Thomas Charles Bryant, 2BXZ/G3SB/GW3SB, 30th December 2016

| January 17, 2017

Born on the 29th December 1921, Charles Bryant became a silent key on the 30th December 2016, the day after his 95th birthday.

Charles had a love of radio from an early age. He learnt Morse code at school when he should have been playing games, which he hated. At the age of 14 he obtained an Artificial Aerial licence with the callsign 2BXZ and was elected a Corporate Member of the RSGB on the 13th October 1936. The original certificate is in my care, together with most of his meticulously kept records.

By September of 1938 he received his Full Licence. His Log Book No 1 shows the first QSO using his new callsign G3SB was with none other than Pat Hawker, 2BUH (later G3VA), who was a friend and near neighbour. A QSL card 2BXZ/2BUH is among the tens of thousands that he kept neatly filed and which will be archived electronically by the RSGB.

His log shows a poignant entry on 31st August 1939: “All amateur licences cancelled”. Charles told me that the following day a man from the GPO arrived to confiscate all his radio gear but refused to issue a receipt.

Some time later a nattily-dressed gentleman arrived at the family home and asked Charles to sign a piece of paper. This turned out to be the “Official Secrets Act” and thus it was he became a Voluntary Interceptor. Given lists of times and frequencies, the enemy traffic he heard was copied and posted off to that mysterious Post Office Box in Barnet. He wasn’t to know at the time but many years later learned that it ended up at Bletchley Park to be decoded, helping to shorten the war. He received a somewhat anonymous certificate of thanks for his vital work. There is some speculation that he continued to copy Morse TFC during the Cold War.

The next entry in the log is dated 24th January 1946: “Licence re-issued”. Charles lost no time in getting back into his favourite hobby and made QSOs at a staggering rate, mainly by CW.

A move to Wales brought a new prefix but no change in enthusiasm. We became good friends in 1984. When a move into a Residential Home became necessary I set up his station there so he could stay on air.

I was with Charles a few hours before he died. He couldn’t talk but he did manage to tap out both our callsigns on his knee. His beloved Morse was with him to the end and I feel honoured to have had that last QSO just before he went Silent Key.

Charles, 2BXZ/G3SB/GW3SB was a true gentleman both in life and of the æther. TU SU AR SK

Tribute by Bruce Morris, GW4XXF

Category: Silent Keys