2003 – THE GBR VLF SUBMARINE SERVICE CLOSES
In 2003 a new contract for the Royal Navy’s ‘very low frequency’ (VLF) service was won by Babcock International and not BT. So, at midnight on Monday 31st March 2003, the Rugby GBR transmitter finally closed.
The final message transmitted in Morse code was:
“VVV DE GBR VVV DE GBR - After 77 years 3 months of almost continuous operation, the GBR 16kHz service from BT Radio Station Rugby ceases today.
A thank you to our customers, mainly the Royal Navy, without whom the service would not have been required and whose cooperation has enabled the service to run so smoothly.
A big thank you must go to all of those who over the years have been involved in the design, construction, maintenance and operation of GBR. They can feel very proud of providing a consistent high level of reliable service and a job well done.”
After a 30 second break – repeat above once more – then as below.
“This is the final transmission and GBR will now be shut down for the last time. GBR GBR QRT”
In October 2003, the GBR transmitter was dismantled, with parts of it going to the Cold War Museum at Hack Green Bunker, Cheshire. On Saturday 19th June 2004, eight of the twelve 820ft masts were felled. And in December 2004, the Aerial Tuning Inductor (The Rugby Coil) was dismantled and donated to the Science Museum. It went into storage at the Science Museum’s Large Objects Store at Wroughton, Wiltshire, which, by coincidence, is on the site involved in the first transatlantic telephone call, back in 1927.