Marconi and history of wireless talk at ODARS by Liz Bruton, May 2017

Liz Bruton before her talk
Liz Bruton before her talk

13 Members and 1 guest were present to hear a fascinating talk by Liz Bruton on Marconi and the 1898 Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire) Regatta.

Marconi, ever eager for publicity, readily accepted the invitation of the Dublin Evening Mail to report by wireless the progress of the races. Liz described some of the details of the extensive preparations and the equipment used. During the three-days of the regatta, over 700 reports were sent by wireless from the Flying Huntress to the Evening Mail and its sister paper The Dublin Daily Express. The operation was an outstanding success and secured great publicity for Marconi and his wireless system.

ODARS teaches Morse Code for Marconi Day 2017 at the Museum of the History of Science

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Once again ODARS members set up a special event station at the Museum of the History of Science to celebrate the birthday of Guglielmo Marconi. It is quite a challenge to do this as the museum is in a listed 17th century building in the centre of the City of Oxford and we are no longer allowed to use the roof for antennas. So we used 3 fibreglass poles attached to the railings supporting an off-centre fed dipole for 40 and 20metres. However, our location in the basement was adjacent to the cabinets containing some of the historic Marconi collection, so we were well placed inside.

Conditions were difficult – as well as the usual high noise level the K index was also high but although propagation was poor some contacts were made around Europe and into Asiatic Russia. As well as the GB4MHS station, we ran a very popular Morse code hands-on experience, and Brian G2KQ’s excellent demonstration of early wireless equipment.

Many visitors dropped by and talked to us and seemed interested in what we were doing. We hope that some of them may develop an interest in amateur radio.

World War Two marine radio operator and RSS voluntary interceptor speaks at ODARS, April 2017

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Update, July 2017: We are sad to announce that Peter Stewart is now a Silent Key.

17 members and 10 guests met at the Gladiator club on Tuesday 18th April to hear a fascinating talk from Peter Stewart about his early career as a wireless operator in the merchant navy and the wartime Radio Security Service (RSS) during World War Two and post-war career in the Diplomatic Wireless Service.  We were privileged to hear a talk from one of the few remaining Volunteer Interceptors and RSS operators from World War Two.

Highlights of his talk included it being decided by his family, without any input from him, that at the age of 16 he should be sent to sea as a deckhand, his progress to wireless officer, having an appendectomy after swinging the lead in order to avoid a posting, being enrolled in the RSS and subsequently the Army and the boredom of sending and receiving 5 character code groups all day.

Peter is now 91 and in the days after his talk he let it be known that earlier in April he had been fitted with a pacemaker which due to complications required two hospital stays. We are very grateful to him for making the special effort to come and talk to us.


SSB Field Day, 3-4 September 2016

SSB field day was held in the field next to Thomley Hall. This was convenient as our tower is kept there in a barn. We used the C3 beam for 20, 15 and 10m plus 40m separately fed. 80m used an inverted V from the top of the tower, some 20m agc. A 5-band vertical was used for the spotter station.

The site is about 70m asl and useful for VHF so we put up a 16ele Tonna at 8m with the help of a gin pole and rotated from the base. Andrews Heliax fed Chris’s (G7IVF) FT-857 with 50W. Call sign was G8PX/P and Scotland, France and Germany were worked although conditions were not very good and there was a shortage of operators.

For HF we used Colin’s (M0DDT) K3 and Expert amp with 400W op. Power was from the club’s new generator that behaved excellently throughout. We used the club’s FT-950 as spotter station.

We had a few difficulties with IT, some rain and solar storms overnight but managed 513 QSO’s in all with105 multipliers for an entry to the open section.

Operators were G7IVF, G8EWT, M0DDT and guest G7IXU and used the G5LO/P call sign.

The operators wish to thank all those that helped in setting up, supply of tea and efficient clearing up at the end. Overall it was a very enjoyable club activity.

RCE Advanced Examination

Harwell ARS (G3PIA) have been asked to facilitate a RCE Advanced exam. We are contacting you to see if you would like to take the exam on either of the following dates: Sunday 18 September at 1400hrs or Sunday 25 September at 1400hrs.

Both would be held at the Didcot Guide Hall. The cost would be the exam fee of £37.50 plus the cost of the hall and other expenses shared equally amongst the candidates.

If you are interested then you will need to have paid the money for the exam by Monday 15 August, at the latest, in order to be registered for the exam. The offer is just to take the exam with no formal help or tuition beforehand but we can supply you with our own club on-line support.

If you are interested please send an email to with your preferred date and whether or not you can manage the alternative as we can only run one. Do not pay any money at this stage.

Marconi Day 2016: GB4MHS at the Oxford Museum of the History of Science

Ken, M1SLH, writes:

“Well, that’s another Marconi Day done and dusted! Working from the basement was much better I thought; much easier to see everything and get the visitors’ attention. Brian’s collection of early apparatus was obviously a big attraction, and the Morse Code hands-on was as popular as ever.

That the aerial worked at all was a great surprise to me, and thanks to Colin’s excellent installation, it stayed up on a rather windy day. In fact, it stayed up rather too well and had to be coaxed off an anti-pigeon spike with a fishing pole in the end.

Thanks to everyone who came and helped.


Ken, M1SLH”

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