Club Presidents

2016 – Present: Graham Shirville G3VZV F.R.S.A.

Graham has been interested in “radio” since a very young age having convinced himself that he heard the signals from Sputnik on the family radiogram. He also used the same equipment to listen to local amateurs on 40 metres..

Having taken the RAE on his 14th birthday, he immediately obtained a 70cms only ATV licence

Later on he became very involved with ATV activity including the first portable operations and early ATV repeaters. He has retained an interest in space and amateur activities with satellites. He has recently supported the development of CubeSats such as the FUNcube programme for AMSAT-UK.

These two areas of special interest have happily joined together with the development of a set of “requirements” for an ATV system on the International Space Station. After almost fifteen years this idea became reality with the HamTV transmitter on the Columbia module which is now using DATV on 2.4GHz. Hopefully the  wideband transponder on the upcoming Es’Hail2 will also be successful for long range ATV activities.

2006 – 2016 Peter Blakeborough G3PYB, C Eng, M Phil, M.I.E.T

Peter Blakeborough trained with the BBC and after 2 years with JBC Jamaica returned to the UK where he joined the new systems group at Link Electronics. They manufactured studio and OB installations for the world market including the BBC type 5 CMCRs and a Thames TV scanner.

Peter returned to broadcasting with Yorkshire TV in 1981 where he became the Deputy Chief Engineer with a particular interest in regional news and satellite ENG. A move to Letchworth and Drake Electronics followed. DEL became DAL (Drake Automation) and later ENCODA. UPC Holland and SKY were key projects and directorships followed with both companies.

A change of direction into microwave and digital radio systems with Wood & Douglas as a director working with flown and mobile digital services. Peter was an active radio amateur with interests in television, microwave and millimetric wavelenths. Licensed as G3PYB he held the UK distance record for 76GHz.


2000 – 2006 Mike H. Cox, C.Eng., F.I.E.E

Mike Cox Joined the BATC in 1955 and he accepted the honorary presidency in 2000 (CQ-TV 192). Mike started work with Rediffusion studios at Wembley and moved to ABC television at Teddington in 1961, where he was heavily involved in experimental colour development and demonstrations. Mike founded “Michael Cox Electronics” with the Coxbox colour synthesiser and going on to develop a very successful range of studio equipment. Mike joined the IBC management committee in 1988 and became deputy chairman in 1991.

1991 – 2000 Arthur C. Clarke, C.B.E., B.Sc., F.R.S.A., F.R.A.S., F.B.I.S.

Arthur C. Clarke, as well as being a world famous novelist also wrote scientific papers. One of the first of these was a proposal describing the possibility of geo-synchronous satellites for radio & television signals. In October 1945 Wireless World published “Extra-Terrestrial Relays” by Arthur C. Clarke.

1990 – 1991 Vacant

1981 – 1989 Roger Appleton

In 1973 Roger Appleton became Chief Engineer and later Director of Engineering at London Weekend Television.

1977 – 1980 R. C. Hills, G3HRH

Professor Ray Hills was one of those who did work in the mid 1950s on tropospheric propagation in the UHF band for the BBC’s work in planning the UHF television networks. This was to minimise co-channel interference with European transmitters. He later joined the ITA [later IBA] at Crawley Court. He was Chairman of IBC Conference Committee.

1972 – 1976 R. S. Roberts, G6NR

1968 – 1972 Ivan P. James, G5IJ

1964 – 1968 S. N. Watson, M.I.E.E.

Neville Watson worked at the BBC Designs Department. He had worked on television transmission engineering in the early post war period, but from 1954 to 1957 he was involved with 405 line NTSC colour, with experimental transmissions from Alexandra Palace after the normal programmes had finished. Subsequently – in the early 1960s, following demonstrations at the EBU to compare the PAL, NTSC and SECAM systems – work was done on all 3 systems needed to be considered. Neville Watson was particularly concerned that TV receiver design needed to be ‘got right’, if colour in Europe was not to suffer from the problems experienced with early colour sets in America. He became Chief Engineer Television and Designs in 1969 Ivan James was one of the pioneering television amateurs. He was an active radio amateur, and as well as being a BATC president, later served as president of the Radio Society of Harrow. Professionally, he also took part in the development of colour television, in his case working on cameras for EMI, notably the 2001 and 2005.

1960 – 1964 G.B. Townsend, B.Sc., F.Inst .P, A.M.I.E.E.

Boris Townsend worked for GEC, whom he joined in 1940. He worked on colour television in the 1950s – building up knowledge of the fundamentals as well as the NTSC system. In 1963, he moved to Rank Cintel in Sydenham, and later became head of the engineering research department at ABC Television, before joining the IBA as head of the engineering information department. He was author of one of the ‘standard texts’ on colour television.

1951 – 1960 Sir Ernest Fisk

Sir Ernest Fisk accepted the position of first honorary president of the BATC. This was reported in CQ-TV 10.

Before joining EMI he had been with Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Ltd, a company set up to develop the patents of both Marconi and Telefunken.

Sir Ernest was one of the foundation directors of EMI, eventually becoming its Chairman. His ‘roots’ in wireless went back to his time from 1906 – 13 as a radio engineer for the Marconi Company.