FIRE ISLAND - Ham radio operators gathered at the Fire Island Lighthouse this weekend and communicated with people across the world during a special annual event.

The gathering was for International Lighthouse Lightship weekend, which celebrates the communication tool and links fans of it to like-minded operators in other nations. More than 500 lighthouses worldwide participated in the event.

"The purpose is to simply promote the preservation and restoration of lighthouses throughout the world and, of course, to promote ham radio," says Walter Paluch, of the Great South Bay Amateur Radio Club.

Ham radio operators on Fire Island say they made contact with lots of interesting locations, including a lighthouse in Uruguay.

"You kind of get this sense of accomplishment," says John Melfi. "You are working off this piece of wire only about 40 feet in the air, and when a guy comes back to you and tells you where he is, it's like, alright, I got a lighthouse in a rare spot and its totally awesome!"

The Great South Bay Amateur Radio Club says it also offers free licensing classes.