At the end of a year of change it seems appropriate to consider what has been achieved and where further progress can be made. There have been four Newsletters in the new format, which seems to have gained general approval. Though it has not contained as much material as I would like to see, the content has been well varied; excluding letters, there were twelve articles by members (two from those who joined this year). Five of the articles described constructional projects, to which were added two projects based on articles previously published in electronics magazines, with permission from the editors. This is broadly in line with the wishes of members as expressed in the questionnaire results summarised in the July editorial. Some topics asked for have not yet been covered, but I hope articles on these topics will appear in future Newsletters, and I would like to emphasise the need for further contributions from members. I am encouraged by the offers to write articles which some new members have made; this does not of course mean that articles from members of longer standing are not equally welcome. If your article needs diagrams, do not be deterred by lack of skill in draughtsmanship. Rough sketches and circuit diagrams can be transformed before printing.
At the beginning of the year there was understandably some pessimism about the future of the B.A.E.C.; the number of paid-up members had fallen to an all time low, and there was doubt whether the club could continue to be financially viable or even whether it was really providing a worthwhile service to members. But thanks to the publicity given in "Everyday Electronics" and "Practical Electronics", coupled with enthusiastic recommendation from their respective editors, there has been a steady influx of new members throughout the year - 53 to date - and my analysis shows that about 80% of enquirers decide to join. Of course, the acid test comes next year, when subscriptions become due for renewal (see note at end).
Those who find statistics interesting might like to know that the ages of new members range from 13½ to 68; there are fifteen under 20, thirteen between 20 and 30, and seven over 60; the rest fall between 30 and 50. Six of the original St. Cyres Electronics Group, which in June 1966 became the B.A.E.C., are still members today; nine more have been members for between 12 and 18 years, and there are five members over 75. But regrettably ten who were members in 1989 did not renew in 1990.
A good many of the new members did not see the letter I wrote to accompany the December 1989 Newsletter. In agreeing to take over the chairmanship from Cyril Bogod I pointed out that at my age (now 77) I could only do this as an interim measure, and that what was needed was that the club should be run by a small group of younger members. I am not sure of the best way to ensure the club's survival, but some division of labour has been suggested by one or two members and some movement in that direction is being achieved by the setting up of computer databases of members' interests and experience by J.S.Hind and of magazine articles by Mark Boyle. More information about these is given on other pages. Suggestions about further sharing the load of running the club and offers of help will be most welcome.