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Clubs, Groups and Societies For discussions about various clubs, groups and societies relating to our hobbies, such as the BVWS (incl RetroTechUK), BATC, RSGB, APTS, CLPGS, THG, TCC, BECG, MCR21 etc. This is NOT an official forum for any of these organisations.

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Old 23rd May 2023, 4:19 pm   #141
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

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Originally Posted by G6Tanuki View Post
I lament the passing of the likes of Granby Halls, and the Lea Valley rallies of past-memory, which craftily combined a slew of smaller traders/junk-sale types with some of the bigger traders selling new stuff.
Wow I remember the Granby Halls all right. I first went when I was teenager and I was completely overawed by the sheer volume of stuff, ranging from hugely expensive transceivers right down to piles of old junk. I didn't have any money in those days, but I bet there were loads of bargains. I remember stacks and stacks of high end test equipment, audio gear etc as well as all the radio stuff. You never realise you are in a golden age until it ends!
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Old 23rd May 2023, 4:23 pm   #142
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

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Also a Casio keyboard which my son wanted.
I'm glad my keyboard went to a good home. I was under strict instructions by SWMBO that is was not to return with me at the end of the day...
Certainly a bargain at a pound!

My day was brilliant, meeting up with folk I haven't seen in ages.

I did buy a lot of things that I don't need, as is always the case! - and the car was full for the return journey back up to Rossendale... however, this for me is where it turns sour - the return journey was marred by a breakdown at Leicester Forest East services (Alternator failure), and I didn't get home until after 1am on the back of a breakdown truck... so 20 hours out of the house made me mildly grumpy...

The venue - I thought was ok, but inadequate facilities for the amount of footfall - and also being on the shoebox sized size...

Car parking was ill-managed, and the food although good, on the expensive side.

Personally, I'd like to see a BVWS catering truck at each event, with profits from that poured directly back into the society... just a thought...
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Old 23rd May 2023, 4:33 pm   #143
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

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One idea..

Could the Organisers get a short duration low power broadcast licence and then run a special event station giving directions and advice??

Put it on Medium Wave!!
What about a talk-in station on topband?
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Old 23rd May 2023, 4:35 pm   #144
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

Anything like this would need someone or a small group of people who are prepared to organise it, get the relevant licences sorted, and operate it all day. The committee have enough to do already. Volunteers are always welcome.
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Old 23rd May 2023, 4:41 pm   #145
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

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Personally, I'd like to see a BVWS catering truck at each event, with profits from that poured directly back into the society... just a thought...
I suspect the venue have an exclusive agreement with the catering firm. That trailer was clearly a fixture with weeds growing around the wheels etc, and when I left it was locked up and still in place.

Catering is really not the sort of thing the BVWS committee will want to get involved with. You may remember at the first Biggleswade it was BVWS DIY catering, then the committee found someone to do it and happily handed it over despite the cost.
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Old 23rd May 2023, 4:50 pm   #146
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

Any local burger or kebab van will be more than happy to pitch up and cater for events like this, but you're right, there will usually be exclusive contracts in place preventing this.
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Old 23rd May 2023, 5:27 pm   #147
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

I took my own food, but greedy as I am (and it was a long day all told) I also bought a burger from the BBQ costing a whopping £8 (pun not intended) but I have to say it was first class. Much better than a midget sized, poor quality one for say £4.
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Old 23rd May 2023, 5:44 pm   #148
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

I did notice the person on the BBQ was checking the temperature of food with a temperature probe poked into the centre, which was reassuring. My hot dog was cooked through and definitely hot.

It's not cheap, but it was better quality and not much more expensive than the late night takeaways here (which know that drunk people aren't discerning).

Of course there is always the option to take your own food and drinks or get something from the local co-op. We can give a bit more information about the type of food available and the price range on the website for next year so visitors can make an informed decision.
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Old 23rd May 2023, 5:48 pm   #149
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

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I suspect the venue have an exclusive agreement with the catering firm. That trailer was clearly a fixture with weeds growing around the wheels etc, and when I left it was locked up and still in place.

Catering is really not the sort of thing the BVWS committee will want to get involved with. You may remember at the first Biggleswade it was BVWS DIY catering, then the committee found someone to do it and happily handed it over despite the cost.
I remember the numerous changes the catering underwent at Harpenden from the mid-80s to the end: some good, some truly 'orrible! (The first time I visited in 1985 I spent the night on the bog afterwards)

Kudos to Jeremy Owen: Biggleswade has really improved upon the moribund Harpenden which, at the end, was like an old sheepdog waiting for the farmer's shotgun. It's a light and airy venue, the catering at the previous event was excellent even though you couldn't sit and have a natter outwith the hall like you could at Harpenden and there's good parking too.

