Chapter 10 - A Nostalgic Time (1990-1995)
The 90s started with an increase in the subscription rates to £10, the first rise in many years. This was forced on us by the need to balance the books in the face of increased room rent costs and decreasing membership.
In spite of reduced numbers, the Club remained quite active. Work continued on the shack to finish it off and we applied for planning permission for some large antennas. The shack was officially opened in 1991 by the then President David Bell, G0FAO, who performed the ceremony by cutting a large ribbon attached to the door. There was a cheese and wine party to celebrate.
At the end of 1990, we sadly lost one of our older members: Reg Merison, G1YYW.
In 1991, as the old duplicator gave way to photocopying the quality of the Club magazine QZZ improved overnight - well, at least the printing did, the articles are another matter. Further improvements were made by the Editor as he acquired a new computer and Desk Top Publishing software. Technology came to the rescue again.
Contest activity started well in the new decade. In 1990 we entered 3 vhf/uhf contests including VHF NFD which we hadn't entered for some years. Activity declined again, however, for a few years after that. We continued with a fairly varied programme: In April 1992, we had a talk on "Talking Books for the Blind". This had little to do with Amateur Radio but was nevertheless interesting. Construction contests continued to attract a lot of entries but the number of entries declined towards mid 90s. Membership also continued to decline throughout the early 90s.
The end of 1992 saw another death - Bob Smith, G4FHX who had been associated with the Club for many years and had been our Auditor for a few years in this period. In 1992 we took a stall at the BARTG rally. We did really well and sold many items of equipment at much better prices than at the normal Club Junk Sales.
By Summer 1993, the QZZ Editor finally got himself a proper multimedia computer. As a result, QZZ became even more fancy as the Editor experimented with the new software.
As the middle of the decade approached, we started to get more things done. In Summer 1994, we had our packet station going in the shack on an indoor antenna. By Spring 1995 had bought a new TNC and antenna and soon had the station working with the new TNC on 70cm. In Summer 1995 we erected the new dual band antenna outside and got the packet station working on 70cm and 2m. One evening, we had a "brainstorm" at the Club to decide on a name for the node. The winner was "ANODE" suggested by Audrey, G0NTA.
Also at this time, we started to become more sociable. In 1994, we started to organise more outings and went on trips to places such as Bletchley Park and RAF Uxbridge. Thanks to Linda, G7RJL, for organising most of these.
In late 1994, we held a Nostalgia Evening where we put on displays of old photos, newspaper cuttings and other items of interest. Quite a few old faces turned up as well which added to the occasion. Late 1994 saw another death, that of René G4IQN who was a long standing member of the Club and had been President in 1992.
In Spring 1995, we held a Club Logo competition for which there were several entries and some very good designs. The winning design was submitted by Geoff, G3KRT, and was chosen by those present. The year 1995 saw even more activity as we started to appear at local shows again including the Middlesex Show and a show at the Harrow Heritage Centre to celebrate 50th anniversary of VE day. We even entered a vhf contest in September 1995 when we tried out a new site near Southend.
Unfortunately, for many weeks in 1995 Tom, our Chairman, was in hospital. After a long recovery from a problem with his foot he returned to the Club and started to put his thoughts into action for our Golden Anniversary which we wanted to celebrate in style the following year.
Towards the end of 1995, we started in earnest to plan events for the Club's Golden Anniversary.