Three Coffs Harbour Amateur Radio Club members will be operating their radio transmitters from South Solitary Island during the International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend on Saturday & Sunday, August 20th–21st. A large number of lighthouses throughout the world will be manned by similar radio enthusiasts and each will be attempting to contact others during the two day event.
The three club members are…
Russell Wotherspoon VK4NGN
Russell Ashdown, VK2VK
Fred McSkimming VK2FM
Using the ILLW registered callsign VK2FM.
A similar two person group will be operating from the Smoky Cape lighthouse.
VK2AF Frank Humphreys
VK2VF Tony Jones
Using the callsign VK2VF.
The island radio group have been given permission by the NPWS office in Coffs Harbour to access Solitary Island by local helicopter company, Precision Helicopters. The 23 acre South Solitary island is 18km north east from Coffs Harbour and is only accessible by Helicopter, the trip taking about 20 minutes. Solitary Island is one of two island lighthouses off the New South Wales coastline, the other being Montague Island on the south coast.
The South Solitary Lighthouse number for the event is AU-0054 and being an isolated lighthouse there will be a large number of radio operators around the world attempting to contact the group on the island. Their presence on the Island is from Lunchtime Friday August 19th until Lunchtime on Monday the 22nd. We will be operating from the now vacant head-lightkeepers cottage which is adjacent to the lighthouse
Time on the Island is from 12:00 Friday August 19th until 12:00 on Monday the 22nd. Of August and we look forward to making contacts before, during, and after the ILLW hours.
HF frequencies are mainly on the 80m, 40m, 20m bands at different times, using one G5RV antenna.
VHF/FM frequencies on 2m via the Coffs 146.850 mhz repeater then switching to simplex on 146.0 mhz. VHF/USB on 144.1 mhz. Using a 5/8 G/plane antenna mounted on a mobile tripod.
The ILLW operating hours are ..
Local times 10:00 Sat 20th to 10:00 Mon 22nd.
GMT times 00:01 Sat 20th to 23:59 Sun 21st.
I have been to the island 10 times in my working life as a Telstra technician, looking after the radio telephone system with its solar powered battery system. My first trip was in 1968, by the motor launch “Pamels Star”. This 18km trip took well over an hour from the Harbour at Coffs. On arrival at the island we were lifted up 15m in cane basket, by crane, and then swung around onto the steel jetty. A similar operation took place in reverse when leaving the island. This could be quite alarming on a rough day, especially on landing back on the boat on leaving the island. Trips like this were always dependent on sea and wind conditions. This island Jetty has now rusted away and only the basic upright skeleton remains. More recently however, the island is serviced by helicopter and the trip takes about 20 minutes. Very different from years ago.
ILLW reference AU-OO54
The IOTA reference is OC-194
Fred [ freddo ] McSkimming.