Maidenhead Locator

Maidenhead Locator

In the world of amateur radio, it is very useful to know your Maidenhead Locator.

The Maidenhead Locator is a system of geographical squares that can be used to define the location of radio stations anywhere in the world. This can be useful for calculating points to be awarded in competitions for example or to give your location to someone who is not familiar with your part of the world. The locator is defined by squares nested within larger squares and takes the format of two letters followed by two numbers followed by two letters, dependent on how accurately a location needs to be defined – e.g. EE55ff77 and so on.

A Maidenhead Locator given as IO describes most of Great Britain – west of Bromley and north of Southampton to just short of Lerwick on Shetland in the north. Within IO, there are ninety-nine smaller squares given by numerical digits. So for example, the Maidenhead Locator IO91 describes a square encompassing Salisbury in the southwest, Haywards Heath in the southeast, Stevenage in the northeast, and Toddington Manor Gloucestershire in the northwest. My QTH is in IO83wm, an area of roughly 7 x 9 km (4 x 6 miles) covering the south of Oldham (near Manchester in Lancashire).

To find your Maidenhead Locator, just follow the link and enter your postcode. Of course, if you are going to operate from an alternative or portable location, it might be handy to look up your locator in advance, especially if you are going to be contesting.

I hope you found this tip useful.

What is amateur radio?

Amateur radio is a popular technical hobby and volunteer public service. As a licensed amateur radio operator, you are permitted to transmit and receive radio signals on frequency bands allocated for use by amateur radio amateurs. Amateur radio operators use these designated bands of radio frequencies for non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, and emergency communications. A 1910 announcement by the then HM Postmaster General licensed “experimental wireless”, which still uniquely gives radio amateurs the ability to innovate without commercial or statutory controls even in the closely regulated environment of the 21st century. Amateur radio is the only hobby governed by international treaty.

Amateur radio operators use amateur radio bands for a variety of purposes:

  • Contacting people all over the world by radio often leads to developing international friendships,
  • Competing in international competitions to test the effectiveness of their equipment and their skill as radio operators,
  • Technical experimentation — many of the leaps forward in radio technology have been initiated by radio amateurs,
  • Communication through amateur space satellites or with the International Space Station (which carries an amateur radio station),
  • Providing communications at times of emergencies and undertaking exercises to maintain that capability.

There is no better way to explore the fascinating world of radio communications than by becoming a radio amateur.

You can also find out more through the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB)

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