More than just a Ham radio blog.
is an informative, cynical and sometimes humorous look at what is happening in the world of amateur radio.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

RSGB National Amateur Radio Centre (The Big Green Shed)

Are you a member of the Radio Society of Great Britain? Wondering where you subscriptions are going? Well you may be glad to know not all of it has been fiddled on unauthorised expenses or gone to pay off the interest on the ex-general manager's credit card bill. No some of it has been poured in to what appears to be a money pit called the RSGB National Amateur Radio Centre. From what I gather the story goes something like this... RSGB is offered one of the many 'huts' at Bletchley Park in which to establish a National Amateur Radio Centre. The centre would be a show piece for the hobby and offer a great opportunity to introduce the ham radio to the general public. I am sure we would all back the thinking behind this, however after much effort and not a little expenditure it was found that the hut our national society had been offered was 'beyond economical repair'. Not wanting to retreat from their announcements of a wonderful new facility or miss the chance of a foothold in the now legendary Bletchley Park RSGB decided to replace the hut with there own building. Probably because of planning constraints the building had to be in keeping with the style of the surrounding huts, despite the fact that most of them are in such a bad state of repair that they will probably not still be standing in another couple of years. So instead of getting a building for next to nothing or building something more substantial RSGB paid a couple of hundred thousand pounds on a shed. Having seen the building prior to painting  it seems a terrible shame that it had to be painted  that yucky green to match the other huts but we cannot blame RSGB for the vomit inducing colour, however a nice coat of yacht varnish would have gone down a treat. What really gets my goat about this new centre is not the insane price of the 'shed' but the fact that it was scheduled to open in April 2010 and from what I saw through the dusty windows it is still an empty shell twelve months down the line. The money has been spent, there is no going back on that, but for Pete's sake (that is a metaphorical expression, I don't mean Mr Kirby) let's get the place open and start attracting in the visitors to Bletchley Park and maybe some new blood in to the hobby.  Okay I am a little miffed that I planned this trip six months ago and they still had not got it open when I got there, but a lot of us have been asking questions about why it is taking so long. In a more tongue in cheek thought surely the RSGB  would have wanted to have got away from the giving the impression that all radio hams are shed dwellers.


  1. I am sorry to learn of the run-down state of Bletchley Park. Crypto has always been of more than passing interest to me.

    Three great books in my library. Room 40 British Naval Intellegence 1914-1918; Ultra at Sea; and Code Breakers, The Inside Story of Bletchley Park.

    Sorry about the state of your center. I do like the idea of live-radio once again on the site. I presume there will be an Amateur radio station set up there.

    GL es 73 Dick N2UGB/F4WBD

  2. Rumour is that it is to be renamed "The Peter Kirby Memorial Hall".

    Anyway, better than the "NARC".

  3. Once again other peoples money is easier to spend than your own. This white (sorry green) elephant will not attract one single new member. If the RSGB were really serious about attacting new members it should be via the nation wide clubs. The trouble with our society is that the law forebids contact between young and old on a casual basis thus many technical hobbies have gone into decline. Money alone and glossy buildings containing multi thousand pounds worth of equipment and only accessable in the East Midlands, will not change society at large, who have a fear of old men who spend their time in little sheds talking to themselves.
    What the RSGB should do is find new ways of not spending other peoples money. Cut the staff (Volunteers only, the Amateur way), cut the glossy Magazine with crap articles about nothing to do with the science of RADIO, cut the Corperate Image, and cut the subs. Oh and cut carving up the radio spectrum within the Amateur bands as though they owned it because they don't!!!

  4. this shed and the mast that is on sale in Radcom
    Cost £31,000 offer to you £13,500 loss of 56% of our fees and the cost of the shed and up keep could wipe us all out. Plus Kirbys £41,000 and still now word on whats going on with that small problem!!!!!!

  5. http://www.shedblog.co.uk/

    Something missing maybe?

  6. This is a serious problem. Potters Bar was not perfect but at least members could visit and buy books and operate the radio or whatever. We now have a HQ in Bedford closed to members plus a non operational shack with no antenna permission. Mr. Kirby's expenses are minor compared to most MP's but the screwing up of Bedford and MP is a major issue. I hope you will all go to the EGM and vote for the major reform. 9M2FB