In stirring news for LOTA enthusiasts, famed OC DXer 43DA162 Brett will activate the striking Ballina Head Lighthouse on
This is the first ever radio comms activity from the light on Australia’s east coast on any band. It is also the first of many lighthouse on the air (LOTA) Dxpeditions undertaken by 43DA162 Brett in 2012, as part of a special LOTA Tour of Northern New South Wales lights; the goal being to promote awareness of lighthouses in maritime safety.
Built by colonial architect James Barnett on the northern head of the Richmond River in 1866, Ballina Head Lighthouse has played a critical role in maintaining safety at sea by guiding vessels along the northern NSW coastline ever since.
The twin of Fingal Head (AUS-073), Clarence River (AUS-058), Tacking Point (AUS-158) and Crowdy Head (AUS-062) lighthouses, this unique LOTA DXstination is one of the state’s oldest lighthouses and considered by locals to be an icon of the picturesque coastal town!
Perched on top of a grassy headland overlooking the mouth of the Richmond River, the lighthouse provides a priceless night-time beacon to guide vessels safely through the two breakwaters on either side of the river mouth, across a sand bar which is regarded as one of the most treacherous boat crossings in all of Australia.
Every year, in fact, fishing vessels such as prawn trawlers and leisure craft are capsized by swirling currents or smashed by mountainous foamed capped waves as they attempt to cross it.
Though not as large and as famous as lights such as the one at Cape Byron (AUS-025) 30km away, the Ballina Head Lighthouse itself is a sight to behold… Located on a Public Reserve with open access, it consists of a circular white brick tower capped by an oversailing bluestone platform (See right). Only 7m high, the focal plane is 35m above high water level and the light is visible for some 17 nautical miles out to sea.
Originally the tower had a porch, annexe and keeper’s quarters attached, however, these were demolished in November 1940, 14 years after the light was converted to acetylene gas and converted to automatic operation.
Brett will be active as 43DA/AUS-142 from lighthouse grounds with a simple portable station and his LOTA will satisfy both 1000m and visual sight rules in accordance with the ARLHS Rules of Operation. [See http://arlhs.com/page11-4.html , http://arlhs.com/page11-3.html]
From this vantage point, Brett is certain to have stunning views of surrounding golden sandy beaches which stretch as far as the eye can see, providing the perfect distraction during quiet periods on the mic and interesting seascapes for the special QSL card by 16DA101 Max at ON5UR Maxi-Print.
For more information on this exciting dx adventure and others in the Northern NSW LOTA Tour, including QSL details, please see http://www.delta-alfa.com/activities/northern-rivers-lota-tour/.
Thanks for supporting DA-RC activities and good luck with chasing Brett’s LOTA station!