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Clubs, Groups and Societies For discussions about various clubs, groups and societies relating to our hobbies, such as the BVWS (incl NVCF), BATC, RSGB, APTS, CLPGS, THG, TCC etc. This is NOT an official forum for any of these organisations.

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Old 24th Oct 2020, 8:16 am   #1
M0FYA Andy
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Default Duxford Radio Society.

Split from this thread:-

https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...d.php?t=172281



Quote:
Originally Posted by trh01uk View Post

IWM for instance farms all the "electronic stuff" out to the Duxford Radio Society.


Richard
Richard,
Not any more! The IWM have decided in their infinite wisdom that the Radio Group are no longer needed and have given them notice to move everything off-site. They are currently looking for a new home.
Quite appalling.

Andy

Last edited by Cobaltblue; 24th Oct 2020 at 8:48 am. Reason: Fix quote
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Old 24th Oct 2020, 9:04 am   #2
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Default Re: Duxford Radio Society.

Quote:
Originally Posted by M0FYA Andy View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by trh01uk View Post

IWM for instance farms all the "electronic stuff" out to the Duxford Radio Society.


Richard
Richard,
Not any more! The IWM have decided in their infinite wisdom that the Radio Group are no longer needed and have given them notice to move everything off-site. They are currently looking for a new home.
Quite appalling.

Andy


I always liked popping in to see the radio club there when I visit Duxford.

Are Duxford getting shot of both the radio rooms? (the two opposite each other).
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Old 24th Oct 2020, 10:02 am   #3
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Default Re: Duxford Radio Society.

This website covers the situation regarding the Duxford Radio Society/Trust -

https://sites.google.com/view/new-drt-v5/home

Andy
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Old 24th Oct 2020, 10:50 am   #4
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Default Re: Duxford Radio Society.

After quick read of that link you provided Andy, it sounds to me like a similar situation is developing here as happened at Bletchley Park. There is the snazzy commercial side of the operation, which no doubt makes lots of money and keeps visits "entertained". It no doubt does a good job of the social history side of the Bletchley Park operation - that's the stuff the "ordinary bod" who wanders in off the street can easily access and understand.

Then there is the serious side, the National Computing Museum, which runs on a shoestring and does the serious historical research into equipment. And a quite remarkable job they have made of it with the reconstructed Colossus and Bombe to show fully working. The trouble with this is of course that the ordinary public can't be persuaded to part with much money to take this kind of thing on board. Its all to abstruse, too difficult, too "head taxing" for someone who is challenged by operating their (modern) TV.

I've struggled with overcoming this problem for a very long time, and various guises, and never yet found any solution to it. The only possible way forward is to get groups of people who are interested to band together, to co-operate and find the funding etc, etc. That has proven seriously difficult - actually impossible from my limited experience. And I suspect the Duxford Radio Group only succeeded where others failed because they had a huge leg up from the IWM in the form of free premises, free electricity, and so on. All other big museums I've looked out sooner or later fall by the wayside because they cannot find a sustainable financial model that outlasts the enthusiasm of a particular (usually small) group of volunteers.


Richard

P.S. I wonder if Phil Judkins will pick this up, and help them? Seems to me that one possible group that might step in is MRATHS at Malvern, possibly with Phil's facilitation. Trouble is that both Phil and I are "persona non grata" at Duxford Radio Society......
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Old 24th Oct 2020, 11:01 am   #5
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Default Re: Duxford Radio Society.

Echo's of what happened at Bletchley Park - disgraceful attitude by IWM. I sincerely hope DRT can find a new base to continue to inform and educate on the history of communications and the important role it played in WW2.

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Old 24th Oct 2020, 11:24 am   #6
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Default Re: Duxford Radio Society.

These on-site units won't have been costing them very much at all, relatively speaking. Disgracefully short-sighted and ill-informed decision. Now such decisions can be hooked onto the international situation unfortunately.
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Old 24th Oct 2020, 12:12 pm   #7
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Default Re: Duxford Radio Society.

Reading the DRS post more carefully I suspect the heart of the problem is captured in the paragraph starting:

"The most difficult aspect of the IWM contract requirements was for DRT to provide 10M public and 10M product liability insurance protection to IWM. "

and then the following paragraph starting:

"However, on 13 July 2020, the trustees were advised that despite finally obtaining the IWM required insurance cover, it was too late, there was no place for DRT at IWM Duxford and no agreement would be made for DRT to remain there. "


From long experience of being a trustee and committee member of a variety of bodies, I would say that some trustees are terminally allergic to taking any risk whatsoever, however tiny and however carefully it can be managed. They just say "NO".

I suspect cross words have occurred here, and the people with the power, the IWM Trustees, have just said "**** it, lets just be rid of them (the DRS)".

