The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Local News

July 31, 2013

Lighthouse to go international

Medina Journal-Register — Radio Operators from around the world will be including the Oak Orchard Lighthouse in Internatinal Lighthouse Lightship Weekend, Aug. 17 and 18. It is the first time the lighthouse is participating in the event fully.

“We were allowed to participate a few years ago, but only because of the story behind us,” said Peg Wiley, vice president of the Oak Orchard Lighthouse Museum in Point Breeze.

“We had to get permission to participate,” she recalled, noting how the lighthouse reconstruction had not yet been completed. “We participated as guests, so this is our first year as an actual lighthouse.”

Wiley explained how the lighthouse’s participation over the weekend “is a function of amateur radio (ham radio) operators around the world.

“We have a number registered now, and we’ll be an annual participant now,” Wiley added. 

The Orleans County Amateur Radio Club (OCARC) is spearheading the ham radio operations for the event. Terry Cook, the club president, said he and his fellow club members will contact as many participating lighthouses as possible over the two-day event.

“It’s a full weekend deal, and a lot of people will probably be hunting for us because it’s our first year as an official participant,” he said. 

Cook said he has “always been fascinated with ham radio” and has managed to tweak his own so that he can communicate as far as Portugal.

“You can talk all over the world thanks to a piece of wire,” he said. Some radios are better than others, and that is reflected in their price. “You can go cheap, or you can spend thousands,” he added.

Ham radio operators must have a license and pass certain qualifying tests, Cook noted. In past years operators were required to know Morse code, but he said that is no longer the case.

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