Military Aviation and Radio Monitoring has been a constant aspect of my life
ever since I bought my first ever radio scanner as a young teenager on holiday in Florida many, many years ago.
The hobby quickly turned into an obsession which ultimately led to an
enjoyable six-year spell as the Military and Mode-S Editor of PW Publishing’s Radio User Magazine.
A career change in 2011 would see the aviation and radio hobby very much
take a back seat, albeit it was always within arm’s reach and I would occasionally be able to dip my toe back into the scene, even if just for a short time.
The fire was well and truly lit again however on a recent holiday to
Lanzarote with my partner and soulmate. After a quick visit to the hotel book
exchange to find something to read while sipping Pina Coladas by the pool side, a Dale Brown book jumped out at me with the distinctive image of an F-111 Aardvark on the cover.
I quickly found myself engrossed in a tense and heavily detailed military
airborne adventure as Nuclear war loomed. The authenticity in the detail was
nothing short of incredible, from documenting the general flight procedures, indepth commentary and narrative during inflight refuelling missions and the mass deployment and movement of military assets.
I was hooked. I literally couldn’t put the book down and as every page
turned, I had fond memories of years gone by being at the forefront of military aviation around the UK, spending many happy hours in the radio shack monitoring all sorts of military radio traffic from routine training sorties, Quick Reaction Alerts, and on occasion historic and significant operational deployments in the global theatre.
I recalled numerous transit flights of the venerable U-2 Spy plane, overflights
of the now retired (allegedly) F-117 Stealth Fighter, listening to B-2 Stealth
Bombers refuel mid-flight and track the mass deployment of B-52 Bombers
arriving at RAF Fairford ahead of the start of the second Gulf War.
I realised how significant this hobby had been, the impact if had and the
fact I had a front low seat on historic global events. I needed to get this
back into my life and very quickly I found myself jotting down notes and ideas and crucially, creating a list of things I needed to do to get things back up and running.
And alas, here we are. I’m currently sitting in the revamped military radio
monitoring shack just as a number of significant deployments and exercises are about to take place including B-2 Stealth Bombers at RAF Fairford, and a
multi-national air warfare exercise being hosted at RAF Waddington.
So, strap yourself in for equipment reviews, past and previous deployments,
trip and airshow reports and pretty much anything and everything related to
military aviation and radio monitoring