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.
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.
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.