On the weekend of the 7th May, 2016 members of the Furness Amateur Radio Society and the Southport & District Amateur Radio Club (Stuart [G0MJG], Rebecca [M6BUB] and Derek [G7LFC]) joined forces to operate a rather special, special event station at Wray Castle.
Wray Castle – a potted history
Wray Castle was built as a folly in 1840 for a retired surgeon from Liverpool. In 1929 Wray Castle has belonged to the National Trust, but it continued to be working building; first as a Youth Hostel, then the offices of the Freshwater Biological Survey. However, in 1958 the castle became a training school for Merchant Navy radio officers.
The college diversified away from the training of naval radio officers in 1995 to general telecommunications as it forsaw the introduction of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) that was introduced in 1988 and which would see the demise of the ship’s radio officer.
The college left Wray Castle in 2004 and have evolved into a communications training organisation in the telecommunications industry delivering courses to major institutions such as BT, Network Rail and BAE Systems, Wray Castle Ltd.
OK Sparks! Radio Day
OK Sparks! Radio Day celebrated this part of Wray Castle’s rich history and brought together a whole host of organisations that demonstrated how radio communications fits in to a modern world that is obsessed with the Internet; not realising that the Internet is powered by radio.
Also in attendance were the folk of the Coniston Mountain Rescue team and the Uplands Rescue Resilience Project that helps mountain rescue groups to communicate in extremely difficult and challenging terrain where normal mobile phone communications just doesn’t work. Our members discussed operations with them and had the pleasure of introducing them to near vertical incident waves as a method of transmitting between adjacent deep valleys without the need for the time consuming and dangerous task of deploying repeaters on adjacent mountain tops and ridges to facilitate current workings.