Chapter 6 - An Artful Move (1978-1979)
Towards the end of 1977, rumours began to circulate that the Roxeth Centre was about to be leased off by the Council to a private organisation as the Council no longer required it. In January 1978, the news broke that the local Roxeth Scout groups were set to take over the Centre in a few months time and were not prepared to allow the Club to use the whole of the premises on Friday evenings.They wanted to confine our meetings to the small Committee Room which of course would have been hopelessly inadequate and was therefore quite unacceptable.
So for the fourth time in eight years we were forced to look for new premises. As it happened one of our more recent members, Maynard de Borde, a newcomer to Amateur Radio but a long standing member of the Pinner Cine Club and their representative on the Harrow Arts Council, knew of the negotiations going on between the Harrow Borough authorities and the Arts Council for the leasing to them of the old school premises in Wealdstone. This was to be for a fairly low rental provided they took over responsibility for the entire maintenance and management of the premises.
The reason for this arrangement was to give the various arts and crafts groups in the Borough an opportunity to have settled meeting places for low rents on a co-operative basis. Maynard, being fully aware of our continuing premises problem, put forward the Radio Society as a worthy crafts group sorely in need of a new home and quite prepared to take part in such a co-operative venture. Fortunately the Arts Council accepted our request and agreed to let us have the regular use of a meeting room on Friday evenings. This was the best thing that had happened to the Club since vacating Roxeth school back in 1970.
The new Arts Centre was opened in May 1978 by the Mayor at a celebratory gathering and the Radio Society began its meetings appropriately enough in the Roxeth Room. So began a new era. The first year in the new QTH was one of consolidation and as the news got around the amateur fraternity the membership started to rise from an average of around 50 towards the 100 mark, this being reached in Autumn of 1980. The availability of the Arts Centre bar, no doubt, was a great help in achieving this!
After the initial settling down period the Committee's next objective was to erect antennas and install a permanent Club station. At last we were able to bring into use the three element H.F. beam that had been donated to the Club by Bill Kitchen G4CEZ whilst we were meeting at the Sea Cadets HQ. In the Summer of 1978, the necessary pole was erected at the end of the Roxeth building and the beam mounted together with a multi-element 2 metre antenna, the whole lot turned by a rotator kindly donated by Alec of Amcomm Services.
The Newsletter Editor of the time, Chris G3YQV, moved to Cheltenham in January 1978 and so Malcolm Pym G4GXT took on the job. The first edition of QZZ in the new enlarged format was published in May 1978 consisting of seven pages. It appeared once more in 1978 but then there was a break until the Winter of 1979 when Peter G3YXZ brought out an issue as temporary Editor. The next issue was in March 1980 when Chris G4AUF took over as Editor. Chris and his assistants were much helped by the acquisition a few years before of a second-hand Roneo duplicator which did yeoman service until it wore out and the messy duplication process gave way to photocopying. The editing was done on a BBC computer with word processor software.