Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bolton and District Amateur Radio Society


From that picture of the "best Club stand" at the Bellevue Rally, from L to
R: Eric G4FSN, Roy G4GHE, Chris G4HYG, Chris G4AGJ and Alban G8NVW.. In the background you can see a photo of myself.

Last Monday I went onto topband to try to work Ross G6GVI using the old G8WY callsign. Also on the band was Bill G3XUM who still operates from his shed in Farnworth. It is a long time since I worked stations on 160m and my antenna is not really suited for this band. I could talk with Bill, but it was difficult and Ross couldn't hear me at all.
I have decided that it may be a good idea to put up a longwire again, it is the Radio Club Contest on the following Saturday, so it is a good time to try one.

After talking with Bill G3XUM, I then moved to 2m and had a long chat with Ross using G8WY. I was able to talk about the old Bolton and District Amateur Radio Society. Very nostagalic!
I have looked through my old photos to find some from the 70's and 80's some of which I have sent to Ross to put on the Bolton Wireless Club website.

Bolton and District Amateur Radio Society and Bury Radio Club joint venture on Rooley Moor for VHF NFD around 1971.

Chris G4AGJ operating G8WY during one of the contests with my Yaesu FT101E.

Saturday, November 03, 2012


In the photo...standing: G4ADW, Jim G8CVO, George G3ZQS, Chris G8FDL, visitor.  Sitting: Steve (me) G4AQB, G3Y??, Bill G3XUM. Neil G3ZPL, Eli G3LVX, Jim G3SPB. this was from 1971. 
This was an exhibition staion organised by George at Moss Bank Park

After my last post about G8WY, it prompted me to think about George, G3ZQS. A search on Google brought some sad news. George died in April 2006, it is only now that I found out. I guess I have been out of touch for a long time. I was pleased to find some photos of George in his later years and also a video on You Tube where he talks about FISTS which is a society that promotes the use of morse on the amateur bands.

I met George before I got my amateur radio licence, the Bolton and District Amateur Radio Society was going through a bad patch around 1970 when the previous committee seemed to have fallen apart and nobody wanted to take the helm. At that time the club was based at The Red Lion pub at Four Lane Ends and needed a new venue. George became secretary of the club and I became assistant secretary (I was only 16 then!) George managed to find another venue in the centre of town at the Clarence Hotel on Bradshawgate. Meetings were held on the first Tuesday in the month and on the 3rd Tuesday was a 'noggin and natter night'. George always had a great sense of humour and put in a huge amount of work to get the club back on it's feet again! During this time lots of special event stations were organised and the club started to buy some equipment. The first of which was a 50 ft aluminium mast and 80m trapped dipole that travelled to all the events.

During this time, I was studying for my radio amateur exam. George was a master of the key! He tought me morse code and had a very easy method of teaching. He grouped the letters into sounds and rhythms. The first letters to learn were A,W,J  then B,D,N and so on... This is put onto tapes and I used the tapes to learn morse. To get my speed up to 20 WPM, George lent me some 78 records with groups of letters and also plain language. I passed my morse test in October 1971 and a week later received my licence. George was at my house when the envelope arrived, when I opened it George shouted "Come on then what is it?"  "G4AQB" I replied. "Ahhh...A Queer Begger ehh!"  said George with his razor sharp wit!

I remember when George bought himself a 'Minimitter' which was huge, he used this for high power CW contacts from his shed when he lived at Bromley Cross. He would sit on it to keep him warm while he worked stations all the world on CW with a broken hacksaw blade as a morse key!
George could send and receive morse like we speak. One weekend we went with the Bury Radio Club to Ashworth Valley for the NFD Contest, which of course is all morse. George was working at the Daily Express in Manchester at the time and didn't finish until midnight. He came straight over.I will never forget when George came into the tent with his slippers on and a crate of brown ales to keep him going through the night! It was truely amazing watching him operate at speeds of  50wpm with his feet up, cigarette in one hand and brown ale at his side.

The club moved premises again to the Recreation Club on St Georges Road, we erected an aerial which ran from the building next door to the roof of the recreation club. During this time George had managed to aquire the G8WY callsign and also persuaded Bolton Council to print some QSL cards for us. We waited months for these cards...when they finally a van turned up with boxes and boxes of QSL cards...over 10,000!  I still have some here!

Lots of memories, George was also very talented at graphic design, he designed QSL cards and had them printed. He also designed a wonderful poster that was put up in shops and public places to advertise the club. I still remember the one on the door of M Dzubias shop on Bradshawgate.

The last time I saw George was at the Bolton Rally at Silverwell St. where he had a stand to promote FISTS....a long time ago. George moved to Darwen and concentrated on the FISTS project, he rarely came on the air with AM or SSB.

George was a great guy, a sad loss to amateur radio.

Here is the You Tube video of George G3ZQS: