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Pete Milton G8FRC - SK - April 2016      RADARC History

Eric G3PGM



by Chris Hurst  G7MER

 I first meet Eric about 30 years ago, little knowing that he or I would form a close friendship that would last 10 years until he died. That first meeting must have made an impression on me, as it was him that I turned to for help after I passed the RAE.

 I remember being taken to Eric’s house by my cousin G4BJB, there he was in his shed at the bottom of his garden making an electronic organ. He made me so welcome that I felt at home in his company straight away, that was so Eric. Although I did not go there many times after that, we lost contact until I took the test, got my license and became G7MER about 10 years ago. Needing some technical help, I was asked if I knew Eric G3PGM in Hurst, “He will help you” I was told.

 I remembered our first meeting so I did not feel too bad knocking on his door without an invitation. I remember him coming to the door with Pat his wife, it took only a few moments before he remembered who I was and when we had met before, at this time I did not realise that he was recovering from his first heart attack and stroke the year before. I myself was also recovering from illness, so apart from talking radio we also talked about our recovery to that point.

 It was then that I realised that Eric had a lot of support from his family and amateur radio friends who had helped him to recover by setting up a transceiver from his shack and down stairs, talking to him on 2MTRs on their way to work, whilst Pat helped to get him walking again. I know he appreciated this a lot.

 In my early visits to his home we would sit and chat about amateur radio and I leaned a lot (a lot more than I could have learnt from a book). He passed on a lot of technical information to me.

Eric was the Chief Morse Examiner for Berkshire before he was ill. He reluctantly had to give up this post but he still helped with the testing in this area and was proud of the fact that he was responsible for helping many amateurs to get their A class licence. He tried teaching me the Morse but I was unable to get up to standard. He was pleased when the M3 licence started and he was able to put me through this test. After I had taken the test he said I could have managed the 5 words a minute, still I had achieved the M3 licence.

 I discovered that we had appointments at the same hospital department so with a few phone calls we arranged our appointments together so that I could take him by car. At least I could help him too. As he was getting better we ventured further afield. Firstly we went to the Reading Club and later to local Radio Rallies. Then we went to Pickett’s Lock, Bletchley Park and Milton Keynes, where as member No.27 he would sign in at the Royal Signals A/R stand and have a good chinwag with the other members. If I lost sight of him at a rally I would always know where to find him. One year we had a pitch at Newbury rally and he sold everything, which surprised him plus he had some cash to take home.

 The Reading Club made him a honorary member for his long service and help with the club. He was very surprised but proud. He entered some competitions with RSARS and won many certificates and plaques. He lined the walls of his shack with these.

 As time went on chats on 2 mtrs at 10 0’clock became a daily event. We called each other with 2 tone bursts and then QSY to the usual channel. Each QSO we said we would not stay long as we had other things to do but we usually chatted about all sorts for about 2 hours. Occasionally someone else joined in but I am sure a lot of others were just listening.

 About 5 years ago another small stroke laid Eric low for a while but with everyone’s help he recovered quite well. Well enough to drive again, although only short local trips, it gave him back some independence. We planned more trips out and projects with great gusto until about Christmas time I noticed he was not so keen. He cancelled trips at the last minute as he was not feeling up to them. He was having a few medical problems and was not feeling very well. I think he knew he was quite ill, but he put on a brave face.

 When he died he left a big gap in his family and friends lives. He was a man who had time for everyone and would impart his knowledge in a way you could understand it. He loved his hobby and made others enjoy it too.

 These are a few of my memories of Eric, and there many more. I will sadly miss him,


 Chris Hurst  G7MER/M3CLH


Vin G4JTR 

The attached is from the RADARC photo archive 1963 which I am custodian. I'm sure it sums up much of what we knew about Eric, a really great  guy and a sad loss to the hobby.  Click for Photo.

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Tony Cox G8TEE

I have recently moved house and while rebuilding the shack I came across this old newspaper cutting from the Maidenhead Advertiser, 22 October 1971.

Click for a larger Picture

I was nine years old (8th from the left or 3rd from the right) and this was my first experience of amateur radio.  I already had a keen interest in matters electrical and I can still recall that, following a lot of pestering, Mr Davies gave me a GDO to carry about so that I could "see" the transmissions as they happened.  It was fantastic and I was pretty well hooked.  Some years later, with considerable help and encouragement from Ian G8NXJ, I became G8TEE.
Sadly I don't think I ever worked Eric and if I had I wouldn't have put two and two together at the time.  From the comments on the web site he clearly maintained his encouragement of others throughout his life.
Tony Cox

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Laurence G2DD/G0LOZ

    I was very sad to hear the the news that Eric had passed away. My memories of Eric are of a truly kind unassuming man who was always willing help others, especially us younger less experienced amateurs. I well remember the day I took my morse test and it was Eric and Dave Waterford (?) who were examining. I was very very nervous and my sending was abysmal. Eric knew this and proceeded to calm me down to the point where I managed to get a perfect send - I have never forgotten this and indeed I reminded him of it some years later. I shall miss his hearing his voice on .325, the stories and the wealth of experience he brought to the hobby.
Laurence, G2DD

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Nick G0LGG

Hi Min
Just had to comment on your announcement about dear Eric. It prompted me to look into my first mobile logbook that started on 7-10-87. The first entry in this log is G3PGM/M at 09:00 to 08:10 via RD. This was several firsts for me - first contact with Eric, first through a repeater - isn't it funny how you remember the first contact - The 290 was on the dashboard with its internal antenna extended - not ideal conditions. Eric made me feel at home and didn't comment on my poor operating skills. Over the next 15 years I talked to Eric more times than I can remember and met him many times at the club too.
Eric was my Morse examiner - he knew I was nervous and left the room saying I should practice for a while. I merrily started transmitting the text that he had provided and must say I did a pretty good job. Eric had been standing just outside the room, came back in and congratulated me on my Morse skills - I had passed .... what a star and so typical of Eric.
I always found Eric a pleasure to work - I don't remember him ever in a bad mood and always had a good word for everyone and everything - I will certainly miss him along with many, many other members.
It is my regret that I will be out of the country on Monday next - I would really like to pay my respects to him as a good friend and wish him a fond farewell.
I hope the club will be well represented and can pass on my feelings to all concerned
73 de G0LGG, Nick

