Youngsters explore world of engineering at Baldock radio hub open day
- Credit: Archant
The hub near Baldock that monitors the UK’s radio spectrum opened its doors to engineers of the future on Friday.
Communications regulator Ofcom and the Stevenage-based Institution of Engineering and Technology hosted the open day at the radio monitoring station off the A505 near Slip End, between Baldock and Royston.
The site acts as Ofcom’s “listening ear” on the radio spectrum – with staff working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to clear signal interference for the UK’s radio users.
Children and young people enjoyed activities such as building a radio receiver, flying drones and observing an anechoic chamber – a room designed to totally absorb sound and electromagnetic waves – in action.
Ofcom’s Philip Marnick told the Comet afterwards: “We want talented youngsters to find rewarding careers in engineering and technology.
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“We’ve teamed up with the Institution of Engineering and Technology to show the exciting careers available for children and young people who are interested in science and technology at our radio labs in Baldock.”
IET president Jeremy Watson added: “We’re delighted to have so many fantastic brands opening their doors to local children and parents to show them what careers in engineering are really about.
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“Often we find that people don’t really understand what engineers actually do day-to-day, so this is all about giving a real-life insight and helping kids understand that engineering is at the heart of many things they know and love.”
The monitoring hub near Baldock dates back to 1929, when it was one of the stations used for the first trans-Atlantic radiotelephone call – to New Jersey in the United States.
It was a receiving station within a network centred around Colney Heath near St Albans until 1938, when that station closed and work transferred up to Baldock.
Evidence suggests that during the Second World War, motorcycle couriers carried daily listening reports from the Baldock station to the Bletchley Park codebreakers.
The IET – which claims a membership of more than 168,000 engineers and technicians across 150 counties – is one of the largest organisations of its kind in the world, and is based at Michael Faraday House in Stevenage’s Six Hills Way.