Radio enthusiasts to put Blaskets on air

David O'Donoghue

THE Blaskets will be going on air later this month as a group of amateur radio operators spend a week operating from the islands.

Their aim is to participate in the Islands On the Air (IOTA) contest of July 26 and 27, which will see radio operators on islands large and small around the world bouncing signals to one another.

The Blaskets will play host to the group of 10 radio enthusiasts led by members of the Papa Lima Radio Club of Dublin's Polish community as well as Irish and French operators.

The group will be broadcasting from the historic islands, their signal whirling all around the word and forming bridges of communication with other islands across the globe, collecting 'points' in the contest for each contact.

The Papa Lima Group are veterans of the IOTA competition, last year broadcasting from the Aran Islands, and in their past two years finishing in the top ten of broadcasters worldwide.

Amateur radio is a hobby whereby enthusiasts communicate with others around the world on a specified 'amateur radio band' and with low powered equipment can speak with people in far off places.

The station will remain on air in the days that follow the contest to allow operators around the world to make contact with the Blaskets. Weather permitting, the station will also be open to visitors who might want to learn about amateur radio communication.