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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, 9:15 am   #121
Ted Kendall
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

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Originally Posted by Dave Moll View Post
The other thing I would have found helpful was clearer signage to the gate on the right, as I mistakenly followed the major route to the left until I realised it was a dead end (to the football ground when open) not connecting with the car parking area behind it.
Yup, did that too - and the road is none too wide, so it was reverse for 200yds on the mirrors. Signposting and car park marshalling and deeply mediocre, but on balance the cosplay types were fun.
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Old 23rd May 2023, 9:56 am   #122
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

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Originally Posted by Radio Wrangler View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathovisor View Post
the BVWS - if it wishes this event to be a success - should lobby SC for sole use on the day at the next one.
Wouldn't that mean shouldering the fee for the whole venue and put things back to where you were with the previous venue?

David
It seems that SC was but a fifth of the cost of the WEC (and seemingly, proving that you get what you pay for) - so I fail to see how taking over the whole venue could resolve into a five-fold increase in price?

My take-home from reading this thread as a bystander (and speaking to a friend who visited) is:
  • Wholly inadequate toilets
  • Poor catering provision: okay on the day, but what if it was raining?
  • Badly managed parking unsuitable for the needs of this particular event
  • Virtually non-existent traffic management

On that basis, I'm not encouraged to visit the event.

Last edited by Cathovisor; 23rd May 2023 at 10:03 am.
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Old 23rd May 2023, 10:28 am   #123
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

I enjoyed the event and took my 11 year old son with me.

I found it easy to get to. I didn't see any signs on lamp posts near the event which I have seen in the past though not really necessary here.

I arrived for the early entry and was parked in the wrong corner a long way from the hall. Later after finding the entrance I was able to park closer to the hall.

I found the event venue as good as you could probably get for the outlay, I didn't have any real gripes other than they should have opened the fire doors as it was getting rather stuffy in there. With the outside catering van queues and cost I think I will bring my own next time. There was the possibility of opening the bar which would have been nice (A nice cold beer would have gone down a treat!!) though there would be extra cost to man it ECT.

The toilets were not good, the door only opened halfway and bonked my head and nearly lost my glasses when I realised that!!

I came away with a few nice items including a Ferguson portable telly yet another oscilloscope and a mechanical adding machine. Also a Casio keyboard which my son wanted. Also a wormy and nearly complete Pye VT4 telly possibly for parts set for one I have here awaiting restoration. I met several forum members and had a good chat and thought the venue was a good choice.

The prices seemed quite low and there were almost too many tempting offers. I was almost tempted at a stack of hi fi separates which were something like £2 each or £5 for 3!
We came home with a few battered valve radios from the bring and buy stall which are ideal to teach my children radio restoration.

Assuming the parking niggles and a few other minor things are sorted out, (and its a nice sunny day!!) I think it would be an excellent event next year.

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Old 23rd May 2023, 10:41 am   #124
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

My friend and I also went around the houses to find the event at first, we ended up on the Co-op forecourt and I remembered someone saying the Co-op was near the venue so I knew we weren't far away. That was from putting the postcode into the sat nav. So at that point I just said "The sports connection centre" to my phone and it took us straight to the entrance.
I will know what to do next year..
Maybe I was lucky with the parking? (We arrived about 9.45) because we were guided to about the middle of the field I think it was a 5 minute walk to the entrance near the food van.
That is no worse than the distance we walked at the old venue. But as I say maybe we were lucky?
I didn't go to the toilet until well after lunch maybe 2.30 Pm at a guess. Again maybe I was lucky with the timing as there was a couple of other people but that was all.
When we went back to the van to drop a couple of items off and pick up our lunch and flasks I did see a chap carrying a big ole woodie.. Oh! that sounds wrong! Sorry, carrying a large vintage radio to his car and we joked that these things seem to get heavier as we get older. I asked him if he wanted any help but he declined saying he hadn't got far to go.
It was the same at the old event. I bought a couple of 19" mono tellies there and had to stop for a rest a couple of times the bonus being I had something to sit on! Another option would have been for me to put the items behind my friends' stall until the end and then load with the trolly he had brought at the end during the packing up. If I had bought anything heavy this time that is what I would have done.
I realise the organisers have enough to do already but maybe a trolly loan could be arranged to use from the door to your car while the event is open? If there is concern that the trolly may not be returned make it a service for BVWS members only membership card to be shown when taking the trolly and a rule that it is to be returned say within 10/15 minutes? Just a thought?
I would like to repeat that I think the event went very well the organisers should be applauded! I really enjoyed the day and having Comic con there IMHO made it even better.
I never went to the NEC but that sounds as if it was a nightmare for getting purchases back to the car? The first event I attended was the Motor cycle museum. I have been every year since and have thoroughly enjoyed it either as a stall holder, helper or just as a punter.
I think this one was one of the best yet!

Rich
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Old 23rd May 2023, 10:52 am   #125
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

I nearly didn't come as the old venue was at the limit of what I consider a reasonable range, and this was further.

