RSGB Marks Its Centenary On and Off the Air
The Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) turns 100 this year. The IARU member-society represents Amateur Radio in the UK. The big day on the celebration calendar is July 5, Centenary Day, the anniversary of the Society’s founding. On that day Queen Elizabeth II’s Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, will represent the crown at Bletchley Park — famous for its secret World War II code-breaking activities — for the unveiling of a commemorative plaque. The RSGB’s patron, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, is recovering from surgery and will be unable to attend. A Centenary dinner will follow. ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, says the ARRL appreciates the importance of having strong national Amateur Radio societies around the world.
“Every country needs a tireless advocate for Amateur Radio within its own boundaries, such as the ARRL in the US and the RSGB in the United Kingdom,” she said. “No single Amateur Radio society can mount the kind of advocacy effort necessary at the international level to protect and advance the interests of Amateur Radio. However, working together under the auspices of the International Amateur Radio Union, the ARRL, the RSGB, and other national societies have been able to achieve positive outcomes for Amateur Radio worldwide. This has been true in the first century of the ARRL and the RSGB and will continue as our two organizations begin a second century of service to Amateur Radio and our members.”
RSGB President Graham Coomber, GØNBI, spoke on “100 Years of International Cooperation” at Dayton Hamvention® in May. Chris Duckling, G3SVL, is scheduled to deliver an RSGB Centenary presentation June 29 at the DARC HAM RADIO exhibition in Friedrichshafen, Germany. The RSGB’s Centenary Convention takes place October 11-13, near Milton Keynes, preceded by a national hamfest in late September. Formerly known as the HF Convention, the event will feature talks on DXpeditions and contesting, and DXCC card checking will be available.
The RSGB began as the London Wireless Club, established in 1913, a year before the ARRL got its start as an offshoot of the Hartford Radio Club. The London club’s first meeting of “interested parties” took place July 5, 1913, and by the end of its first year the club boasted more than 150 members. Today the RSGB has some 20,000 members.
On the Air
Special event call sign Gx100RSGB, where the x is replaced by the appropriate secondary station locator — M, W, I, D, U and J, for example — has been on the air since January 1. UK stations can compete for a Centenary Award by working the special events. The UK’s regulatory agency Ofcom has approved special prefixes GV, MV and 2V from July 5 through July 31. Individual licensees must apply to Ofcom for permission (Notice of Variation) to use them. Prefixes are replaced as follows:
· 2D, 2E, 2G, 2I, 2J, 2M, 2U, 2W = 2V prefix
· G, GD, GI, GJ, GM, GU, GW = GV prefix
· M, MD, MI, MJ, MM, MU, MW = MV prefix
Although there are exceptions, most Centenary prefixes do not clearly identify the DXCC entity. Visit the Clublog website of 5B4AHJ for more information.
A Centenary construction — or “homebrewing” — competition with publication of the winners’ completed projects in RadCom, the RSGB’s membership journal, is among other Centenary celebration activities. The Society is encouraging individual clubs to arrange barbecues and “fun events” on July 6, with participants linked by SSB operation centered on 144.25 MHz or FM operation on 144.50 MHz and nearby simplex channels. To involve local clubs, the RSGB commissioned a portable “RSGB Wall of History” display that groups can borrow for meetings and public events.
Looking forward, the Society said in a statement on its website, “Amateur Radio today is as relevant and vibrant as it has ever been, but we face new challenges, such as encouraging new entrants, combating new sources of interference and ensuring that our voice is heard and understood, as pressure on the radio spectrum increases. The RSGB takes very seriously its responsibility to work with partners around the world in providing leadership to safeguard and develop Amateur Radio over the next 100 years.”