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A small group of us recently visited the vessel Ross Revenge where amateur radio colleagues from The Martello Tower Group were operating the special event station GB5RC. For some of the group this was their first visit to this ex-Icelandic trawler ship, & for others it was a welcome return to this iconic vessel which became the home to Radio Caroline in the 1980's.


Now anchored peacefully in the River Blackwater in Essex, tendering is from the pier at West Mersea aboard the charter fishing boat Razorbill 3. We were lucky to still be experiencing the heatwave here in the southeast, so the tender trip was smooth & the weather glorious when we set off at 5pm. 25 minutes later we were climbing aboard!


GB5RC - 'celebrating five decades of offshore radio broadcasting' - is now into its third year of operation, transmitting over 4 days around the first weekend in August. Normally 6 or 7 members of The Martello Tower Group stay on board for 4 - 5 days, operating most modes over most HF bands, & the response is remarkable with 'pile-ups' commonplace. Local amateurs are also well catered for with operations on 2 metres & also the local Thursday net on GB3CL being run from the ship. By Sunday evening the QSO tally was in excess of 2,000.  Impressive!


We were made very welcome throughout our stay by The Martello Tower Group & by the skipper of the Razorbill. We all came away knowing far more about the history of the Ross Revenge than when we started, & all of us were impressed with the amateur radio operation for GB5RC & the obvious dedication of all those involved with preserving this vessel.


On this page are a selection of pictures taken during our trip relating to both GB5RC & Radio Caroline. It is fascinating to see & remember what the Ross Revenge went through during its time as the largest side-winder trawler in the 1960's & 70's, & then what the Radio Caroline organisation endured in the 1980's & beyond to play us music & adhere to their principles. The people involved with these very different occupations deserve much respect.    

You can't always get what you want,

but if you try sometimes you just might find -

You get what you need...

A visit to     GB5RC     Operating from the Ross Revenge     05/08/2018    

For further details of The Martello Tower Amateur Radio Group visit:




 (or click on the pictures to the right).


...and to listen to Radio Caroline - click below...

DSCN2906a DSCN3027a GB5RC-qsl-fronta DONaXrHXkAEhrqIa Martello Tower Group

QSL cards issued by The Martello Tower Group following their successful activations of the Ross Revenge in 2016 & 2017.

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Nice to see the above yacht on our return journey to Mersea!


...and to finish - a few of my favourite photos...


(not sure if the signs on the toilet doors were an instruction or a throwback to the hippy days of the 1970's?!)