Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend web page

Lighthouses of Australia

Margaret River Tourism

Southwest Capes Lighthouses and International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW)

ILLW started out in Scotland in 1993. Significantly, it is not a contest, there are no prizes or certificates. It is a social weekend with aim of contacting other lighthouses around the world.

Kevin, VK2CE's runs the official website for the event. The site is full of information and history. In 2022 there will be 350 lighthouses around the world registered for the event. What started out as a pleasant weekend activity at the end of summer in the Northern Hemisphere can be a very different story here in Australia with wintery weather; rain, hail and high winds a feature of the Southwest Capes in August.

Activation of the Capes for us started back in 2007. After several successful IOTA activations in Western Australia, I suggested to Wally VK6YS (SK) that we do the Capes lighthouses, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste as an easy portable activation not involving landings on remote islands, stranding, helivacs and other adventurous activities that were a feature of some of the IOTA's we had been involved in.

The first activation was in 2007, a very low key affair with Wally and Bruce VK6CX at Cape Leeuwin and myself, Nigel VK6NI, at Cape Naturaliste ably assisted by XYL Jane, VK6FJPD. Each year we have returned to the lighthouses equipped with antennas that got bigger, better and more robust as our ambitions grew and the weather got the better of us. Over the years many operators have contributed to the weekend. Anthony, VK6AXB took over the running of Leeuwin as Wally's health deteriorated and Michael VK6TU joined us at Cape Naturaliste. There is now a very loose association called the Capes Lighthouse Group that keeps the activation going each year. Special callsigns are used for the event, VK6CNL for Cape Naturaliste and VK6CLL for Cape Leeuwin.

What initially started out as a weekend away to play radios in a remote location has turned into a significant publicity exercise with hundreds of people passing by the operating locations as both lighthouses are open to the public for tours and site seeing. The local Margaret River Tourist Association welcomes us back each year, happy to have the radio operators marking ILLW and as an added attraction.

From an amateur radio perspective, it's a great weekend to hone portable working skills and meet lots of people who might be interested in the hobby. The weekend is not a contest, the intent is just to hook up with other lighthouses around Australia and the world and have a chat. 20 and 40metres are the main bands used. Any amateur is welcome to join us at the lighthouses. The event is held each year on the third weekend of August or if you can't make contact us on the air or by email.

VK6CNL at Cape Naturaliste