However, I am reminded here of Wilde's definition of a cynic: a person who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. Whilst it is obvious that events should break even, I'd have hoped that they were primarily organised for the benefit of BVWS members and not to solely swell the coffers of the BVWS.
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Old 23rd May 2023, 5:58 pm   #150
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

Any profits from RetroTechUK are used to fund projects at the British Vintage Wireless & Television Museum in Dulwich (and possibly other relevant heritage projects, I'm not sure as discussions were still in progress when I left the committee), while of course retaining a working capital and reserve funds. The reserve would have been depleted quite severely by the losses at recent WEC events so will need to be replenished.

Profits from BVWS events do indeed benefit the BVWS membership. Although they generally only make a modest profit at best (and the last few at Harpenden made a loss).

No individuals are profiting from these events. Reasonable expenses are obviously covered, and in some cases a contribution towards time (especially if it takes people away from paid work) but that's all.
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Old 23rd May 2023, 6:45 pm   #151
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

I didn't have any real problem finding the venue. But then again I'd been before. Easter 1994 for a radio rally. I bought some long range PIR alarm sensors. No idea why! It snowed. In those days it was quite local to me.

The post about Granby Halls reminded me of something. Bingley Halls is still a venue, though now known as the Staffordshire County Showground (the County show is there in a few days time). If people are looking for a venue for events it has a variety of facilities of different sizes so I guess different costs. And no I have no association with the place other than passing it quite often, and having taken my parents there for Covid jabs.
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Old 23rd May 2023, 6:50 pm   #152
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

Good afternoon,
On the whole I think this venue has hit the correct spot with the best balance between funds available for the event and the hall size/facilities and location. It would be very difficult to find a better location in the midlands that would suffice all of the individual requirements for a good event.

School halls have good nearby parking but will be too small for instance (big enough for smaller events like Biggleswade ECT. though)

I have been to all of the NVCF events over the years.

NEC pay for parking a fair distance from the hall, use of shuttle bus to the car park but no closer. Got knackered taking a portable valve telly to the car. Wouldn’t imagine it with a console telly and no trolley.

National motorcycle museum, I cannot really remember that one !! I think it was only used once.

WEC free parking near to the entrance, excellent facilities and canteen though obviously a very high and unsustainable cost burden to the society.

SC I think hopefully once the minor issues get resolved should be the best of the lot.
As Henry Hall put it, Here’s to the next time!

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Old 23rd May 2023, 6:53 pm   #153
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

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Any profits from RetroTechUK are used to fund projects at the British Vintage Wireless & Television Museum in Dulwich (and possibly other relevant heritage projects, I'm not sure as discussions were still in progress when I left the committee), while of course retaining a working capital and reserve funds. The reserve would have been depleted quite severely by the losses at recent WEC events so will need to be replenished.

Profits from BVWS events do indeed benefit the BVWS membership. Although they generally only make a modest profit at best (and the last few at Harpenden made a loss).

No individuals are profiting from these events. Reasonable expenses are obviously covered, and in some cases a contribution towards time (especially if it takes people away from paid work) but that's all.
I'm glad that the events are supporting something. Many organised sales like antiques fairs are mostly about the organisers making money. These events aren't.

I did hear at some point someone bemoaning prices for the event. I think in particular they were saying it put people off having a stall. Well for me, I'm very glad that I contributed to the cause, had a good day out with my wife and nephew, got rid of a lot of stuff rather than sending it to landfill, and made a few pounds into the deal.
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Old 23rd May 2023, 7:23 pm   #154
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[...] got rid of a lot of stuff rather than sending it to landfill, and made a few pounds into the deal.
The cynic in me says we're only delaying the inevitable

I am however surprised to see that the BVWS has become financially coupled to the museum in Dulwich. When was that formalised?

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Old 23rd May 2023, 7:45 pm   #155
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National motorcycle museum, I cannot really remember that one !! I think it was only used once.
I believe it caught fire shortly afterwards.

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Old 23rd May 2023, 8:26 pm   #156
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

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National motorcycle museum, I cannot really remember that one !! I think it was only used once.
I believe it caught fire shortly afterwards.
There was certainly a fire. In a weird sort of way there's a direct link to RT this Sunday. I used to go to the NMM to the computer fairs they held. Relevant? well pretty sure a few of the vintage PC parts I sold on Sunday would have been bought there. For sure it was a venue where when buying stuff I learned what 'untested' really meant.
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Old 23rd May 2023, 11:17 pm   #157
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

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I am however surprised to see that the BVWS has become financially coupled to the museum in Dulwich. When was that formalised?
Not “financially coupled”, just supporting as they have done for decades. NVCF/Retrotech profits have always been donated to the museum ever since the BVWS took the event over.
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Old 24th May 2023, 10:35 am   #158
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

Dunstable Downs was quite well attended, visitors and sellers alike. However, the rows were really spaced out. At half the spacing there would have been plenty of room. Never seen it like this before. It meant a great deal of walking, with a dodgy knee. I only did one "round" before going home.
Plenty of bargains there.
I saw two youngsters, aged about 9 to 10, helping their parents with the price labelling. They had mobile phones and were googling their own items on ebay or similar. They would shout "its £8 pounds". A parent said, put £5 on it then.
Amused me, but in reality, not the sort of discount to offer at a radio car boot.

