EXCITING times abound for the Coffs Harbour and District Amateur Radio Club (CHADARC) who have just held their annual International Lighthouse and Lightship weekend last month and are turning 42 years next month.
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Last month the Coffs Club attended the Smoky Cape Lighthouse for the weekend event which has been held every year on the third weekend in August each year since 1998.
Amateur radio operators around the world gather at recognised lighthouses and lightships to communicate with each other, making as many contacts as possible in the 48 hours as the atmospheric conditions allow.
The tradition began in Scotland, hosted by the Ayr Amateur Radio Club in 1998 with just 11 clubs participating.
This year 313 Amateur Radio Clubs have entered local lighthouses in 41 countries.
All continents were represented.
The Radio Club itself started in 1978 when twenty five like-minded people gathered at the Ocean View Hotel at Urunga.
Six of those people remain members today and two are life members.
The club operates three on-air broadcasts through the week for members and listeners.
One on HF at 3.609mhz Monday at 8pm, and two on VHF via their 2 local repeaters on 146.850 / 146.750 on Wednesday and Friday at 8pm.
The HF broadcast allows local, distant and interstate members to call-in each week and communicate with
each other, via the airwaves.
Club member Fred McSkimming said, “The radio club ran radio-educational classes and taught Morse Code to
new and interested members. Morse Code was a licence requirement until 2005. Many license holders today still use Morse Code in their radio communications.”
The club provides learning facilities, technical instruction, and equipment maintenance and conducts examinations for those wishing to obtain their transmitting licence or to upgrade to an unrestricted licence.
This entitles them to operate on all the amateur bands in use and permits transmitting powers up to 400 watts.
Interested persons wishing to join and explore radio communications and techniques are invited to contact the
club at www.chadarc.org.au or visit them on any Thursday between 10am and 2pm at their clubhouse on Rex
Hardaker Oval, Toormina.
By Sandra MOON