From the Upper Peninsula of Michigan along the southern shore of Lake Superior ~ Station  K 8 L O D

   
International Lighthouse Weekend Special Event Station
 
"W8L"

 
W8L QSL Card
QSL to K8PT.
 
Our first event was August 2000.
 

MQT Harbor, MI
US0027 (ARLHS USA 477)
46°32' 47.55N - 87°22' 34.55W

MQT Harbor Breakwall, MI
US0026 (ARLHS USA 476)
46°32' 01.04N - 87°22' 29.91W

Presque Isle Harbor Breakwall, MI
US0070 (ARLHS USA 1111)
46°34' 26.73N - 87°22' 28.66W

Lighthouse, looking southeast at lighthouse A little history about the Marquette Lighthouse - Throughout the early years the present lighthouse had saw some reconstruction but, the present light structure has been here since 1866.  The first lighthouse was built only thirteen years prior in 1853 but was in such bad shape that repairs and modifications were needed.  The light tower is constructed of brick being over 9 feet square and 38 feet in height, with the walls being 13 inches thick at the base.  The focal point of the light is 70 feet above the water level.
 
 
The Hiawatha Amateur Radio Association of Marquette County will be operating from the Marquette Lighthouse which is located on the southern shore of Lake Superior.  Look for W8L on the bands, both phone and cw.  An attempt will be made to man the station around the clock if conditions are favorable.
 
 
 
 
 
Some of the operating crew from the lighthouse operation
Some of the crew that operated at the special event
 
Jon, KC8EEE
 
Pete, K8PT the op instrumental in getting this special event on the air
 
To receive a QSL card please send your QSL card with a SASE (USA) or if outside the USA send via BURO to QSL Manager, K8PT or send a self addressed envelope with one (1) International Reply Coupon (IRC) or 1 green stamp to:
Pete Treml, K8PT
725 W. Magnetic St.
Marquette, MI 49855
 
Lighthouse looking to the west
Our vertical to the right of light tower and tribander in the foreground
Two dipoles also run from the top of the light tower but not visable in the photo
 
Pete, K8PT inspecting antenna
Pete, K8PT inspecting one of the antennas prior to getting underway with the 2001 event
 
(Lighthouse Groups)
    The International Lighthouse/ Lightship Weekend - Official Site
and
    The Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society
 

WORLDRADIO May 2001 article about W8L's 2000 lighthouse event.
By B. Peter Treml, K8PT & Bruce Anderson, KG8YT
 
     In March of 2000 I completed my first Dxpedition
(MJ/K8PT). It was a wonderful experience and I wanted 
all the members of the Hiawatha Amateur Radio Association 
(my local club) to experience the rush of a different culture, 
exotic operating site, and working pileups. I wanted an 
experience that would hone our operating skills and excite
the newer members and encourage them in HF and CW. 
How could we  accomplish this goal, though, without the 
expense and effort of launching our own Dxpedition?

     Our answer: International Lighthouse Weekend. As residents 
living  in the Upper Peninsula of  Michigan (we're referred to as 
 Yoopers) we are privileged to live on the shoreline of Lake 
Superior, the largest, deepest, cleanest and coldest of all the Great 
Lakes. It also has several lighthouses within driving distance.

     I had run across the website of the Amateur Radio Lighthouse 
Society (http://www.waterw.com/~weidner/arls.htm) and found out 
that the 2000 International Lighthouse weekend would be August 
18th and 19th. It was not a contest but a time to honor the tradition 
of lighthouses, publicize the role they and the Coast Guard play in 
promoting safety at sea, and promote interest in ham radio and the 
preservation in navigational aides. Last year's (1999) 
International Lighthouse/Lightship weekend had included over 218 
lighthouses in 39 countries from around the world, and many more 
on-the-air participants. In the year 2000 they were hoping to activate 
400 lighthouses and lightships. Why couldn't we be one of them?

     After talking with several club members who seemed enthusiastic 
about the idea, I then wrote a letter to the local Coast Guard 
commander explaining the concept and requesting permission to 
occupy the lighthouse and operate for the weekend. Two weeks later 
I got an enthusiastic "yes." We were in business.
 
     A week before the event, several club members and I took a site 
survey and tour of the lighthouse. The site was a ham's dream. 
We were surrounded by a scenic expanse of water on three sides, 
and we had lots of room to put up antennas. We planned our antenna 
placement and operating set-up and made provisions to bring our own 
radio equipment, food, water, tables, and chairs.
 
     All of a sudden the big day was upon us. On that Friday afternoon 
a small crew of us gathered at the lighthouse to set up the antennas and 
install the radios. We put up a 3 element beam at 15 feet (about 35 
above the water) and an R-5 vertical at the top of the light. We also 
strung out a G5RV and a 135-foot dipole fed with ladder line. Since 
the club owns two Kenwood TS-570's, we set one up for CW and the 
other for SSB. We were ready.

      At the designated start time we had six club members on hand, 
who started operating at 4:00 P.M., the designated starting time, and 
we continued through the night. We worked some contacts at a rapid 
rate, and for others we answered questions about the lighthouse, our 
club, and the area. Simply making the maximum number of contacts was 
not the goal. As dawn rose we got some beautiful photographic shots of 
the sunrise and of the lighthouse. Since we wanted an attractive picture 
of the lighthouse for the front of our special "W8L" QSL card, cameras 
were clicking rapidly for the honor of getting the BEST shot. We 
continued operating throughout the 48 hours, during which we had about 
thirty club members participate. Three operators new to H.F. really got 
hooked, and we almost had to wrench the mics out of their hands for the 
next shift. All told, we made 1089 contacts. They included 45 states, 
53 countries, and 27 lighthouses/ or lightships. We were elated.
 
     Although the Marquette Lighthouse is a fixture in the local landscape, 
many of the club members had never been in it, even though they had 
lived in the area for years. For them the tour of the building and light were 
an added treat. What more could any ham ask for: good band conditions, 
plentiful DX, and a spectacular vista of sailboats, kayakers, and the 
sparkling  open water of Lake Superior. Ham radio just doesn't get 
any better.

     When the contest was over, twelve members helped to break down. 
We had everything packed up and the lighthouse cleaned and vacuumed 
in forty-two minutes. Since we hoped to be able to come back next year, 
we wanted things looking even better than when we came. After we had 
taken final pictures and extended a final "thank-you" to the Coast Guard, 
the weekend of operating was over. All that was left to deal with now 
was the inevitable deluge of QSL cards to be answered.

     Do you have a lighthouse or lightship in your area? If so, consider 
sharing in the fun of next year's Lighthouse Weekend. This event makes 
a wonderful club activity and a wonderful weekend. It can hone the 
operating skills of your members and ignite the enthusiasm of others for
ham radio. Give it a try. Ahoy!     

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