95th Anniversary Broadcast. from Jim Salmon 2E0RMI
From Sunday 12th February to Tuesday 14th February 2017 we celebrated 2MT with an internet radio service including various live programmes from the original 2MT 'Long Low Hut' now preserved at Sandford Mill Museum here in Chelmsford, Essex, UK. Whilst in the hut, we were joined by members of the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society who were operating a special event amatur radio station using the callsign 'GB95 2MT'. We therefore for the first time in 95 years actually broadcast, & transmitted, from this historic building.
As detailed on this website, our purpose for this project is to celebrate the UK's first regular broadcast station & we are happy to have been able to expand on the 2MT story & bring this to a new audience, paying tribute to all those involved.
There were many high points during our broadcast including being interviewed on BBC 5 Live & BBC Essex, & a main highlight was at 7pm on Tuesday 14th February, exactly 95 years on from when 2MT started transmissions. At this time we raised a glass & drank a toast to (1) 2MT & all involved, (2) radio hams past, present & future, & (3) Captain Peter Eckersley. We were joined in the hut by amateur radio & museum friends & colleagues, & we are sure the spirits from the past were looking on...!
A poignant moment during the 3 days was on Tuesday afternoon when we were visited by Shirley, the daughter of Tom Eckersley, Peter's elder brother. Now in her 80's, we enjoyed talking about family & history, & I was pleased to be able to play her a recording of an interview with Peter Eckersley, most likely from the 1950's, in which he credits his brother Tom for being the inspiration to him at school to 'be a wireless engineer'.
I would like to say thank you to everyone involved & in particular everyone who e-mailed us & interacted with us on social media. We will obviously aim to be back with you in 2022 for the centenary celebrations!
A short introductory video explaining the events on Sunday 12th February 2017 at Sandford Mill Museum, from the original 2MT 'Long Low Hut'. (Video - David Salmon)
Throughout our 3 day broadcast we presented 10 live programmes, many from the Long Low Hut, & some from our home 'short high roof'... These are available here to listen again via our page on the 'Mixcloud' service. Click here to visit our page at Mixcloud.
Two videos covering our two hour programme live from the Long Low Hut on Tuesday 14th February. The spirits were with us... (Video - Steve - CRHnews)
Audio / Video. A selection here of audio & video items from our 3 day broadcast.
Radio Emma Toc on 12th February 2017, Jim Salmon is interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live at 9.55pm by Peter Allen & Jane Garvey.
Radio Emma Toc on 14th February 2017, Tim Wander, Jim Salmon, Pete Sipple & Kathryn Sipple are interviewed on BBC Essex by Dave Monk. Show broadcast at 6pm.
Pictures. A selection of photos from our 3 days.
The 2MT 'Long Low Hut' now sited inside at Sandford Mill Industrial Museum.
Tim Wander & Les Radley operating GB95 2MT.
Radio Emma Toc set up in front of the replica 2MT transmitter.
Murray Niman operating the 2 metre GB95 2MT station.
Chris Chapman, Les & Murray operating HF GB95 2MT.
Bob Tokely, Jim & Pete Sipple (Tony Gilbey looking on !).
Chris interviewed on Radio Emma Toc.
Radio Emma Toc's studio location when not in the 2MT hut - home based, in a 'short high roof'.
'Sunny Jim' looking after the mixer...
Not a raid - just moving the equipment to Sandford Mill...
Tim Wander & Dave Monk on Radio Emma Toc.
Kathryn Sipple interviews Dave Monk ?!
Dave Monk interviews Jim for BBC Essex.
Jim explains to Dave - 'this is how it used to work...'
Our grateful thanks to Pete Sipple from Essex Ham for many of the photos on this page. Pete also provided a live video feed on the Essex Ham Periscope app which resulted in hundreds of viewers being able to watch our event!
Thanks also to Steve from CRHnews for the youtube videos & to Dave for video & assistance with the BBC 5 Live feed!
Publicity / Press. A look here at some of the publicity for our 95th celebration event. We were featured in the December edition of RadioUser magazine:
We were also mentioned in various editions of the British DX Club magazine 'Communication', so thanks to Chrissy Brand & all at both these excellent publications for helping us spread the word.
Many radio related websites & social media pages published items about our broadcast, both before, during & after out 3 days of programmes. Thanks to all the following, & apologies to those we have missed out!
Southgate Amateur Radio News / CARS - Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society / MARTS - Medway Amateur Radio and Transmitting Society / MARS - Meirion Amateur Radio Society / Marconi Veterans Society / Marconi Science Worx / Chelmsford City Council / CRHnews / BBC Essex / The SWLing Post / Shortwave Central / Big Wave PR.
We also received much coverage through Twitter & Facebook, with many 'likes' & 'retweets' of our own postings, together with many direct messages of support. It has been fascinating to promote our celebration of 2MT, the cutting edge technology of its day, by using today's social media technology.
We received very helpful support from Pete at Essex Ham, both with publicity & technical broadcast assistance. Pete also provided a live video feed on Sunday & Tuesday from the 2MT hut.
Essex Ham is dedicated to supporting Amateur Radio in Essex, & on their website you will find information on how to get started, what the hobby has to offer, news on clubs in Essex, and help with amateur radio training.
