George Heriot's School in central Edinburgh in 1969.


1923 – Receiving apparatus constructed and working; aerial erected at the school, Castle in background.  Reported in The Wireless World and Radio Review, Sep 26, 1923 p. 876).


1953-54 - Heriot’s Radio Club re-founded. A founder member was Norman D H Murphy (SK 2015).

                        First project was a valve audio amplifier with pair of tetrode valves in push-pull.

"For myself, moving back in time just a little, my first interest in wireless and electromagnetic waves and all such things came in 1952 or thereabout when I found a book in the Heriot's school library – probably printed thirty years earlier – describing the wonders of very early wireless techniques. This book explained the functions of crystal sets, and of such long-forgotten devices as the Self-Restoring Coherer, which was, as far as I could gather, a very early form of radio signal detector, probably invented before I was born and abandoned not long afterwards.   Nonetheless I was fascinated. The whole concept of radio - or wireless, as we called it in Britain in those days - appealed to me.

I think it was in 1953 or early 1954 that Heriot's school started its very first Radio Club for after-school enthusiasts. I was a founder member. I think our first project, and the only one we undertook that year, was to build an amplifier. Needless to say, it was a valve-based device of which I can remember little, except that the output stage was probably a pair of tetrode valves working in Class B push-pull. (I ask you to forgive these minor technicalities; they are important to the historical progression of this note.) I left school before the amplifier was actually finished.

1954-55 - Sorry to lose physics teacher Mr Jim Jardine (who moved to George Watson’s College); replaced by Mr Barr.

Exhibition including oscilloscope (I. Reid); cycle radio (J. Telfer); extensive survey of valves, past & present; many items of ex-government radio equipment. Film on valve manufacture.

1961-65 - Club met on Thursdays at 3:10pm in the radio workshop of the Physics Department. Talks by club members on R/C models, “amateur broadcasting”, transistor radios & television. Construction projects: oscilloscopes, guitar amplifiers, electronic locks (clocks?), transistor tester. Mr Alistair Johnston (Physics) left (1965) and was replaced by Mr. Borthwick. Secretary, Thomas J. Harrison, 5D.

1970 – Club seems to have stopped for some years around 1970.

~1975 – Club was re-formed by Chris Armistead, Gordon Mathew, Iain Gillespie, David Cockerill,                          supported by Mr Bob Neil, Head of Physics.



~1977 - GM4FFI club callsign issued.

1977 – Headmaster, Mr Alan McDonald, agreed to the purchase of a Yaesu FT101E transceiver.                       Also using Pye Cambridge or Vanguard for 2m VHF.

Gordon Mathew GM4MOQ, Leonard Rollo GM4HFM (SK) operating the new Yaesu FT-101E.


L-R: Andrew Johnson, Lawrence Rollo?, Leonard Rollo GM4HFM (SK), Gordon Mathew GM8MOQ.


1979 – Mr Balfour made several contacts with UK and Europe using the club’s transceiver.


1979 - Visit to Radio Forth - see photo above.

1985 - Holder and club supervisor was GM4GMC - J. Balfour.

1994 - Neither GM4FFI nor GM4GMC still listed in Callbook. Assume club had folded.


LIST OF MEMBERS – current callsigns are underlined.

(GM3ZWO) – Peter A Slawek

GM4DMI – Dr Chris Armistead (1975-77) – now Sawbridgeworth, Herts.

(GM4DXV) – Dr Iain Gillespie (1975-77)

GM4EAU - Colin Murray, Balerno (1973-75): photo courtesy LRS:


(GM4FFI) – Club Callsign, held by Mr J. Balfour GM4GMC

(GM4GMC) – J. Balfour, Silverknowes, EH4 (Staff).

(GM4HFM-SK) – Leonard D Rollo (1975-77) - SK fairly young.

(GM4HJQ-SK) – David Mackenzie (1975-77) – East Linton

GM4SVM - Gordon Hudson – Edinburgh : photo courtesy


(GM6CRQ-SK) – Grant Stewart – Falkirk.

G8IUM - Mike Richardson (1973-75) - Windsor (was GM8IUM).

GM8JMN / now GM4LBN - Brian T Armistead, father of Chris GM4DMI - Edinburgh

(GM8MOQ) – Dr Gordon Mathew (1975-77) - now in Novato, CA, USA.

(GM8NXF) – Lawrence Rollo (1977-79) younger brother of GM4HFM.

  • Andrew Basden (Treas 1965-66)
  • Alistair Campbell (1977-79)
  • John Cruickshank (1977-79)
  • Thomas J. Harrison (Secy 1964-65)
  • David Johnston (1977-79)
  • Alastair Nicol (Secy 1978-79)
  • Fraser Simm (Watsonian; Heriots Archivist). 
  • (GM4GMC) - Mr J Balfour (Staff)
  • Mr Borthwick (Staff)
  • Mr Jim Jardine (Staff)
  • Mr Alastair Johnston (Staff)
  • Mr Bob Neil (Staff)
  • Mr Sowrey (Staff)
  • WB8xxx Mark Headlee (Staff).

Article compiled by Alan J Masson GM3PSP from input kindly provided by some of the above names.

I would be delighted to receive any additional material for this item.

Ver.6 - 27 Jan 2021.