The callsign of G3KMI has been held by the Southampton University Amateur Radio Club since about 1955. It occupied a second-floor room in the house that was where the Student’s Union shop is now, and had a HF antenna strung between there and the Old SUSU Building. The club then moved to the Old SUSU Building and installed a large array of Antennas on a mast at the end of the building, if anyone has any photos of this, please let us know!
We have some photos that have been sent in by Alumni of the club’s activities here.
In the early 1990s, a group split off from the club to form SOWN (Southampton Open Wireless Network), experimenting with early 2.4Ghz mesh networking across Southampton.
Around 1998, the Amateur Radio Club dissolved as the last remaining member left, the SOWN group contained no Radio Amateurs by this point and had no affiliation, and so much of the Club’s equipment was thrown out by the Student’s Union, however Denis Nicole did manage to recover an FT-101 and FL-2100B from the skip.
SOWN’s mesh networking project fizzled out as WiFi devices became ubiquitous and the local noise floor climbed, however the project was revived in 2007 thanks to funding from ECS, to extend the Campus Wireless Network into student’s homes, allowing University Credential Authentication to log Students on to each other’s internet connections.
In 2011 a group of SOWN members were out eating a meal when the topic of Amateur Radio came up at the table. It was discovered that a couple of those present were already licensed and there was instantly an interest in reviving the club.
It was then decided to revive the Society as the ‘Wireless Society’ with Amateur Radio and SOWN being ‘Projects’ of the society. The holder of G3KMI was tracked down, and in May 2011 the Club Callsign was returned.
Since then we have registered the University as an Exam Centre, achieving more than 100 successful license examinations. This has allowed training to the highest level of our members, many of whom are now also Registered Instructors. We also assist with hosting the license examinations for local Amateur Radio clubs.
With our licenses we’ve experimented unsuccessfully with HF on Campus (noisy!), experimented far more successfully in the New Forest, entering contests on 3.5MHz, and contacting the USA on 14Mhz with only 10W! We’ve also entered VHF National Field Day twice now, placing just behind far more competitive (serious) clubs, and experimented with Radio trackers for High Altitude Balloons.