18 Sept 2014 – Don Field, Editor of PW, Visits Club


G3XTTBryan Bourne opened the evening by telling us about Frederick James Camm who edited the first issue of Practical Wireless and continued until his early death in February 1959.  Then introducing the new editor, Bryan handed over to Don.

Don said how he became interested in amateur radio and began writing amateur radio articles on HF. including items for CDXC Digest, Amateur Radio Today and Ham radio magazine, which he enjoyed doing.

PW, along with the other many “Practical” magazines was moved to Bournemouth and when the publishers decided to close down these magazines, a management buyout took over PW (and Falconers). A very small staff for artwork, advertising, and editorial is all that is left.

Rob Mannion was employed by the new publishers and when he retired last year, Don Field took over on a freelance basis. He found this much harder than writing articles, as he was always under pressure to meet deadlines, to live within budgets, please the advertisers, increase the circulation, cope with the many reader’s view on what the magazine should be. As the only radio magazines that is now on sale mainly through W H Smiths – he feels a responsibility to keep the magazine going.

He has started to change the authors from Rob’s time and would like to include more constructional projects, but this seemed to him to be unlikely. All the text and pictures are now sent to him in Word format – no paperwork is involved. As editor it is a time consuming activity but he also has to find time for his family and other activities.

Brian Farey brought a selection of PWs to show how the magazine had changed since the early 30s (first issue in 1932) to the current issue. He also displayed examples of the various free gifts ranging from an early Blueprint to amateur radio data cards.

There was a good attendance, including visitors from nearby clubs.

The evening ended with questions from the members and Victor presented Don with a Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of PW’s significant and historic role in informing, training and entertaining the countless generations of wireless enthusiasts and amateur radio operators since 1932.

L to R, John Burnett, Club Secretary, Don Field, Victor Brand
L to R, John Burnett Club Secretary, Don Field,  and  Victor Brand.    Photos by Paul Bradfield.  text by Brian Farey