Greenham Control Tower Ltd was established in 2018 to manage the newly refurbished building and with their kind support, agreed to Newbury And District Amateur Radio Society (NADARS) having a permanent radio station on the ground floor using what was the Signals Workshop (and at one time the Air Traffic Controllers office) as an operation room.
NADARS then obtained planning permission from the local authority for the erection of multiple antennas on the Grade 2 listed building and, during the Autumn of 2019, three antenna poles were erected and feeders installed to run a state-of-the-art amateur radio station.
OFCOM (the UK Government Regulator) issued NADARS with the special event callsign GB4GCT (Greenham Control Tower) and for it to be used on a permanent basis.
The radio station is an ongoing project with many different amateur radio facilities being installed. By October 2019 we were fully on air using a Flex 6500 TX/RX and the first of our antenna systems - a 130ft inverted V doublet at 50ft at the centre for multiband HF operation.
Plans are well advanced for an Oscar 100 satellite receiving station with NADARS members being given the challenge to build a TX for communication with the satellite. It is also planned to have a UHF Fusion repeater on site.
With the regular footfall of the general public visiting the Control Tower Visitors Centre, Museum and Cafe while visiting the Common, this is an excellent opportunity for the promotion of Amateur Radio and its different facets to a new audience.
It is planned to have the station operational on many weekends throughout the year for members of NADARS to hone their operating skills and visiting licenced amateurs of all levels are welcome to operate.
The public are actively encouraged to visit our radio station and find out more about amateur radio and for them to pass greetings messages over the air to other amateurs around the world.
While visiting the GB4GCT station you can also enjoy a drink, cake and much more in the Control Tower Cafe.
The History of Greenham Control Tower
Greenham Control Tower is one of seven identical control towers built in the UK in the early 1950s, during the Korean War. The other six were located at fighter bases at Biggin Hill, North Weald, Brize Norton, Fairford and Upper Heyford, and at the Mildenhall tanker air base.
Historically Greenham Common was a massive area of common land. An airbase opened in 1942 and was used by the RAF and USAF during WW2. In 1973 in became home of the International Air Tattoo before transfer to RAF Fairford. In 1980 it was announced that USAF Cruise missiles were to be deployed at Greenham Common Airbase, putting in on the front line of the Cold War. The IRNF (Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty was signed in 1987 by the USA and Soviet Union which led to the removal of the missiles and the closure of the base. In 1992 the USAF returned RAF Greenham Common to the Ministry of Defence. In 1993 the airbase was declared surplus, closed and put up for sale. In 1997 Greenham Common was designated a public parkland; after the runway was removed the area was opened to the public in 2000. The park is approximately 2 miles long and half a mile wide and is now a haven for wildlife and outdoor activities
Since 1993, when the Greenham Common airbase was decommissioned, the control tower had been disused and as a result is was still largely in its original state, which has resulted in Grade II listed status.
After a long bidding process, in 2013 West Berkshire Council agreed to sell the building to Greenham Parish Council for £100,000 under the Government's Community Right to Bid scheme.
Greenham Trust has committed £250,000 towards the project. During 2014 substantial works were started to prepare the building for use as a Visitor's Centre, where the public can see both the historic past and learn about the present natural landscape of the Common.
The ground floor now comprises of the Amateur Radio Operation Room (run by NADARS) and the cafe. The first floor includes an interpretation area, with displays not only about the history of the Common but also about its wildlife and how to enjoy the Common without damaging valuable habitats. The top floor, where once men sat directing planes landing and taking off during the Cold War, is a viewing platform from which the panorama of the Common can be fully appreciated.
NADARS hopes to operate GB4GCT from the Greenham Control Tower on other dates throughout the year and for different events, so please regularly check the NADARS web site for more details.
If you have a comment or question, please don't hesitate to contact us by email.
>>>We would very much welcome comments or details from personnel who have worked or been involved with the base over its history.
Whether you were based there, or maybe you were on a flight to/from the base, please let us know.
Why not send us your recollection of your time at the base (pictures are also welcomed).
We will be pleased to pass on any messages to the people who are now responsible for Greenham Control Tower.
Please contact us by sending your email to GB4GCT-at-NADARS.ORG.UK (replace -at- with @ )
Note: Please QSL ONLY via M0OXO