Category Archives: Radio clubs

Radio rallies and Hamzilla 2023

Hamzilla 2023

When I was first licenced back in the Seventies, and going on into the Eighties, there were quite a few radio rallies reachable from my Essex base. There were very good ones in Harlow and Colchester, and of course the Eighties were the early days of the Canvey Rally. The major radio emporiums used to attend and sell their gear and there were always the small traders with tables selling equipment and junk, except that the latter was probably not junk to everyone.

There was also the big show in Leicester at the Granby Halls, and I also remember a very good show at Kempton Park racecourse.

Now the major radio emporia sell most of their equipment via mail order and online and they do not go to rallies; neither for the most part do the radio manufacturers.

Covid caused a pause in radio rallies being put on, but now we are seeing a few more, which is good news. My own club, SEARS put on the Canvey Rally last month, although I was not able to help in running it, but we were not short of very good club member volunteers who did. It was successful, though I am sorry I did not take any photos.

This month we had Hamzilla, run by the Dover Amateur Radio Club. That is about 70 miles from home in Essex, but I went with Aubrey, M7SDA, who kindly drove, and John, G4PJA. They were very pleasant company and made for an enjoyable day.

Hamzilla in full swing.

So, what about the rally? I somehow expected it to be bigger than it was. It was hard to judge numbers in a rather differently shaped hall to Canvey, but my impression was that the attendance was about the same as Canvey. Yes, I do know the numbers for Canvey as a club member but that is for us to know. Still, I think we have to say that Hamzilla 2023 was a success, so well done to DARC.

There were plenty of traders and one major manufacturer, ICOM, was there. Of course, their headquarters are local to Ashford, but I was pleased to see them. Clubs were represented as was RAIBC.

ICOM stand

I met a few people I knew, so the social aspect was satisfied as far as I was concerned.

The only minor niggle was the venue café, where the service relied on one lady who clearly found it difficult to cope on her own. There was a young chap who was running in and out of the kitchen for her, but she could have done with more support.

All-in-all I feel that Hamzilla was a success and I look forward to next year’s event. Again, well done DARC.


New faces and skills

As part of my rehabilitation in amateur radio I attended the Skills Night presented by Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society at Danbury.

As one would expect, there were many Foundation and Intermediate License Holders for whom the “Skills” training is a very good idea. I found it helpful as of course the radio world has changed in my absence.

Once upon a time I was familiar with the OSCAR amateur satellites (this is tautology given that OSCAR stands for “Orbiting Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio”). Stephen, M0SHQ, was very kind in giving me some minutes telling me about the latest developments, and showed me his impressive hand-held dual band 2m/70cm homemade yagi antenna, . He also demonstrated the OSCAR Android app on his phone. I have installed it on mine, and well, you never know, I might have a bash.

Charlie, M0PZT, was busy programming various handheld rigs, and was kind enough to “do” my second dual-band Baofeng as he did the first. Thanks, Charlie!

More experienced hams (more up-to-date than I) were scattered around the hall imparting their valuable knowledge. I enjoyed chatting with a number of the ladies and gentlemen present, and believe the attendance was over sixty in number.

Anyway, the Skills Night is a cracking idea, there was a lot going on which you can see via the link, and if you are in striking distance of Danbury, do go along to the next one.