I have been interested in radio and electronics for as long as I can remember. I used to take things apart to see how they worked, still do sometimes. I made crystal sets, simple regen receivers (valves) and then modified ex Pye radio telephones for 2M and 70CMS.

I was licensed in 1971 as G8FRA getting on 2m with the TX section of an AM Pye Cambridge which had been cut from a radio telephone. Some simple mods improved the modulation depth. The output was said to be around 8W but was probably nearer 5W.

The RX was a Heathkit GR78 which I built from a kit. It had a copy of a Microwave Modules 2M converter bolted to the back. The 2M band was tuned from 4Mhz to 6Mhz on the receiver. It all worked well and the photo shows /P operations with the rig in the back of a Morris 1100 on Burton Dassett hills in South Warwickshire during a 2M contest.

The move to channelised FM came with a Pye Continental which was much like a boot mount Cambridge but with a YL1240 in the TX final. It produced 25W which was high power then! There were 6 channels each requiring a crystal for TX and RX. I worked through the first repeater in Cambridge while /M one morning on the Warwick bypass. I was told repeaters were for local contacts and not DX!

In 2000 I passed the 5WPM Morse test and was licensed as M5FRA. There is still confusion about M5 calls and I have been asked when I will get a full license. I went for a 12WPM test, but the examiner never arrived, and the Morse requirement was scrapped a few days later. Morse has become a bit of a passion, wish I had learned it in 1971, it would have been much easier!