The story behind the card #32 Uncle Vic G2UV by John Heys G3BDQ

WEF Corsham, (Bill) G2UV, was for many years a leading light in the British amateur radio fraternity. To do him justice I would need to write a small book detailing his many activities as an amateur radio enthusiast from just after WW1 and up to his death on December 12th 1981.

He imagined that he had invented the QSL card and in one of his long letters to me outlined the facts as he knew them. He was perhaps the first to use QSL card confirmation of contacts in Europe, but his 1922 cards appeared at least one year later than cards used in the USA. My collection holds a ‘Stateside’ cards dated 1921.

Bill’s first cards, which measured just 3½ by 4½ inches, were printed by an uncle of his who had his printshop in Red Lion Street, London in 1922. The one and only example of this early card is framed and hangs on the wall of the General Manager’s office at RSGB Headquarters.

Bill was first employed as a Post Office Telegraph boy and was introduced to wireless when a signaller in the Royal Engineers in the Great War (1914 –1918.) He gained his call, 2UV in 1921 and took part in the First Transatlantic Tests that took place between December 8th and 17th in 1921. The ‘Yanks’ used Spark or high power valve generated CW and each transmitted his individual five-letter code group with his callsign. This all took place on  a wavelength of 200 metres and ‘Uncle Vic’ was fortunate to receive the American 1AUV on his 3 valve receiver and could copy his code letters. For this achievement Bill gained third place and the prize of a Burndept receiver valued at £6 (at least £600 in today’s money.) The winner, Mr. W.R. Burne, managed to copy seven US stations. For this he received a total of eleven prizes donated by different members of the growing wireless industry.

Bill Corsham spent all his working life with the Post Office and retired when he was Travelling Post Office Security Superintendent just before the ‘Great Train Robbery’ in the 1960s.
He was selected as a Vice President of the RSGB in 1972, was a founder member of the Old Timers’ Association and became president of the Harrow Radio Society.

My last radio contact with ‘Uncle Vic’ was on 2 metres SSB in the summer of 1980 just a few months before his death. I have many of his different QSL card designs and photographs of his station in Wembley that were taken over many years. He admitted that at one time he broke all the rules and regulations by broadcasting half hour programmes of recorded music at least one each week, generally on Saturdays. This was before the first broadcasts from 2LO began.

The card illustrated here is a very early example that was printed on a standard plain postcard. It was sent to confirm several QSOs with ‘0NY’ and is undated.  However at the foot of the card is a note regarding a magazine article printed in December 1923, which puts the card as being used in 1924.

Bill was for a time licensed to use 1KW of power, a concession granted by the PO (for a hefty extra licence fee) to allow serious long distance work at a time when distance records were being frequently broken. G2UV was a radio amateur that almost everyone knew and he was known to countless amateurs worldwide.


John Heys G3BDQ – June 2006.

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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.

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