Tom Simpson GM3BCD died on 25th October 2014 at the age of 96. Tom was the Secretary of the Lothians Radio Society in 1960-61. However, his major contribution to the development of Amateur Radio in Edinburgh was in the Radio Club at George Watson's College where he contributed to more than 30 pupils gaining their transmitting licences and constructed & operated a world-class HF DX station with a cubical quad antenna on the school roof.

Tom came from Hawick in 1952 to join the staff of the Technical Department at Watson's, where he spent the rest of his career. With his Amateur Radio licence he naturally joined physics teacher John Hughes, who became licensed as GM3LCP in 1956, in running the school Radio Club. Tom applied his constructional skills in building up a state-of-the-art HF station whilst John ran licence classes for the pupils. Between them, they encouraged over 30 pupils to gain their Amateur licences, an amazing achievement, possibly unrivalled by any other school.  

 

L-R: unknown, John Hughes GM3LCP, John Kelly (later GM3POK / KG6XF), Tom GM3BCD

The Watson's station about 1956, to which Tom gave his callsign. It was located in a basement room under the stage of the assembly hall. The receiver looks like a BC-342. The home-constructed transmitter may have been crystal-controlled. The antenna was a V-beam pointing west to the USA, fed with open-wire feeder.

 

L-R: David Guest (later GM3TFY), John Hughes GM3LCP, Mike Senior GM3PAK,

George Millar GM3UM (Watsonian), Tom GM3BCD.

The station in 1961-62: by now the receiver was an Eddystone 750 and the AM HF transmitter, constructed by Tom, consisted of a Geloso VFO feeding a 150W Class-C 813 power amplifier, modulated anode and screen by a pair of 807s in Class B-zero bias. The high voltage power supply for the PA employed a pair of large mercury vapour rectifier valves which flashed brightly and impressively on the speech modulation peaks. Operation was principally on 15m and 10m and much impressive DX was worked during the lunchtime break and in the late afternoons after school. The writer remembers VK stations (Australia) coming in 5&9 (loud and clear). This was around the time of a sunspot maximum. 

 

 

John GM3LCP and Tom GM3BCD operating in NFD. 

The transmitter was the exciter portion of the club Tx, without the 150W PA!

Tom organised participation in several RSGB National Field Days on HF CW around 1960. 

 Tom's original QSL card, printed from an engraved wooden block.

 

QSL card used for the school station

 =====================================================================

A longer SK with more photos is under development on the website of the George Watson's Radio Club.

==============================================================