Get on right wavelength and enjoy thrills of amateur radio

Sammy Baird tunes in at Grey Point Fort in Helen's Bay. INNT 39-567
Sammy Baird tunes in at Grey Point Fort in Helen's Bay. INNT 39-567

An amateur radio enthusiast is encouraging you to tune in to the joys of the hobby.

Despite the huge rise in social media sites, Sammy Baird said there is still a place for communication across the airwaves.

He made the call as Carrickfergus Amateur Radio Group (CARG) prepares to hold its annual sale this month.

Sammy, from Monkstown, hopes it will provide the right signal for people to take up the pastime.

The 67-year-old is treasurer of CARG and a veteran with around 70 radios in his collection.

He teaches amateur radio licence courses so people can get involved in the hobby.

Amateur radio has changed the world, helped Britain win wars and, as Sammy puts it, “has brought the world to our fingertips”. It is one of the world’s most popular hobbies with over 50,000 active ‘hams’ in Britain.

Sammy has had a lifetime of enjoyment from amateur radio and urged people to enrol in one of his classes.

He said: “I started when I was 17, my brother-in-law bought me a transistor radio that was build-yourself. I like military radios and started collecting them. I’ve about 70 radios from 1940 right up to the present time.

“There’s great satisfaction in radio and you never know who’s gonna pick up. We can talk to people all over the world. We’ve spoken to people in Russia and Japan. They all speak in English and we’ve also spoken to people in New Zealand, Australia and Indonesia.

“I’ve a station in my own house and also some Clansman radios which the army have just got rid of. My wife Martha is very understanding.”

Sammy, a former plumber, has even contacted the museum at Bletchley Park – the site of British codebreaking activities during World war Two.

He has also been in touch with the HMS Belfast warship museum in London.

CARG offers a range of amateur radio licence courses and tutoring for foundation, intermediate and advanced levels.

The classes are held at Downshire School on Tuesday evenings.

Additionally, CARG provides Morse (CW) tutoring and hosts proficiency assessments. All courses are administered and accredited by the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB).

Sammy said: “The course lasts eight weeks and a course has just started. You can be any age.”

Downshire School will also be the venue for CARG’s sale on Saturday 20 October at 11am. There will also be demonstrations from club members.

Sammy added: “We’ve got a bring and buy sale and all the money raised goes back to the club.”

Sammy also works as a guide at former naval base Grey Point Fort in Helen’s Bay, Co Down.

He operates a radio station there and affectionately calls the people who help him his “band of brothers”.

For more information about CARG log on to http://gi0lix.mywebcommunity.org/.