The SMC Group was established in 1958 by Dick Flavell. It was initially called ‘South Midlands Construction’ and its original purpose was to supply masts and HF antennas to third-world countries.
Barry Gardner joined SMC as a design engineer, designing a new HF Manpack Antenna which was sold by the thousands to semi-military users. This laid the foundation of SMC’s success as a globally recognised communications organisation.
Barry Gardner became Managing Director and owner of SMC Group. The company has remained in his family ever since.
SMC launched into Amateur, Commercial and Marine, HF, VHF and UHF radios. This was a huge success, complementing the business SMC was already involved in. This led to the opening of 14 SMC radio retail outlets across the country and becoming Yaesu Musen’s (a major Japanese manufacturer of communication equipment) largest distributor in Europe for their commercial and amateur radios.
The company changed its name to South Midlands Communications Ltd. However it is most commonly known as SMC throughout the world.
SMC supplied ancillary equipment, intelligence and support for Royal Navy communications during the Falklands Conflict. SMC received a letter from the Ministry of Defence thanking us for our efforts.
The UK MoD approached SMC for help with a problem the defence industry was having with planes crashing due to radio interference. SMC designed and manufactured bespoke antenna systems, to bombard MoD aircraft with outside radio signals at close range and of high intensity, for the UK MoD to test and modify their aircraft against.
SMC expanded its operations by moving to its current headquarters, a 35,000 sq. ft. office and manufacturing facility in Chandler’s Ford, Hampshire.
BBC TV News televised SMC personnel making a historic two-way radio contact with the first Briton in Space, Helen Sharman, whilst she was on board the MIR Space Station.
SMC acquired Hilomast, telescopic mast manufacturer and supplier. This enhanced the range of SMC mast products, expanding our range to include high quality telescopic masts and trailer systems for communications and lighting.
Barry retired, but remained active as non-exec Chairman, and John Lightfoot took over as Managing Director.
SMC planned, supplied and installed its first country-wide multi-site radio communication system covering the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, including bespoke Arabic touch-screen PC radio dispatch consoles.
SMC acquired AEL Communications, HF transceiver manufacturer, and Siskin Electronics, digital radio communications company, enhancing our capabilities in designing and building complete radio systems.
SMC supported Sir Ranulph Fiennes in his expedition to the North Pole, providing communication equipment to cope with extreme cold conditions and training.
SMC closed its amateur retail business to concentrate on its core business in manufacturing communications systems for the military, government and commercial markets.
SMC acquired Astel Communications Sarl, specialists in importing and distributing antennas, masts and accessories in France. This enabled us to increase our growth in France, mainland European and French speaking African markets.
SMC established Hilomast LLC in the United States, investing in manufacturing and office facilities in Florida. This enabled us to design and manufacture SMC products in-country for the US market; expanding sales across America and surrounding countries with particular focus on the broadcast industry.
SMC wins a large military contract to design and build over 1,000 high-performance military specification positioners for the French MOD.
SMC successfully completes the innovative SPEAR Project in Svalbard, supplying 24 full wave crossed HF dipole antennas and supporting Alumasts for research into the Earth’s upper atmosphere and magnetosphere in the vicinity of the polar cap. This was one of the largest array of antenna systems in the world.
SMC acquired CTS Minns Ltd., manufacturer of HF broadband ferrite matching transformers, hybrids, multicouplers, and filters. This acquisition enabled us to secure the supply of reliable and high quality matching transformers for our customers as well as opening up a new customer base selling CTS products to large OEMs.
SMC wins a major contract for the supply of a VHF radio communication system to the US government for Afghanistan, including over 35,000 bespoke encrypted mobile and portable radio terminals along with repeaters, masts and antennas.
For almost 20 years the SMC Group had been designing and manufacturing communication systems for the Sharjah Police. Specifically, developing and installing a comprehensive radio command and control centre, along with ruggedized mobile GIS systems with vehicle and motorcycle radios including automatic vehicle location.
SMC Group expanded its operations further in France with the acquisition of Antennares Sarl, specialist in manufacturing microwave antennas and positioners for the defence industry. This acquisition enhanced our capabilities by adding microwave antennas to our antenna product range, as well as raising our market position within the defence sector.
The SMC Gateway was launched
SMC Solutions was established in the United States specialising in designing and supplying a new generation of broadcast vehicles. This was in response to market demands for a broadcast vehicle which allows space and headroom, making the vehicle a more user friendly environment.
John Lightfoot retired and Nick Hopkins joined SMC as Managing Director.
The SMC Gateway was awarded the Gerald David OBE Award for Innovation in Business Radio.
Nick Hopkins left SMC and we welcomed Rob Haslett as Managing Director.
The SMC Group continues to grow and remain sustainable and profitable for all its stakeholders.