2MT Celebration 12 Feb 2017 Summary

Radio Emma Toc LogoRadio Emma Toc and GB952MT took to the air for the first time on the 12th of February 2017, in celebration of 2MT, the small experimental radio station established in Essex in 1922. 2MT is renowned as the station that kick-started broadcasting in the UK 95 years ago. 

Radio Emma Toc’s on-air celebrations started at midnight on Sunday the 12th with a mix of documentaries and classic radio comedies, leading up to the first live broadcast at 8am. This was a one-hour show presented by the event’s organiser, Jim 2E0RMI to set the scene for the celebrations. At midday, the first live Radio Emma Toc show launched from inside the original 2MT hut, which is preserved at the historic Sandford Mill museum.

The 2MT Marconi Hut, now at Sandford Mill in Chelmsford
The 2MT Marconi Hut, now at Sandford Mill in Chelmsford

Throughout the first two hour live programme, Jim spoke to Tim Wander (author of 2MT Writtle – THE Birth Of British Broadcasting), Pete M0PSX from Essex Ham (about the amateur radio hobby), and Chris G0IPU, Training Manager for the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society. Jim also played several extracts from 2MT’s most famous voice, that of Peter Eckersley, one of the 1922 radio pioneers

Chris G0IPU being interviewed on Radio Emma Toc
Chris G0IPU being interviewed on Radio Emma Toc

From the other end of the long, low hut, members of the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society were active on HF SSB (40m and 20m) operating using the callsign GB952MT (95 years, 2MT). In keeping with the original pronunciation, “2MT” was often referred to as “2 Emma Toc” (as it was back in the 1920s)

Tim Wander on-air as GB952MT from the Marconi Hut
Tim Wander on-air as GB952MT from the Marconi Hut

Some excellent contacts were made, including some contacts with amateurs who’d been listening to the online radio station from the other end of the hut. One such contact was with Bob G0FGX, from popular amateur radio TV show TX Factor. Bob has worked in broadcast radio for much of his life, and was able to chat on HF with both Jim 2E0RMI and Pete M0PSX, who have many years of broadcast radio experience to their names too.

Jim 2E0RMI on-air live on Radio Emma Toc
Jim 2E0RMI on-air live on Radio Emma Toc

A healthy number of operators turned out from CARS to run the busy HF station, and Kristian M0SSK also set up an improvised 2m station allowing local contacts via the GB3DA repeater. A number of other friends, family and nearby amateurs turned up in support of the event and to work the unique callsign.

After a busy dayu of amateur radio, members of the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society closed down their stations, as Jim once again took to the air, live on Internet radio, for the final two hours of the day. He took to the air at 6pm, running until 8pm, with some excellent discussion about the early days of 2MT and Marconi, again in conversation with 2MT expert Tim Wander.

Jim 2E0RMI at the controls of online station Radio Emma Toc
Jim 2E0RMI at the controls of online station Radio Emma Toc

Radio 5 Live Coverage

The final piece of excitement for the day came at 9:55pm – Jim had been asked to stay inside the hut to form a link-up with national radio station BBC Radio 5 Live, where Jim briefly outlined the history of 2MT – excellent national recognition for the work of those radio pioneers, and the work that Jim has put into getting Radio Emma Toc off the ground.

BBC Radio 5 Live Coverage – 12 Feb 2017 at 21:57 (4 mins)

Jim takes to the air again on Monday morning. The culmination of the 3-day celebration will be from 7pm on Tuesday the 14th of February, to mark the exact moment that 2MT took to the air. For details of Radio Emma Toc, including how to listen, plus the 3-day schedule at www.emmatoc.com

Related Links

Essex Ham’s audio interview with Jim 2E0RMI, about Radio Emma Toc (5 mins)

For more interviews and features, check out Essex Ham’s online radio station – Essex Ham on TuneIn

2MT Celebration Photos

A collection of photos from 12 Feb 2017:

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