The parking was weird for me. When I initially saw the venue my first impression was that I was at the wrong place, but turned to pass the side entrance only to be confronted by a guy with a sign saying it was full and with an inadequite diagram to the overflow parking. OK, I was a bit late (11:30).

His diagram suggested to continue to a roundabout and loop back but it seemed a long way so turned round and went back to ask - only to now be directed to enter and "go left" via a very busy area. The CP appeared to be full and I ended up at the extreme corner in a sandy area that was only viable because it was so dry. On walking back across the CP I found there were loads of well-hidden spaces - so perhaps if the venue had a few people directing in the CP this might have been easier.

The web site described the venue as "the sports connexion" but the building with that label was the other event. Our building was clearly labelled "the arena" so that was confusing. The door staff at "the sports connexion" only seemed to vaguely know of RetroTech and not where the entrance was!

The lack of space for exhibitions was a shame as those have been an extra attraction at the WEC.

I think we were very lucky that the weather was so good.

Suggestion: Make a map of their complicated site and put it on the web site.
Perhaps the other event could park further away as they must all be young and not carrying anything much!
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Old 23rd May 2023, 10:55 am   #126
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

Because it was a new venue I checked it out on street view beforehand, and also used it to look around the area! Sadly I didn’t look to see if there were more car parks, so we ended up in the long queue, I even made a joke at the time that the car park was probably full and we’d end up in a field somewhere…

I remember the ones at the NEC, they were the first ones I went to! Probably around 2003/2004, I still have the little booklets you used to get somewhere!

Regards
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Old 23rd May 2023, 10:55 am   #127
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

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Originally Posted by dodgy-dxer View Post
Well you heard wrong

There were more stalls than last year and plenty of punters

Most interestingly there were a number (around 5) of stalls selling vintage wireless sets and things like old record players who didnt go to Coventry

Fred

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Originally Posted by stevehertz View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aub View Post
Some Radio Amateurs who have attended in previous years may have chosen, this year, to go to the Dunstable Downs , Luton radio rally instead.

Cheers

Aub
I heard that there was no-one there; empty.
'I' stand corrected, but someone at RT said that, I was just quoting them. They were obviously wrong, or for some reason chose to not tell it as it was. Glad to hear it was good show.
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Old 23rd May 2023, 11:06 am   #128
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

One thing to consider for next time that may seem like a simple point, but it did have quite a big effect on getting in and out of the hall during loading and unloading times. That is, there is a thick strip of wood (threshold strip) across the floor of the doorway. Every time I passed through the doorway someone was struggling to get their trolley over this wooden strip - and I mean struggling. It was adding considerable holdup, disruption and time to the whole process of loading and unloading. Maybe a couple of angled wooden strips could be made and kept for use of in future? Like I say, it may seem a daft point to make, but it really was struggle for trolley users (most stallholders?) to overcome that wooden strip, and much bottlenecking and cursing resulted.
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Old 23rd May 2023, 11:19 am   #129
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

"No-one there, empty" strikes me as a somewhat sweeping and certainly misleading summary of DD- there were certainly more stalls than last year, though my (subjective) impression was less bustling but still busy. The car park was less full than last year by mid-morning but it's a huge area anyway. I like the DD setting, with its healthy grassland and fine mature trees, maybe I just prefer outdoor events to crowded, claustrophobic halls- I'd take the dog but his herding tendencies might be a bit much for some of the stallholders.... Yes, there were a few stalls as dodgy-dxer describes, so not as "dry" an event as I might have implied earlier.
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Old 23rd May 2023, 11:52 am   #130
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

Perhaps the other event could park further away as they must all be young and not carrying anything much!

I don't suppose the Comic con people would mind the "Trek" at all... Sorry!

As far as the trollies were concerned I only helped with the packing up as my friends set up the stalls, and our trolly went over the strip fine so long as you pulled it backwards and didn't try to push it forwards.
Uneven ground is inevitable so our trolly was securely loaded. I saw someone else push their trolly over the strip forwards and lose their carrier bag and Thermos in the doorway. Surely it would have been easier to have carried the bag and Thermos and then gone back for the empty trolly? Maybe?
It's very easy to be a critic, how about coming up with some solutions to the little niggles ? And maybe some ideas to bring in a wider audience in the future? Let's think positive and appreciate what the organisers have done for us.
Assuming next year the event isn't the same day as Comic con could we have the other hall instead? Is it bigger? Are the bogs bigger? Does it have a restaurant ? Is it affordable? Is it available?
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Old 23rd May 2023, 12:11 pm   #131
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

I was at both, I'd say DD was slightly down with more empty pitches than normal, but definitely not "No-one there, empty"!
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Old 23rd May 2023, 12:43 pm   #132
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

Send ComicCon folk to the field! There were plenty of visitors who were in costume and were enjoyng well-meaning hoots as they walked down the lane. On my final return to the hall, Batman, Catwoman and Robin (probably their son) were coming the other way. Actually, having found the marshal’s instructions at the main gate so confusing I now realise he was probably the Riddler...

Trying to recall my number of trips back and forth I reckon I walked in excess of three miles on the day.

