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Oldham Amateur Radio Club has two transmitting licenses with the callsigns
G1ORC and G4ORC
and is open to anyone who has an interest in any aspect of Radio
The Club was originally formed by radio enthusiasts in 1936 when members paid a subscription of £5/annum and one shilling per fortnightly meeting. Today members pay £25/annum but the fortnightly charge has been discontinued. Sadly the club was disbanded at the start of the War when the government revoked amateur radio licenses and confiscated the equipment. Most members were called up into the services anyway. Those who were unable to serve in the forces were enlisted as "listeners" and all transmissions they heard were passed on to the authorities for examination. After the War it was another 30 years before the club was reformed in a pub where local radio amateurs met each Thursday for a natter and a beer.
Today the Club has approximately 80 members ranging in age from 11 to 83. With such a high volume membership we are one of the largest Amateur Radio Clubs in Great Britain. Within the club several members have formed an active contesting group which takes part in several of the many contests occurring throughout the year. The group have been particularly successful in the "Practical Wireless Magazine Low Power Contest" by being placed in the top four for many years running and eventually winning in 1998. Their successes and disappointments can be seen by clicking on "Contests" above.
Our Club Journal "Old Hams News" is distributed free of charge to all members on a quarterly basis. It has grown from a single sheet of A4 to a document sometimes comprising 20 pages. In year 2000 it was entered in the Practical Wireless, Kenwood, Club Spotlight Magazine Competition where it won the Local Clubs Category. An edited version of Old Hams News can be seen by clicking on the "Journal" link, above. A photograph of our editor receiving the Trophy can also be found there.
Members also take part in several "Special Event" stations each year for various groups in the Oldham area. For example "Thinking Day on the Air" for the town's Girl Guide and Brownie Packs. Special licenses with unique callsigns are obtained for these occasions. The photographs on the left and below show club members operating a special event station in Oldham Library and are reproduced here with the kind permission of the Oldham Evening Chronicle
Oldham Amateur Radio Club was one of the first clubs in Great Britain to attain the status of being a registered City & Guilds Examination Centre, making it possible for members and non members to sit both the Radio Amateurs and the Intermediate Radio Amateurs Examinations at the Club. Training courses to prepare candidates for these Exams are available at the Club along with Morse Code tuition. Sadly this activity had to be suspended due to an enforced change of premises in 2000. When we found our new permanent home at Royton Air Training Corps our City & Guilds registration was renewed and normal service in this area was resumed. We are also a registered RSGB Satellite Examination Centre and we were well prepared for the new examination and licensing system which has come into place after the City & Guilds ceased administration of the Radio Amateurs Examinations in December 2003. (For details click on "Licensing" above).
For many years the Club held one of the largest Rallies in the North of England where various hobby related traders come to display and purvey their goods. Other groups within the hobby were also given a platform at the Rally to both publicize their aims and give advice on some of the specialist activities which are available. Unfortunately interest in Rallies has waned considerably and due to lack of trader support the rally had to be abandoned.
In 2000, after almost 20 happy years at Moorside Conservative Club we had to move. The "Con" club had run into severe financial difficulties and went into administration. Despite attempts to save it, the "Con" club eventually had to close down and we had to move. We set up a temporary home in a nearby hotel but this was very limiting as we couldn't set up any equipment and "play radio" from there. Towards the end of 2000 we approached Royton Air Training Corps to see if they could tolerate a bunch of eccentric knob twiddlers. They welcomed us with open arms. As time has passed since then our presence at Royton ATC has grown. We have become more integrated on the site and we now have our own premises which were paid for by the fund raising efforts of our membership and our antenna farm is growing like weeds.
Our association with Royton Air Training Corps has been very beneficial for both ourselves and the ATC. Some cadets have taken our training courses and passed the exams. This has given them a distinct advantage in their possible future careers in the RAF.
Looking to the future we intend to continually develop and improve our facilities, not only as a training centre, but as an organization ready to cope with the ever changing challenges and technologies of our hobby.