President’s review of 2018

| January 16, 2019

I hope you had a great Christmas and let us all look forward to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2019.

Sitting here contemplating the last 12 months and looking forward to the next year, a few things struck me. Firstly, what a great year 2018 has been – thanks essentially to our volunteers. With only 16 members of HQ staff, our 800-plus volunteers are the backbone of the Society. I have to admire the stoic make-up of our fantastic team of both volunteers and HQ staff – even after being lambasted by those who sit on the sidelines and criticise, often without offering any solutions or even contemplating offering their time to put right what they see as being wrong.

The work our volunteers put in is immeasurable and using this platform I would like to thank every single one of them for what they’ve done and, hopefully, will continue to do. We certainly wouldn’t be where we are today, as one of the most respected National Societies not just in our IARU region but in the world, save for the efforts of our many and valued volunteers.

So, to my highlights of 2018…

At April’s AGM, my predecessor Nick, G3RWF painted a really thought-provoking picture of where amateur radio is today. If you haven’t picked up on the underlying message, it is this: the hobby is what you want to make of it. Surely isn’t that what we all find fascinating and exciting? The tools are there for us, it’s up to us how many of them we want to use and how we use them.

The RSGB National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park continues to thrive and attract increasing numbers of visitors under the stewardship of Martyn Baker, G0GMB. 2018 saw over 55,000 visitors discovering the wealth of information and passion housed at the Centre. For the vast majority of visitors, this was their first experience of amateur radio. Also, by recruiting additional volunteers it has been possible to open the NRC seven days a week.

The RSGB’s involvement with September’s National Hamfest helped make that another great event. Being able to showcase the work of our many committees and volunteers over the two days is as important an aspect of the event as meeting those involved. Another exciting part of the Hamfest is announcing of the National winners of the Club of the Year and the presentation of the various prizes and trophies, congratulations to all the clubs, who made it through to the National finals. Our thanks to the sponsors of this competition, Waters & Stanton.

October’s RSGB Convention was once again an outstanding success, testament to the lectures and presenters, as well as to the organising team. The number of delegates continues to rise and the feedback reports seem to prove that for the majority of the time the programme is hitting the spot. Thanks go to the principal sponsor, Martin Lynch & Sons for yet another year supporting this event.

As we all know the average age in our hobby is increasing, and anything we can do to bring it lower has to be a good thing. We should not lose sight of the fact that the pressures young people come under these days make it likely that, while we encourage youngsters to join the hobby, they tend to ‘disappear’ for a few years while they establish themselves in society. Having said that, various successful events took place in 2018, probably the most high-profile being August’s YOTA 2018 in South Africa. December brought YOTA Month 2018, which is just drawing to a close as I write these words, with many clubs and special interest stations engaging young people in amateur radio activities.

Space, in the form of satellites and communication with astronauts on the ISS, is another great way of encouraging young people to think about a STEM-related career (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Scheduled contacts with the ISS from UK schools continue, the most recent being in December at Kenilworth School. I wish to publicly thank the UK’s ARISS team for all their hard work in making these events happen.

A review of the year would not be complete without a mention of the RSGB’s Strategy 2022. As momentum builds, many projects and initiatives aimed at meeting our strategic priorities are either under serious consideration, or are in the planning or developmental stages with further details to be announced soon.

So that is a snapshot of 2018 – what about 2019? We will continue to drive forwards with meeting our goal for 2022, to ‘have an active and thriving amateur radio community, supported by a strong, representative and influential RSGB’. Through our army of volunteers we will take the hobby forward in a positive way. If you feel you would like to play your part in shaping the future of our hobby, we would be very happy for you to join us.

Finally, as I travel up and down the country, I look forward to meeting many of you during 2019.


Dave Wilson, M0OBW
RSGB President


Category: RSGB Strategy 2022