Chapter 4 - In the Sea Cadets (1972-1976)
Note: we do not currently have any photos for this period, so if anyone has any please let us know.
The move to the Sea Cadets HQ was at first much welcomed by the members. During the time at Harrow County School the membership began to decline and dropped below 50. The premises consisted of several large and small huts set around a parade ground, adjacent to the Hamilton Brush Company's Factory. The main building in which parades and other activities took place comprised a large hall, kitchen and a smaller room at one end which was the Officers Wardroom, to use the naval term.
This large hall was occasionally used by the Radio Society for lectures, demonstrations and junk sales but the regular meeting room was in a smaller building divided into three sections. The Club room was the largest, furnished with chairs and a blackboard at one end. The door from this led into the store room which gave on to the parade ground. In the store room the cadet unit kept their ropes, bollards and other naval tackle, so in order to reach our club room one had to navigate around the obstacles!
Leading out of the store room on the opposite side to the lecture room was the Cadets' radio room which, at the time of the Club's moving to the premises, housed two ancient naval transmitters completely unscreened and using the venerable 807 valves. This equipment was used occasionally on the special frequency channels allocated by the Navy authorities for Cadet Force use. The Radio Club was allowed to share this room and eventually erected suitable wall benches and installed a power supply for the K.W.Valiant and H.R.O receiver. A G5RV type antenna was erected over the roof of the largest building and the feeder led into the radio room.
On practical nights this rig was put on the air or the room was used for morse code practice sessions. However, tvi complaints were received from nearby houses, these being the days of bands 1 & 3 TV, so operating had to be restricted. On other nights the familiar pattern of lectures, demonstrations etc continued - the usual well tried programme. In accordance with the tacit agreement with the Sea Cadets Commander, one of our experienced members, Harry G3HCY, attempted to give instruction on another evening to some of the cadets in elementary radio theory and morse code. However, he found a marked lack of co-operation from the cadets involved so after bearing with this for several weeks, he told the C.O. he was not prepared to continue as he regarded the sessions as a waste of time.
From that time on, the Club felt that the atmosphere with the Cadet officers cooled and although our activities carried as before we had the feeling that we not welcome. The membership was very low at this time, a lot of the older members did not like the naval type discipline which brought back unhappy memories! Furthermore, the sharing of the premises led to problems as the Club was not allowed to have a key to the premises owing to official service regulations. This caused dismay on several occasions when we were unable to get access to the premises and could not contact the duty keyholder.
Various joint projects were suggested at times by the Cadet administration such as a joint exhibition at the Harrow Show and taking part as radio operators in a week-end exercise with the cadets in the hills somewhere in England. The Club members were not at all keen on the ideas and so none of these ventures ever took place. The Radio Society continued at this QTH for another three years, the Committee knowing that as soon as an opportunity arose they would be seeking another move. The turning point came when the C.O. announced towards the end of 1976 that his squadron needed more funds and that our room rent would increase fairly heavily from the new year. This was the final blow and the Committee began to search seriously for other premises.