National Radio Centre

Traka21 helps improve site security and operational efficiency

The National Radio Centre, run by the Radio Society of Great Britain is located in the grounds of the historically important and now famous Bletchley Park. The NRC is a showcase for radio communication technology and provides the opportunity for visitors to get ‘up close and personal’ with the development of radio from its outset in the early 1900’s, its significance in relation to the code breaking activities at Bletchley Park, and it’s relevance right up to present day technologies that we all use in our everyday lives. The NRC has a range of historical equipment exhibits, interactive displays demonstrating various aspects of radio technology, and it operates an ‘on-air’ amateur radio station communicating worldwide, as well as real time satellite tracking, including the International Space Station. The NRC is open to the public five days a week and through the RSGB runs an educational programme of Radio Science in schools.

Knowing who has a particular key now, or who had it last has proved invaluable

Managing keys at the NRC is a critical issue for many reasons; not least of which is security but also, and most importantly, safety for the visitors. Along with the historical archive store, utility services and switch room, there are a variety of electrically powered displays, and the live transmitting station GB3RS; for all of which, access must be strictly controlled. The NRC is staffed on a daily basis from a resource of volunteers, some of whom only rota once a month. Previously, key sets had to be issued to multiple staff depending on rota cycles.

Now, every volunteer has their own unique PIN code to access the Traka21 key management system. Inside the keys are individually lockedin, so that volunteers only have access to the keys that they need and are authorised to take.

Andy Roberts, NRC Centre Manager explained

The big advantage is that keys are quickly accessible by those who need them and staff now no longer have to carry key bunches in their pockets or attached to their belts.

Also, with the NRC being located on the Bletchley Park Estate and maintained by their facilities staff, remote access can easily be given 24/7 to the centre when necessary.

By installing a Traka21 key management system it has been possible to reduce duplicate keys for use at the centre by ~50%. And, with fewer keys in circulation this has helped to both reduce costs and minimise the risk of keys being lost, simply because they are no-longer taken off-site.

Every key taken or returned is recorded, so accountability is now fully enforced, and any key ‘hand-over’ between staff can quickly be identified using the on-screen reports option. “Knowing who has a particular key now, or who had it last has proved invaluable” stated Andy. Indeed, he goes on to explain that on several occasions, prior to the installation of the Traka21 system, he had to drive some 30 miles to unlock facilities at the NRC when the volunteers on duty didn’t have the necessary keys.

RSGB General Manager, Steve Thomas commented;

We are delighted with the Traka21 key management system. Since its introduction, it has helped us to improve operational efficiency at the NRC and we now have a more flexible approach to working, exactly what we need. It has also increased the sense of ownership amongst our volunteer staff because they are now empowered with their own access code and direct access to necessary keys without having to seek permission every time.



About Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park is a place of exceptional historical importance, open to visitors throughout the year. It remains highly relevant to our lives today and for the future. It is the home of British code breaking and a birthplace of modern information technology. It played a major role in World War Two, producing secret intelligence which had a direct and profound influence on the outcome of the conflict.

Over the past twenty years Bletchley Park has become an internationally renowned site, visited by people from around the world, which acknowledges the successes from the war and the people responsible for them. It celebrates their values: broad-minded patriotism, commitment, discipline and technological excellence. By presenting and explaining these achievements and these values, in the very place where they occurred, Bletchley Park brings together the dramatic history of the twentieth century with the challenges we face in the twenty first in our rapidly changing and technologically complex society.

Bletchley Park photo: Shaun Armstrong,