Toilets were okay when I used them. I go to Symphony Hall in Birmingham and there are queues there when a concert is on or a conference. If everyone arrives at an event at the same time there’s always likely to be problem.

Didn’t try the food (and never did at the WEC – weather is likely to be reasonable in May so bring flask and picnic as I can only be inside for so long) but was told by others it was okay. The bar would have been nice and I’m sure would have done trade.

The hall was the right size to accommodate everyone. (Call me a pessimist but the event will probably get no bigger - like all this type of hobby (especially ones that have a nostalgia element) the vast majority of us are all of a certain age...)

I’ve tried overlaying same-size satellite views of the SC and the WEC and from memory of recent WEC car park occupancy I’d say without ComicCon the car park would have been adequate.

More A boards and directions are needed if the venue is shared with another event. I went to the wrong building and their marshals around the entrance were a bit vague despite me holding a crate of radio junk.

Finally - general point. I wonder if it would be good if some identification was worn. I must have stood alongside and/or spoken to many forum members but have little clue of the fact. I have a poor memory for faces so certainly can remember only a very few from one year to the next. Not suggesting that BVWS do this but at ham rallies years ago you were often given a little badge to write your callsign which was very useful to identify those you had only met via the ether. This habit had appeared to have fallen away at the few recent rallies I have attended so perhaps it’s a cultural change.
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Old 23rd May 2023, 1:16 pm   #133
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

My experience was similar to previous posts. I arrived at about 7am without any problems, having done a dry run on google street view the night before.

The only confusion being not knowing where to park. As if by luck I ended up near the side entrance with my table positioned just opposite the door, so not too far to bring my stuff in.

As regards toilets, sorry I was a bit cheeky and used the disabled cubicle as it was always unoccupied and was nice and peaceful.

My only new suggestion, to the above posts is that can the wrist bands be made a bit bigger as my blue band wouldn't fit around my wrist! I therefore left it on my table.

On one of my journeys to and from the loo, the security guard wouldn't let me back in and it took some delicate negotiation over a few mins to be let me back in.
Serves me right for using the disabled loo I suppose!
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Old 23rd May 2023, 1:43 pm   #134
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

I must admit I drove straight past too as the sign posting was very hard to spot on the approach to a roundabout.

I was there early so got a spot next to the event building, that chap running around sorting the spot parking was also trying to direct traffic at the entrance near the halls too and was having to run back and forwards. What concerned me later on was the real lack of traffic management when there were lots of obviously excited children walking around in the midst of four directions of traffic. Nothing to do with our event of course.
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Old 23rd May 2023, 1:59 pm   #135
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

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!!

Quite a few of the motorsports and music events have their own radio stations which tell you about traffic, which car parking areas are full etc. I am sure the combined membership could put something like this on using what would be essentially a pantry transmitter.
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Old 23rd May 2023, 2:16 pm   #136
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

Quote:
Originally Posted by Junk Box Nick View Post
Send ComicCon folk to the field!
Hope this is OK, as it just a bit of light hearted fun.

I didn’t go to RT for reasons given earlier in the thread, however, as I said it would have been nice to see the Storm Troopers…

Well, things do have strange way of turning out… Whilst having my daily constitutional of walking around a local field earlier, I spotted a lost Lego Storm Trooper lying in the long grass.

Well, I may have missed the Strom Troopers at RT... However, I did get to spot a Storm Trooper - all be it a lost Lego Storm Trooper in a local field.

Picture of lost Storm Trooper...

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Old 23rd May 2023, 2:29 pm   #137
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

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It was Comic Con’s first event at that venue too (according to their Facebook page) so they won’t have a “usual weekend” yet. Looks like they will be there twice a year.

https://www.facebook.com/coventrycomiccon

I think it would be good if we shared the day with them again.
I totally agree, great day for so many different reasons, hopefully the "radio show" will soon be twice yearly. It seems a shame to have to wait 12 months for the next one.
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Old 23rd May 2023, 3:38 pm   #138
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

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Suggestion: Make a map of their complicated site and put it on the web site.
I will definitely be ensuring the information on the website is updated in good time for next year's event. A diagram or screenshot from Google Maps with the relevant information added would certainly help.

Another friend that I met there (not a forum member) also put the postcode in his satnav and ended up further in the village, whereas once he put Sports Connexion in Google Maps on his phone it took him to the right place. This will also be noted on the website.

I used Google Maps and looked it up on Streetview in advance so had a better idea of where to go, but still felt the hall entrance wasn't obvious.
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Old 23rd May 2023, 3:53 pm   #139
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

Another suggestion (just putting it here for the committee to see):

Have the back fire door open (or usable) and have a second security person manning it. There is of course the extra cost of security, but it would be a shorter walk to the cars parked in the field behind the hall and would allow more ventilation in the hall.
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Old 23rd May 2023, 4:17 pm   #140
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Default Re: RetrotechUK May 21st

Quote:
Originally Posted by G6Tanuki View Post
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!!

Quite a few of the motorsports and music events have their own radio stations which tell you about traffic, which car parking areas are full etc. I am sure the combined membership could put something like this on using what would be essentially a pantry transmitter.
That's a very cool idea.
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