The SDRG was formed at a meeting on Portland early in 1975. Present at that meeting was a group of local Amateurs, who had for some time been operating on 70cm. Up to then most of our operation had been on AM using only moderate power and small beams. Despite the hilly terrain regular contacts had been established with other stations along the South coast and also to the Channel Islands but the big problem was, with everyone using directional aerials, what direction should we point the beam? We needed the gain but not the directivity! We had often discussed the idea of using some form of "repeater station" that we could all beam at and hoped that perhaps one day this would be allowed.
In 1974 a meeting of the South Dorset Radio Society was held to discuss the new 2m repeaters that were appearing but the Society decided against directly supporting a 2m repeater in the Weymouth area. Those of us who were interested in providing a 70cm repeater decided to continue to pursue our aims by forming a separate group. When the RSGB informed us that the licensing authority had agreed to consider applications to operate 70cm repeaters the SDRG was duly formed. The founder members of the group were G3EGV, G3RZG, G3VPF and G8BCH. Just over a year after the groups formation, GB3SD came on the air from the home of G3RZG's parents in Rodwell, Weymouth at 1200 GMT on the 3rd July 1976. It used a Storno CQF63 all valve repeater. The control logic was designed and built by Edward, G3VPF. One of the first contacts through the repeater was from GC3VPF/P who was taking part in the South Dorset Radio Society's expedition to Alderney for VHF NFD! It was one of the first amateur UHF repeaters in the UK and continued to operate from the Rodwell site until, in 1979, it was decided to move to the present site on the Ridgeway.
The move to the new site was a major operation and involved many local Amateurs, some of whom are still regular users of 'SD. After negotiating a lease with the site owners and obtaining planning permission a completely new station was built, a mast and equipment cabinet was erected and electricity wired from the nearby farm. Results from the new site were worth all the effort however and GB3 South Dorset was to become one of the best known and most used repeaters in the area, covering Weymouth, Dorchester and Eastward to Wimborne and Northward to Yeovil and Blandford. Although Westward coverage was still restricted by the hills around Abbotsbury the coastal strip of South Devon from Teignmouth Southwards was well covered.
In November 1986 a Packet Radio Node was installed at the site operating on 2m and later a 23cm port was added. GB7SD (WEY2) and GB7SD-1 (WEY23) formed part of the SWAX25 Packet Radio network in the South West providing user access and network linking.
In 1999 the original founder members of the SDRG retired and the Group was re-formed as 'SDRG2000'. This was to enable a 'clean break' and enable the Group to move forward with a new committee and constitution. However it is still known by most as the 'South Dorset Repeater Group', as it is on these web pages.
At 1415 GMT on the 13th of July 2001 GB3SD was returned to service. It had been closed down as it was no longer licensed! This was because of a breakdown in communication between the Repeater Keeper (John, G8IKP) and the RSGB. However the Packet Radio Node GB7SD (WEY2 and WEY23) was still operating on 2m and 23cm as the licence was held by Edward, G3VPF.
The two Packet Radio Nodes, WEY2 (GB7SD) and WEY23 (GB7SD-1) were closed down in April 2005 to make way for GB3DR.
The SDRG News/log pages provides a full and up to date record of Group activities.
Geoff, G0EVW - February 2010
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