LOTA is an acronym for DX activity termed Lighthouses On The Air which sees radio operators travelling to a lighthouse for the purpose of activating it as a special DX entity.

As is the case with the Radio Society of Great Britain’s Islands On The Air (IOTA) program (which of course specialises in islands), lighthouses, lightships, and navigational beacons around the world have been assigned a unique reference which enables a radio operator to readily identify a light for contact purposes.

Composed of a 3 letter country prefix followed by digits, this lighthouse identification system was instigated by the Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society (ARLHS) who overseas most aspects of the concept in ham radio.  These identities are now used by 11m operators also to help identify the particular lighthouse being activated.

Aims & Objectives:

According to the ARLHS, the purpose of a LOTA activation is:

  • To promote public awareness of the role radio and light beacons have played in assisting and maintaining safety at sea;
  • To preserve the heritage and history of lighthouses and lightships; and
  • To aid in preserving those lights in danger of destruction or decay.

Operating from the lighthouse itself is not always possible.  For this reason, LOTA rules state that a DXpedition station may operate within 1000m or visual sight of the structure in order for it to be considered a valid LOTA operation.

How the System works on 11m

All Australian lights, for example, carry the prefix AUS followed by the ARLHS reference number.  A Freeband radio operator belonging to the Dx Adventure Radio Club (DA-RC) and activating the Cape Borda lighthouse on Kangaroo Island, for instance, would use the callsign 43DA/AUS-021.

History has shown that LOTA activity often combines well with IOTA work as many of the world’s islands contain lighthouses warning approaching vessels of the impending danger of sand bars and surrounding reefs as well as the site of safe passage.

With this in mind, it is possible to work and claim a valid lighthouse even if the ARLHS ref does not appear in the DX station’s QRZ.


LOTA Awards

Our Dx Adventure Radio Club (DA-RC) offer a number of exciting awards for LOTA DX enthusiasts, including Chasers and DXpeditioners, as part of our excellent Achievement Program.

Chasers are able to claim awards to celebrate the attainment of various totals of lights worked and confirmed while DXpeditioners qualify via the number of LOTA activated.

These fantastic and much sought after awards come in the form of professionally printed, full-colour certificates, on thick card, celebrating a hobbyists achievements in the field of LOTA DX.  They look amazing on the radio shack wall!

For more information on the L.O.T.A. concept, visit the ARLHS webpage at http://arlhs.com/.