About TARS

Torbay Amateur Radio Society (TARS) is now into its 76th year.

We’re based in the Teignbridge Scout headquarters in Newton Abbot.

The Teignbridge District Scout Headquarters
The Burdett Building, Wolborough Street, Newton Abbot,
TQ12 1LJ

We meet every Friday evening (except bank holidays) from 19:30.

History of The Torbay Amateur Radio Society


The society was formed in February 1947 at the Y.M.C.A Torquay, with about 20 members. Mr. Walt Sydenham G5SY was made President, Mr. Frank Wadman G2GK the Chairman and Mr. Ken Grimes G3AVF the Secretary, (sadly all 3 are now Silent Key). Our current President Derrick G3LHJ was at the initial meeting to set up TARS. Regular meetings were held once a month on Saturday evenings at the Y.M.C.A. Torquay.

In 1958 the Society moved to its own Headquarters in Bath Lane, Torquay, remaining there until 1985 when they moved to Headquarters at the Highweek Family & Social Club in Newton Abbot. Since the move to Newton Abbot the Society has gone from strength to strength with a membership peaking to about 230 in the early 80’s.

The current Headquarters are at the Teignbridge Scout Headquarters in Wolborough Street, Newton Abbot, the first meeting there held in July 2005. The society continues to meet at the Scout Building and during 2017 celebrated its 70th anniversary with various events, including running two special events call-signs and hosting an all-members BBQ. Special 70th Anniversary ‘T’ Shirts and fleeces were available to order embroidered with the wearers name & call-sign along the celebratory dates and club logo.

A Society Magazine, ’TARS TALK’, is produced three times a year which informs the Membership of future happenings, reports on past events and also articles of general interest.

The club boasts a very active, keen and successful Training Team which has become recognised as the ‘go-to’ place to train. The team are able offer practical and theoretical training for the Foundation and Intermediate licences as well as the required assessments for the Foundation, Intermediate and Full licences. The team are also able offer exams placement both written and online.

Members run on-air slow Morse sessions (see website for current arrangements) to allow existing licensees to improve their Morse and enable newcomers to gain confidence.

The Society caters for most aspects of Amateur Radio, Transmitting and Receiving on the HF, VHF, UHF bands, Packet (digital communication), Television, Computing are among some of the different forms of communication available. The Club has a very keen Contesting group, with several major national contests entered each year. They have had several successes over the years and, on two occasions have won the section of the contest entered and several second and third places.

There are many inter member competitions that can be entered each year ranging from contacting different Countries on one or all Amateur bands using any of the various Modes available, also for constructing a piece equipment for use in an Amateur Radio Station. There are 2 special Trophies awarded to non-Licensed Members. The awards and trophies are presented to the successful members at the Annual Presentation Evening in March.

The Society has sponsored an International Award, known as the TARS 30, for any Radio Amateur or Short-wave Listener who has made contact with the prescribed number of Society Members. Details of this award can be obtained from the Awards Manager. – Derrick Webber G3LHJ — contact him at g3lhj@tars.org.uk or via the address shown in this handbook.

They also run and maintain a remote VHF repeater station, located near Torquay. This unit enables poorly sited VHF stations to make contact, which would otherwise be impossible. GB3TR is also an Internet Relay Link Protocol (IRLP) Gateway and can also be linked into the RAYNET communications support system if necessary.

Special Event stations keep the Society busy during the summer months, with regular attendances at several outside events such as Stover Canal, South Devon Railways and Kents Cavern (UNESCO Global GEO Park). The Club (if possible) will also attend other similar events if requested by the organizers.

The Society’s own radio station is active each Friday Evening from Club HQ, the Call Signs being G(X)3NJA and G(X)8NJA, which club members are welcome to use.

The Friday evening meetings are mainly social events, where members chat with each other on many subjects, with the occasional demonstration or ‘Technical Workshop’ taking place. On the last Friday of each month the ‘official’ meeting is held to discuss Society business with the membership and usually takes about half an hour.

Once a month a guest speaker is invited to talk to the membership. Talks are very varied, with about 50 percent split between radio subjects and general interest. All members and partners, and visitors are made very welcome at any of the meetings. Refreshments (Tea and Coffee) are available.

Each year in August, the annual Mobile Rally and Communications Fair is staged on the Bank Holiday weekend. This event first started back in 1963 where it was held at the Royal Naval College, and has been an annual event ever since. The current venue is The Racecourse in Newton Abbot. Commercial Traders are invited to attend, along with many private individuals offering bargains in Amateur Radio and associated equipment.

With the ongoing success of the Society, they have acquired a comprehensive range of equipment which means that the offer of loan of equipment by members for contests and exhibition stations is not quite so necessary as it was a few years ago, Amongst the equipment available are tents, aerials, transmitters, receivers, computers, generator and even a trailer mounted 40-foot mast. Some of the equipment owned by the Society is available to loan by members.

Members meetings on the air (NETS) are held several times during the week, details of times and frequencies can be found on the Club Website and in this handbook.

There are no restrictions on membership, in fact many members live away from the Torbay area but want to maintain contact with the Club, this being well assisted by the Society Magazine. Members are as far afield as the USA, as well as in other parts of the UK, many of which have joined the Society as a result of hearing and talking to members on the air. There are six classes of membership, these being Full, Joint (member and partner), Family, Junior, Associate and Life

For further information on joining the Club, come along to one of our meetings and chat with one of the committee members, or the Membership Secretary, who attends most meetings.