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- W8L -

Stannard Rock Lighthouse Activation
August 7th & 8th, 2021

Lighthouse Image

The Stannard Rock Lighthouse is the ‘Loneliest Lighthouse in the World’. To see it, you have to be 20 miles from land on Lake Superior!

It is difficult to reach. Seaworthy boats with dual engines and experienced captains regularly visit the shoal to fish for Lake Trout - when weather permits. As often as not, they cancel chartered events because of risks due to weather. One captain said, “the wind can change in 20 minutes”. Inexperienced pilots run out of gas fighting the wind to get home. They can be rescued, but only a fool would underestimate Lake Superior! Sudden storms build enormous waves. The water is always very cold.

The lighthouse is haunted by the ghost of Petty Officer 1st Class William Maxwell who was blown away in 1961 and never found. The damage from the blast was never repaired.

Nobody has ever activated this lighthouse.

That is, until now! Our team of six is making preparations to mount an excursion to the loneliest place on Earth, with radio equipment that will let you join us out there! The FCC has granted our requsted call letters, 'W8L' for this special event. You can find us listed on QRZ.com.

We are preparing now, and learning from the sailors up there. We heard about an hour-long struggle just to tie the boat to the lighthouse, and about a man falling into the turbulent water while reaching out of the bobbing boat for the ladder. We are simulating and testing as much as we can, with radio team operation, and with transporting our gear. The engineers on our team are practicing with an actual 20’ ladder and platform. We will be ready!

Activation details
CW/SSB on or near these frequencies:

3.538, 3.875,
7.038, 7.287,
14.034, 14.285,
28.075, 28.485
6m and 2m plans will be included here with a future update.
FT8 on USB:

Time of operation from Stannard Rock Lighthouse:

16:00 UTC August 7, start
16:00 UTC August 8, end

We also plan to operate from the boat and from the car for several hours before and after the lighthouse activation. Call letters for these transmissions will be the station operator’s call, plus the special event call, such as ‘N8PPQ/W8L’.

Depending on conditions, a live online log will be available here. If not, it will be here soon after the event.

QSL via mail, QRZ, and LoTW only please. US Mail goes to N8PPQ: 1817 Mills Ave., N. Muskegon, MI 49445. Please add comments about your experience, including RF conditions or knowledge you have of Stannard Rock.

Transportation to and from the Lighthouse

After the drive to Marquette, we will board a charter fishing boat to make way to Stannard Rock. Two firms turned us away, but Kimar’s Charters agreed to take us for the overnight visit. Dave Kimar said that he has worked with the Watershed Partnership in the past, and with others to deliver people and equipment to the lighthouse and weather station. Dave said nobody knows more about the lighthouse and its history. We feel that we are in good hands with Kimar’s Charters.

There is no better place to catch lake trout! In fact, Michigan's state record for lake trout, a 61-pound-8-ounce (27.9 kg) specimen, was caught on 12-pound (5.4 kg) line at Stannard Rock Reef by 16-year-old Lucas Lanczy on August 17, 1997, according to "51 Year Record Broken: Possible World Record on 12 lb. Line". Weekly News. Great Lakes Sports Fishing Council. August 18, 1997.

Take this link to see Kimar’s charter boats: https://www.kimarscharters.com/about3

Superior Watershed Partnership

The mission of the Superior Watershed Partnership is to protect and improve the natural resources of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on a watershed basis; by promoting responsible individual and community actions that ensure a sustainable environment, encourage a sustainable economy, and help improve quality of life.

For more information about the owner of the Stannard Rock Lighthouse, see the links below.

More details about this event, the lighthouse, and its owner, Superior Watershed Partnership will be added here as they unfold. Stay tuned!