Duke Radio Supplies Bryn's Radio Shack

The original holder of the call sign GW2HPG was my father, Bryn Lear. Bryn was allocated the call sign GW2HPG in 1946 when the General Post Office resumed issuing licences after World War 2. Whilst Bryn was a 'Ham Radio' operator before the war, radio amateurs were only permitted to transmit signals into a dummy load, or artificial aerial as they were called at that time. On 20th November 1946, Bryn had his first 'on air' contact with his new call sign. The QSO was not a “DX” station as hoped for, but with GW4NZ, Syd Roberts, a fellow enthusiast from the town of Neath, a distance of just 3 miles or so from Bryn's Morriston QTH.  At this time my father, and mother Peggy, owned and ran Duke Stores, a small grocery store at Morriston. In his spare time Bryn repaired domestic radios and charged batteries in a small room at the back of his shop. The small room became smaller and smaller as Bryn's amateur radio toys increased in size and number. The radio section of the store later became known as Duke Radio Supplies.  As business increased Bryn opened his Plasmarl Radio Shop.  

In those days a modest radio transmitter and receiver could be as large as wardrobe, and weigh as much as a modern day deep freeze cabinet. You can see photographs of some of Bryn's home-made radio equipment in the Bryn’s Radio Shack section.

It was not until my father passed away in 1965 that I took an interest in the hobby of amateur radio. Having married my wife Lorna and settled down in the village of Clydach in the lower Swansea Valley, I met my friend George Watson, GW4EVJ,  who at that time was an active member of the Neath and Port Talbot Amateur Radio Club. George was very keen on club field day events, and even after retiring from his engineering work at the International Nickel Company at Clydach, (INCO), remained a prolific home brew radio and computer constructor.

On 7th October 1976 after much encouragement by George, I acquired my amateur radio licence. In memory of my father I successfully applied for my father's call sign GW2HPG. My first contact, albeit by arrangement, was also with Syd Roberts GW4NZ of Neath. Syd passed away on 15th March 2001 and is now a ‘silent key’. Sadly, George passed away on 7th October 2017, exactly 41 years from the day that I acquired my amateur radio licence.

As a serving police officer at the time, and one directly involved in emergency planning, I was acutely aware of the valuable service that radio amateurs were capable of providing in times of emergency and civil disaster. Being in a position to promote the services offered by RAYNET (The Radio Amateurs Emergency Network), I joined the local group and became involved in their activities. In 1977 I was appointed to the national RAYNET committee and became acquainted with members and procedures at a national level. At the time I was the Emergency Planning Officer for South Wales Police, and my duties included being the police liaison officer with the other emergency services and volunteers.  During my term of office I arranged many real time practical and table-top major incident exercises involving the emergency services and voluntary services.

I retired from the police service in 1995, and shortly after became office manager for T. Llewellyn Jones, Solicitors, Guildhall Chambers, Neath.  

I would be very pleased to hear from anyone who knew my father, and however unlikely since he has been a silent key for over 50 years, from anyone who has had a QSO with him or  myself on the amateur bands. I can be contacted by email at  geoffrey.lear@talktalk.net

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Geoffrey Bryn Lear

Plasmarl Radio Shack Other Interests