2019 a year in numbers

| March 1, 2020

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2019 was another busy year in the life of the Society.

The infographic (click to enlarge) features some of the highlights from last year whilst this page contains more details and a range of fun facts.

The April 2020 RadCom will show in detail the work of the committees and other specialist volunteers, but here we bring you the highlights of just some of the activities led by RSGB HQ staff.

The highlights

We use our range of communications channels to share good news stories, keep you informed and hear from you about your amateur radio activities. However, sometimes the significant numbers or the ‘random but interesting facts’ can be missed even by avid followers of our busy lines of communication.

The people who make it happen

There are sixteen very busy staff employed at RSGB HQ (ten full time and six part time) who provide a wide range of professional services to approximately 21,000 Members, 500 affiliated groups and societies, 850 volunteers and the general public. This small, friendly team covers a wide range of areas including exams, Membership, RadCom and its supplements, book publishing, the RSGB National Radio Centre (NRC), internal and external communications, web and IT services as well as the RSGB’s prestigious annual events.


RadCom is a publication internationally renowned for the quality of its amateur radio content. In addition to the pages of features, technical content and reviews outlined in the bar chart, in 2019 RadCom included 36 pages of local club stories and 24 pages of Last Word letters. We love hearing your news, your views and sharing stories of your events, so please keep sending them in!

As a Society we are committed to reducing reliance on single-use plastic and early last year we introduced a new, compostable potato starch wrapper. By the end of 2019 we had sent out approximately 250,000 RadCom magazines in this environmentally-friendly packaging.


Last year, our Exam Secretary administered exams for over 3,000 candidates. This included liaising with 266 exam centres and helping to answer a range of questions from Exam Secretaries and candidates. We’re delighted that so many people took amateur radio exams across the three levels to discover more about this diverse hobby.


Another successful RSGB Convention saw approximately 600 people enjoy 53 expert lectures on a wide range of technical topics over the weekend. Over the coming months, you will be able to see many of the Convention videos on our website (www.rsgb.org/videos) as a Members’ benefit before we share them more widely on YouTube. Our annual flagship event also offered opportunities to take exams, gain practical experience (such as at the Saturdayevening‘Buildathon’),networkwith other radio amateurs and have a lot of fun!


We continue to offer a wide range of books that are appreciated by radio amateurs around the world. RSGB Members are able to purchase these books at a discounted rate. In 2019 we added 15 new titles and introduced a full range of training books to accompany the new syllabus.


Each week we prepare the news summary, email it to subscribers and upload it to our website for wider viewing. It is also available as a podcast and our fantastic volunteer newsreaders deliver the script on the air each Sunday. Last year, our newsreaders read out 252,219 words!


Talking to people at events and over the phone; providing news and informative web content; sending out regular club emails and briefings; offering daily content on social media; liaising with the press. These are all ways in which we enjoy interacting with radio amateurs and explaining amateur radio to the public.

Whilst it is just one of our communications channels, our social media presence and interaction continued to increase: over 4,300 people now like our Facebook page; 10,000 follow us on Twitter; over 2,000 people subscribe to our YouTube channel and we added 28 videos to YouTube last year.

Our website received 1,251,637 unique page views and our HQ staff made/received over 51,000 calls.

National Radio Centre

The RSGB National Radio Centre (NRC) at Bletchley Park welcomed visitors from across the world and hosted a number of special events, workshops and training sessions. Last year saw a 75.7% increase in the number of people introduced to amateur radio through the NRC. This is an incredible achievement by our NRC Co-ordinator and his team of volunteers who gave a total of over 10,000 hours of their time during 2019.

The NRC received some great feedback with some people saying it was the unexpected highlight of their visit Bletchley Park. Many visitors who were lapsed radio amateurs were inspired to become active in the hobby again and we were very happy to support them as they applied to reactivate their licences. Some young people also discovered amateur radio for the first time and were keen to find out more – for example, a visit by a local school prompted the start of a new school amateur radio club.

Looking ahead

There is always more to do and an endless range of fantastic activities we’d like to make the most of as we implement the Society’s Strategy for 2022. However, it is also good to stop and reflect on the great things that have been done in 2019 by both HQ staff and volunteers. We hope that in this RadCom issue (March 2020), and the next (April 2020), you will celebrate with us the achievements of the last year and look forward to what 2020 will bring.

Steve Thomas, M1ACB
RSGB General Manager

[RadCom, March 2020]

Category: RSGB Notices, RSGB Strategy 2022