GB3RS operating from National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park, near Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK3 6DS is an absolute must!
The park was the centre of our WW2 code breaking activity where many ‘secret’ heros strived to decrypt enemy messages and it is estimated saved many millions of lives by shortening the war by two years. The non-military spin off from mathematician Alan Turing and his colleagues was of course the device you are using to read this – the computer! Radio was central to their operations being the medium by which most of the messages was being received. So Bletchley Park isn’t just about decrypting the German Enigma machines, the National Museum of Computing and the National Radio Centre which also share the site complement the war time exhibitions brilliantly.
My visit, on 5th June 2015, made it clear to me that I couldn’t see everything in one day. My career has been in Computing for 35 years, beginning in 1980, and being a chartered member of the British Computer Society I will return to see the National Museum of Computing next time I visit.
The National Radio Centre, run by volunteers from the Radio Society of Great Britain, is perfectly sized for a visit by radio amateurs and general public alike. I’m much indebted to Trevor G4WKJ for being a perfect host and demonstrating communications from the 100mm cube which is the Fun Cube satellite making a close pass while I was there.
The bands were in very poor shape generally but I was privileged to be allowed to operate and work a portable station in Normandy operated by Xavier F/ON6JUN/P on 40m at 12:15 UTC. The station currently has a Yaesu FTdx5000 transceiver with a rotatable SteppIR – excellent equipment although quite complex to operate. Luckily with some experience on a FT-2000 previously I had a clue about how to operate it.
The NRC has many interesting exhibits and its good to see encouraging and accessible construction kits on display from Tim Walford’s designs at Walford Electronics. The one below is an AM transmitter and appears to be the same one I built in 2012 named The Cam.