A century on the airwaves: Sheffield Wireless Society marks 100th anniversary

It's pretty safe to say that methods of communication and technology have changed a little over the last 100 years.

Tuesday, 4th June 2019, 9:56 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th June 2019, 5:50 pm
Sheffield Wireless Society celebrate their 100th anniversary. Krystyna Haywood calling out across the airwaves. Picture: Dean Atkins

There seems to be a new feature on mobile phones every day as tech gurus come up with new, quicker and easier ways for us to communicate every day.

But none of their work would be possible without the efforts of amateur radio enthusiasts who have experimented with different wireless methods of speaking to people around the world.

And it has certainly stood the test of time locally, as the Sheffield and District Wireless Radio Society is celebrating 100 years in the city.

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Sheffield Wireless Society celebrate their 100th anniversary. Dave Shaw and David Wright with some of the digital equipment. Picture: Dean Atkins

David Hayes, one of the group’s members, said: “I think it’s a tremendous achievement but it’s also very important to encourage young people.

“We have got people involved from the age of four to 80 and some of the radio work links to the national curriculum so it’s great for them to be involved.

“Mobile phones seem to have changed a lot about how everyone communicates but radio technology is developing all the time as well.”

Sheffield and District Wireless Society was founded a century ago to promote amateur radio across the city.

In 2010, some of of the group set up a shortwave radio station at the Ringinglow Guide Camp in western Sheffield. This girl was able to speak with a Russian amateur radio operator and let him know what it was like to be in the UK for the International Guide Camp.

It marked its anniversary by holding a stall at Heeley Festival last weekend.

Youngsters got a hands-on experience of amateur radio, as the society had set up two temporary radio stations and aerials to broadcast from the festival, held at Heeley City Farm.

David said: “With amateur radio you can literally communicate with people anywhere in the world and beyond now as well.

“For example, one of our former members is in the Algarve and he uses amateur radio to keep in touch with his friends in Sheffield.”

Lauren and Kevin Richardson

As part of the celebrations, the group also hope to hold events at Kelham Island in the autumn as well as in Hillsborough Park.

Members meet regularly at the Rutland Hotel and David said new members were ‘always welcome’.

Well-known amateur radio enthusiasts include astronauts Helen Sharman – who grew up in Grenoside – and Tim Peake.

For more information visit www.sheffieldwireless.org or search for ‘Sheffield and District Wireless Society’ on Facebook.

Philip Bagshaw demonstrating a homemade amateur microwave transmitter-receiver to a couple of visitors at the annual Finningley Microwave convention.