Walter Farrar G3ESP Silent Key
In 1949 Walter Farrar G3ESP, put an invitation in Short Wave Magazine for local people with an interest in radio to attend a meeting at the Swan With Two Necks public house on Westgate Wakefield. It is from this meeting that Wakefield & District Radio Society was established and meetings were solely for discussion and exchange of ideas as the private room at the venue had no radio facilities.
In the early 1950’s the Society moved to Hawbrook House in Providence Street, again this was one small room, with a locker. We were still unable to store equipment or erect any aerials. About 14 members attended the meetings, amongst them were. Walter G3ESP, Walter G8PBE, Frank G3FTV, Jack Booth G3DMP, Cliff G2AQN (whom we visited at his home in Scarborough a few years ago) and Edwin Wilby G3RZX.
Sadly, by the mid 50’s the main-stays of the WDRS had moved on, and the society was abandoned for a number of years.Just into the 60’s a few amateurs including Peter Avil, a teacher at Ings Road School re-established WDRS at the school, both Ken G3SPX, and Granville G3OAR were members at this time.
By 1967 newer members were running the society, Peter Avil had left, and the club moved to Zetland Street, Wakefield where there were still no facilities for aerials & equipment. New members included Ernest G3VDR, Ray Price G3VTD, Bob Firth G3WWF and Dave Lockwood G8FSO (now G4CLI).
In 1968 WDRS returned to Ings Road School, where antennas were at last erected, and now on the scene were Trevor G4AAU, and Martin G3ZXZ.
The 1970’s saw yet a further move, this time to Holmfield House, in Thornes Park, Wakefield. Permission was given to install a long wire antenna and an equipment cupboard was put in an upstairs room, also drinks were available from the downstairs bar. Talks, demonstrations, and radio operating were all now possible. New members included Rick Sterry G4BLT, Richard G4FBA, Gordon now G0ISJ, Steve G4CPC, and Rae Firth G4JMT. Unfortunately Holmfield House was refurbished, and decorated, hence our rent was increased beyond the modest means of the Society.
This brings us to the 1980’s. The next move from the park was to Ossett Community Centre, with the help of Ken G1FOC, John G4VRY, Jack G4RBY, Barrie G0OVW, John G0MJZ, John Bailes, Arthur G0MMK, and many more who came along. Funds were extremely low, but the decision was taken to meet weekly, instead of fortnightly as we had done for so long, this was a roaring success, and we even published our own magazine QSU to prove it!
In 2008/9, the rent was hiked again, and, under the stewardship of the chairman, Ken Quinn then 2E0SSQ, now G8FSO the society cemented its relationship with the 23rd Wakefield Scout Group by accepting an invitation to join them in their headquarters behind 253, Barnsley Road, Wakefield, WF1 5NU where we were to have a purpose-built shack and would provide MUCH better access than we had at the Community Centre.
The society still goes from strength to strength today; we have a mobile shack and mobile lattice tower that can incorporate all our equipment for field days and special activations. We have an ongoing training program, helping to bring new blood into the hobby and we are in the process of arranging days out to various places of interest.
The society also hosted the Northern Cross rally, but due to unforeseen circumstances we have not been able to hold this event for the last couple of years; however, plans are afoot for a re-launch in the near future.
The society meets every Friday evening at HQ from 1900 hours and some Saturday afternoons from 1200 hours; so please give us a call or drop in for a chat anytime.
73 The W&DRS Committee and Membership.
G3ESP, G1WRS, G3WRS & MB7IWR