I was looking forward to the ILLW weekend this year. Last year, fresh off calling my first SOTA activator, I was keen to keep calling, and ILLW stations added a nice novelty. I had quite a few contacts. This year, I decided to chase with a bit more intent, even though the Saturday was lost to tennis finals (we lost), leaving the Sunday as my main chasing day.
In addition, I was hoping to catch either the Point Hicks lighthouse or the Cape Schanck Lighthouse, as they were located in national parks. I only needed one more NP to reach the 25 NP chasing level for the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award.
As it turned out, the Remembrance Day contest seemed to keep a lot of the lighthouse stations off air until the Sunday, so I didn’t miss much, although I never heard either Point Hicks or Cape Schanck (activated on the Saturday).
On the Saturday, I did managed to bag a few long distance lighthouses, Cape Capricorn (AU-0059) in VK4, and Warden Head (AU-0035) in VK2, despite contest QRM.
Sunday I worked Tony VK3VTH/7 early on King Island (Cubby Lighthouse AU-0016), before working the two close lighthouses, Otway Lightstation (AU-0011) and Queenscliff (AU-0051). Joe VK3YSP at Queenscliff was a very strong signal, and we had a good chat with Peter VK3YE as well, pedestrian mobile across the bay on the beach.
After lunch and the contest finished, I worked the Upper Lady Bay lighthouse (AU-0049) and the Williamstown Time Ball Tower (AU-0036). At this point, the Tasmanians came into their own, with Scott VK7NWT, running a lighthouse net on 7100.
I worked Scott first at Rocky Cape lighthouse (AU-0066), and then VK3BEZ at Citadel Island lighthouse (AU-0110) at the Port Albert Maritime Museum (it’s located in the museum grounds, not its original location). Finally, Kevin VK7HKN at Freycinet Island lighthouse (AU-0119), both of us QRP. I added the Table Cape Lighthouse (AU-0039) and Devonport Maritime Museum (AU-0040) to round out the VK7 contingent.
I also worked VK5CJ at Cape Jarvis lighthouse (AU-0094), one of the first lighthouses I worked last year. Andrew dug the contact out of his log as we chatted. I had heard Andrew VK1NAM calling repeatedly, but Andrew was struggling to hear him and largely just calling in the last person, so I let David know there was a VK1 low down, also called Andrew, and I listened to them complete another Andrew-to-Andrew contact.
All up, 13 lighthouses contacted across the weekend, but neither of the two I was hoping for. This proves my adage that if you go out hunting for a particular call, it’ll never happen 😉