For some reason or other August seems to have become the international weekend for lighthouses. Countries all over the world have become involved in one for or another of lighthouse activity. Some years ago the United States Congress declared August 7th as their National Lighthouse Day and during that first week in August amateur radio operators in America set up portable stations at lighthouses and endeavour to make contact with each other. This event is known as the US National Lighthouse Week and is organized by the Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society, ARLHS, which was founded in 2000.
The Association of Lighthouse Keepers, ALK, conducts International Lighthouse Heritage Weekend on the 3rd full weekend in August. Their objective is to encourage Lighthouse managers, keepers and ownders to open their lighthouse or lightstation to the public with a view to explaining how these wonderful structures should be preserved for posterity even though most of them are now automatically controlled.
However, the major event which takes place in August is the International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend, ILLW, which came into being in 1998 as the Scottish Northern Lights Award run by the Ayr Amateur Radio Group. The history of this event can be found elsewhere on this site. The ILLW takes place on the 3rd full weekend in August each year and attracts over 500 lighthouse entries located in over 40 countries. It is one of the most popular international amateur radio events in existence probably because there are very few rules and it is not the usual contest type event. It is also free and there are no prizes for contacting large numbers of other stations. There is little doubt that the month of August has become "Lighthouse Month" due largely to the popularity and growth of the ILLW.
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It has been brought to our attention that the March issue of the ARRL magazine, QST carries the following comment in one of its articles :- "Every August ARLHS hosts the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW) event; this year it will be August 19 - 20." This statement is totally inaccurate and misleading as the management of the ILLW remains unchanged. The ILLW is NOT an ARLHS event. This error has been corrected in the online digital version.