And behind that, is an attitude which I pick up from the IWM that electronics/radio etc is of no importance to their statutory duty to collect, display and educate the public about the military, wars, etc. My understanding of WWII is that electronics was absolutely key to winning it - but this is a point that apparently escapes the powers-that-be at the IWM.


Richard

Last edited by AC/HL; 24th Oct 2020 at 4:42 pm. Reason: Forum covid rules
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Old 24th Oct 2020, 12:28 pm   #8
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Default Re: Duxford Radio Society.

This is quite horrible really. This is the sort of thing that should be ancillary to Bletchley and TNMOC and properly funded. I noticed that TNMOC had to run a gofundme just to get budget recently (I did contribute). Alas we mostly seem to only push investment into big wow museums which actually aren’t that impressive (science museum I’m looking at you)
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Old 25th Oct 2020, 4:11 pm   #9
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Default Re: Duxford Radio Society.

Surely if the radio club and/or members were enrolled as members of a Duxford volunteers renovation group all would be ok regarding the legal / insurance side?
Many years ago, our radio club enrolled for free quite a few air cadets. They were very helpful at rallies!

On another note, prior to and during WW2 where did most of the new intake of wireless ops, radio and radar mechanics come from? Quite a few were used as teachers as well.
Then there was "The Early Birds" who went to France before it fell to help setup comms. G2BQC a local was one of them. The RSGB handbook famously became part of the training material for the services. Loads more were revised and reprinted to keep pace with the demand from the services. It turned out to be a huge number of books printed. Then their was the supplement. The Vade Mecum makes very interesting reading with various problems and solutions that might be found in a strange country during war.
These handbooks helped out considerably with RSGB finances.

Duxford really needs reminding of Radio Amateurs place within the history of a lot of items that they are curators of.

These days, it is all too easy to forget the contribution of Amateur Radio in the Nation's history. From very early pioneers to East Coast floods and more. RAYNET was also formed for emergency assistance.

The attitude these days seems to be:
Radio Amateurs? Aren't those the idiots that mess up tv reception, hifi and car alarms? What use are they?

Rob
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Old 25th Oct 2020, 6:19 pm   #10
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Default Re: Duxford Radio Society.

Well we're not that much use to be honest in 2020. Well not yet.

But for historical purposes, yes you're right and we should be preserving that history.
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Old 26th Oct 2020, 8:51 am   #11
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Default Re: Duxford Radio Society.

While not disagreeing with you about the role amateurs played in WWII, I don't see that as the major contribution that the DRS has made. Sure, they have a radio amateur station, but that is one of many things they are offering, and certainly not where they appear to excel. Furthermore, "exhibition" amateur stations can be found in many places, and if they really have fallen out with the IWM over "amateur radio", then they probably deserve the trouble they are now in. They could have entirely ditched the amateur radio side and still had a very unique and very important offering, which the IWM should be desperate to keep.

I refer to many of the exhibits shown on the page earlier referred to. Things like "a working Monica tail warning radar", or a "Working WW2 RAF 'Gee' airborne navigation receiver", or a "working RAF H2S ground-mapping radar". If these claims are true (and I have never been to Duxford to see for myself), then these exhibits are unique, and GEE and H2S were some of most remarkable inventions of WWII, which should be celebrated as such. If the IWM trustees can't see the value of these, then they are really not fit to be in that position!


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Old 26th Oct 2020, 8:57 am   #12
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Default Re: Duxford Radio Society.

Further questions arise here as to where important donations - such as the "best of the Graeme Winbolt collection" - will now go? Were they gifted to the IWM? I believe so, because one of the directors of the DRS told me a while ago that it would all be locked in vaults for the next 60 years and no-one would be allowed access.......

But those pics the DRS provide suggest that they have unique items - apparently a complete H2S radar for instance. Who owns that I wonder?


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Old 26th Oct 2020, 11:18 am   #13
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Default Re: Duxford Radio Society.

I don't believe DRS have anything approaching a complete H2S, they have an Indicator Unit driven by modern electronics to simulate the wartime display.

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Old 29th Oct 2020, 7:51 am   #14
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Default Re: Duxford Radio Society.

Quote:
Originally Posted by M0FYA Andy View Post
I don't believe DRS have anything approaching a complete H2S, they have an Indicator Unit driven by modern electronics to simulate the wartime display.

Andy
Andy,

you may well be correct. I've never been to DRS in person, and only picked up on what they claimed to have on the webpage that you shared earlier in this thread. As you and I have discussed many times, actually getting an entire H2S "working" is probably near impossible - for one thing multi-kW pulses radiating on the 3GHz bands is not likely to be popular these days, and I suspect Ofcom (and no doubt H & S!) would be on the case rather quickly! So somewhere simulation has to take a major role.

