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Wessex Ham to Close

ClubsAsHubsWessex Ham to Close.

Despite nearly a year’s work by Amateur Radio Clubs and individuals from the South West of England with the aim of improving the reach and effectiveness of the hobby of Amateur Radio in the region, we regret that the RSGB Legacy Committee has not been able to support the project in any way that would make it a viable proposition. 

Despite setting out a very clear path for our first priorities – as requested – and providing a comprehensive document setting out our working methodology, the RSGB Legacy Committee was unwilling to meet the baseline criteria that we established for a successful venture.  The three issues that most appeared to concern the members were duration, sustainability, and cost.  

The Committee did not appear to understand that successful structural change often requires considerable investment over a short period and did not accept that the project could be sustained beyond the three-year timescale without repeat funding.  They also questioned the proposed cost, telling us that “a lot of what you could be doing could be done at little or no cost”.  And they were unwilling to commit to a timescale beyond a single year. 

It is for the RSGB Legacy Committee to set its own criteria for grant making, but we regret that these do not appear to extend supporting a three-year joint project by more than six clubs and many individuals in the rural South West of England - and one that was supported by the RSGB's own district representatives.

Having discussed these issues, the clubs involved have concluded that there just isn’t sufficient understanding of, or support for, the project from the RSGB Legacy Committee for us to deliver it as envisaged and will close the project with immediate effect. 

If you'd like further information, then drop an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

What is Wessex Ham?

ClubsAsHubsWessex Ham is being set up to make Amateur Radio more accessible.

By working together, clubs and individuals can offer a better, more accessible, and wider range of Amateur Radio activities than any single club.

In a largely rural area like the South West of England, very few (if any) clubs are able to offer the whole spectrum of Amateur Radio activities to folk interested in, or already licenced for, Amateur Radio.  By creating a single gateway for the South West, accessed online 24/7, together we can showcase the very best our hobby has to offer, and give everyone access - whenever they want it, and wherever they are.

Today, the majority of people access things via the internet:  Shopping, Training, Hobbies, Social groups, etc.  We expect near instant access and high quality. 

If the only access to Amateur Radio is by visiting a physical club that meets monthly or even weekly some distance from where you live and at a time that's inconvenient, then you've a lot less likely to try get involved.

The idea behind Wessex Ham is that participating local clubs become 'hubs' in a much wider network, sharing their strengths, and gaining from the different strengths of others. Not all clubs can provide training; not all clubs do contests; not all clubs can support people interested in data comms, or electronics, or antenna construction. But through Wessex Ham, individuals should be able to connect with others with similar interests, and access expertise relatively close to them, so that they can engage with the hobby when they want - without having to wait for a meeting, or finding that the nearest club to them doesn't really 'do' what they are looking for.

The internet has provided us with a solution. And it's already working.

Good evidence for this is in the huge number of people taking Foundation exams now that they are available online.  Yes, the pandemic and lockdown have given people time and energy, but the key to unlock the recent large rise in Amateur Radio participation has been online access.

'Amateur' doesn't have to mean 'Amateurish'. The word 'Amateur' is simply the opposite of 'paid'. Radio Amateurs have been, and still are, at the cutting edge of many of the latest radio communication projects. From Satellite comms (yes, we have our own satellite) to ultra low power global networks, Radio Amateurs are often leaders in their field.

So we have set up Wessex Ham not to supplant or take over from clubs, but to give people much great access to the very best the hobby can offer.  Hence the thinking about 'Clubs as Hubs' in a wider network.  Wessex Ham will strengthen clubs, or it will have failed. But it should do much more than that. It should act as a gateway for people in the South West to connect with every aspect of the hobby - offering the best quality we can at a time that suits people - wherever they are.

Wessex Ham is run by, and owned by, the participating clubs.  It is not 'another club'.  It is, or should be, a way of connecting with the hobby for people whose first thought is to turn to Mr Google, rather than hunt for a local club by looking at the list of clubs in the local library. Our aim is to provide the best quality technical and practical access that the South West has to offer. 

If you'd like to help us, or would like find out more, then drop an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.