Welcome to the Orkney Amateur Radio Club web site. Orkney is a group of over seventy islands lying off the northern coast of Scotland, surrounded by the North Sea to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Situated in the tail end of the gulf stream, the sea and air temperatures are a degree or two warmer than mainland Scotland - but gale force winds are very common, and wind speeds in excess of 100 mph occur from time to time (not good from an antenna point of view!).
Orkney has a long history with the first settlers arriving over 6,000 years ago (that's a few thousand years before the Egyptians built the pyramids!). There is a great deal of spectacular archaeology here, some of which is of world importance. This includes stone circles, burial chambers and even entire preserved Neolithic villages. In more recent history, there is evidence of the Vikings who invaded and settled here. Many of the islanders are of Norwegian descent.
Fishing and farming are the traditional industries. However tourism is playing an increasingly important part in the economy. Good communication links, including regular ferries and flights, mean that the islands are no longer remote. Wildlife is very abundant in and around the clear blue waters, and over the unspoiled hills, fields and moorland. Many rare and migratory birds can be found here at different times of year. Seals and dolphins are commonplace, and Killer Whales are occasional visitors.
Radio telecommunications has always had an important role to play in this remote group of islands. As a consequence, there have been radio amateurs here since the early days of the hobby. Currently, Orkney has quite a few resident hams (particularly given its small population). Some are more active than others, but it is fair to say that there is usually a presence on the HF bands most days (sometimes 6m and 2m gets a look in too!).
A number of these local amateurs used to meet informally from time to time; and on occasion activated various island locations. In 2000, it was decided that an actual club should be formed. This would allow for a constitution, committee, callsign and more importantly affiliation to the Radio Society of Great Britain. The club has been steadily growing in numbers ever since; partly because of amateurs moving into the area, and partly because of the new licence classes encouraging people to take up the hobby.
Recently, Orkney was chosen as a site for an experimental 5mhz (60m) beacon (GB3ORK). We also have our own 2m repeater GB3OC (channel RV52, input = 145.0500Mhz, output = 145.6500Mhz, CTCSS enabled Tone C 77.0hz).
If you live in the Orkney Islands and are interested in becoming a radio amateur, we are able to provide tuition for the Foundation Licence and the Intermediate Licence. The club has two registered tutors which allows both examinations to be taken locally. The Foundation Licence Examination can be taken at approximately one week's notice, and the Intermediate Licence Examination is available in accordance with the RSGB timetable.
The club meets on a monthly basis (see the NEWS section above for details of the next meeting). The meetings vary throughout the year, from informal chats to video presentations, to planning the next island activation. Whatever we are doing you would be most welcome to join us. If you are here on holiday and your visit coincides with our monthly why not drop in and say hello? If you do intend to come along, it is advisable to check that the meeting is taking place as dates/location sometimes vary - telephone David Wishart on 01856 721422
If you would like QSL information for one of our club members, or for one of the club's own callsigns, please click here.