Welcome to the
Radio Communication Museum of Great Britain.
This is a brand-new museum focused on all aspects of Radio Communication. It is located in the city of Derby, in Central England. The museum is a registered charity and is being funded and built by enthusiasts and volunteers.
This web site is also under construction and will be expanded as the museum itself is built. It will grow to become both an overview of the museum, as well as an information resource for people with an interest in radio communication.
We have been a little slow at implementing web site updates (for which we apologise) but we have been focused on developing the building, cleaning and displaying the collection and the education outreach aspects of the charity. Hopefully, the implementation of our new marketing plan should start to produce more regular updates!
If you just want to be updated with our progress then please subscribe to the quarterly news-sheet and we will email it to you, the first edition of which will be released in January 2020.
The museum building is now complete and volunteers have created:
- a mechanical workshop which not only has traditional tools such as pillar drills and grinders but also modern “state of the art” 3D printers and a laser cutter.
- a well-equipped, multi work position, ESD electronics workshop for radio equipment maintenance, cleaning and repair. Also allows volunteers and members of our clubs, to build, test and maintain their own equipment.
- The computer networks are installed providing both internal and visitor access to the internet and central resources.
- The Operations Room where ultimately over 200 active radio receivers and transmitters will be powered up for visitors use. This room is already used as a teaching area for some of our clubs, as it has great high speed fixed and Wi-Fi network accessibility and multiple high resolution, large, wall mounted screens for presentation purposes. Radio equipment has started to populate the work surfaces and racks.
- The first phase of external antennas has been installed which includes:
- 144MHz (2 metres), 432MHz (70cm) and 1296Mhz (23cm) rotatable beams with elevation control, for tracking and communicating with orbiting satellites and the International Space Station
- Vertical for VHF and UHF FM communication
- HF loop antenna for shortwave reception
- The second phase of external antennas will be erected in Spring 2020 when the final planning permission arrives. These include
- an LF and HF multiple band transmitting vertical
- a 60 ft heavy duty Strumech mast to support:
- a multi band HF StepIR horizontal rotary beam
- 144MHz and 432MHZ beams
- various wire antennas
- We have started within our Technology Club for children, to use WSPR to evaluate the performance of the HF antennas that we install
- Volunteers continue to build and renovating display cabinets for our upper and lower galleries.
- Our NCRS communications trailer has been located at the museum complete with its HF transceivers, and Cold War era computer communications complete with pneumatic mast.
- Extensive internal and external CCTV equipment has been installed for security and child protection purposes.
Education and Training For CHILDREN
In May 2017, we started our education outreach programme. We are running after-school and weekend, Coding Clubs for children aged 9 to 13 using SCRATCH and PYTHON languages on PCs, Raspberry Pi and BBC Micro:Bit computers. These clubs are a great way to introduce children to programming (coding) computers. We are using material provided by Code Club UK for initial training.
In April 2018 we ran a “fast track” Scratch to Python conversion course for school children who had attended other Derby Code Clubs which only taught Scratch. We will be repeating this course during summer 2020.
When children have completed the various Code Club UK projects and become proficient with Scratch and Python, we have more complex PYTHON, PHP, C and C++ projects, again using PCs, the Raspberry PI, BBC Micro:Bit, Arduino and other embedded platforms. In late 2017 / early 2018, two of our Code Club students submitted a project to the European Space Agency (ESA) and their code was evaluated and they were awarded three orbits of the International Space Station to run their code on a Raspberry Pi computer on the ISS. The project analysed the night time light pollution from various countries as the ISS passed overhead.
The more advanced coders attending the Saturday Code Club, use Python based Code Combat as well as learning about databases and information systems.
These advanced projects are also part of our Technology Club (see below) and involve the control of electronics, software defined radios and even working on space science projects, linking to orbiting satellites and the International Space Station.
Follow this link to find out more about our Coding Clubs.
Electronics Courses for Beginners
We have been running our Electronics Course for Beginners since 2017. This is a ten-week course for children (between the ages of 10 and 16) who were already confident in Python coding. Aimed at the complete beginners, it enables children to learn how electronics work, how to construct projects, (including soldering) and how to use basic electronic test equipment (test meters, oscilloscopes and signal generators) . We ran these courses again in 2018 and 2019 for new cohorts of children. Our next course will commence on February 29th 2020.
Follow this link to find out more about our Electronics Course for Beginners and how to register to book a space.
In January 2018, a more advanced club, the “Technology Club”, was started for children that have grasped the basics of both software and electronics. Projects in the technology club have included building and launching solid fuel rockets, building a high-altitude balloon, using drones and now designing and constructing (electronics and software) a building access control system.
Recently the group have finished a course on building mobile aps. They will be moving on to develop mobile aps that will be used by visitors to the museum to obtain information about exhibits.
The children use 3D printers (designing items using 3D graphics software) and a laser cutter to produce items for personal use as well as for the museum.
Follow this link to find out more about our Technology Club.
Amateur Radio Courses
In 2019, as part of our Technology Club, we started our training courses for the Amateur Radio Foundation licence examination to enable children to obtain their amateur radio licences. This will run again in 2020 and the museum will become an authorised examination centre.
We expect to have several thousand items of radio equipment on display and hope to be open by arrangement to radio enthusiasts in summer 2020 and the general public in January 2021. Initially, we expect the museum to primarily be of interest to radio amateurs and engineers to look at our collection and use the equipment. Over the next few years the supporting graphics will be installed progressively, which will make the museum of greater interest to the General Public.
It has taken us much longer than we expected to get the display areas built and the equipment cleaned and made ready for display. Also, considerable time has been spent on repairing, restoring and aligning the equipment that has gone into the Operations Room for use. We need more volunteers !
Communications with you
Please follow our blog and twitter feed to find out our progress on the creation of the museum. Bookmark this page now and return regularly. Even better, become a volunteer and get involved
If you would like to get involved with the museum as a volunteer, either in a technical role restoring and operating equipment, or in a supportive role in marketing, IT, or administration, then follow the link to that section of this web site.
We are also keen to talk with people who have worked either as designers, engineers or users of radio equipment e.g. military, marine, aeronautic, telecoms etc who can share their experiences with us. This could be face to face, or over the telephone, internet or even over the air radio meetings!
If you just want to be updated with our progress then please subscribe to the quarterly news-sheet and we will email a PDF copy to you.
If you would just like to know when we are open to the public, then tick that box and we will contact you nearer that time.
Many thanks for taking the time to visit our web site and we hope to welcome you to the museum in due course.
Updated January 2020