Sunday, January 17, 2010

Call Sign GI3GGY - Jimmy Porter’s an amazing man'

Photo of Jimmy Porter - amateur radio enthusiast (c) BBC

Sunday lunch was cooked to the accompaniment of Inside Politics. But it was eaten to the background of an amazing half hour of radio – Call Sign GI3 GGY. (Not sure there really should be a space in the middle of the call sign.)

It was an amazing portrait of Jimmy Porter, an amateur radio enthusiast who has been active on the airwaves for more than 70 years. (He’s also been reading the news on the radio for over 50 years.)

At first the programme shone a light onto a little-understood hobby. Then it moved across to be social history and political intrigue as it examined the repercussions of Porter’s recording of army radio traffic (partially downloadable) on Bloody Sunday. And finally it switched to his personal story uncovering his past and finding out who his mother really was.

The tapes – which provide a very accurate timeline of army activity on the day – were ignored by the discredited Widgery Tribunal set up in 1972 to look into the events of Bloody Sunday. Afterwards, Lord Widgery advised Jimmy Porter to destroy the tapes. Instead Porter gave the tapes to an fellow radio ham across the border and then endured years of the army searching his electrical shop and home … and years of soldiers pretending to search his premises but instead drinking tea and listening to opera! It seems like the Saville Inquiry was paying more attention to the evidence Porter’s hobby provided.

An amazing story, and terrific radio. Well worth a listen - available on iPlayer until 13:30 on Sunday 24 January, and repeated on Radio Ulster at 19:30 on Thursday 21.


Niall said...

Sounds excellent - I'll definitely give that a listen! Maybe send the link to this entry to radio-club-request@ :-)

You're right that there shouldn't be a space in the callsign.

Sammy Morse said...

As a radio ham, I was delighted to see this programme trailed and will listen when I get a chance. There shouldn't be a space between the prefix and the suffix.

From GI0RTN.

Monklands memories said...

Found this blog by accident and was delighted to see Jimmy Porter and read a little about his exploits in the Widgery. Jimmy was a teacher at the Derry Tech where I first learned aboud radio and later Amateur Radio at the Derry club GI3CFH. I considered Jimmy my mentor!!
I have always mantained an interest in Ham radio. Having passed the RAE I never took the Morse test - so I never became a licensed Ham. Managed to use a few clubs while I was in the RAF.
I left Derry when I was 17 - now 76 and pay an occasional visit!
Best regards to Jimmy.

John Lynch

Monklands memories said...

Correcting my URL


Anonymous said...

Sad to say that Jimmy passed away Nov 10th 2012
R.I.P. Jimmy