Radio is more than just a hobby to Grantham pair

Raynet radio controllers. Billy Rose and Jim Wheeldon. 703C
Raynet radio controllers. Billy Rose and Jim Wheeldon. 703C

Imagine if you could pick up a little hand-held radio, twiddle a knob or two and make contact with someone across the other side of the world.

Ok, we have mobile phones but it’s not quite the same. With radio, you never know who you are going to end up chatting with over the airwaves.

Radio is a hobby Jim Wheeldon and Billy Rose are very passionate about, and they love nothing more than making contact with other enthusiasts in far-flung places.

The pair are members of the Radio Amateurs’ Emergency Network (RAYNET), and as such it is more than just a hobby to them. They could be called upon at any time as volunteers to assist with communications in emergency incidents, and also regularly help out at events such as charity walks.

Jim, 65, of Stathern Walk in Grantham, said: “It’s all voluntary. We can be asked to assist in anything, as RAYNET is worldwide.”

Local events the hobbyists have been involved with are the Grantham Carnival and a recent cancer charity walk at Grimsthorpe Castle.

They are called upon as members because radio equipment used generally by organisations, even emergency services, does not travel very far, while there is nowhere the equipment RAYNET members have invested in cannot reach.

Jim said he “loves radio”, while Billy, 46, of Harby Close in Grantham, said: “It’s the satisfaction in knowing that you’re helping somebody.”

In order to get a radio license from awarding body Ofcom, Jim and Billy had to complete a City & Guilds exam, showing just how committed they are to their hobby.

Both have been into radio for around 20 years, gradually building up their collections of equipment. Unlike Billy, Jim has a full license which even allows him to communicate using Morse Code.

Anyone who would like to find out more about radio can contact the Grantham Amateur Radio Club via www.garc.org.uk