!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

2019 ILLW at Rockland Breakwater Light

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Eric Emery KC1HJK attaches a mast to a railing to mount the 40m SOTA Beams dipole

On Saturday, August 17th, the WS1SM team activated Rockland Breakwater Light, in Rockland Harbor, ME, for International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend (ILLW). Club members operated from 10am-5pm, using call sign WS1SM.

2019 marked the ninth year that WSSM has participated in ILLW, which sees over 500 light houses and lightships activated in over 40 countries. The international event helps promote the preservation of lighthouses and lightships, and at the same time gives the community an opportunity to experience Amateur Radio first hand.

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Tim KB1HNZ, Pete KC1DFO, and Brad KC1JMH about to take on the breakwater

The morning started out with breakfast at Moody’s Diner, in Waldoboro, before the team met up at the parking lot for the lighthouse. Ahead of them was task of carrying the radio equipment across the 7/8-mile long breakwater. This wasn’t easy, as one of the heavisest items, a marine battery, had to be brought out in a cart that wasn’t well suited to the rough surface of the rocks that made up the breakwater. It required two to three people at any given time to help it along. Once at the lighthouse, however, the setting was a beautiful place to spend the day on the radio.

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L-R: CJ W1CJC, Tim KB1HNZ, and Pete KC1DFO setting up antennas

The WS1SM team operated 2 stations full time from the front porch of the lighthouse, which overlooks the breakwater, including a Yaesu FT-857d with a 40m dipole, and an Icom IC-706 MKIIG connected to a BuddiPole (for 6-20m) antenna. Both stations operated on battery power, with solar assistance. 40 meter conditions were excellent and contacts were plenty there. Band conditions were a little more difficult on 20 meters, but it improved later in the day to even include a few DX contacts.

Particpants included Eric Emery KC1HJK, CJ Carlsson W1CJC, Tim Watson KB1HNZ, Brad Brown, Jr. KC1JMH, and Peter Warren KC1DFO.

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Tim KB1HNZ operates 40 meters

“This year’s ILLW has been a lot of fun,” said Tim Watson KB1HNZ. “It was fun working all the other lighthouses on the bands and also demonstrating ham radio to the public. We even met some other hams in person, who stopped by to say hi.”

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Lifting the cart over the cracks in the breakwater on the way back

Brad Brown KC1JMH said afterwards, “We’d really like to thank the folks from Massachusetts who helped us carry the cart back,” referring to a gentleman and his two grandsons who saw Brad, Tim, CJ, and Pete struggling with it and helped carry it to the mainland. “The extra help meant a lot at the end of a long day.” Earlier, Eric KC1HJK, brought the battery back on his kayak, so it was a little easier than it could’ve been.

Click here to see more photos from this and previous lighthouse events.