Oxford University Radio Society - The Early Years

This page contains memories and references to amateur radio at Oxford before my own time at the University. At present the data is very scant and is based on contributions from John Marshall G3RKH and Ian White GM3SEK, and from a trawl of the web for any other relevant references.

The Pre-War Years - Oxford University Wireless Society, G3MM

An amateur radio society is known to have existed at Oxford University in the 1930's, under the name of Oxford University Wireless Society. John G3RKH reports that John Burtt G4AB was a key member at that time. John also has a copy of the 1938/39 Call Book where the society is listed as having the call sign G3MM. Ian GM3SEK has pointed out that the G3xx series of call signs was only issued in 1937/38, so the society could only have held this call sign for a short period. (All transmitting licences were withdrawn during WW2.)

An on-line catalogue of the papers and correspondence of the radio astronomer Sir Martin Ryle, FRS (1918-1984) is provided by the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists at http://www.bath.ac.uk/ncuacs/AHRC%20pdf/Ryle.pdf under the NCUACS catalogue number 176/7/09 and contains details of material deposited at the Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge under the reference: GB 0014 RYLE. An item in this reports that: "Ryle was an enthusiastic amateur radio ‘ham’ in the 1930s with the call sign G3CY. As an undergraduate he was a leading member of the Oxford University Wireless Society (call sign G3MM)."

If anyone reading this has access to the Churchill Archives Centre and could see if there is more detail there relating to OUWS and G3MM, I would be delighted to hear from you!

Memories from 1961-1965

John Marshall G3RKH was up at Worcester College between 1961 and 1965 and has supplied these memories of that period: " I used to operate the station in Magdalen Gatehouse in the period 1962-1964. I got my own call in September 1962, and there was very little prospect of operation from college rooms (subterranean, in Worcester Pump Quad). So I got myself added to the operators list, and used to fire up the rig on 40 CW. The receiver was a pre-war Hammarlund Super-Pro, which wasn't at all bad. I was used to the vintage stuff, as I used a HRO at home. Graeme Gemmill was another Worcester member of OURS: I saw his BRS number recently in the 50 years section of RadCom. Oddly, one of the relief porters at Worcester in this period held a callsign, I think it was G3HIQ. His name was Ben Canning."

"I wasn't a member of OURS in my first year. Though quite a number of old school contemporaries who were at Oxford had calls, they seemed not to be involved at all. I joined when I had received my call (September 1962). My school contemporaries were John Stott (Univ) G3MAB, David Noble (Pembroke) G3MAW, and Bruce Fleming (Lincoln, I think actually Corpus Christi, see below) G3NDG, now KI7VR. I do recall that at the Freshers Fair in my first year, GC3LPV was on the OURS stand, and there was a further G3L-- (Guy?) whom I remember vaguely."

Bruce Fleming formerly G3NDG, now KI7VR, has written to say he was at Corpus Christi College, not Lincoln. He writes:
"I don't think I ever joined OURS, although I did visit the station (somewhere). I was so taken with all the amazing opportunities that Oxford offered that I thought I could leave Ham radio operating until later in life. And I did exactly that."

"I remember G3MAB and G3MAW well -- they came form the same Grammar school in Bradford. I don't know where they are now."

"I am still active -- almost entirely CW on HF. My favorite trick is to work Europe via LP on 40m during fall/winter. I have almost daily QSOs with G3FPQ via this route from Oct. to Feb. Now that the sunspots are back I have to gear up my station to run on 20m/17m/10m going the short way round to England."


Many thanks to John, Ian and Bruce for these contributions to the web site. Has anyone got anything more to add?

Copyright © Alan Simpson, 2010-2011 Back to the OURS Index Last Updated 2011-03-07