Likewise with their GEE system. That being much simpler I can well imagine they got the airborne side working OK, with the ground stations being simulated. That is vastly easier to do. I do have one of their GEE ground station simulators half-built on the shelves here.

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Old 1st Nov 2020, 3:24 pm   #15
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Default Re: Duxford Radio Society.

My understanding of the situation (from talking to family members who volunteer on site) is that the flagship Airspace hangar needs to come down. This has been condemned due to repeated failures of the roof structure and is to be demolished and replaced by a revenue generating 'Travelodge' -style hotel. The space between the listed hangars and the American Air Museum is to be redeveloped to house the aircraft collection currently in Airspace and this requires the removal of the radio buildings and the Gibraltar gun.
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Old 1st Nov 2020, 9:18 pm   #16
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Default Re: Duxford Radio Society.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HMV 1120 View Post
My understanding of the situation (from talking to family members who volunteer on site) is that the flagship Airspace hangar needs to come down. This has been condemned due to repeated failures of the roof structure and is to be demolished and replaced by a revenue generating 'Travelodge' -style hotel. The space between the listed hangars and the American Air Museum is to be redeveloped to house the aircraft collection currently in Airspace and this requires the removal of the radio buildings and the Gibraltar gun.
That's really bizarre then. Why couldn't the DRS post about all this then just say that? Their post indicates some major falling-out between the IWM and their own charity over "something" to do with conflicts between H&S and radio regs policed by Ofcom. No hint that exhibition space is actually at a premium.

I'm inclined not to believe the above is the whole story. It sounds like a "political gloss" by IWM, who actually have (as far as I understand it) a lot of space at Duxford airfield, and could at least have offered DRS a piece of ground to erect their own building at their own expense. As it is, it appears to me that DRS have been ejected from the site wholesale.


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Old 2nd Nov 2020, 9:49 am   #17
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Default Re: Duxford Radio Society.

That is interesting and maybe we now see the core problem. These things always turn out to be more complex than it looks. But an airfield is not short of space so it is a shame that they could not have been allowed to build their own building - I expect modern crowd-funding could have raised the cash.

I wonder if they are talking to the RAF Henlow folks who also have an uncertain future, and are not so far away? If it were not for the current crisis making most museums non-viable for the next N years, there is a cheap building in Duxford they could maybe have used.

BTW anyone with an H2S system would do well to try to reconstruct the original H2S training simulator, which cleverly used ultrasonics operating at the original IF frequency and operated in a tank for water to accurately model the performance of the microwave part of the system, thereby allowing a tiny scale model of the terrain to be scanned "for real".
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Old 2nd Nov 2020, 11:09 am   #18
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Default Re: Duxford Radio Society.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GMB View Post

BTW anyone with an H2S system would do well to try to reconstruct the original H2S training simulator, which cleverly used ultrasonics operating at the original IF frequency and operated in a tank for water to accurately model the performance of the microwave part of the system, thereby allowing a tiny scale model of the terrain to be scanned "for real".
Have you considered how big and complex that trainer was - it filled a room! I think I'll confine myself to the airborne system!

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Old 2nd Nov 2020, 11:27 am   #19
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Default Re: Duxford Radio Society.

Quote:
Have you considered how big and complex that trainer was - it filled a room!
Yes, but not with the H2S bit I think. I think it included a Link Trainer aircraft simulator! I think the water tank was quite small as the scale factor for ultrasonic vs light is very large.
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Old 4th Nov 2020, 7:53 am   #20
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Default Re: Duxford Radio Society.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GMB View Post
BTW anyone with an H2S system would do well to try to reconstruct the original H2S training simulator, which cleverly used ultrasonics operating at the original IF frequency and operated in a tank for water to accurately model the performance of the microwave part of the system, thereby allowing a tiny scale model of the terrain to be scanned "for real".
Quite right. Indeed I think its the only way to go with H2S if you want to demonstrate the system working. And Andy has a friend who got close to constructing one, but apparently balked at the cost of the ultrasonic transducers, which I think operate at 2MHz. They would be specials, and as I vaguely recall would have cost well over 1k each some 10 years ago or more.

And further, Andy and I were part of a small organisation that had ownership of a complete H2S - bar the scanner - and looked seriously at making one of these tables. Or rather hoping to find an original still in existence. Frustratingly at least one person - a surplus dealer near Coventry (who's name escapes me right now) - claimed to have had one of these tables, but he left it out in the rain and it was scrapped. Or at least, it never turned up after he died and mountains of his stuff was auctioned off.

Another possible lead would be the very large "cupboards" of the Science Museum, for which access is reportedly near impossible - might just have one still tucked away.......

But the enthusiasm for projects on this scale is very meagre in the UK I think. Its not a project for a lone operator - its needs a group with substantial resources of money, time and expertise - not to mention that "room" that Andy points out would be needed!


Richard
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