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GB3VHF 2m beacon closing down


I wonder how many activators use GB3VHF on 2m? I use it all the time as its just the right signal here in Scotland to judge conditions over the course of time on the hills.
This is a sorry state where a flagship beacon in the UK is closing at such short notice in December without the opportunity to seek a solution after 50 years of operation.



For those that have not yet seen the sad news, see the following links:



Stewart G0LGS


In reply to G0LGS:

I’ve already been in contact with a member of the RSGB council to ask him to get some hard figures. It’s important that people who feel strongly about this contact their local RSGB representatives and also contact the RSGB council directly. It doesn’t matter whether you are a member or not, you need to let the RSGB know the strength of feeling about the loss of a THE premier 2m propagation beacon in Europe.

It’s simply unacceptable for the RSGB to remove funding without publishing the details well inadvance to allow interested people to raise funding and keep this valuable resource available for amateurs all over Europe. I’m not insisting that the RSGB fund this regardless of cost but they’ve not handled the matter well todate.

Who is organising the fighting fund? Money talks and as all UK amateurs get a free licence now, they’re all £15/year better off. Those who use GB3VHF should be prepared to put their hand in their pockets and help out as it would appear the UK national society doesn’t value the service provided. I’ve got some money waiting, I hope others with VHF interests will be prepared to help too.



In reply to MM0FMF:

“Simply unacceptable”? Andy, you are being much too kind. This is quite typical of the hole-and-corner way the RSGB is accustomed to doing business and its about time we rattled the bars of their cage about it.

Put simply, that beacon is absolutely essential to anyone interested in weak signal work on 2 metres - unless they live in the southeast, and that is the heart and soul of the problem. It isn’t essential to the Big Boys who live in London, ergo, it isn’t essential.

Let us know if you get any hard figures - but I won’t be holding my breath!


Brian G8ADD


Those following this on the GB3VHF Blog site will see that an entry appears from ‘Colin Thomas, G3PSM’ (RSGB President) stating that ‘The RSGB have NOT refused to finance this (and other) sites.’

I guess we will have to wait a while before we see what is actually going to happen to this beacon.



In reply to G0LGS:

“…and the society has decided that they are not prepared to pay further increases to the new site owners Arqiva Services.”

From the RSGB announcement. This directly contradicts the statement by the RSGB President. It seems they can’t get their story straight!


Brian G8ADD


In reply to G8ADD:

It would appear that you are correct Brian, so which version do we believe?
The RSGB is a busines, so the £ will come into play for sure.

The silencing of GB3VHF is probably the thin end of the wedge, what’s next?




In reply to GW0DSP:

Now the blog is suspended so that the RSGB can “investigate”!

Meanwhile I am seething with rage that the RSGB President has characterised this situation as a “distraction”. Someone needs to back him into a corner and hammer home the point that this “distraction” is in fact what we pay our subs for, not swish offices, expensive but pointless trailers and overseas junkets.


Brian G8ADD


In reply to G8ADD:

Don’t you find it worrying that the RSGB is THE official national guardian representing us and our hobby. God help us.

A “distraction” phuh, a disaster maybe!!

Maybe this is just the beginning of what to expect, following the dangled carrot of a free licence for life. In this life, we get what we pay for, pay nowt, expect nowt in return. I guess we are in a situation where we are firmly gripped by the short and curlies.



Not specifically linked to the GB3VHF issue, but because of the more general principle you describe Mike, was why I argued against both the free licence, and the licence for life when the consultation was held. Those representations can still be read on the internet, and include submissions from some well-known SOTA participants. A (disappointingly, in my opinion) large number of respondents (not necessarily the SOTA participants I hasten to add) declared themselves in favour of a free licence for life, so the support was there for them to push it through.

I think on the GB3VHF issue, we should now await the results of the investigation. RSGB are aware of feelings now, clearly. We will see how this goes, but ultimately, my frustration will be with the commercial organisation that demands the rent increases, not with the RSGB who we elect and entrust to judge whether it is justifiable to continue paying exponentially increasing rents ad infinitum.



In reply to M1EYP:

I agree with all that you say Tom, but would add to the following…

not with the
RSGB who we elect and entrust to judge whether it is justifiable to
continue paying exponentially increasing rents ad infinitum.

We have no alternative to the RSGB, who the appropriate government departments deem to be our voice. We may elect the individual officers, fair comment, but we don’t elect the RSGB as our representative body, that is thrust upon us without choice. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing btw.

We are all paying members of the society and on matters as important as losing the most widely used beacon in the UK, if not EU, I feel that the paying membership should be consulted, after all it’s our money they are spending. I see they had no problem spending our money on fancy new offices.

I’m confused now though, due to two differing statements made on behalf of the RSGB. If they can’t agree amongst themselves, how are they expected to represent us and our hobby?



In reply to GW0DSP:

Hi Mike

Not being a member of the RSGB I guess I don’t have much right to
comment on their actions, but was interested in your point that
"we may elect the individual Officers".

November 2008 RadCom (it’s passed to me by a friend!!) has a piece
on the 2008 RSGB Elections showing that there were only 3 candidates
for the 3 board positions and only 6 candidates for the 7 Regional
manager positions so all candidates were returned unopposed. The 7th
Regional Manager is to be co-opted. It doesn’t sound like there was
exactly a scramble for these positions!