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Richard G4AWY

I was very sorry to hear this sad news Min. I'd worked Eric many times on 2, and
often used to listen to him. Heard him on only a few days ago when he sounded a
bit "down" :-(

Richard G4AWY

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Eric G3PGM - my 'elmer'

By Steve Rawlings, GW4ALG

I grew up at Twyford, near Reading - about a mile from where Eric lived.

I often listened to Eric's transmissions as a young short wave listener during the late 1960s.  At that time I would have been about 15 years old, and (with help from my dad) I had already built several valve receivers to the designs of  F.G. Rayer that had appeared in Shortwave Magazine. 

I would often listen to Eric's top band AM transmissions at weekends and during the evenings, and he soon became a familiar voice in our household - emanating from the various communication receivers that occupied the spare bedroom.  He would talk for hours and hours from his homemade garden shack to his many friends in the area including Charles G3FUO; Brian G3TYG; and Tony G3WRF. 

Eric was an entertaining and skilful communicator, who was able to talk intelligently across a wide range of operating and home construction topics.  His breadth of knowledge and his special communication skills meant that he was able to present vivid 'illustrations' of projects and anecdotes on AM fone that were as clear and as distinct as anything that you'd see on TV.

But it wasn't until Wally G4BJB said that I should go and visit Eric that this shy schoolboy decided to cycle to Hurst and introduce myself to my radio idol.  Of course, I received a very warm welcome from Eric.  Following our initial meeting, I spent several hours with Eric in his shack, and I learned a great deal about home construction techniques.  Eric always had much to say.  So much so that, on one occasion, I was so late getting home in the small hours of one morning that my parents had already called the police to report my disappearance! 

Of course, with Eric's help I later became G4ALG, and Eric and I had many a ragchew on top band.

I still treasure the time that Eric and I spent together, and the many chats that we had on AM, CW and, later, SSB.  Even now, I am reminded of Eric several times a year.  It may be when I think of his excellent CW skills (and his quip about PGM standing for 'Pretty Good Morse'); or the components that he so generously gave me all those years ago; or the encouragement and help that he gave so willingly. 

Thank you, Eric.   

Steve GW4ALG     Home Page

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Hidden Talents and Tales - by Min Standen

I had not know Eric for the many years like so many others, but I always felt he treated all with respect. Eric was always good company on the drive into work each morning and would bring you into the group discussion or the topic of the day. I had very little knowledge of Eric and his past and local  involvement in RADARC or his past in radio until one Saturday I got into a QSO with him and made mention of his past, but then stopped not saying any more.

Well my suspicious mind worked over time and Eric spoke to me a few days later and said "See you at the club as I want you to scan some pictures". These pictures turned out to be black and white photos from the days he spent on the Pirate radio station and Eric would not say a great detail about the pictures until later after I had scanned them.

My past interest of listening to the Pirate Radio Stations during the day and late at night when conditions allowed you to hear Radio North Sea and Radio Scotland (not bad as I lived in Hastings at the time). Eric let a few snippets of information go about his past so I asked him about doing some articles for the RADARC news letters and this got Eric opened up to the publication of his past and what he had done. See "Once upon a Field Day" There's also Eric's his story about an National Top Band Direction Finding hunt and it can be found here.  "Ready or not, I’m Coming ..."    (Click on the link for the article.)

After a few weeks of QSO's & chatting at the club I found out that it was difficult for Eric to discuss the PoP Pirate subject openly when at home so when I received his script typed on a BBC computer then transferred over for the PC it was sit down and put the pictures to the history and what unveiled was an opening to what I always thought was a glamorous life being a PoP Pirate on board Radio Caroline or Radio London Ships or the Forts which Eric found best. (He did his first job interview on Radio Caroline but the motion and tide was not for him). Eric became a DJ besides Engineer using the names Eric Peterson & Ed Laney for broadcasting. Eric told me on story that he had heard on the 20M Band US Hams saying that the singer Jim Reeves had died and as Eric ran a 1 hour radio slot of Jim Reeves music he announced the death before the BBC announced it which put their noses out wonder why he had got the news first!

  After many hours of working on the pictures with Des G8FIF we got the article to print in the club newsletter in 1999 full colour. Eric although  reluctant to speak about his article was pleased to see the interest that it drew and still does to the special interest groups who have found the article via the www. His story filled many gaps in what went on during that time onboard the ships and  forts which I and many had dreamed of working on or just listened too.

Eric's 1999  PoP Pirate Article in PDF Format.

Thanks Eric.


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Fond Memory of Eric G3PGM

by Roy Chapman  G3XPC/AI4XN

I would just like to add this fond memory of Eric. He and his good friend Tony G3WRF contributed greatly to my learning of morse code in the late 60's with their very regular and steady 12 words/min. transmissions on top band, most nights of the week, purely to be helpful to local swl's in the area. Both had strong signals for me at Finchampstead from Hurst and Ryeish Green. When I eventually got my licence of course we met on top band phone and at rallies. However I listened so often and intently that it was almost impossible for me not to send their calls signs and not my own! We shared the interest in music but Eric's unselfish help to all young and sometimes not so young struggling amateurs will not be forgotten by me or many.

A fine example of the true amateur spirit and good will that exists in this hobby of ours.



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