Sunday 17 December 2017

Radio fans to bounce messages off moon

The club will broadcast from the lighthouse on picturesque Loop Head
The club will broadcast from the lighthouse on picturesque Loop Head

Pat Flynn

Amateur radio operators from around Munster will wind back the clock this weekend when they attempt to communicate via Morse code with hundreds of radio clubs throughout the world.

Limerick Radio Club, which has members from Clare, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary, will broadcast non-stop for 48 hours from Loop Head Lighthouse in Co Clare as part of the 17th International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend.

Last year, the club successfully made contact with lighthouses and lightships as far away as Brazil, Australia, Tonga, French Guiana, Asiatic Russia, Ecuador, the Azores and the US Virgin Islands.

The majority of all radio contacts was made with operators in the United States (200), Germany (155) and Italy (76). Close to two thirds (61pc) of overall communication was conducted via radio, with the remaining 39pc being conducted via Morse code.

The group also attempted to communicate with its twinned club in South Jersey using Earth-Moon-Earth communication, also known as "moon bounce", where the Moon was used to reflect signals.

This year's event will also afford visitors to the popular tourism landmark the chance to listen into communications with some of the other participating ham radio operators broadcasting from 400 other lighthouses and lightships in 65 countries.

Loop Head Lighthouse, located at the mouth of the Shannon Estuary, dates back to the 1670s while the existing tower-style lighthouse was constructed in 1854.

Irish Independent

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