Avro Lancaster 1st Operational Sortie - 80th Anniversary
British Forces Broadcasting Service interview with Alain G1IBP's discussing the GB80LAN Special Event Station.
During March 1942 the 1st operational sortie of the Avro Lancaster took off from RAF Waddington. The mission was to lay naval mines in Heligoland Bight.
As I am sure you are aware the Lancaster went on to become the mainstay of RAF Bomber Command with 7377 built at 10 locations in the UK and Canada. To commemorate the 80th anniversary of this event I have acquired the callsign GB80LAN to be used from 1st to 28th March 2022. I have also obtained permission from Ofcom for this call unusually to be used at 4 different locations, RAF Waddington, RAF Cosford, RAF Halton and RAF East Kirkby. Each location has already confirmed they are happy to host the call but unfortunately planned operation from BBMF at RAF Coningsby is unlikely, as we have been unable to obtain permission from the station at this time.
The RAF club stations at Waddington, Cosford, Halton and the Lincoln Short Wave Club, who control the shack at East Kirkby (home of Lancaster “Just Jane”), will control operations at their locations. The event has the full backing of RAFARS. A QRZ.com page has been set up and will be updated as more information is received. I can also confirm that the callsigns VK80LAN and VE80LAN will be on the air to commemorate the anniversary. More information for each of the callsigns can be found on their qrz.com pages. Plans are also underway that the three commemoration stations will try to establish contact via echo link to officially start off the event at 1200Z on 1st March.
The Guys out in Australia have confirmed that they have the callsign VK80LAN for the whole of March and are hoping to transmit from the cockpit of their Lancaster at the museum at Bull Creek.
Also of interest, is that the Lincoln Short Wave Club will be operating GB6IBC from the International Bomber Command Memorial on March 5th.
The first batch of QSL cards have now been received from the printers and it is planned that we will answer all cards received via the RAFARS and RSGB bureaus. Direct cards may also be sent via myself G0KUC qthr, SAE and donation toward postage costs would be appreciated where possible. I also plan to upload all logs to QRZ.com, eQSL.cc and HAMLOG.online. Due to problems with the eQSL.cc program identifying various locations the locator will show as xx00yy and not be eligible for awards. However I am assured that you will get your eQSL.
The opening sked on 1st March successfully took place. All three SSES stations in Australia, Canada and Britain made contact via echo link. I can also report that each of the UK host stations RAF Waddington G0RAF, RAF Halton G1RAF, RAF Cosford G8FC and Lincoln Short Wave Club G5FZ from the Bomber Command Memorial called in and passed messages to all.
The call is currently being used by the Guys at RAF Waddington this week and I have received the 1st direct QSL today via the post. Many eqsls have also been received and will be confirmed as soon as I have received the logs. I have also seen many spots on dxsummit.fi.
Half Way Update.
Just another quick update as the first 14 days are now complete.
Happy to report that things seem to be progressing well and a rough count shows that we have made 935 contacts so far. Unless I have missed a few!
The eQSL inbox is filling up very fast but I have uploaded all the logs I have received and so they have already been confirmed. There are a few swl cards which I still have to check on and a few received cards that don't appear to be in the logs but I will go back and see if I can sort them out.
Checking QRZ.com shows we have achieved four of their awards for confirmed contacts - Friendship (on 5 bands), WAC (mixed and digital), Grid Squares and Master of Europe.. So well done to all.
Hope you are all enjoying it so far!!!!!!
Keep up the good work,
Due to one of our operators testing for Covid 19 operations from the Cosford shack had to be suspended and other operators went into voluntary self isolation in line with government advice and RAF Station policy. Hastily organised, but limited alternatives managed to keep the call on the air. I am happy to confirm that the Club shack at Cosford is now back on the air and hopefully catching up with some of those contacts.
Thanks for your understanding.
Tri-national Award Information
"A special commemorative award certificate is available to amateur stations and swls who have made contact with or heard all three special callsigns.
Applications must include:-
....80LAN callsigns, date, time, band, mode, sent and received reports of each contact.
Also the callsign and name of the applicant as they wish it to be displayed on the certificate.
All applications should be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org and once confirmed certificates will be sent to the applicants return email address."
I can now report that the event has proved a great success and has generated an amazing amount of interest. We have made new friends and established contacts which I believe will mean that in the future more events will be possible. The links established with our brothers in VE and VK will continue and we are already discussing events for similar anniversaries.
Now I have uploaded the logs for GB80LAN I can confirm that so far we have made over 2250 contacts with 32 different operators that I know of. There may be a few more to add to the list once I have finished “decoding” a few of the noted log anomalies.
On QRZ.com we have all 6 continents confirmed and 87 countries have been worked. 12 bands were activated, 4 awards have been received and 744 contacts have been confirmed so far.
22 direct qsls have been received and at eqsl.cc 905 eqsls have been received already.
Once again I convey my thanks to all who made this event possible and of course to all those who contacted our stations.
Dave – G0KUC