Midweek Run to the Institute of Electrical Engineers Museum. Article by Cliff Smyth and photos from Hentie Erasmus and Bruce Dixon.
In March 2003, I was appointed Founding President of the Southern African Antique Wireless Association - AWA (Google them). The association arose out of the realization that many Radio Amateurs (Hams) were no longer coming up on the air, as technology had moved from the radio valve to transistorized transceivers with all the “bells and Whistles”. The perception arose that your owning and operating expensive equipment was now the norm.
However, in promoting the use of valve technology the AWA ensured that many Hams took out their old radio equipment, now buried under garage workbenches, restored them and hence came back up on the air.
Successive committees have furthered the aims and objects as laid down in our mission statement and to date we number over two hundred members. This incidentally is the biggest club/branch of the South African Radio League (Google them)
A number of members, two of whom you will know from the VVC, namely Past President Richard Dismore ZS6TF and our host today, Oliver (John) Gerondeanos ZS6OG, set about adding an antique amateur radio station to the Institutes museum. It uses the callsign ZS6IEE and obviously uses radio valve technology. Like our Youth Project, it too promotes the hobby to the youth, known as “Hammies”.
So much for the background. Today fourteen members of our club took to the road led by Norman, to visit the museum which houses not only old radios, but computers, telephones, electrical test equipment, electrical domestic and industrial fittings, switchgear, dictaphones and much more. Two of South Africa’s many leading electrical industrialist’s, namely Dr van der Bijl and Wadley are well represented in one or two of the many display cabinets i.e. a lot of world breaking technology started out in our country.
A few minutes were sneaked to take a look inside the old observatory which many members had seen over the years. Unfortunately it has nothing to do with the Institute but the thought did go out that it would make for an interesting future visit.
Judging from the thanks both Oliver and I received, it was a very successful visit ending at our new member Craig’s restaurant “The Factory” in Norwood for a delicious lunch.
In closing, let me confess that I arrived in a “plastic” rather than face the rain in my 2002 TF only to find that the others had come in their TD’s, MGA’s, GT’s, etc. all running smoothly. To cap it all the rain held off.
For those wishing to visit the museum, Oliver is in attendance every Thursday morning from 09h00 to 12h00 and looks forward to showing and briefing you on the hundreds of items on display. Should you go, you will get to meet old timers from Eskom, SAR&H, etc. who hang out there and help to keep everything in ship shape or should I say “sparking”.