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Special day on the airwaves

Kathryn Sipple (aged 8), Sarah Sipple (nee Bird) and Chris Bird, three generations of Gordon “Dicky” Bird’s ancestors.

Kathryn Sipple (aged 8), Sarah Sipple (nee Bird) and Chris Bird, three generations of Gordon “Dicky” Bird’s ancestors.

CHRISTMAS Day was extra-special for one Leigh-on-Sea family, who used radio signals to connect four generations together.

Amateur Radio is a hobby that dates back over 100 years, and each radio experimenter has a unique “callsign”. World-renowned radio amateur Gordon “Dicky” Bird was responsible for the design and development of a number of radio antennas from the 1950s onwards, and was a keen radio amateur sending signals around the world for many decades.

Dick passed away in 2005, aged 86, but by way of commemoration, his old radio callsign of ‘G4ZU’ was revived with the permission of his family and the Government’s radio regulator Ofcom.

On Christmas Day 2015, three generations of Dick’s descendants sent radio messages using the historic radio callsign. Dick’s son, Chris Bird, sent Christmas greetings to his daughter Sarah Sipple in Leigh-on-Sea, who in turn received a message from Dick’s Great-Granddaughter Kathryn Sipple, aged eight.

Sarah Sipple, 42 of Leigh-on-Sea, said: ”It’s great that we were able to do something special in memory of Dick’s passion for amateur radio – a nice Christmas present, and one for the family scrapbook!”

The messages were sent using the radio callsign of G4ZU with the help of the amateur radio group Essex Ham. If you want to find out more about amateur radio, and for details of courses available across Essex, go to www.essexham.co.uk

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