B.A.R.S. was formed in 1965 as a student union society under the wing of the then Science Master Mr Dan Adams GW3VBP S/K. Until recent years it was known as the Barry College of Further Education Radio Society. The Society benefited from the close link with the College as accommodation and equipment was freely available. This made it possible for a small membership to undertake ambitious projects. In 2010 the College celebrated its 50th year and B.A.R.S. was there with a special event station GW3VKL/p.
In August 1968 the National Eisteddfod came to Barry. The College stand in the Industrial tent was exclusively handed over to the Radio Society. Using the call sign GB3NEW (National Eisteddfod Wales) we issued a certificate, printed both in English and Welsh to each contact made. This was the first time an amateur radio station had operated from the Welsh National Eisteddfod.
The Society from its early days has commemorated annually the Marconi-Kemp radio tests in the Bristol Channel. The 75th Anniversary of Marconi`s tests was commemorated with the issue of a special postage stamp by the Post Office and establishment of a post box at Flatholm Island, with a special hand stamp. The Marconi Company supplied on loan the actual kite used by Marconi on these tests. A special certificate was awarded printed in both English & Italian. First day covers autographed by Marconi`s widow, Kemps son, King Hussein, Senator Barry Goldwater, and Lord Brian Rix, were donated to various organisations that had assisted the Society in this project.
Our members to this day still operate from Flatholm Island as GB5FI to honour Marconi. Commemoration of these tests is an annual project undertaken by the Society, and during 1997 saw the 100th celebration of those tests. Operating from Flatholm and Lavernock Point, the Society organised a multimedia extravaganza attended by most of the major TV & Radio companies together with the British national press. Mr Alf Cornick MW1AML kindly designed & build a sculpture on Flatholm to mark the event. This sculpture was unveiled by the Italian Consul in Cardiff and Cardiff Councils Chief Officer Mr Salmon. Special GB100 callsigns were issued for both Lavernock and Flatholm. Those operating included a group from Passau in Germany. Many items of memorabilia were produced for this event- with each member of the club receiving a special Marconi commemorative mug.
Other events take place throughout the year. The most ambitious was the organisation of the Barry Rally. Planning started in midsummer to ensure that traders are informed and the leisure centre was reserved. The first Rally was held at the Barry Rugby club, where we erected a marquee for the trade stands. We offered a prize for the licensed amateur who had travelled the furthest distance. It was won by a German amateur.
(Unfortunatly with the advent of Ebay and declining numbers we do not run a Rally now)
We have establish stations on the SS Waverley the last ocean going paddle in the world as GC4BRS/MM and at Llandrindod Wells in Victorian week taking with us a Marconi replica Spark Gap transmitter. We work with the Scouts and Guides when asked to put "Thinking Day on Air". We have operated from the top of Ben Nevis, packing an old "AM" set to the top plus a generator on ones back then off to the top of Pen-Y-Fan in the Brecon Beacons. We have operated in Lighthouses, tops of City Hall Cardiff & from Cowbridge Goal. Even from the East Goodwin Lightship & Captain Hornblowers ship the “Grand Turk”, plus Captain Cooks ship the “Endeavour” in Cardiff Bay. We once put a station on “The Golden Cross” a rescue tug that is owned by “Miss Suzy Wong of Miss Saigon fame”.
At one time we held the world record for the longest distance contact on 10Ghz. We enter contests and are always looking for interested parties to help out. The club is active in contests. The contest call we use is GW8K.
In 2009 B.A.R.S. won the IOTA contest as Island Multi-Op Expedition.
So as you can see B.A.R.S. is a very active club and we are very proud of our history stretching back nearly 50 years and with the support of its membership we have plans to do even more in the future, so why not join us.