A Short History of the
The Bristol Section of the R.S.G.B

This history was researched and composed by Andy Cowley M1EBV (sadly Silent Key in 2012).
In October 2015 this part of his web site was incorporated as the History section of the Bristol RSGB Group site
in order that Andy's work, and the history he discovered, would not be lost. - RIP Andy -


1908/9 spark transmitter
The 1908/9 spark transmitter of station 'TBX'.

This 1908/9 Spark Transmitter, built by Gilbert Tonkin and used at station 'TBX', is the oldest relic of Bristol Amateur Radio that we know of.

It is known that the first licence in Bristol was held by Charles H. Tilsley in 1905. He made sucessful transmisions over distances up to a mile, but did not know Morse code, so he sent no messages.


Shack at G2AMV
Shack at G2KB
Shack at G6VF

Here are some shacks in Bristol dating from the early thirties. Another, with a full station description is on the G6RB page.

The Group ran an active social calendar and organised dinners, variously called District Meetings, Conventionettes and Hamfests .

District 5 which included Bristol made competitive entries in NFD from the start in 1933.

Post War

The post-WWII history is based on the minute book of the group, shown at the left, for the period from April 22nd., 1945 to April, 20th., 1956. This was kindly loaned by Ron Ford, G4GTD, our Membership Secretary. Many thanks, Ron! The book itself was purchased after the May 27th. 1945 meeting for 15/-. Earlier information was gleaned from the T&R Bulletin, Vols. 9-12, (June 1933 - June 1937) kindly loaned by Dave, G3YNH. Geoff, G4FKA has done sterling work searching his collection of the "Bull" for the early 1950's to find nuggets of information.

Minutes Title Page
The title page.
First Meeting
The first meeting.

Several sample pages have been scanned, including the title page (at right) and the minutes of the first post-war meeting (at left). The small images here and on other pages lead to larger Adobe .pdf files.

These minutes start in the period after the end of the Second World War before transmitting privileges had been restored to British Amateurs. The first licences were issued in January 1946. The terms and conditions were very different from those before the war. Calling 'CQ' was allowed, all restrictions on aerials were removed, there were no longer 'guard bands', and the duration of transmissions was unrestricted. At first only the 28-29 and 58.5-60 Mc/s bands were allowed. On March 15th., 1946 top band (1.8-2 Mc/s) and more of ten (29-30 Mc/s) were added. On July 1st. 7.15-7.3 and 14.1-14.3 Mc/s followed.