A good turnout came to hear Donard, M0KRK tell of the history of under sea cables and the part James Graves played in their success. It appeared from the start that Donard knew more history of the man than expected, then he told how he was a descendant of James through his wife’s family. As a result, he had access to a very large pile of James’ technical papers.
Donard explained that in the early days of undersea cable, little was knows about the problems about to be faced. It was a completely different story from over land cables, A quick search will show there were many highly skilled and educated men working on the project, which in the end produced a result, overtaken only by the use of long range radio. Having said that, undersea fibre optic cables now carry gigabits of internet information around the clock
The evening started with an introduction to the Centre from Martyn G0GMB in the reception area. The Centre reception has been sympathetically designed to fit in with the main theme of Bletchley Park and the work done during the war. There are HRO, AR 88 and special SOE transmitters. Other items on display include letters to members of the VI from the RSS telling them what frequencies they need to monitor, so very much in keeping with the WW2 theme.
Tea, Coffee and biscuits were provided and served by Carmen so we were all refreshed ready for the tour.
As you work your way through the centre you are presented with different displays outlining the development of radio with images of inventors and scientist associated with radio as well as some of the equipment they would have used at that time.
After this corridor of history you have working displays on how some of the main principles of communications work. This area enables visitors to get hands on and experience some of the methods used in radio.
As you work your way round the centre you can not help hear the sounds from the GB3RS station, which uses several different pieces of equipment from some of the main manufacturers who have donated a lot of the systems.
The volunteer operators helping out this evening were Brian, Eric and Tony, who managed to answer most of the questions from our members on the equipment the modes used and the various screens showing where signals were coming from. There was some interest in the FT8 mode, which seemed to be receiving many signals from Europe and elsewhere.
Lots of the systems were computer controlled and everything was on large screen displays showing the grey line map of the world and locations of incoming signals. The station was very well set-up and we all managed to get a chance to see how some of the systems worked.
The evening ended with the club’s usual round of applause and thanks to all the volunteers for their hard work and for giving up their time for our visit.
Martyn said that the Centre relies on volunteers and if anybody was interested to contact the RSGB web site for information.