10 April 2014 – The Good Old Days


Brian Farey hosted a discussion with John West and Ian Taylor about their recollections of the radio club when they were first involved.  It was noted that meetings were less structured than now. Many meetings were simply chat evenings and not always about amateur radio.  It was also noted that many members came to meetings by bike and on one evening two members departed on the same bike! 

 Early Field Days involved more than just the Shefford Club as the Bedford Club came to help at times.  At some point later, Field Days were moved to Topplers  Hill where a storage area in the water tower was made available to the club for masts, wires and cables.  Most equipment was homebrew as little was available commercially at prices the club members could afford. During Field Days, Claude Pettifer, G2DPQ, a co-founder of the club had a map with pins marking the 100 or so contacts made. Although, operators might have been in short supply, members and their families came as it was a ‘Family Social’ event.  Speaking of which, the numbers attending the Club Dinners far exceeded those of today.  A dinner was held at Digswell House in 1966 at a cost of six shillings each and consisted of Sausage and Mash.

 Early membership came from local Bases like Henlow and companies such as ICL, and a later boom in membership came as a result of the popularity of CB, both of which have now been in decline. Discussions turned to the future of the club and how to increase membership. Ian provided a ‘mind map’ showing aspects of Amateur Radio that might appeal to prospective members. It was agreed that the club must do more in the way of publicity,both in local advertising and as a stronger  online presence.

Brian, John, Ian
Brian, John and Ian in discussion