ILLW Final Countdown
With only a few days to go registrations for the 22nd International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend (ILLW) are nearing the 400 mark.
Germany is leading the field with 57 entries closely followed by the USA with56. Australia is a creditable third with 40 entries which represents about 10% of its total lighthouse numbers.
A new country in the event is the US Virgin Island with Buck Island Lighthouse being registered for the first time. It is a typical example of the main objective of the ILLW which is the preservation of lighthouses.
This lighthouse was built by the Danish government shortly before the islands became a U.S. territory in 1917.
Located at the highest point of Buck Island, about 3 mi (5 km) south of St. Thomas. The island has been a wildlife refuge since 1969. Accessible only by boat. The function of this light as a navigation aid has been taken over by the steel skeletal tower adjacent.
The ILLW is now in its 22 nd year having started in 1993 as the Northern Lights Award run by the Ayr Amateur Radio Group in Scotland. It proved so popular it morphed into the International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend in 1998 with 158 entries in 40 countries. In 2014 it recorded 544 entries in56 countries which for an event that is not a contest, there are no awards or prizes, is quite a remarkable achievement. It has become one of the most popular events in the Amateur Radio calendar.
The usual batch of late entries is expected over the next few days which should put the total around 430. Numbers are not important as long as all those who enter enjoy the weekend and show the public what lighthouses are all about and how they need to be protected.