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Orleans ham radio operators connect with lighthouses around the world

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 August 2013 at 12:18 pm

Oak Orchard Lighthouse is part of ‘International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend’ for first time

Photos by Tom Rivers – Members of the Orleans County Amateur Radio Club are spending the weekend at the Oak Orchard Lighthouse contacting ham operators at lighthouses from around the world. Pictured, from left with their call letters, include: Terry Cook (K2EYS), Ed Weider (K2EDW) and Bill Hanes (KB2BLS).

POINT BREEZE – It’s one of the top events on amateur radio operators’ calendar each year, and for the first time the International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend includes the Oak Orchard Lighthouse.

Ham radio operators are communicating with each other at about 500 lighthouses in 85 countries around the world this weekend.

By noon today, the Orleans County Amateur Radio Club made 70 connections with radio operators at other lighthouses, including spots as far away as Scotland, Alberta, Portugal and California. They also spoke with operators at the nearby lighthouse in Charlotte near Rochester.

The ham operators will be stationed outside by the Oak Orchard Lighthouse today and Sunday. The Orleans club is led by Terry Cook of Albion. They have about 30 active members.

Joe and Michelle Gangi of Albion talk with amateur radio operators at another lighthouse. The Orleans County Amateur Radio Club made 70 connections with radio operators at other lighthouses by noon today, including ham operators in Scotland, Alberta and Portugal.

Peg Wiley, vice president of the Oak Orchard Lighthouse Museum, welcomed the operators. She is also the emergency preparedness coordinator for the county’s public health department. The ham operators could prove critical to the county in the case of an emergency with the communications system down.

“If the grid and satellite communications went down, we would rely on these guys to communicate with the outside world,” Wiley said.

For more information on the International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend, click here.

Faye Woods is volunteering at the lighthouse today. The site, which opened in 2010, is open for tours to the top.