The Rotary Club of Cardiff had for many years been involved with the Highfields Disabled Centre in Cardiff, providing a voluntary transport facility conveying disabled children from their homes to the Centre to enable them to enjoy increased social involvement.
This service was organized by the Community Committee. At one of the service meetings it was discussed whether it was possible to help the more mature disabled members.
Rotarian David Thomas, proposed it would be an idea for Rotary to form an amateur radio station on their premises. As well as providing an outlet for their members to speak to fellow amateurs worldwide it would also provide a means of giving the Highfields members a grounding in one aspect of a technical education.
David confirmed as a licensed amateur radio operator GW3RWX, he would be in a position to act as their training officer. This proposal was agreed and arrangements were made for Rotary to approach Highfields administration with this proposal which was readily accepted.
The Radio club was formed and Rotary provided the necessary equipment for the Club to become operational. The station opening was covered by BBC Television as part of their daily news coverage, the opening initiated by John Darren, the current “Wales Today” presenter and the station was given its amateur license, the call being GW4LFO
The Highfields Club commenced and sadly after some weeks David Thomas had a change of duties which made it impossible for him to carry on in Highfields.
A very great friend of Dave’s, Cyril Parsons G8NP offered to help and became the Station Training officer for the Club filling this position for some three years. At this point the club was very popular and the membership prospered.
Another of the local radio Hams, Dan Adams, offered his help in training and became the second training officer. Dan being a retired lecturer in Electronics was a great asset. Within the Club its popularity was sufficient to consider opening the membership to able bodied members resulting in the Club membership increasing dramatically. By this time the Club was well known in the locality and attracted a number of well known speakers.
Sadly the Highfields venue, under a reorganized management decided it was no longer able to support the amateur radio station as the room was being considered for other purposes. As a temporary measure the Club was allowed to use part of the main assembly room, the equipment being stored in an allocated cupboard and used by members in part of the assembly room. Although not ideal this arrangement was used for some time until the management decided the Club was not welcome and efforts were made to find new accommodation.
Over a short period of time various venues were tried in parts of Cardiff but it was found the cost of hiring the rooms was much higher than anticipated.
However thanks to the efforts of Robert Lannon and David Mead, to name a few, Rhiwbina Social Club was chosen as a new venue for club meetings.
About this time in 2012 the Club was in a state of limbo and membership attendance was dropping and consideration was given to winding up the club.
David Thomas, having been elected an honorary life member some years before and although not being an active attending member, still received Club News Letters. David attended the next meeting of the Club and having listened to the members’ complaints suggested means of reorganizing the Club activities.
A new Committee was elected under the chairmanship of David Mead. The Club’s activities blossomed very quickly and attendance at the Club increased dramatically. About four months later David was elected Vice President of the club.
Sadly, over this period the Life President of the Highfield Club, Sid Hudson, GW0NQQ passed away. At a later time it was proposed David Thomas, GW3RWX, would be elected to the position of Club President.
Brian Perrett MW0 GKX brought his internet skills to the service of the club with the creation of a club website and regular newsletters, which generated a great deal of interest.
The club continues to be involved in a number of activities including the use of our “Radio Shack” utilising modern equipment to make contacts all over the globe, using our club callsigns – GW8NP and GW4LFO.
Licence training and Morse Code training continue and Rob and David have been instrumental in providing a high standard of training and examination for students at the club.