Amateur Radio Clubs in Essex

Amateur radio clubs are the backbone of the hobby. They help with training, provide regular meeting places, are sources of help and advice, and put on events for their members, the public and the community. In Essex, we’re lucky to have around 20 amateur radio groups – everything from small social groups, to award-winning large clubs, plus a healthy mix of ‘virtual’ clubs, repeater groups, contest groups and RAYNET.

On this page, you’ll find a list of the various amateur radio clubs and organisations in Essex.

For each listing, we include the club’s location and whether the club offers amateur radio training courses. The information is checked for accuracy regularly but is subject to change, so please check with each group’s website for the latest information.

If you have any new or updated information to pass on about ham radio groups, clubs or organisations in our area, please contact Essex Ham and we’ll update this page.

Note: Information was written prior to the 2020 Covid situation, so many clubs are not operating in their normal way. Check with each club for the latest information

Snapshot of some of the groups in and around Essex


Mainstream Clubs

Club Name Location Training Notes
Braintree & District Amateur Radio Society (BADARS) Braintree Yes Active club that meets twice a month in Bocking nr. Braintree (£1 entrance fee). Holds two nets a month. Founded in 1975. Membership fee £16.

Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society (CARS) Chelmsford Yes The oldest radio society in Essex (launched 1936). In October 2017, CARS reported having around 80 members, including several former Marconi employees. This active society holds monthly meetings and most weeks, there’s a net. They formerly hosted the Essex Skills Night. Membership fee £15. More about CARS

Colchester Radio Amateurs (CRA) Colchester Yes Active club that meets monthly and offers training. They run two nets a week, on 2m and 80m. Formed in 1963. Membership fee £20.

Clacton Radio Club (CRC) Clacton No Meets monthly on the second Monday of the month. Club callsign G3CRC. Membership fee: tbc.

Dengie Hundred Amateur Radio Society (DHARS) Latchingdon No Members meet every Monday evening (2nd and 4th Monday meetings are official club nights), and also Thursday during the day at their club station in Althorne, which has permanent antennas. Formed in 1992. Membership fee varies (contact the club direct).

Essex CW Club (ECWARC) Essex-wide No Encouraging Morse code on-air in Essex with regular meetings and events. Formed in 2009. Runs regular Morse nets. Free membership.

Essex Ham Essex-wide Yes Supports amateur radio events, activities, clubs and training across Essex. Runs a busy weekly net and helps people get started in the hobby. Offers free online Foundation training, and holds impromptu field events. Launched in 2011. Free membership. More about Essex Ham

Harlow & District Amateur Radio Society (HADARS) Harlow Yes Active club that meets twice a week in Harlow (Tuesday and Friday). They hold various events around the year and offer training. Membership fee: £30.

Harwich Amateur Radio Interest Group (HARIG) Harwich No The group meets monthly and holds occasional events. Formed in 1990. Membership fee unknown

Havering & District Amateur Radio Club (HADARC) Hornchurch Yes Active club that meets weekly in Hornchurch, holds field events and nets, and offers training. Formed in 1965. Technically not in Essex, but we’ve included it as it’s right on the border. Membership fee: £10

Loughton & Epping Forest Amateur Radio Society (LEFARS) Chigwell Yes This active club meets every two weeks in Chigwell Row, and holds field events including North Weald Airfield activations. As of November 2017, the club has around 160 members. LEFARS offers regular training courses. Formed in 1962.  Membership fee: £15

South Essex Amateur Radio Society (SEARS) Thundersley No Active club that meets on the second Tuesday of the month in Thundersley (nr Benfleet). They hold various field days and special event stations throughout the year. SEARS hosts the popular annual Canvey Rally. Formed in 1982. Membership is £12 (£15 for families). More about SEARS

Thames Amateur Radio Group (TARG) Canvey Island No Active club that meets on the first Friday of the month, and occasional field events. They run weekly voice nets on GB3DA. Formed in 2012. Membership fee £20. More about TARG.

