International Marconi Day

Brooklands Wireless Centenery

The Museum's Amateur Radio Station GB1BM on 21st April 2018 to take part in International Marconi Day There will be over 60 wireless stations operating from different parts of the world, all with a connection to Marconi. The Brooklands link with Marconi goes back to 1911 when the Marconi company first set up trials on the site. Brooklands can claim to have been the site where the world's first "Morse" two-way transmissions took place between an aeroplane and ground in May 1912 and then the world's first "voice" transmission to an aeroplane in May 1915 and from an aeroplane in June 1915.

Video from the Centenary Event (100 plus years of wireless)
Although the weather stopped us re-enacting in the air, the day in 1915 when Capt. J.M. Furnival heard the voice of Major C E Prince, while flying above Brooklands (see news item below). We decide we still had to repeat it, even if it was only on the ground. It was an important day for Brooklands, The Royal Flying Corp and Furnival because he became the first person to hear a wireless voice transmission while in powered flight

Brooklands to Celebrate 100 years of Wireless on 20th June 2015
Background: During the summer of 1915, the Marconi Company in conjunction with the Royal Flying Corps conducted experiments to devise some radio equipment to allow the crew of an aircraft to be able to talk to people on the ground. Following several trials, during the week ending 26th June, for the first time anywhere in the world, a voice was heard on the ground at Brooklands airfield from an aircraft flying above.

Researching this has not been easy, because the fact that a normal pilot with no knowledge of Morse Code could report on enemy positions, was not Something the authorities wanted to advertise to the enemy. The team involved in this work included a then 'Major' Hugh Dowding, who in later life many believe, saved these islands from a German invasion! To commemorate the occasion on Saturday the 20th June 2015 we are re-staging as close as is possible those historic events at the same location they happened one hundred years ago. That location is Brooklands and here are some of the events taking place on the day.

    A re-enactment of the events in June 1915 with an historic aircraft flying over Brooklands with a radio link from air to ground to repeat those famous words.

    A series of talks (including one by Dr Elizabeth Bruton) covering the development of radio apparatus during the early 20th century and other historic subjects.

    Radio Station on-the-air: the Museum’s own Amateur Radio Station using the special callsign GB1BM will be active on the short wave bands.

    Special exhibits of historic radio equipment: in addition to the Museum’s many items of early aircraft radio equipment, there will be additional displays of radio equipment dating from the WWl era specially provided for the Event.

More display space created for the Wireless Collection
Brooklands Wireless Collection

During the past couple of weeks, the team have built a second display "shelf" which has almost doubled the space available for exhibits - see the picture above (and click on it for a larger version). Our particular thanks to Ted Angiolini who did most of the work in getting the materials and carrying out the actual construction work.  We will shortly add the Exhibit Identification Labels.


Major Dowding confirms the dates of first Voice Tests

Dowding Letter about Brooklands

Painstaking research in the record archives at Kew have uncovered important communications from Major Dowding (Later Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding of Battle of Britain fame), which narrows down the previously unknown date, that the first two way aerial voice communications took place at Brooklands. We can now say that by the week ending 26th June one way communications had taken place. As it has also been said that within a few days, both ways had been achieved, we can be reasonable sure it was in the last part of June 1915.  


John Pulford recreates the events of 12th of May 1912
Brooklands Wireless GB1BM

The wonderfully talented Brooklands Head of Collections John Pulford has produced this image of the world’s first successful two-way radio transmissions (using Morse code), made by Radio operator Mathieu with a Marconi receiver fitted in a Green-engined Flanders F3 monoplane, It depicts them flying over the Brooklands Race Circuit on the 12th May 9012.


local Radio Station interviews Peter Burton about the collection

Interest in the collection has spread to the point where a local Radio Broadcaster Brooklands Radio, asked us to give an interview on what we are doing. The interview and broadcast took place on the 7th of August and can be heard by Clicking Here 

More VIPs visit GB1BM

On the 3rd of August 2014 Peter Burton who was operating our Radio Station GB1BM, was surprised to see Lord Trefgarne arrive with HRH Prince Michael of Kent and Aviator Tracey Curtis-Taylor. It seemed Lord Trefgarne (a keen aviator himself) wanted to show his two fellow pilots some of the work we are doing to restore Brooklands place in the history of Aviation Communications.

They had all been guests at the Brooklands Museum Great War Centenary event, where many pre 1918 vehicles were allowed to parade and drive on the banking. The video recording of this visit and other events on the same day can be seen here  

T1154 and  R1155 restoration underway

Thursday the 24th of July was an historic day at Brooklands Museum.......

We succeeded in getting operational two items of World War Two radio equipment:

1> on our receiver model R1155 we successfully listened to the "BBC Home Service" on 909KHz (also known as 330m medium wave) using a short length of wire as an aerial.

2> flushed with this success, we then turned our attentions to our transmitter model T1154. After some hours sorting out a few faults and a broken valve, we managed to make the unit transmit a Morse signal on the 40m short wave band into a dummy load with a power of just over 50 watts.

The R1155/T1154 combination was used in many of the aircraft flown by Bomber Command throughout most of WW2 and well into the 1950s including the Wellington.

The history of the two items and when they were last used is unknown, but it is probable this is the first time in over 60 years that we have had this pair of radios working on site at Brooklands.

The next stage in development will be to install the equipment into the radio station currently on the balcony in the Stratosphere Chamber and arrange some "on-air" radio contacts.


The Mayor & Mayoress of Elmbridge with Peter Burton on opening day (13 march 2014)
A short clip of the aerial supports being erected on Thursday the 20th February  (Click To View)

The Permanent Special Event Amateur Radio Station GB1BM has made some test calls during January 2014 and although
contacts on 144-6 MHz were difficult, many HF bands worked well, as did 70cms


Phase 2 of the display area is now complete, we have fitted some equipment and erected a G5RV antenna and a VHF / UHF Collinear


Phase 1 of the display area is now complete, now we can start on selecting the item to put on display