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GB1PF is a Special Event Station activated by the Fort Purbrook Amateur Radio Club, representing the historic Victorian military defence buildings known as the Palmerston Forts that encircle the City of Portsmouth on the South coast of England.

GB1PF evolved from the desire to operate a Special Event Station as a club, and with the Fort Purbrook ARC already established at one of these substantial pieces of Victorian architecture, it was logical that Palmerston Forts became the focus for our Special Event Station.

GB1PF was activated initially during July 2014 from Fort Purbrook. Annual operation is planned, either from Fort Purbrook or from one of the many other local Palmerston Forts or Victorian Defence Structures.

QSL Cards received from activating GB1PF are displayed below.

Fort Purbrook is the most Easterly of the chain of hilltop Palmerston Forts, and its location can be seen on the map shown above (Google Earth also gives a great view).

The hilltop Forts running along the ridge of Portsdown Hill were designed to protect Portsmouth from an inland invasion and consequently face North, thereby appearing to be built the wrong way around (back-to-front) when viewed from the City of Portsmouth. The map also shows the locations of other Palmerston Forts and defences.

These Forts were built and completed in the late 19th century under the auspices of Lord Henry Palmerston, at one time British Prime Minister.

Built at immense cost in order to defend the city and its Naval Dockyard against a potential French invasion, they never did see action and came to be known as Palmerston's Folly (or Follies) - the definition of a 'Folly' being a building (or in this case buildings) constructed extravagantly for decoration and serving no real purpose. Besides new Forts being constructed, existing fortifications were given improvements as well, for example, Fort Cumberland at Eastney.

The GB1PF QSL Card

Not all of these buildings still exist, some having been demolished, and most of the remainder are now used for civil purposes, although some still remain within British Ministry of Defence (MoD) ownership and usage. The Forts are, however, magnificent structures built from millions of red bricks, and are part of the extraordinary military heritage that the Portsmouth area has to offer.

We look forward to meeting you on the air during a GB1PF QSO.

For additional information on the Palmerston Forts, please refer to these websites:


Fort Purbrook ARC

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