I am exploring the origins, present and future of amateur radio - UK and worldwide. Please do your bit!

This will remain work in progress - all ideas & suggestions welcome.

Welcome to G8CYK's
Big Project
Mountaineering with wireless

Exploring what motivates and drives the hobby forward ...

... new antennas don't invent themselves.
In the beginning...

All Radio Amateurs made it up as they went along - there was no ICOM, Yaesu, Kenwood or Elecraft. There we few rules, and the use of "shortwave" was pretty much entirely pioneered and proved by amateurs. Professional broadcasters (including Marconi) only believed there was value in frequencies below 2MHz.  Most early amateurs were also involved professionally and had access to the key equipment components that were used widely in all radios at the time. Radiograms provided a handy source of power supplies and many of the vales were repurposed in transmitters. World War one provided a huge boost to the wireless industry and large numbers of sets were available as  "surplus" after 1918 - and the commercial broadcasting business took off through the twenties in the USA, UK and rest of the world.

I started this project by saying that "Amateur Radio is the same hobby as fishing... and I will now modify that: there are aspects that are also nearly the same hobby as mountain climbing... we (hams) do things that most outside the hobby would regards as pointless, simply for the challenge - and the opportunity for achievement and fulfilment; and sometimes we also do it roped together in teams. 

While mountain climbing is a selfish and ultimately pointless pursuit for personal challenge and testing the boundaries of endurance in most cases, the technical side of amateur radio - creating better rods and tackle away from the fishing grounds - is a purposeful pursuit for personal challenge and satisfaction. Hams won't fall in crevices, but 4000v can add the spice of danger...

I need your help with this section of the site please ... especially from those who carped that I was taking liberties describing ham radio as nothing more fishing in the dry and warm. I want you to help identify and celebrate the many pioneers of amateurs radio who have scaled the heights - people like Louis Varney of the ubiquitous G5RV antenna, and all those others whose names and/or call signs have become legendary in the hobby.


From the beginning in the 1920s up to the 70s all radio amateurs built a large proportion of their own equipment - not least because there very little "off the shelf" altenative.


The pioneering spirit...

The legendary Dave Strobel G0EVY and his full size 4 element beam for 80m in Bromsgrove is a perfect example of going the extra mile and ending up in contention for a week at the Priory.

This monster is lifted and rotated by a 30 ton crane, and when it's on the ground Dave gets round on a quad bike, not on foot.

enable many European amateurs to come along for the ride and get their first transatlantic contacts on 80m











Bob Tokley, G4MDB, one of Chelmsford's many Marconi alumini