Brian arrived in 1925 in mid ‘roaring twenties’, school days followed in the ‘hungry thirties’. Brian had a gammy leg disability but despite this played as active a part in all things as he was able. His interest from school days in radio was boosted by magazines of the day and writings of the great F J Camm which proved an irresistible gateway to experimentation and construction. He made his first crystal set in 1941 at the age of fifteen. He soon became involved with the amateur radio fraternity and to become a licensed operator. He joined the RSGB in April 1942 later gaining the call sign G3GJX and holding continuous membership until he died in 2012.
Bad luck struck in 1947 when Brian was consigned to hospital for a year but being a resourceful twenty-one year old, managed to get a rig set up there. He transmitted cw for over a year of incarceration and made far away friends while those near him marvelled at what was going on! While a member of the Oxford club he had the bright idea of a Radio Rally and in 1950, renting the yard of a local pub, held what is believed to be the very first UK bring and buy radio rally. He recorded it as a great success but little realising what might develop from this ‘first’.
Later, Brian used his many skills and organisational talents as a member of the Verulam Radio Society where Field Days were some of his greatest pleasures. Moving to Guildford in 1968 he continued his close association with amateur radio as a member of the Guildford Radio Society where he was much respected for his antenna experimentation and construction skills, most notably in designing and home brewing his own circuit boards, inventing an early transistor Morse Tutor and latterly skilful home brew with surface mount devices.
CW remained a life long top interest and in 1979 Brian gained the coveted ARRL Century Club award, followed in 2000 by the ARRL DXCC Millennium award. Brian always took his rig and weird home brew antennas on holiday with him and had much fun operating abroad. He would always amuse his friends when teased about his antenna ideas by saying, ‘Well, I’ve been down to the Antenna Guru in Hindhead and he has given it a green light’ (The Antenna Guru was of course his good friend Les Moxon, G6XN.)
In 2002 Brian called together interested local people with the idea of commemorating the 90th Anniversary of the loss of RMS Titanic. Jack Phillips, Chief Marconi Radio Officer on that ship having come from Godalming, just round the corner. A Titanic Wireless Commemorative Group was formed and the event duly took place with much publicity and support from the local Godalming Council, Museum and with Marconi Chelmsford Museum’s priceless exhibits on display. A great success and tribute to Jack Phillips. Ten years later, The Wey Valley ARG of which Brian was a founder, put on a similar event based at Charterhouse and recording the 100th anniversary of the loss of Titanic and Jack Phillips heroism. Over 16,000 qso’s were made world wide. Regrettably Brian was in poor heath at the time and unable to take part.
G3GJX was a generous man with a friendly nature and the ‘novice’ or ‘expert’ who ever sought his help was amply rewarded. He was greatly respected for his splendid construction, greatly enjoyed as a speaker and demonstrator of a lifetime’s collection of Morse keys and steel nerved navigator for club Fox hunters. We will greatly miss Brian but his many friends feel privileged to have known him.
Brian was an RSGB member for 70 years.
Tribute by G5OD/G2DBH
Category: Silent Keys