Shropshire Star

Radio hams encourage youngsters to join

Amateur radio enthusiasts gave young people the chance to get off their phones and games consuls and find out how they can communicate with other people over the airwaves, with something as simple as a piece of wood and coat-hangers.

Paul Bowen and his son Matthew learn the ropes with John Humphreys

The Wellington YOTA - Youngsters on the Air event, saw young people talking to others from across the world, all under expert supervision.

It was one of the events organised by Telford and District Amateur Radio Society to help attract younger people to the world of 'ham' radio.

The technology and communications activity day was held yesterday in the Wellington Scout Hut.

Organisers said it was aimed at the current generation of tech-mad children.

The Wellington YOTA event – which was part of a global project – included a live radio station where those who dropped in were able to speak to other youngsters around the world taking part. Italy, Poland, Morocco and the Canary Islands were among the places the station contacted.

It transmitted on a special event radio station, GB18YOTA.

Volunteers also showed how people can use light beams to communicate with others, use hand-held radio to send signals up to satellites to speak all over the world and even build their own television station.


David Holman who has the call sign M0 YDH, has taken two years to build the station, which can be transported in the back of a car and set up anywhere.

"The furthest we have been able to transmit is from the Long Mynd to Winter Hill in Lancashire," he said.

Martyn Vincent, G3 UKV said the idea was to show the amateur radio hobby to young people.

"In these days of digital, people are very much consumers of the airwaves but we want to show people how they can have their own amateur radio with something as simply as wooden dowels, coat-hangers, a licence and a very inexpensive radio."

John Cariss showed visitors how amateur radio enthusiasts could harness the power of satellites and even get in touch with the International Space Station.

"When Briton, Tim Peake, was on the space station we held lots of events when young people were able to listen in to him and even ask questions," he said.

Mr Vincent said that many people who became involved in amateur radio went on to make careers of the skills that their learned.

But the volunteers said it was also about much more.

"You make some wonderful friends, some face-to-face and some from across the world that you speak to and may never meet," Martin Tromans, 2EO TRO, said.

The Telford and District Amateur Radio Society meetings each week at Little Wenlock Village Hall.

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