Professor Les Barclay

Career History

Les Barclay was educated at Westcliff High School for Boys.

He joined the Radio Development Laboratories of E K Cole Ltd as an apprentice, becoming the senior apprentice. During his apprenticeship he obtained his degree through study at the Southend Municipal College, and also obtained exemption from the Brit IRE (later IERE) graduateship exams. He then joined the television research labs at EK Cole Ltd.

He joined the Royal Society International Geophysical Year Antarctic Expedition and spent the two years, 1957 and 1958, in the Antarctic, at Halley Bay, undertaking ionospheric research. On return to the UK he spent a year at the Radio Research Station, Slough, analysing and preparing reports on the Antarctic studies. He also wrote the report on sledging and surveying.

In 1960 he joined the propagation group at the Marconi Research Laboratories where he undertook further research and developed systems of propagation prediction for system planning and operation. Notably, he developed both manual and computer-based systems for the prediction of MF and HF system performance, and the techniques for daily short term forecasting of ionospheric conditions. Prediction services were established for the Marconi Company, for the Ministry of Defence and for other customers.

He became head of the ionospheric propagation section. He acted as Consultant to the Local Radio Association, making proposals for independent local radio. He also undertook the task of research theme co-ordinator for communications and navigation across the whole of the Marconi laboratories.

In 1977 he joined the UK government service in what became the Radiocommunications Agency (now Ofcom). While there he became Deputy Director for Research and Radio Technology, and had experience of responsibility across all aspects of the Agency's work. He managed the Agency's research programme, and in particular the National Radio Propagation Research Programme. He led and co-ordinated the UK preparation and participation in CCIR (now ITU-R) studies, and participated as a delegate or deputy head of delegation at a number of World Administrative Radio Conferences.

In1993 he chaired the first Radiocommunication Assembly of the International Telecommunication Union. He was chairman of CCIR Study Group 6 (ionospheric propagation) from 1978 to 1993, and chairman of ITU-R Study Group 3 (radiowave propagation) from 1993 to 1997. He is now vice chairman of the ITU-R Co-ordinating Committee for Vocabulary. He has participated as a UK delegate in various World Radiocommunication Conferences up to the most recent (2007), at the 1998 and 2002 ITU Plenipotentiary Conferences, and at the 2002 World Telecommunication Development Conference. He continues to participate in ITU studies to the present.

In 1994 he established Barclay Associates Ltd.

He lectures regularly on radio regulation, spectrum management and propagation at several UK universities, and has lectured on these topics at the International Center for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, and to the radio regulation authorities in Kazakhstan and Malta. He has been chairman of the organising committees for the series of IEE residential courses on radiowave propagation.

From 1990 to 1996 he was chairman of the Scientific Committee for Telecommunications of the International Union of Radio Science.

In 2000 he participated as an expert member in the government appointed Independent Expert Group on the Safety of Mobile Phones (the Stewart committee), and is currently the deputy chairman of the Dept of Health management committee for the mobile telecommunications and health research programme.

In 2005 he was appointed chairman of the DTI Measurement Advisory Committee, which oversaw the progamme at the National Physical Laboratory and other standards laboratories, and served until the reorganistion of DTI in 2007.

He is project monitor for a Technology Strategy Board (previoulsy DTI) research project on future mobile radio service provision.

Les Barclay has been a member of the National Council of the English Folk Dance and Song Society. He is currently chairman of the EFDSS editorial advisory committee, and President of the Essex Folk Association. He is a folk dance teacher and caller.

He is married to Janet and they have 4 children and 7 grandchildren.

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This page last modified: 14/09/2019