Public is welcome to participate in HAM Radio event

The Summerside club will be conducting lighthouse activations at six locations this Saturday and Sunday.

“They’re part of our history, when they used to be manned,” said Summerside club president Douglas Silliker, vy2ds, of the role lighthouses once played in communication.

“It’s basically, a historical thing.”

Although lighthouses are no longer manned and Silliker knows of only one lighthouse on P.E.I. that has a radio tower on it, he said lighthouses and HAM Radio enthusiasts still enjoy a special connection. That connection includes HAM Radio contests where enthusiasts can earn awards based on the number of lighthouses from around the world that they work.

“It happens at lighthouses all throughout the year,” he said, noting an international event was held just two weekends ago. There’s also a big event every year during Christmas week when enthusiasts try to work as many lighthouses as they can.

Lighthouse activation is not as complicated as one might think.

In this case, the Summerside Amateur Radio Club will pull a motorhome up alongside a lighthouse and switch on its HAM radio set.

There are six time slots when the activity will be held this weekend. On Saturday, September 3 the motorhome and portable radio will be set up on the Summerside Wharf, near Sharkey’s Restaurant from 9 a.m. until noon (4 to 7 utc), activating lighthouse Canada 488 on the wharf and Lighthouse Canada 485 on the breakwater.

Motorhome and activation then moves to Lighthouse Canada 486 and 487 at Community Connections from 1 to 4 p.m. and Lighthouse Canada 453 at Sea Cow Head from 5 to 8 p.m.

The same time slots will apply on Sunday with activation taking place at Lighthouse Canada 51 to 54 at the Confederation Bridge’s fabrication yard Sunday morning, at Lighthouse Canada 711 at Cape Tryon in the afternoon and Lighthouse Canada 341 in New London in the evening.

Silliker said the activation times are all posted by the Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society. “Everyone around the world will know by checking that website that those lighthouses will be on the air at a certain point of time,” Silliker noted.

“Anyone is more than welcome to show up and talk on the airwaves and learn, of course, some about amateur radio,” Silliker said. Several club members will be helping out with the activity.