Speak to rock stars and royalty over the radio

The equipment at the Sidmouth Amateur Radio Society

The equipment at the Sidmouth Amateur Radio Society - Credit: Archant

The new year is a chance to start ‘a hobby for the 21st century’ and use amateur radio to link with enthusiasts around the world.

Sidmouth Amateur Radio Society (SARS) members use their equipment to chat locally and with friends across the globe, access new digital modes of radio, and connect using Morse code.

But it is something of a lottery, and since forming in 1982, the group has come across the likes of Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh, King Hussein of Jordan and actor Brian Rix – although most contacts are only known by their first name.

Group secretary Dave Lee said: “I was drawn into amateur radio by the desire to make friends worldwide with similar interest to myself. When you call out on the radio it’s similar to a lottery – you never know who or from where you will be answered. Over the years, we have made contact with thousands of other amateurs worldwide, from people sat in the middle of a jungle to a desert island, from ships at sea to airline pilots.”

In contrast to the low-power CB radio, amateur radio requires operators to qualify for licences from communications regulator Ofcom to use a wide range of frequencies.

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SARS has 30 members who meet on Tuesday evenings in the Thorn Golf Centre in Salcombe Regis for talks, discussions and sessions operating equipment.

Anyone with an interest in radio is welcome to go along from 7.30pm for an informal chat, or search on rsgb.org for ‘Amateur radio: a hobby for the 21st Century’ to learn more. SARS is offering a foundation course that will begin later this month.

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