The Basingstoke Amateur Radio Club (BARC) was formed at a meeting held in St John’s Hall, Victoria Street on 15th September 1961. Historically, there had been a ‘radio club’ in the town in the late 1940s but this had attempted to cover a wide range of activities from television construction to tape recording and was eventually disbanded.
In 1960, under the influence of Tony Blackmore, G3FKO a Radio Emergency Network (RAYNET) group was formed for the wider area and out of this grew the interest to form a club specifically dedicated to Amateur Radio. The club has continued to meet every month since September 1961.
In its early years there was a strong emphasis on the practical side of the hobby, particularly the operation of home constructed equipment and this was encouraged through the awarding of the Willis Trophy, named after Ted Willis, G6OU to record his 50 years association with amateur radio. A second award, the Graham Fox Trophy commemorates the contribution of G4GTW who was a RAE Lecturer, Secretary and then Chairman of the Club before his untimely death at the age of 24.
In recent years home construction has fallen out of favour and the focus of the club has moved to talks on subjects related to amateur radio, together with ‘natter’ sessions and occasional quiz nights. The club has had several homes since the days at St John’s Hall and currently meets at May’s Bounty, the home of Basingstoke Sports and Social Club.