Thurrock Acorns Amateur Radio Club (TAARC) Grays Yes Active club that meets monthly in Grays (Thursday nights), holds regular field days and special event stations, and runs a weekly 2m net. Run regular Essex-wide 2m Activity Days. Founded in 2013. Membership fee £20. More about TAARC

Vange Amateur Radio Society (VARS) Pitsea No Social club that meets once a week in Pitsea for talks, discussion and to watch DVDs. Membership fee unknown


Other Essex-based Groups

Club Name Location Notes
BAE Systems Great Baddow Amateur Radio Club (BAESGBARC) Great Baddow Club callsign M5BAE (obtained in 2018)
Blackwater Amateur Radio Contest Group (BARCG) Southminster Contest Group that operates in Essex using the callsign M0HCY.
Essex AR DX Group (EARDXG) South Essex Launched in June 2014 with plans to run special event stations and field days. Has the callsign MX0XYD

Essex DX Group (EDXG) Shoeburyness The Essex Dx Group was formed in 1999 by Tom M0ABA, Richard G7OED and Ted G0TJW. Current operations are mainly QRP moon bounce. Club callsign is MX0CNS

Essex RAYNET Essex-wide This county-wide group handles emergency communications and supports the community by providing radio comms for community events. Provides an opportunity to put radio skills to practical use by helping the local community. Membership £15 a year. More about Essex RAYNET

Essex Repeater Group (ERG) Essex-wide Responsible for maintaining local repeaters, including GB3DA and GB3ER. Membership fee £12 a year.

Martello Tower Group (MTG) Clacton-on-Sea Provides services to amateurs in the North-East of Essex, including voice, D-Star, DMR and SSTV repeaters, as well as digipeaters, gateways and beacons. Formed in the late 1980s. Membership is by invitation only.

Secret Nuclear Bunker Contest Group (SNBCG) Kelvedon Hatch RSGB affiliated amateur radio contest group & special event station based at the Secret Cold War Nuclear Bunker. Callsign M0SNB.  Formed in 2015.

Selex Galileo Basildon Radio Club Basildon According to the RSGB Yearbook, they meet on various dates at the BAE Systems Social Club in Basildon. Employees can contact Michael Purser G0NEM at Selex Galileo for details
Southend & District Radio Society (SADARS) Southend-on-Sea Small social group that meets at the EKCO Social Club socially every Tuesday evening. Guests welcome, but have to be signed in and pay a small fee. More about SADARS


Former clubs and organisations

Here is some information on some of the local ham radio clubs that appear to no longer be active:

  • Barking Radio & Electronics Society ceased operating in 2012 according to their website when we checked in 2013
  • Coalhouse Fort Radio Society – Group that activated Coalhouse Fort in East Tilbury on public open days using the callsign GB1CHF. We understand they no longer have access to the Fort. More about Coalhouse Fort RS
  • Clacton Radio Club is listed in the RSGB Callsign book 1992. They used to meet twice a month. The Martello Tower Group expressed an interest in re-starting the group in 2012 (link here)
  • Laindon Radio Club, formerly the Langdon Hills Amateur Radio Club originally launched in 2018 with the callsign MX0LHX. Laindon Radio Club announced in April 2021 that it is planning to close down, with its final message about closure being posted on social media in June 2021. More about LRC
  • Mayland and District Amateur Radio Society, listed with an address in Great Totham in the RSGB callsign book 1992
  • Martlesham DX Contest Group listed with a Clacton address in the RSGB callsign book 1992
  • Police Associate Radio Club, listed with an address in Chelmsford in the RSGB callsign book 1992
  • Stanford-le-Hope and District Amateur Radio Society. Used to meet on Mondays according to the RSGB callsign book 1992

Anything need updating? Please contact Essex Ham and we’ll update this page.

Related content

Any comments on clubs in the area, or questions about local groups, please contact us or add your comment below.


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