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Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society
G0MWT, GX0MWT, GB5HF, GB5SM & M2T

Early Mobile Phone


20th January 2010 Added this page.

Development of Mobile Phone by Chelmsford Radio Amateurs

The vintage BBC TV Tomorrows World clips now available on the web contains one that shows the results of the pioneering work of Chelmsford Radio Amateurs who developed one of the early mobile phones 30 years ago this year.

The base station for mobile telephone system was developed by Chelmsford Radio Amateur, Lew Schnurr K0BUO/G5AAN (later G0AAN).   Arthur Butcher G3KPJ also worked on the project in 1979 at the Chelmer Institute, formerly the Mid-Essex Technical College, Victoria Road South, Chelmsford.
CARS Vice President, Geoff Mills, G3EDM was also involved, but in modesty he now says "I did not do a lot but knew all about it as I was In-charge of the Department at that time".   Geoff used to work in the Design Group of British Post Office, Headquarters, London on Telephony.

The mobile part of the system used a modified Amateur Radio 2 metre portable FM transceiver running half-duplex on channels in the 140 and 153 MHz bands using an experimental licence.   From the portable FM transceiver it was possible to both make and receive telephone calls.   In those days the telephone network used a pulse dialling system, so when a number was dialled the carrier of the transceiver was pulsed on and off.

This system was developed many years before the mobile (cell) phone networks were created and it was featured on the BBC TV programme "Tomorrows World" broadcast on September 13, 1979.

Watch the Tomorrows World Video, partly recorded in Danbury Park near Chelmsford, at

Click here to follow the Link  to the BBC.

The picture below shows the late Arthur Butcher, G3KPJ at the Chelmer Institute (Mid-Essex Technical College) with the base station for mobile telephone system.

D-Star Range
                The late Arthur Butcher, G3KPJ at the Chelmer Technical College

"Mobile Phone" Memories.

The Chelmsford Mobile phone clip brought back memories for Ken Parkes GI8AIR who enjoyed using that rig back in the '70's. He writes:
"Just to say how much I enjoy seeing the clip thanks for the link.   The set that they had the dial-up hand-set attached to was the Yaesu FT202 which was a 1 watt FM handheld with 6 switchable crystal controlled channels.   I do remember it well as that was my first portable rig which I bought to go on a walking weekend in Wales".

Thanks to Trevor, M5AKA for reminding us of this event.



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