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International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend

Todhead Lighthouse - Aberdeenshire

Todhead Lighthouse Tower

  • ILLW Lighthouse Number: UK0218
  • QRA Locator Square: IO86vv
  • Worked All Britain (WAB): NO87
  • QSL is via ONLY

The Board of Trade sanctioned the building of a lighthouse and fog signal at Todhead in November 1894 and following construction, the light was first exhibited on 20th December 1897. The fog signal became operational at the end of April 1898.

Originally the light was provided by a paraffin (kerosene) vapour burner but the light was electrified in 1973 and an automatic standby generator was installed to cater for any supply outages. The fog signal was also changed to an electrical system with fog detection sensors. The lighthouse was fully automated and became unattended in 1988. Following a review of Aids to Navigation carried out in January 2005, it was decided that the light at Todhead would be discontinued and the lighthouse was permanently closed on 11th July 2007. 

Each year, several members of AARS set up a portable amateur radio station and operate using the callsign GB2THL from the lighhouse for International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend.

It's not a contest, just good fun! 

Operation is normally on several bands (HF and VHF), depending on conditions, with a mixture of SSB and CW. Logging software is used to keep an electronic log of stations contacted.

View from Todhead Lighthouse tower

The tower is used to support a wire antenna and the balcony rails provide the mounting points for VHF & UHF antennas, up at around 13m.

The lighthouse is now a private residence with limited parking and access. We are very grateful to the owners for their enthusiasm and generosity in allowing the Society to 'invade' their home each year so that we can set up the station for the ILLW event.


The 2023 Event

Todhead Lighthouse Team 2023
For the 2023 event, Graham GM4OBD had constructed a delta-loop antenna for the HF bands one corner of which was attached to the lighthouse tower. The other two corners were supported on poles further down the cliffs. With the close proximity of the sea this antenna worked well and the best DX was into India using CW on 21MHz. The most distant lighthouse worked was located in Greece.

VHF also produced some good results with several stations in England in the log, including a station in Southamton on the south coast. UHF was a bit disappointing (probably due to the position of the antenna) but in all 155 contacts were logged on various bands - mainly on HF.

Pictured are several of this year's team. From left to right, Mark MM7EWJ, Fred GM3ALZ, Eddie MM0MUN, Steve GM0ULK, Mo 2M0YMO, David MM0MVX and Graham GM4OBD.

73 from the GB2THL team.  If you hear us next year, please give us a call. We look forward to adding your callsign to the log in 2024!

The scrolling gallery below shows a selection of pictures from our visits to Todhead.


GB2THL Tower Station 1
GB2THL Tower Station 9
GB2THL Tower Station 6
GB2THL Tower Station 7
GB2THL Tower Station 2
GB2THL External View
GB2THL View From Tower
GB2THL Lighthouse Buildings