Over the years the club has progressed from a back room in a local cafe, to a church hall, to a condemned cottage, the foundations are still visible at the rear of Paul Angels Garage at the North end of Blackwood, to a second-hand prefabricated building and finally to the present accommodation at Oakdale Comprehensive School.
Motivation and the desire to keep amateur radio alive in the area has fuelled members enthusiasm for the club and this is one reason why it has endured for so many years. Since 22nd September 1974 the club played host to the Annual Welsh Amateur Radio Convention at Oakdale Community College, one of the biggest amateur radio conventions in the country. This event was attended by amateurs from all over the UK and also saw many overseas visitors come through its doors. The Convention reached a climax in 1984 when Brian Davies (GW3KYA), a long-standing club member and the convention-secretary organised a visit from the American Astronaut Tony England (W0ORE) who had been selected as back-up crew for the fateful Apollo 13 mission and was due to fly the Challenger space-shuttle mission in 1985
The visit created considerable media interest at the time and the event has now become a part of amateur folklore. A radio link-up between the club station (GW6GW) and Tony England (W0ORE), onboard the Challenger was established during the April 1985 mission, with the club again achieving a UK precedent in the world of amateur radio.
Blackwood and District Amateur Radio Club have a long-standing tradition as pioneers and promoters of amateur radio. The club is well known throughout the district and has been active in bringing the hobby to the attention of all who would wish to participate.
With this in mind, we are aware of the fact that we, as individuals do not own the club, but merely borrow it for some time before passing it on to those up and coming amateurs who would wish to continue its tradition well into the twenty-first century.
Club Radio Station: call sign GW6GW. This call-sign is unique in that it repeats the country prefix - GW for Wales, and in that it belonged to a Tredegar man, a member of the old 1927 Club whose Christian name was Gwylliam.
Audio from Tony England W0ORE
aboard The Space Shuttle Challenger