The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum will join 406 lighthouses from 85 different countries for International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW) Aug. 14-16 with support from members of the St. Augustine Amateur Radio Society (SAARS).
â€œWe always enjoy participating in this worldwide event,â€ said Executive Director Kathy A. Fleming. â€œIt brings together so many groups of people who are passionate about the history and care of our historic lighthouses. We appreciate all the volunteers from the St. Augustine Amateur Radio Society who help us connect with the world and share the story of our Lighthouse.â€
This annual event began in 1998 as a way for lighthouses, lightships and maritime beacons to connect with each other via amateur radio and advocate for the preservation of these historic structures. Major amateur radio organizations such as the Radio Society of Great Britain, the Amateur Radio League of America and the Wireless Institute of Australia support and promote this event.
Herman Green, Secretary of SAARS and a St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum volunteer docent, said, â€œI think we are all excited about this. The St. Augustine Lighthouse is one of the most unique lighthouses in the world.â€
Twenty members of SAARS, who call themselves â€œhams,â€ will assist in this event. The weekend festivities will begin at 4p.m. on Friday and run continuously until 8p.m. on Sunday. Most members of SAARS will rotate shifts through the entire 48 hours, but a few, including Green, plan to stay through the entire event.
A tent will be set up in front of the Lighthouse to serve as ILLW headquarters. During regular visiting hours, from 9a.m. to 7p.m., Lighthouse guests are welcome to visit the tent to listen and watch as SAARS communicates with other participants around the globe.
Among the 406 lighthouses participating this year, other notable names from the U.S. include the Cape Hatteras and Pensacola Lighthouses. In all, Green anticipates that the St. Augustine Lighthouse will probably come in contact with about 150 other beacons within the 48-hour event.