Regarding the thread subject. Good CONSISTENT size and colour signage for any venue is essential. Not everyone relies on sat nav. I don't know the size of this venue, but Springfields in Spalding and The Cresset, Peterborough both have the brown tourist information style of permanent road signs.

Car parking close to the venue does seem to be a major problem judging by comments. But, at the hire price charged, It may not be easy to solve.

Whether the DD and this event "stole" many customers or traders from each other will not really be known. But there must have been some adverse effect. Though, comments indicate both did very well with good turnouts at each, buyers and sellers alike.
Unfortunately our hobby events dates do at times clash, so if possible date planning is wise, but may not be possible due to hire of premises. DD don't help the rally calendar by leaving the announcement of their date to the last minute. They almost always do this, but it is usually the second or third Sunday in May has a ? on our kitchen calendar.
All these events rely heavily on volunteer help. Without more youngsters gaining interest, the older generation will be less able or less inclined to help as much as in previous years I was told by one of the Elvaston Castle organisers years ago that the main reason for not continuing was that less and less help was available due to everyone getting older or dying.
This is something that must be taken seriously, encouraging more youngsters is essential these days.
Rob
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Old 24th May 2023, 11:29 am   #159
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

Just to clarify (but not to start a long discussion). Ever since the BVWS took over what was the NVCF, now Retrotech, all profits have been kept separate, currently in a separate bank account, to be distributed when the Dulwich Museum needs funding for major projects, for instance a new heating system, or a new shed. This was the agreement made at that time amongst the BVWS membership. This fund (which is reported at every BVWS AGM) would have been seriously depleted if we had continued making a loss at WEC, and thus a move had to be made, to ensure that this major event could continue, and that the BVWS can continue helping the Museum.
Wrinkles will be ironed out as we go along, and all feedback is being carefully asessed, I can assure you, and it is much appreciated.
Thank you all for supporting Retrotech in this new venue. Onwards and upwards!
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Old 24th May 2023, 1:19 pm   #160
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

Hi Everyone

Thanks for your comments and feedback which we are taking constructively, to improve the event for next year - if you use a bucket for the first time, you never know how many holes it has until you fill it with water!

Over the years and even before Covid (which hasn’t helped of course) the event has seen a steady decrease in both stall holders and visitors. 20 years ago, it was 300 stalls twice a year at the NEC Birmingham, now it’s 150 stalls once a year. It is not a just a vintage radio issue, I know that classic vehicle clubs, model and train clubs, pet shows, etc. are all suffering from lower attendance. Internet forums, Facebook and other social media platforms seem to be increasingly the way that folk ‘get together’ to discuss their interests.

The Warwickshire Event Centre was a superb 5 star venue, parking, catering and toilet facilities were as good as you could ever expect. They were nice and easy people to deal with – we’d loved to have run the event there again this year but it was too expensive – the venue cost alone ran just into 5 figures last year. And no, that’s not a typo….!

After last years event we had two options: call it a day or try to find a more cost effective solution. RetrotechUK/NVCF gives so many folk an enjoyable day out, so we decided to look for an affordable venue and hopefully continue this event for a few more years.

The WEC spoilt us - THE CONNEXION WILL NEVER BE THE WEC AND THERE WILL ALWAYS BE COMPROMISES.

For next year we will invest in a banner for the kerb on the road outside and another to put outside of the Arena building, so should 2 events be running at least it will direct folk to the correct event.

Parking and associated stewarding was the biggest issue. We can never expect to have the site exclusively to ourselves. But I will talk with the venue about improving parking stewarding and directions to overspill parking. We can’t wave a magic wand and create more spaces on site. Do come prepared for a possible walk.

Catering too was a problem because of the number of people on site, causing long queues for refreshments – annoying I know if you were only after a drink. If there are going to be two events on the same day next year, I will see what else the venue can offer. Otherwise, I though the quality and cost of the food was what you’d expect at any fair or exhibition these days. Alternatively, you can bring in your own refreshments.

Toilets we can’t do anything about. There will be peak times and quieter times - I used them twice and each time went straight in without having to wait.

The Security Guard did a superb job. I instructed him not to allow anyone through without showing a valid wristband. If you got stopped because you weren’t showing your wristband – that was your own fault!

The event is run by a handful of volunteers – that’s most of the BVWS committee and the same few non-committee members who give their time freely. We spent 4 hours there on Saturday afternoon setting the tables and chairs out (at the WEC they did it for us, at cost of course) and most of us were there from 6am to 6pm on Sunday. We could always use more help.

I can confirm that RetrotechUK 2024 has now been booked for Sunday 12th May. Effectively a week earlier - back to its rightful place on the calendar of the second Sunday in May.

No promises but we’ll do what we can!
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