For a long time amateurs in South Bristol had discussed the need for meeting facilities in the area. On each occasion, the lack of a suitable venue prevented any further action. Matters came to a head on 28th August 1983 when Len (G4RZY) booked accommodation at the Whitchurch Folkhouse and formed the South Bristol Amateur Radio Group. Mark (G4KUQ) acted as temporary Chairman, and meetings were arranged for each Wednesday, starting 31st August 1983.
These meetings proved very popular, with membership rising to nearly 40 within 4 weeks. An informal meeting of paid-up members on 21st September 1983 agreed that a General Meeting should be held on 5th October 1983 to officially create the SOUTH BRISTOL AMATEUR RADIO CLUB (SBARC).
Since the formation of SBARC, the membership peaked at 90 but has now stabilised at around 45 – 50 members. We pride ourselves on being the largest and most friendly club that welcomes new members, whether experienced ‘old-timers’ or raw ‘newcomers’, licensed or unlicensed.
Up to the year 2000, SBARC sponsored and organised the Bristol Computer and Radio Rally on the first Sunday in September. All club members were mobilised to provide an excellent show for 1000 – 2000 visitors. We also take part in national events such as RotA and contests such as VHF National Field Day. Each week we have some form of activity or lecture that will appeal to a substantial part of the membership. Subject matter is not limited to Amateur Radio and suggestions are always welcome.
The Club Today
Extensions to the Whitchurch Folkhouse had meant extra space becoming available. Such that SBARC then had a wide range of facilities: bar, meeting room, lecture room, radio shack, RAE room and Morse training room. However, the Folkhouse Social Club also expanded and finally it became necessary to find new premises. From 1st June 2009 the Club relocated to the Novers Park Community Centre, restoring the space and facilities previously enjoyed.
Having established itself at the new premises, the Club is actively seeking new members and new challenges. Please come and meet us one evening for a drink and a chat, join us, take a course and become licensed – the world is your oyster. Events, and there is usually something planned for each week, normally start at 20:00 however, the radio equipment is switched on at 19:30. Members attending are entitled to use the Community Centre Bar, where one will find a convivial atmosphere after (or before) the exertions of the hobby.
Membership of the Club costs £5.00 annually, although all OAPs receive a 50% discount. The charge at the door each week is a modest £1.50. Classes may require payment to help defray expenses and students will have to be responsible for their own exam fees payable to the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB). Members are also required to take out Community Centre membership presently £5.00 per annum, although this conveys the additional benefit of access to the Novers Park Community Centre and its facilities.