Memories of Oxford University Radio Society

QSL Card created by Richard Russell circa 1971
QSL Card created by Richard Russell, G4BAU, circa 1971

The Story Behind This Page

In February 2001, I chanced to meet Richard, G0REL at a local Amateur Radio Rally. In recent years Richard has operated a radio station from Youlbury, a permanent Scout and Guide site near Oxford, for the annual "Jamboree on the Air". Many years ago during my undergraduate days, the Oxford University Radio Society (OURS) set up a Jamboree station from the same site. Richard knew that there had been previous amateur radio activity from Youlbury but had no details. So I promised to pass on as much as I could remember, and a web page seemed the obvious way to do this.

Having started, it seemed like a good idea to extend the subject to include as much of the history of OURS as I could remember. So this is what I have done. The story started by being very selective, based on my own recollections of a brief window in the life of the society, during the period 1963 to 1971. Within few days of the page first appearing, I had received feedback from other past members of OURS, who corrected some of my errors of memory and added their own stories. Further contributions have been added as other former OURS members have discovered the site and provided their own memories. By 2003 the site had grown considerably and so I reorganised it into its present form, with a number of separate smaller pages, as listed below.

Index of Oxford University Radio Society Pages
The Early Years Whatever information anyone can recall.
1963-1971 Recollections from my own era.
JOTA 1968 A collection of pictures from the 1968 Jamboree on the Air.
(Until recently, wrongly described as happening in 1967).
1975-1979 Recollections from Dave Lawley G4BUO and Steve Bevan G4GFX.
CUWS/OURS Dinner, 2004 Revival of a tradition of joint dinners between the two societies.
Miscellaneous Memories Short snippets from various contributors.
Who Are These People? I took these pictures, but they are not who I thought they were!
Where Are They Now? Names of former OURS members, with contact details where known.

Further anecdotes and pictures from other periods in the society's history are still most welcome. Please email anything for inclusion to the webmaster,
Alan Simpson, G3UMF

The 21st Century

When I wrote the above in 2010, the Oxford University Radio Society seemed to be extinct, or perhaps I hoped, merely dormant. University societies for specialist interests are always fragile. Because people stay at university for such a short time, there is no long-term continuity of faithful members to keep a club going. It only needs two or three consecutive years with no enthusiasts to take over its running and a club dies. This seems to be what happened to OURS. In its case, the rival interests of computing, and latterly the internet, will have provided added competition to attract the technically minded.

By the 1990 RSGB Callbook, the G3OUR call had been registered to someone with an address away from Oxford (possibly the last member acting as licence holder?) and by 1993 it had disappeared from the callbook altogether and the licence had lapsed. As to what had happened to the clubs equipment and in particular the log books, I had no idea and I appealed for anyone knowing anything of their fate, to contact me by email at Alan Simpson, G3UMF

The Logs and Minute Books

The above appeal eventually bore fruit in 2014 when Bob Henshaw G4GCM contacted me to say that he had discovered some old logbooks and other documents when preparing for a house move. These were eventually transferred to me in early 2015. They comprise 14 logbooks (quixotically numbered -1 to 12) covering April 1962 to November 1983 and 2 minute books of the society, identified as volumes 2 and 3, covering June 1966 to Janury 1983. I have so far photographed the two minute books and the first 4 logbooks and will get around to the remaining logbooks as time permits. The results are set of PDF documents, one for each book. These are large files and for privacy reasons I do not propose to publish them on-line. However if any former OURS members wish to see them they may email me at Alan Simpson, G3UMF and I will provide access to them via Google Drive.

The Future, we hope!

To preserve the callsign, and as part of an attempt to re-vitalise interest in the current undergradute population, the G3OUR licence has now been resurrected and I am the current licence holder. I am just waiting to hand it on to some enthusiastic youngsters!

Sporadic attempts on my part to locate any currently active amateurs amongst the undergradute population have so far been unsuccessful. Richard Horton G3XWH took up the baton in 2018 and published a letter in the January 2018 issue of RadCom to see if interest could be aroused via that route. Richard also established a G3OUR Google Group so that everyone with an interest in OURS might keep in touch. Send Richard an email to to pass on your news and to be added to the G3OUR group. Sadly this initiative too seems to have fallen on stoney ground and whilst we established contact with a few more former members, no one was forthcoming from the present university population. We still live in hopes and if anyone reading this is currently in or near Oxford please contact me by email at Alan Simpson, G3UMF

Copyright © Alan Simpson 2001-2019 Back to the main Index. Last Updated 2019-02-17