Successful ILLW weekend

Amateur Radio Victoria VK3WI again took part in the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend at the Timeball Tower in Williamstown. The main operator was Tony Hambling VK3VTH, who not only organised the Park Victoria permit but brought the needed equipment.

This portable operator used his trusty gear of an Elecraft K3 transceiver running 100 watts, into a squid pole-elevated inverted-L antenna. Starting on Saturday concentration was on 40 metres. On that band he caught up with an old friend Paul Simmonds VK5PAS, who was commemorating with the callsign VI5ANZAC.

VK3WI then switched to 20 metres in the afternoon when the DX began appearing. On the microphone for a few contacts was Jim Linton VK3PC working stations in Europe. Tony then took over working more Europeans, including the special callsign YO150ITU used to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Telecommunications Union.

Despite a local noise floor that masked others, the two days yielded 142 contacts. There were 102 with lighthouses, including the Upper Hutt Branch of the New Zealand Association of Radio Transmitters, ZL2LHW at Karori Rock Lighthouse.

During the event VK3WI gave out 40 exchanges in the Remembrance Day Contest. Tony could also not resist making two contacts with VK5 WWFF Parks, and a National Park in VK3.

Sunday saw Tony supported by Barry Robinson VK3PV, but despite the pleasant weather sunny weather, band conditions were worse, with a pulsing noise on 20 metres hitting S9 at times. Some six radio amateurs popped in to say hello. Surprisingly both days had a total of 25 groups from the general public who were curious about the activity.

Each were greeted with an explanation of Amateur Radio, ILLW and the purpose of the Timeball Tower that aided mariners in Hobsons Bay. Well displayed was promotional material including copies of Amateur Radio magazine and Calling CQ brochures. One young fellow made the trip to learn more about Amateur Radio with the aim of training for a Foundation Licence.

The operation went QRT at about 5pm on the Sunday, due to the persistent noise floor. Each contact will receive a special QSL card which features the bluestone structure housing the timeball.

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