MREN Activation of Blacksod Lighthouse
Blacksod Lighthouse number is, IE0008, WAI F61, Loc IO44XC
Blacksod Lighthouse 17/18th August 2019
After a two year break the club decided to activate the lighthouse again. The band conditions have been very poor all year so was marginal whether it was worth going. Friday evening the decision was made “go”. As this weekend is not a contest but lighthouse activity casual contacts were the order of the day. Any contact is a good contact.
The caravan was dragged out of its resting place and EI2GCB, EI9JA,EI9JS set off for the Mullet peninsular. The WX started very well bright sunshine, when I left my house and traveled towards Castlebar black clouds loomed and the wind increased.
When we arrived at the lighthouse the pier was very busy with cars and holiday makers. After some negotiation we manged to park the caravan in its usual location. Then assembly of the station started by this time the wind had pick up substantially and a decision had to made over which antennas would be used. The sea was very rough so the vertical antenna attached to the railings of the lighthouse was abandoned, as when the tide came in the antenna would get smashed to pieces The clubs trusty doublet was the only option which was attached to the lighthouse. Fitting the antenna at the top was challenging but went smoothly.
When unpacking the caravan we realized some kind individual have been in it and removed the power hookup wire along with plates cutlery and any other loose items. After some scratching of heads an alternative method was used. The next problem was the realisation the power lead for one of the ic7300’s was missing, with that and no vertical antenna this ruled out having two stations running. The doublet was connected to Ic7300, balance atu and computer, EI0M was up and running.
Band conditions and the weather were challenging far too windy for barbecue and not much activity on radio. 20 meters seem the most usable so Jimmy EI2GCB and Dominic EI9JS took turns operating. Padraic EI9JA went off into the back of his van and found some fittings to get more of the electrics of the caravan working. We would need lights later. Small pileups came and went as stations were keen to work the lighthouse. As usual there was a lot of interest by visitor to lighthouse about the activity.
When the tide came in waves were crashing over the railings where the vertical would have been placed along with this it brought some heavy squally showers, the decision not to use the vertical seem to be a good one. For the rest of the evening we carried on operating on 20m, 40m and 80m with a steady stream of contacts. During the night the weather was quiet rough and it was challenging to stay in the caravan at times.
As is normal on the Mullet peninsular the next morning was completely different it was bright and sunny.
The cooker and barbecue were fired up and breakfast was made and eaten. The day turned out to be very nice and a steady stream of contacts made, a number of other lighthouses went into the log, some good conversation between the stations conducted. The bands started to go quiet in the early afternoon so the decision was to start packing up and have something to eat. Following this we headed home.
A great time was had by all that attended and again thanks to Vincent Sweeney who made us welcome at the lighthouse.