The story behind the card S2 – Peter Pendleton Eckersley

In the 1920s Peter Eckersley was considered to be Britain s ‘Mr. Wireless’ but a tragic turn of events (largely of his own making) meant that he sank into obscurity during the 1930s.

He was born in 1892 in Mexico where his father was in charge of the building of that country’s Grand Central Railway. He was educated at Bedales Public School and Manchester University. Whilst at Bedales in 1910 he built a wireless transmitter and receiver which was often set up in the school grounds. He had a licence to operate this station. After University and the Municipal College of Technology in Manchester where he studied electrical engineering, he joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1914.He served in Egypt, Serbia and Greece where he was actively engaged in the use of wireless for the aerial spotting of enemy artillery.

In 1922 Peter was with the Marconi Company and became concerned  with the development of telephony and wireless broadcasting. His broadcasts  from
2MT (two Emma Toc) located in a shed at Writtle near Chelmsford led to the setting up of the British Broadcasting Company (later the British Broadcasting Corporation). Eckersley was a brilliant engineer and the brain behind the steady growth of that organization, and the setting up of a chain of Broadcast stations throughout the British Isles. The ‘top man’ in the BBC was John Reith (later Sir John) who later was to decide Peter’s future.
In 1928 Eckersley who was married and a father formed a deep relationship with Mrs. Dorothy Clark with whom it seems he was besotted. Peter’s obsessive behaviour came to the notice of the straight laced Scot Reith and was virtually forced to resign from the BBC. He had refused to break with Mrs. Clark. The scandal was a seven day wonder in the Press, but Eckersley soon slipped into public obscurity.

Peter became a Director of a new Company called Rediffusion which provided wired wireless in areas where broadcast reception was poor or non existent. This company prospered, especially after WW2 when it included Television reception too. Hastings and St Leonard’s were ‘wired up’ by Rediffusion in the 1950s and 60s.

Peter’s son Myles Eckersley has written a fascinating biography of his father and I am fortunate to own a copy. It is titled “Prospero’s Wireless” and its 510 pages are an excellent read.

The C0MSM (North Carr Radio Club) QSL card shows the Scottish Lightship North Carr which was removed from service in 1975. It is now a maritime museum at its moorings in Anstruther Harbour and houses the Radio Club Headquarters. Lightships were generally used where water depth and other awkward factors would have made the cost of a normal’ lighthouse structure prohibitive. Lighthouses are now generally unmanned and in England they were and are controlled by an organisation called Trinity House which is located on Tower Hill in London. Scottish lights are administered by a body of commissioners in Edinburgh.

The North Carr Lightship was originally anchored close to the North Carr Reef which lies off Fife Ness, a headland at the northern entrance to the Firth of Forth, but it is now permanently moored in Anstruther Harbour about six miles down the coast from the Ness.

We once had the Sovereign Lightship anchored a few miles out in the English Channel south of Eastbourne in Sussex, but it was replaced by a permanent structure which houses an automatic light and a fog horn. The crew of the old Sovereign Lightship used a radio that operated within our 160 metre band. It was on a frequency close to that used by the Hastings and District Sunday morning Top Band Net, and quite often after the Net closed we would (illegally) chat to the Sovereign Light’s crew.

There remain a few operative lightships and this year (2011) during Lighthouse Weekend I contacted an amateur who was operating on board the Blackwater Light Vessel in the Thames Estuary. Very few manned lighthouses or lightships remain in British waters.

















By John Heys G3BDQ – Vital Spark December 2011.

Return to the index of Vital Spark articles.

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