u3a - Amateur Radio

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Amateur radio – the first social media

Amateur Radio, sometimes known as ham radio, is a worldwide communications hobby that allows individuals to learn about using transmitting equipment and make contact with other enthusiasts.

Are you an Amateur Radio enthusiast? Would you like to meet people with the same interest to share experiences and support each other in this area?

We want to build a network of associates who share this passion for the hobby and can collaborate and introduce each other to new areas and provide support.

There are a number of links to websites that will offer more information and resources. Please see below.

For more detailed information, assistance and support please use our Contact Form 

Michael Meadows, Amateur Radio Subject Adviser

Callsign G4GUG. 1974 to date.


A little about me from a feature in the Third Age Matters magazine - Summer 2020

I was just 13 when, like most radio enthusiasts of my generation, I started out as a shortwave listener. I would repair old World War II radios and this inspired my natural curiosity in all things scientific, electronic, electrical and mechanical.

I continued reading about electronic and radio techniques, and finally passing the City and Guilds Radio Amateurs examination. Licenced in 1974 as G8IPO upgrading to a full licence G4GUG in 1978. This gave me access to worldwide communication.

Amateur radio is a fun way to learn about radio technology and make friends. It’s both a technical communications hobby and a recreational activity that gives a true sense of personal achievement.

Amateur radio was the world’s first social media – before Facebook or WhatsApp – and it continues in that role today. There are 65,000 radio amateurs in the UK and some three million worldwide.

It has led many into technical careers, including leaders in their fields who have won Nobel Prizes and credit their early interest in amateur radio as a contributing factor to their success.

The amateur radio community includes people experimenting with the latest advanced technologies such as wireless digital communications, software-defined radios and long-distance digital and image transmissions.

Others just enjoy keeping Morse code – the original communications system – on the airwaves and they are as skilled as the earliest wireless telegraphers who began it all in the late 1890s. Some are attracted by the ability not only to generate radio signals and communicate around the world, but also with astronauts on the International Space Station; others bounce signals off the moon or meteor trails, or communicate via satellite.

There are those who like to build their own equipment or experiment with leading-edge technical developments, while others connect a computer to a radio to communicate via a keyboard, or send and receive images and amateur television signals.

For more than a century, people engaged in amateur radio have had to obtain an internationally recognised licence and their own personal radio call sign to operate. In the UK, there is a three-tier licence, with increasing privileges, power limits, modes and frequency allocations.

Examinations to qualify as a licensed radio amateur – from entry-level to the internationally recognised advanced qualification – are conducted by the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB).

You do not require a licence to listen on the Amateur Radio frequencies. You must not pass information on your receptions to a third party.

The RSGB was founded in 1913 as the London Wireless Club and today has more than 20,000 members. I would encourage U3A members who have lapsed or inactive radio licences to consider giving a lecture on this hobby to their local group.

In lockdown conditions, I feel very fortunate to be able to keep in daily contact with the amateur radio community from home.

Worldwide resources for receiving transmissions



Zello Smartphone Application


Social media

Facebook Amateur Radio Group.



Main RSGB Website


Essex Ham Main Website.


South Gate Radio Club.


Swindon and District Radio Club



Yaesu ( Manufacturer )


Kenwood Radios ( Manufacturer )


Icom Radios ( Manufacturer )


Batc QO-100 websdr


Digital Mobile Radio.


D-Star ( Another Digital Radio Mode )


High Performance Receivers for connecting to a PC.


 Amateur radio – useful organisations

(click for further information on each organisation)