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Friday, August 25, 2017

I worked the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend, eh?

About a month ago, I added the Elmira (ON) Radio Club (ERC) to the list of clubs that get my monthly newsletter. Shortly after, they sent me a copy of the July 2017 newsletter, which included the ad at right for the ERC Lighthouse Weekend, which is part of the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend. This is the third or fourth year that the ERC has hosted this event at the Point Clark lighthouse, on the eastern shore of Lake Huron.

Well, as soon as I read this, I got excited about the event. I live in Ann Arbor, MI, and I love Lake Huron. Last year, my wife and I spent some time on the lake in Michigan’s “thumb,” and I’ve been really wanting to see what it’s like on the other side of the lake. I’ve worked several VE3s who live on the eastern shore, and they all encouraged me to visit.

My wife and I headed out early Saturday morning. Google said it was only going to take 3-1/2 hours to drive there, but it took us almost four. This was the result of the time it took us to get over the Blue Water Bridge into Canada, plus the traffic delays driving up the coast.

There really was no rush, though. The skies were overcast, and the temperature hadn’t yet hit 70°F. On top of that, there was a very strong wind coming off the lake, making it feel even chillier. At least it wasn’t raining.

The very warm welcome we received more than made up for the cool weather. We were introduced to everyone, and they couldn’t have made us feel more welcome. They made me feel like a real celebrity—apparently, I’m the first “DX” operator to show up at this event.

After lunch—some great hamburgers grilled by Al, VE3TET—we hung out for the next three hours, chewing the fat and enjoying the lake. It was too cold for me, but some of the other lighthouse visitors braved the chilly water.

The beach at Point Clark, ON.

Then, we decided that we’d better check in to our hotel in Kincardine and check out the town before dinner. Around that time, the weather decided to cooperate. The sun came out, but the wind kept it cool. All in all, it was very pleasant. We had a very nice walk down the beach to the marina, where there was some kind of fair going on. We learned that there was also going to be fireworks that night.

Al had made reservations at the Erie Belle in Kincardine for 7pm, and we met many of the crew there. There were 13 of us in all, crowded around some tables on the patio, which proved to be the perfect setting. The food was pretty good, and the company even better. Silvia and I were almost the last to leave, as we were waiting for the fireworks to start, just a few blocks away.

I had found a great parking spot almost right on the beach. We grabbed our folding chairs and set them up in a spot that gave us a great view of the show. It was a great way to end the evening.

Sunday morning, we stopped by the lighthouse again on the way home. On Sunday, the weather was just perfect. Everyone was in their shorts and t-shirts.

We got there just before 10am, just as the club had finished setting up. They had three stations set up in all—two phone stations, including one in a trailer, and one digital station.

Yours truly logging a contact for VE3ERC on Sunday morning. From L to R: Al, VE3TET; Dan, KB6NU; Paul, VA3PDC.

When I mentioned that I had forgotten to bring my paddle so that I could make some CW contacts for them, Paul, VA3PDC, pulled out a small, portable paddle that he connected to his Elecraft K2. For the next hour or so, I made about ten contacts. It was the first time that I’ve used anything other than a U.S. callsign. What a fun way to end the weekend! I owe Paul a beer for letting me monopolize his rig for that hour or so.

Just before noon, we said our goodbyes. They all made me promise to come back next year, and I’ve already penciled it in on my calendar. Next year’s ILLW is August 18-19, 2018.


The post I worked the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend, eh? appeared first on KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog.

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