If you have recently visited the Radio Society of Great Britain’s National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park you will have noticed two new radio additions. Icom has provided the IC-7300 SDR Transceiver and IC-9700 SDR Transceiver to the centre to allow it to promote amateur radio with the latest cutting edge Icom radio technology.
The National Radio Centre (NRC) which opened in 2012 has a primary goal to promote amateur radio as an integrated technical hobby and encourage people to become radio amateurs. Its other remit is to help increase awareness of the hobby so that (for example) neighbours might be more informed when a planning application or EMC issue arises. On a broader level, the centre plans to demonstrate that amateur radio can be part of a wider STEM application and that a career in engineering (particularly radio communication engineering) is very worthwhile.
The NRC has been immensely successful. In 2017 it welcomed 23,000 visitors and this increased in 2018 to more than 55,000 visitors. Year to date in 2019 (end of September) the centre has introduced just over 80,000 visitors to see amateur radio in action.
Icom UK has supplied two of its latest SDR radios to the centre in addition to the GB7BP D-STAR repeater that is situated onsite. The IC-7300 HF/50/70MHz SDR Transceiver is being used (with TX disabled) for visitors to tune around the amateur bands, giving practical hands-on experience of using a high-grade modern SDR transceiver. The IC-9700 is the NRC’s flagship VHF/UHF transceiver for 2m / 70cm operation, running CW / SSB / FM simplex and D-STAR digital Amateur radio.
The main benefits of having the latest Icom SDR radios at the centre:
• Ease of use and small physical footprint – nicely accommodated on the radio bench
• Huge range of bands available in just two radios (IC-7300 / IC-9700)
• Ability to demonstrate/run several radios simultaneously when the radio room is busy with different groups of visitors
• The opportunity to run D-STAR repeater QSOs, which previously the NRC was unable to demonstrate to visitors
The addition of these radios also allows the RSGB, through the NRC, to demonstrate many exciting aspects of amateur radio to its visitors and inspire:
• Existing amateurs to try new aspects of the hobby
• Amateurs whose license has lapsed to get active again and back on the bands
• People into the technical hobby by using some of the latest technology available commercially on the amateur market
Martyn Baker (G0GMB), RSGB National Radio Centre Coordinator, said, ‘Both the RSGB, and in particular the NRC, are most appreciative of both the IC-7300 & IC-9700, as, without them, it would be much harder to inspire visitors and potentially recruit new interest in amateur radio.’
To find out more about the National Radio Centre visit www.rsgb.org/nrc.
If you are a member of the RSGB, don’t forget you can get free entry to Bletchley Park and the NRC by downloading a voucher at:www.rsgb.org/bpvoucher.
To find out more about these radios visit the Amateur radio Base Stationsection of the Icom website.