My friend Phil (G7TVB) invited me to participate in the 2023 BUNKERS ON THE AIR event and although I had some personal issues which were causing a great distraction, I managed to activate two bunkers (ROC Posts B/G-0444 and B/G-0925) just before the time limit expired.
Royal Observer Corps monitoring posts are underground structures all over the United Kingdom and were constructed as a result of the Royal Observer Corps' nuclear reporting role - operated by volunteers during the Cold War.
These bunkers were manned by 3 or 4 people and were basically a rectangular space lined with up to 12” of concrete. This concrete box was approximately 14ft below ground level and had a large mound of compacted earth above its roof. A shaft with a ladder was the only way in and out of the bunker.
The estimated cost of each bunker in 1956 was £1000 and over 1,500 were needed to provide adequate monitoring across the country but as usual, costs escalated and prices rose to as high as £8000!
The basic rules of the BOTA 2023 Special Event were that a bunker would be deemed ‘activated’ by making at least 25 logged contacts. Because many ROC Posts are on private land, activators were allowed to work as far away as 1km from the actual site.
The event ran throughout the month of October and although it wasn’t a formal contest, points were available to activators, chasers and SWL’s in order to qualify for a Certificate (PDF).
Personally, I wasn’t interested in gathering points, but since my mate invited me to participate, I thought I should make the effort to activate at least one of the bunkers. G/B-0444 (FORTON) was not far from my holiday home in Scorton, so I chose to activate that one and used my Icom IC-705 with my AlexLoop.
The activation went well but driving winds and looming black clouds forced me to cut the activation short and so I had to return a few days later. This time I went out on my motorbike and used my new FX-4CR radio with a resonant dipole. It worked superbly and the activation was soon completed.
|Day 1 Log|
|Day 2 Log|
My second activation G/B-0925 (DUNSOP BRIDGE) was completed in a very short space of time thanks to great band conditions on 40M. Again I used my wonderful FX-4CR, but this time from the comfort of my truck, using a mobile whip on magmounts.
To be honest, I didn’t expect it to go as well as it did because of the antenna (Diamond HF40FXW). I drove over to Dunsop via the gorgeous Trough Of Bowland and I enjoyed quite a few moments admiring the Autumnal views (despite the miserable weather).
Once I’d spotted myself on the BOTA group page, I very quickly got a little pileup going and before I knew it, the activation was complete! My thanks to all those who made contact with me - especially those who struggled to hear my QRP signal. The little FX was a joy to use and performed flawlessly.
On the way home back through The Trough, I took a few more photos…
Thank you for reading the post. I hope you enjoyed some of the pix of this lovely area.
Feel free to leave a comment below.
73, Tom, M7MCQ.