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Project ECHO, organised by members of Cray Valley Radio Society, set up a shortwave amateur radio station, for visitors to send one-to-one ‘Games-inspired’ radio messages to many thousands of people in countries all around the world. Project ECHO was inspired by the London 2012 Games and brought people around the world into closer contact with the Games through amateur radio.
The 2O12L station featured five working shortwave amateur radio stations capable of worldwide communication. It was open to the public during the Games and enabled visitors to see a world class amateur radio station. Visitors were encouraged to pick up the microphone and send greetings over the airwaves to the countries competing in the 2012 Games. The project especially welcomed children from local schools, youth groups, Scouts and Guides.
2O12L also provided an educational element. ‘Bite-size’ introductory talks enabled people of all ages to learn about the technicalities of radio communication and its importance in the modern world. Those interested in learning more are able to attend courses organised by CVRS and take examinations to allow them to become radio amateurs.
The project also featured an impressive set of displays and an exhibition of radio past and present which helped visitors understand the development and science of radio communications.
There was a strong worldwide expectation that amateur radio celebrate major sporting events such as the Olympics, the World Cup, etc. Amateur radio stations have been set up at each of the last six Olympic Games, and 2O12L continued that tradition. We contacted 220 different countries worldwide including 167 of the countries participating in the Games, and we exceeded our contact target of 60,000 QSOs.
The Cray Valley RS team has operated three other very high profile special event stations in the last twelve years. In 2000, we established an amateur radio station at Rangers House using the callsign M2000A, and contacted amateur radio enthusiasts around the world as the Millennium reached them. In 2002, we celebrated HM The Queen’s Golden Jubilee at Windsor Castle with the special callsign GB50. HRH The Duke of Edinburgh visited the station and took an interest in our work. In 2005, we celebrated the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar by setting up a station at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich with the callsign GB200T.