New and Interesting Adventures for 2024 with Bunkers-on-the-Air


First times are often a mixture of things we either don’t wish to remember much about or conversely we certainly do, todays first was certainly the latter. The first for me today was a foray into what appears to be a current favourite amongst many UK amateur radio enthusiasts, that of Bunkers on the Air.

And my oh my, what a wonderful ‘first’ it was!

car with antenna

I’ve ventured out on the motorcycle with my trusty IC-7300 on several occasions last year, but that little machine is presently tucked up nice and warm in my garage, with its battery disconnected… on its winter hibernation – so today I decided to venture out in the car instead.

For my sins, this year I am very proudly the Chairman of Newport Amateur Radio Society and with last Thursday being our first day back after the festive break, it was incumbent on me to present to our members a series of talks, presentations and activities scheduled for 2024. I had been talking with a friend earlier that day, Richie – MW0LGE, about Bunkers on the Air – where we were discussing how both of us should participate in it this year, and I thought it would be a great idea to grab a few screenshots from the BotA www site and suggest to our members that it could be something many could participate in through the year. That was when I started to get a little more interested, hence todays trip.

bunkers on the air map of Newport

A quick WhatsApp chat with Rich this morning confirmed we were both up for some last minute BotA fun. There’s a couple of bunkers in close proximity to my qth, so I decided to have a stab at the one closest to me – B/GW-0107, just on the North West outskirts of my home town of Newport, whilst Rich did the same – he went to the closest to his qth – B/GW-0109 just outside Magor. We were both in for a pleasant surprise!

Sadly for me I didn’t pack my MacBookAir for logging contacts made – a HUGE mistake I absolutely won’t make a second time calling BotA! Up went the pole, I set up the trusty IC-7300 in the car, connected a multi-band EFHW, scanned a bit here and there settling on 40M, specifically 7.143 and started calling CQ. Quite literally, within 5 minutes, I found myself in a significant pile-up which lasted at least 80 minutes, with stations calling in from all over the UK and even keen interest from Benelux stations in the Netherlands and Belgium. Oh, I do love a good pile-up!! In total 66 QSO’s were made, including a B2B with Rich on 40M and on 2M – though I must check to see if 2M is a permitted band for a valid BotA activation point. A question for Carl, M0ICR, on the Bunkers on the Air Facebook page, I think! I then listened for a short while to Rich who took over the frequency and having had a brief chat with Carl who subsequently spotted him on the BotA pages, proceed to experience his own pile-up from a bunker 8 miles away, B/GW-0109.

car with antenna

Now starts the painful – and long – task of manually entering these 66 QSO’s to RUMlogNG – my choice of the excellent logging app for Apple users. All in all an excellent first venture into the smashing world of Bunkers on the Air, which appear to me to be a well thought out and effectively managed amateur radio scheme. Kudos to everyone on the BotA team for a job well done!

Now though, while the cold weather is here there’s a few bunkers local to me in need of activation using the car, and even more bunkers further afield when the warmer weather returns and I can get out on the motorcycle again.

What a fabulous addition to our wonderful hobby!, one that I am certain is going to grow from strength to strength!

One thought on “New and Interesting Adventures for 2024 with Bunkers-on-the-Air

  1. Excellent blog John. Having just discovered your blog, I am sure I will be reading for some time! I use RUMLOG on the iPhone too and use the iCloud option for sharing. For POTA I tend to use HAMRS and I can only hope it will support this soon!

    73 Ian

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