Why this Blog? Why now?
Like Mel and several million people in UK, I am ex-army, and I was a ham radio operator for most of the time while serving in the forces – in fact, as Clansman was coming into service, I was just newly licensed and within two months of obtaining my licence, I found myself operating a net of Clansman HF sets in quite an exciting situation. This was in 1979 and during that time I began to operate the Clansman Radios “off net” so to speak, on the amateur bands, partly to relieve the boredom of being located miles from civilisation for long periods, and to enable me to keep my hand in. This theme continued throughout my time and when I left the army Clansman was still in service. I enjoyed the experience of radio operating, and in the wee small hours, whenever I was operating the radios, I often wondered if I would ever be able to own any of the Clansman sets. I couldn’t imagine affording what the army paid for them, the design – being built for the cold war, had a high price tag – a UK/RT 320 was rumored to have cost £13K should you have the misfortune to lose one (and this created a rigorous accounting system). Imagine how happy I was when I discovered that the HF sets had become the cheapest ever rugged general coverage transceivers available on the market? This meant I could afford to have a few around and keep them working.
Nostalgia aside, I now realise that by keeping the Clansman radios in service – this in itself is a good thing to do because I imagine the resources that were invested in producing the sets and maintaining them to be huge. As a second user I think by keeping the sets in use as long as possible, promotes social responsibility in amateur radio.
As I understood from reading the press, the sets began to fail at the end of the systems life – remember the bathtub curve of failure? But as a piece of history and a feat of engineering the synthesised transceivers have excellent performance and are good to go in less strenuous circumstances – sometimes needing a bit of TLC and restoration – i.e. the man-packs are a highly portable item which can be operated out of the boot of the car or backpacked. The vehicle sets are heavy and would anchor a boat, well a pocket battleship really 😉 The pleasure of owning and operating the sets is a fantastic tribute to the designer, and the design leads to many claims of outstanding performance at very low power and in less than optimal conditions.
The blog and forum is constructed as an observation of the on-line communities which have sprung up to pool resources – these are like minded people, some technical, some beginners and some black box operators both professionals and amateurs, customisers and modifiers and entrepreneurs. The blog is therefore in the style of a magazine – where advertising and articles come together in mutual interest. It is hoped you will feature your mod, customisation. goods, operating anecdotes and questions here. The unique aspect is; it does not use the fixed format of yahoo and it covers the whole Clansman range for the second user – exclusively. We hope it will become an on-line reference in its own right – given time.
Stu – G4IYK