GB100 2MT marking the centenary of British broadcasting



On February 14, 1922, the Marconi Company began broadcasting a five-minute program of speech and music as part of the weekly half-hour calibration transmission. Broadcasts were made weekly on Tuesdays using the call sign 2MT of an old army hut in the village of Writtle near Chelmsford. Initially, the station had only 200 watts and transmitted over 700 m (428 kHz) using an inverted-L antenna.

The enthusiastic team, led by Captain Peter Eckersley, assembled their transmitter with a phonograph, microphone and sometimes a piano from the local tavern, to entertain the listeners. The regular announcement; “It’s Two Emma Toc, Writtle testing, Writtle testing”, has become quite well known.

It was the first regular wireless broadcast for entertainment in the UK and its success laid the foundation for the formation of the BBC later in 1922.

Members of Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society (CARS) will operate a special event station to commemorate this historic event. A special code, GB100-2MT, is active in February – and February 14 will operate from Writtle, near where the original broadcasts were made. Operation will be on HF, as well as locally on VHF/UHF.

QSOs will be confirmed on LOTW and eQSL. Sorry no QSL cards, no office.

For more information, see the CARS website: or follow on twitter @ChelmsfordARS

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