The Radio Communication Museum of Great Britain is a technology museum that plans to become the major repository and centre of heritage excellence in the UK for the history of radio communication equipment and the associated software, documentation and memorabilia. The museum is a registered charity.
The UK has been a source of many significant advances associated with development of radio communication technology, with decades of manufacturing history of the associated equipment. The historic importance of these developments must be recognised and recorded for future generations, with physical examples of the equipment preserved for inspection and demonstration. It is essential that future generations can see and understand the foundations of the most widely used technology of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The museum showcases radio communication from the earliest days of Marconi and crystal sets, to the latest advances of data transmission, 5G telephony and software defined radios. The museum aims to engage with people of all ages; those who used the equipment, those who wished they had used the equipment and especially encouraging children to study the STEM subjects and helping them consider the career opportunities that exist in the UK radio communication industry. It plans to open to the public in autumn 2019.
Located in a brand new, disability friendly, air conditioned and humidity-controlled building in the city of Derby; the museum houses over two thousand exhibits from the early 1900s to some of the latest software defined and driven radios of today. The majority of the equipment is on static display in a traditional museum style, however over two hundred exhibits will be located in the "Operations Room", fully working and powered up for visitors to use. Every decade from 1910 to the present date is represented in the Operations Room. The museum holds the OFCOM allocated callsign GB2RCM and licensed radio amateurs will be able to operate the transmission equipment. The museum has an operational space ground station for communication with the satellites and the International Space Station.
The ground floor of the museum concentrates on military and Government based communications, whilst the upper floor covers all other uses. The emphasis is on communication radio rather than broadcast radio, although in the early days there were considerable areas of overlap with multi-purpose devices. The museum has extensive mechanical and electronics workshop facilities that contain both items of historic value and interest, as well as some of the latest technology including spectrum analysers, Rubidium based frequency standards, a laser cutter and 3-D printers.
The museum will hold interest for people of all backgrounds, covering all uses of radio communication technology e.g. Aeronautic; Amateur; Bluetooth; Commercial PMR; Citizens band; Diplomatic; Marine; Military (Air-force, Army, Navy, Special Forces, clandestine and spy radio); Mobile Telephony, Telemetry; Wi-Fi. All transmission modes AM, CW (incl Burst), Data, Fast Scan TV, FAX, FM, SSB, RTTY, Slow Scan TV etc.
A major thrust of the museum is education; it is encouraging school children to study the STEM subjects and to have a practical interest in engineering. This includes, free to attend, after school and weekend coding and electronics clubs.
A space science club is bringing together software development, electronics development and radio telemetry to track satellites and provide communication links to the International Space Station and radio stations around the globe. Software written by 12 and 13-year-old children attending the museum's Code Club has already run on computers installed on the ISS. High Altitude balloons are being launched carrying electronics payloads developed and constructed by members of the museum's Technology Club for children.
Courses will be provided to train people of all ages to pass the Amateur Radio Licence examinations. The museum is always looking for people and companies who can help facilitate our operations through financial support and direct help by individuals with their time and expertise.
The Derby Maker organisation is based at the museum, creating projects both for the museum and themselves utilising a diverse range of “Maker” skills.