Monday 27 June 2011

Frome radio rally 2011 - Was it good for you ?

I attended the local radio rally yesterday which is held at Frome’s Cheese & Grain. It took over as the from the Longleat radio rally when it eventually wasn’t a viable or cost effective venue.

I’ve visited the Frome rally now for a number of years and each year the attendance seems to remain about the same but the number of traders gets ever shorter. And yesterday’s rally was the worst I have seen for a long time.

Doesn’t it seem ironic that at a radio rally no one was selling Radios? Ok there was some overpriced second hand kit which honestly looked like it had been dug up by Time team, with the amount of dust and muck over them. In fact I heard a couple of guys chatting stating that they just wanted to buy a microphone for a radio. Not a tall order, yet no one was selling new equipment.

The day made me question “do these local rallies actually have a future?” The doors opened at 10am and by 1pm the traders were closing down and people were leaving in their droves. It seems to me that the rally will just naturally die out unless an individual or a group of people actually make the rally a more viable gathering. So what would keep people coming to a local rally, and more important how do you turn an event like this into a daylong event?

• A national radio retailer?
• Lecturers or talks by a group?
• Examinations?
• Buildathon or other such hands on event ?

Incidentally most of these things are present and working fine for the National Hamfest that takes place in Newark. Ok so maybe not on the scale of the big boys, but certainly we need to retain visiting numbers at the local rally or indeed do we do away with the local rally and create bigger regional event ?

Either way I feel change must happen or the radio rally will just simply fade away into obscure and slightly unreal history.

And on a more specific point – nothing to do with the rally itself, more of the venue – please get some organisation when it comes to food & drink orders. It was truly a nightmare waiting for a baguette to arrive 1 hour and 35 minutes later!

Thursday 16 June 2011

2011 Valencia F1 award

Wow, I didn’t realise this contest was on until I read about it on QSO365 website. Needless to say I had already worked most of the stations including the 6th call sign which was only available for short periods of time.
Anyway I applied for the award last night and received it this afternoon. I look forward to next year’s award. It has been great fun.

Wednesday 8 June 2011

RSGB 144Mhz - Gash set up !

The RSGB 2m contest took place this week, and with my good friend we decided with about an hour to go that we would give it a go, so with a 6 element 2m Quad antenna that has been in the garden we quickly threw some coax onto it, built the elements and attempted to tune the antenna.

Needless to say 10:1 was the best SWR we could get. and so plan B was to get the 4 element Yagi I had tucked away in the shed, pull it out and after some ingenious cable adjustment, namely making it go from a BNC to a N-type via a PL259 (don't ask, its not that interesting) we managed to get a working antenna with just minutes to spare.

We set off for some high ground and slotted the mast inside a hollow road sign, and we were on the air within 2 mins of the contest starting, Using our Wessex Contesting Group callsign (MX0WCB).
For a quick look at the gash set up have a look at the YouTube clip I uploaded after the contest.

Not a great set up, but we didn't do too bad for a spontaneous "let's go and do it"