As social media takes over, enthusiasts from North Yorkshire are calling for recruits to join a new club using historic communications technology to talk to the world.
The first ever Colburn and Richmondshire Amateur Radio club has been set up by friends Colin Lyne, Chris Watkins and Craig Dennis who are desperate to encourage people to get involved to keep the hobby alive.
“What many young people especially don’t realise is it’s basically the same technology as mobile phones, only it’s pretty much free to run. They can get their licence, buy a radio, and they enter the world of free speech, nationally and internationally,” said Mr Lyne.
“The main aim of the club is to bring together like minded enthusiasts to help them develop and encourage them in the hobby and to bring in new members young and old to help them discover how exciting it is,” he added.
Amateur Radio enthusiasts are licenced to operate their sets by Ofcom, and are the only ones who can build their own radios, but Colin says newcomers don’t have to build them if they don’t want too.
“There are three levels of licence, Foundation, Intermediate and Full. Although it is a legal requirement to obtain a licence through examination, anyone interested in becoming licenced will be taught at the club by high grade tutors, enabling them to either obtain their first licence - Foundation - or go on to the higher levels.
“There is no age restriction at the club, or to be licenced. Young people of eight years of age are already licenced, and retired people often decide to take up the hobby and obtain their ticket,” added Mr Lyne.
They will be helping people to chat locally or enter the field of long distance international chats. There are more than two million enthusiasts worldwide.
Mr Lyne said: “I only took this up three years ago when I was 65, but I really enjoy it, I have spoken to enthusiasts in Italy, but that’s nothing you can go to America, Australia, literally worldwide."
The club will take people through what they need to know from start to finish and are hoping to be able to supply handheld radios at reduced prices, and in the meantime help people get on air.
The first meeting on Thursday, September 18 at 7.30pm at Colburn Village Hall is free, with a nominal charge for further meetings. Young members will not be charged, all courses will be free and licences are also free. For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org