Save us from our Friends

During Hitler’s war one of my jobs was to induce the very clever people in the Middle East Universities to work for us. I had the Physics Department of one of them turning our quartz crystals and putting filaments back in clapped out transmitting valves. My workshops did both. There were never enough and my true love was crystals. There was a very efficient control of frequencies in the Middle East, but it only worked if new frequencies were immediately available. We gave a half about service on any frequency for two crystals. However, I kept an eye on the valve repairs. Putting it new filament into a valve, however big, is not lightly undertaken. For a start, although I had nearly one hundred different sets of glass tube, I seldom found one identical to the glass of a particular valve. Chaps who seal off valves also delight in making the stub of the evacuating tube too short to seal on to. There are many other snags. Accordingly, any new type for repair meant a lot of work and, in the case of an outside supplier, money.

It may seem odd that such valves were not imported from the U.K. or the States. However, our leaders, in their wisdom, had decreed that due to submarine sinkings it would be a good idea in the case of multiple shipments, to put some on each of a number of ships. Thus, if 6 transmitters were to come to us it would be expected that there would be 2 on each of 3 ships. But not so, what really happened was that Power supplies, coils and panels, valves went on 3 separate ships. We always seemed to lose the valves.

I used to get up to the University about every two months and the work was watched. It lagged in a most odd fashion. Excuses were many and ingenious. The liquid air had not arrived, somebody unknown had broken the tubing, the last vacuum oil was useless etc., etc. The day I arrived unannounced, I met one of the technicians and on enquiring as to the state of repairs was assured that there were a dozen ready in the Department of Physical Chemistry upstairs. Having passed the derelict pumping set up on the in, this was to say the least odd, and it soon became apparent that somebody was operating a flourishing black market.

Now our friends and allies in the Middle East were many (so long as we had money to support them). There were various recovered Russians soon to return home to be shot, Poles who hated Russians. Israelis who disliked everybody. The Free French who hated us. Arabs by the million who mainly did not count. Now the Free French operated Radio Orient in. Beirut. This was an American – style commercial radio station of enormous power that sold air time.

The Poles (using our money) used to buy time and put out virulent anti Russian propaganda, usually exaggerated but very distasteful, to the Russians. The Russians of course, complained bitterly to us. When we also did the same to the Poles and French we got rude answers. Somebody cut off Radio Orient’s supply of spare valves (which. included the repaired type) to shut them down. Hence the black market.

My masters were most displeased: and many were the. threats issued. The two eminent professors, very red faced asked for a meeting with me. “Vast, please convince them that it would not have happened except we in this land are so poor”. I confiscated the spare valves and I did not pay for them.    As the song says, “the poor get poorer”.    Still the British tax payer did pay for the repair work and for the Poles, so I suppose justice was done.

Eric Vast – March 1979.

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G3MGQ’s Month on the Air

Prepared by the clubs RSGB trainer, G3MGQ, you will find the latest DX contests including the ones to shoot for as well as ones to give a wide berth. Why not download the latest edition of Month on the Air and enjoy your DX just that little bit more.

Become a member of HERC

Join the Hastings Electronics and Radio Club.

Why not join one of the largest and most established Radio clubs in the South East of England? Very low joining cost, and free for a year to new licencees.

Vital Spark Archive

Vital Spark newsletter articles

Take a look through a large selection of articles written by club members over the years which have been published in the monthly Vital Spark newsletter .

Used Ham Radio Equipment

View HERC's Used Ham Radio Equipment for sale list..

Every four weeks, HERC's Used Ham Radio Equipment for sale list is updated on the site. Bookmark the gear for sale page to re-visit easily and take advantage of the used equipment on sale through the club.

Club Photographs

HERC Image Galleries.

Here is the official HERC photograph archive which contains multiple image galleries spanning several decades since the club was formed many years ago. Enjoy the images!

UK Amateur Radio Repeaters

UK repeaters

Click button above for full list, or a local repeater callsign below for info.

GB3EB 2m in Uckfield- Active
MB6EB 2m DStar Node in Eastbourne - Active
MB6RY Wires-X DigiGate in Broad Oak - Active
GB3HE 70cm in Hastings - Active
GB7HE 70cm DStar in Hastings - Coming soon
GB3ZX 70cm in Eastbourne - Low Power
GB3JT 23cm ATV in Hastings - NoV cleared
GB7RY 70cm X-Wires Repeater Rye - Active
GB7ES Eastbourne - DSTAR Rpt. - Active
GB3ES 2m in Hastings - Active

For a complete list of repeaters, head over to
the UK Amateur Radio repeaters list.

Popular pages

Get your amateur radio licence - Find out more about amateur radio licence training.
Month on the Air - G3MGQ's popular monthly DX contest/expedition list.
Wilf Gaye Memorial Cup - The clubs annual operating event in the memory of Wilf Gaye M0GYE.
St. Richard's College Buildathon/STEM/ARISS - HERC attends St. Richard's Catholic College for their various events surrounding the Tim Peake ARISS contact.
G3BDQ - John Hey's Rare QSL Cards.
Sussex Electronics Radio Fair - SERF Sussex Electronics Radio Fair 2016.
Vital Spark - A selection of articles re-published from the Vital Spark.
RSGB News - Find out how to get RSGB news on your mobile or PC.
Experimenters Corner - A selection of Proteus projects by Bob Gornal (G7DME)
BBADL - Bath Based Distance Learning Course.
Conquest Hospital Radio - Presented by HERC member Antony (G4CUS).
Radio Rallies 2016 - An up to date list of radio rallies scheduled for 2016.
Club QSL Cards - A selection of QSL cards the club has received over the years.
Other Newsletters - Excellent newsletters and magazines from other clubs.
TX Factor episodes - Take a look at the TX Factors YouTube videos.
John Taplin - A bio of the late John Taplin.

Amateur Radio Resources

Other Radio Clubs & RAYNET

BSARS - Brede Steam Amateur Radio Society

RAYNET - The Hastings and Rother RAYNET Group.

HERC members sites

Sigord - Gordon Sweet
Hastings Radio Comms - Andrew Haas-Campbell
Hoofbags - Liz Costa