Nice to see you back Mike

Kind regards


Dave G0ELJ


In reply to G0ELJ:

Hi Dave

Thanks for the welcome back.

On that point, we, as members, have the right to democratically elect people into positions within the RSGB. If positions do go unopposed, that’s the members fault for being apathetic and not the fault of the RSGB.



In reply to GW0DSP:

Couldn’t agree with you more Mike

Kind regards




In reply to G0ELJ:
RSGB News update :slight_smile:


Roger G4OWG


We have no alternative to the RSGB, who the appropriate government
departments deem to be our voice.

Er hello, it’s 2008 not 1908. The RA of old, in the days of heavy handed regulation, would only listen to proposals fed via the RSGB. The were happy to let the RSGB filter anything and everything the RSGB didn’t support.

Roll on OFCOM who are required by law to consider inputs from any spectrum users. No longer do proposals have to be fed via the RSGB. If you put together a coherent proposal to OFCOM it will be dealt with correctly, appropriately and proportionately. OFCOM have a mandatory requirement to reduce regulation to a light-handed level. One of the recent changes to the license was the removal of the need to keep a log. Why? Because it served no purpose and was an unnecessary burden on amateurs as other spectrum users didn’t have the requirement. It might be exceptionally useful to radio amateurs which is why many of us still keep a detailed log. But it didn’t serve any purpose from the regulation point of view on a day to day basis. Of course if there is an interference problem being investigated, you will be required to log again until the problem is resolved. The suggestion to remove mandatory logging was proposed by an amateur who is not an RSGB member. He pointed out the absurdity of logging for amateurs as a legal requirement and OFCOM adjusted the license accordingly.

So if you have a proposal and can express it lucidly you can simply send it to OFCOM for consideration. Of course requests for more power (say 10kW) will be met with the disdain they deserve. The reasons are obvious. But if you can justify, to get back to beacons, why the shutdown requirements should be relaxed nowadays compared to 10 or 20 years ago (such as having multiple remote shutdown receivers and failsafes) then OFCOM can’t dismiss because it didn’t come via the RSGB. Nor can they dismiss it because they can’t be bothered to read it. And you can use FOIA to review how OFCOM handled your request if you don’t like what they say back. It’s hard for them to be faceless civil servants (who don’t serve) anymore.

As mentioned on the GB3VHF blog, our national society should be campaiging for mandatory access at reduced rates for repeaters and the like. It’s a shame they’re not. Likewise they should stop being OFCOM’s cheap lackey and start campaigning for us, a firm hand is needed to get OFCOM to start carrying out it’s legal duties such as the Comtrend/BT Vision problems and non-CE PSUs. If you look at the ARRL you can see how they took the FCC to court over PLT and won. A re-appraisal of the relationship between the two should be high on the agenda, no more scratching OFCOM’s back if OFCOM isn’t scratching ours.



In reply to MM0FMF:

We have no alternative to the RSGB, who the appropriate government
departments deem to be our voice.

Er hello, it’s 2008 not 1908. The RA of old, in the days of heavy
handed regulation, would only listen to proposals fed via the RSGB.
The were happy to let the RSGB filter anything and everything the RSGB
didn’t support.

Roll on OFCOM who are required by law to consider inputs from any
spectrum users.

Well that told me Andy:-)

Err hello, BUT, I was under the impression that OFCOM IS a government department, or a quango thereof at least. Am I mis-informed?



In reply to GW0DSP:

I was under the impression that OFCOM was a private company contracted to provide a service by the government.

I was also under the impression that RSGB was a private company contracted by its members to provide a service to those members.

Further more I was under the impression that the government was a exclusive club contacted by megalomaniacs with more money than sense to oppress the masses while giving the impression that those masses has some kind of say in whom it elected.

I might be wrong on one or two of the above points.

Personally I blame neither the RSGB, OFCOM or the government for what is about to happen to GB3VHF, that is down to the greed of the site owner and today’s “Safety Gestapo” which pushes the cost of servicing such things as beacons and repeaters in to the stratosphere. Hopefully these bloodsuckers will shortly be “hoist on their own petards” as commercial users refuse to pay the increased costs being asked and move to things such as broadband internet links and low power local repeaters. Coupled with other more modern technologies the halcyon days of these huge money spinning masts may be numbered.

What I do feel is that RSGB should be pressing the government for special treatment for such things by pointing out the value given by the radio amateur community in times of disaster. Site owners could be given incentives for allowing community based projects such as amateur radio repeaters and beacons and community radio projects free or cheap space on their masts. Such voluntary projects should be either exempt from the stranglehold of regulations and insurance that is crippling them or they should be covered by a community fund insurance. Community fund insurance would be paid for mainly by public money with a small input from the community group involved. This would be available to every small group such as Scouts and Guides, youth football teams, radio clubs, etcetera, etcetera. The “Safety Gestapo”, the “where there’s blame there’s a claim” culture and exorbitant insurance costs are killing community projects and events like never before, we need to do something now!

Steve GW7AAV who thinks the loss of GB3VHF is a crying shame.


In reply to GW7AAV:

RSGB news update :slight_smile: www.gb3vhf.co.uk <http://www.gb3vhf.co.uk


Robert G0PEB


In reply to G0PEB:

This is good news in as far as it goes. I shall keep my fingers crossed and hope that the unearthly music of the beacon continues perpetually.


Brian G8ADD