John Birkett 1928 – 2022
President Lincoln Short Wave Club 1979 to 2022
John was born in Lincoln in September 1928 and lived in Hykeham village. John left school when he was 14 years old he worked for Apex Gravel in Hykeham.
During the Second World War he was an apprentice at the AVRO factory at Bracebridge Heath Lincoln training and working on the Iconic Lancaster Bomber. On leaving Avro in Lincoln John went to London to work for his cousin who was in TV and Radio, maybe that started his passion for the industry.
1946 John got called up to do his national service and chose to go in the RAF he was a MT driver plus other driving duties. He stayed there for couple years posted to RAF Manston and his last posting was to RAF Waddington. After the RAF he worked for Spouges in Lincoln (this was a music store on Sincil Street).
After the Second World War John worked as a service engineer for HMV repairing and sorting faults on customers equipment and visiting HMV dealers. In the late 1950’s HMV closed the service department and John was made redundant. In 1959 whilst still working for HMV John and Joyce (who he met in the early 1950s while she was working at Great Universal Stores in Grimsby as a clerk; one of the places he used to go and repair equipment, opened the shop at 9 Steep Hill selling electronic equipment and ex government surplus, on being made redundant John helped Joyce run the shop. They moved to the present shop a couple of years later. John and Joyce married in 1961 and had two daughters Judy and Jean.
John had a passion for motorbikes (BSA bikes) which started from the early 1940s, he said he used to lean his bike against the wheel of the Lancaster at RAF Waddington while working there.
In the 1950s he started competing in Scrambling events and won a few trophies on his 500cc BSA motorbike, he was often mentioned in the Lincolnshire Echo. He was also in the Lincoln Motorbike Club. He finished competing in 1959.
John loved anything to do with aviation and gained a private pilot’s licence in the early 1980s and for many year flew from Wickenby. He owned a 172 Cessna(GBCOL) but had to give it up because of his failing eyesight. John helped build the beacon for the flying club at Wickenby. It was built from large fluorescent tubes. and was a similar design to the original wartime beacons. The beacon was mounted on top of the wartime control tower flashing the ID for the airfield in Morse Code.
John ran his electronics shop in Lincoln for over sixty years and he could be seen at most of the amateur radio rallies arounds the country.
John was a member of the Lincoln Short Wave Club and was made President in the late 70s, a position which he held until his death on 30th April 2022. In 1980 John provided the antenna for GB3LM on the top of the Cathedral, his generosity was such that he never charged the club for any components, coaxial cables, etc. He donated equipment for the Repeater Group to sell at rallies and provided raffle prizes for the club. John always took an interest in amateur radio and was licenced himself G8OPP; he was always willing to help newcomers to the hobby.