For Essex Ham's report on our broadcast, including an interview with us, click here:
We were joined on Sunday 12th & during the evening of Tuesday 14th by members of the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society who operated from the other end of the 2MT hut on the amateur 40 metre & 2 metre bands. A special event callsign was granted for the event - GB95 2MT.
For CARS report on the event, click on the CARS logos above.
To visit the CARS GB95 2MT QRZ.com page, click on the QSL card.
More by good fortune than by design, our event coincided with 'World Radio Day'. This is an annual event organised by UNESCO to celebrate radio as a medium, & to improve international co-operation between broadcasters.
We registered our 3 day broadcast along with hundreds of other radio stations, & our entry was picked up by a BBC Radio 5 Live producer. This led to our 2MT celebration being mentioned at the end of the Dave Allen & Jane Garvey programme at 9.55pm on Sunday 12th February! We were interviewed, live in the 2MT hut, & were able to spread the 2MT story a little further.
On Tuesday, Dave Monk from BBC Essex visited, & I was able to turn the tables & interview him on Radio Emma Toc! He subsequently interviewed us & produced a fine piece on his drivetime programme which included chats with Tim Wander, Jim, Pete Sipple & Kathryn Sipple. Again, excellent promotion for the 2MT story & amateur radio in general.
Below, the Press Release issued by Big Wave PR.
95 YEARS - A CELEBRATION OF RADIO STATION 2MT
February 14th 2017 marks the 95th anniversary of the start of Britain’s first ever regular, advertised broadcast radio station, 2MT, which came live from Writtle in Essex.
To commemorate this anniversary, and to celebrate the young, pioneering team of engineers, the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society will be transmitting from the same building from where the original broadcasts commenced. One of their members, Jim Salmon, will also be operating a three-day internet radio service, Radio Emma Toc, featuring radio related documentaries, vintage comedies and live programmes from various locations.
The first 2MT broadcast started at 7.15pm on 14th February 1922 from an ex-army Marconi hut - a 'Long Low Hut' - sited in a waterlogged field in Lawford Lane Writtle. This famous hut is now on permanent display at Sandford Mill, Chelmsford, and can be visited during the summer open days at the Mill.
Members of the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society - CARS - regularly transmit to fellow amateur radio hams from this historic hut and, for this celebration, a team from CARS will be making contact with fellow amateurs on the 12th and 14th February. A special event call sign, GB95 2MT, will be used to mark this occasion.
Tim Wander, Consultant at Sandford Mill and Chelmsford Museums, describes the original 2MT broadcasts. He says: “The 2MT team offered its listeners impromptu comedy sketches, the first ever broadcast radio play, dedicated children’s five minute spots, impersonations, guest artistes, burlesque entertainments and even parodies of grand opera. Nothing like it had been heard before - it was a new type of entertainment and it made history.
“The power behind the microphone was Marconi engineer, Captain Peter Eckersley, who as Britain’s first ‘DJ’ brought an amazing light-hearted spirit and comic skill to the new art of radio broadcasting. His sheer joie de vivre bubbled across the ether and he was not only the first, but also talked to his listeners as if they were in the room with him - and his listeners, estimated at over 20,000 people, loved him and the station.
“Often a one-man show, but always a team effort, 2MT at Writtle wrote a crucial chapter in the history of radio and broadcasting and directly led to the formation of the BBC in 1922."
Jim Salmon, of Radio Emma Toc, says: "We will not try to recreate station 2MT - how could we? We live in a very different age. What we would like to recreate is the spirit and adventure of 2MT, to be 'born in laughter and nurtured in laughter'.”
He continued: “If all goes to plan, our online radio station will be available to a worldwide audience via the internet, and the amateur radio transmissions will hopefully be beamed across the ether to distant shores. Of course, as with the best laid plans - there is a vast potential for things to go wrong, however this would be in keeping with the pioneering character of radio experimenters of the time!”
The team is also planning the centenary celebrations of the birth of British broadcasting in Chelmsford, and if you would like more detail please visit www.emmatoc.com.
For a programme schedule and information on Radio Emma Toc, visit www.emmatoc.com.
For details on the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society and training courses provided by them, visit www.g0mwt.org.uk.
Sandford Mill will be open to the public on Sunday 9 July for the Science Discovery Day: The Great Outdoors!, which will give school children the chance to experience the Long Low Hut and view Marconi’s radio technology and TV cameras. To discover more, visit www.chelmsford.gov.uk/museums.
Thank you to the Chelmsford Weekly News who subsequently reported on our commemoration transmissions & broadcast. They had also reported in February 1922!
Thanks again to the British DX Club who placed us in full colour on the back page of the March 'COMMUNICATION' magazine! This really is an excellent monthly magazine for all radio listening enthusiasts, & the BDXC is run by a dedicated team who consistently produce an interesting & informative publication. Details of the BDXC website below.
For details of the British DX Club - click here..
Nearly four weeks on from our broadcast, we were still featured in our local papers! Here, in the 'Community Section' of the Essex Chronicle. Curious that they cut out the part of the picture showing the 2MT replica transmitter, which to be honest is far more interesting than the chap in the picture...!
...and finally, a selection of items from the RSGB newsletter, Southgate Amateur Radio News, Marconi Veterans Association, Short Wave Listening Post, Shortwave Central, & 'Radioamateurs Actualites News'... We are grateful to everyone who took interest in our celebration event - thank you.
...and finally - our QSL card for this broadcast.