TUBES: Fifteen nos 1L4's & Ten nos 3A5's

LM Picard lmpicard at ALLSTREAM.NET
Mon Apr 2 00:58:38 EDT 2007

How BBC man scooped invasion news
By Laurie Margolis
BBC News
Walk down London's Portland Place, heading south from Regent's Park towards
Regent Street, and you come to a kink in the wide road.
Immediately ahead of you is the plush Langham Hotel, very expensive and 
also one of
the most authentically haunted buildings in London.
To your left, BBC Radio's headquarters at Broadcasting House. This busy 
location, on the
northern edge of London's West End, was the focus of the way the story 
of the Falklands
invasion unfolded exactly 25 years ago.
Back in 1982 I was a BBC journalist and also an amateur radio operator - 
I still am. That
means I have a call-sign - G3UML - and some expertise in long-distance 
At the very end of March, 1982, I was working on the Golan Heights, 
hearing on the BBC
World Service a bizarre story about Argentine scrap metal merchants 
taking over the
British dependency of South Georgia.
Invasion claim
I returned to London on the morning on 2 April, and went into 
Broadcasting House to
work on a documentary. I was met by scenes of near panic in the radio 
The Argentines were claiming to have invaded and taken over the Falkland 
Islands, the
2,000-strong British colony off the south-eastern tip of South America.
The newsroom had Argentine claims, but nothing else apart from a laconic 
message from
the Cable and Wireless station on the Falklands - "we have a lot of new 
At that time the Langham Hotel was a dreary BBC office block and, in a 
dusty, junk-filled
attic room - number 701 - the BBC's own amateur radio club had a shortwave
transceiver. With a big aerial on the roof, it worked pretty well.
My senior editors wondered if there was any way I could contact the 
Falklands through
amateur radio. Nothing else was working. It seemed a possibility. The 
remote nature of
the islands meant that radio was important, and for the small population 
there were a lot
of radio amateurs down there.
'A true scoop'
So I took up a vigil in room 701, listening carefully across the 14, 21 
and 28 megahertz
bands for anything from VP8 - the international call-sign prefix for the 
And about six hours later, I struck gold. On 21.205 megahertz at 1600 
London time, that
rather distinctive accent, a bit West Country - a Falkland Islander.

This list is a public service of the City of Tempe, Arizona

Subscription control -
Archives -

More information about the Boatanchors mailing list