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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 NVCF), BATC, RSGB, APTS, CLPGS, THG, TCC etc. This is NOT an official forum for any of these organisations.

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Old 27th Sep 2019, 11:01 am   #1
HamishBoxer
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Default Hamfest Newark

Anyone going Saturday and may want to meet up around midday?
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Old 27th Sep 2019, 1:33 pm   #2
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Default Re: Hamfest Newark

That's a shame as I've just got back home from Newark and it would have been good to have a meet up. If I go I usually go on the Friday since I'm retired, and particularly this time as the weather forecast didn't look too good for tomorrow, which will mean that all the outside stall holders will have all their junk covered up to protect it from the rain.
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Old 27th Sep 2019, 5:38 pm   #3
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Default Re: Hamfest Newark

I left when the rain started, just before 1200.
Spent just £2 on a RS "banshee" loud sounder, additional for my outside workshop alarm. Also 20p on a couple of switches. Didn't think as much vintage valve type junk as other years, but a lot of test gear and quite a bit of silent key stuff.
I was staggered by the cost of a trader's outside pitch with a gazebo and stuff on the floor, also another component trader with 2 gazebos. They both said they each paid £300 in advance for the 2 day privilege of being outside! Also, they were right up one end of the line past the Cambridge hams stand, a bit out of the way I think.
I know we can all sometimes complain about the lack of certain types of traders or cost of components, but you can see why with prices like these.
This is one reason I much prefer the local club rallies.
However, I will still be going there next year!
Rob
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Old 27th Sep 2019, 6:00 pm   #4
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Default Re: Hamfest Newark

I went today and got mainly components, very few valves for sale and not one valve domestic Radio! (That I could see anyway). Was spoilt a little by the very heavy rain and fewer than usual flea market stalls.

As regards the flea market a table with entry for one costs £20 per day. Maximum of 3 tables otherwise you are classed as a trader and other terms apply. I am still tempted to go again tomorrow and have a table but if we get the promised rain then I don’t fancy it. BTW if you want to have a table tomorrow you can just turn up and pay at the gate, I’m sure they will be glad to see you!

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Old 28th Sep 2019, 6:48 pm   #5
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Default Re: Hamfest Newark

Well went today and the weather was not too bad.John Birkett once again was there,
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Old 28th Sep 2019, 7:01 pm   #6
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Default Re: Hamfest Newark

John Birkett, such a great person. First met him about 54 years ago, bunking off school when my uncle, a rep (also ex RAF radio op) who had customers to visit in Lincoln area. We spent more time with JB than the customers!
It is always a privilege to shake his hand and have a little chat, like I did yesterday. Who knows if it may be the very last time....?
Rob
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Old 28th Sep 2019, 8:28 pm   #7
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Default Re: Hamfest Newark

Let us hope not.
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Old 28th Sep 2019, 10:47 pm   #8
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Default Re: Hamfest Newark

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Originally Posted by HamishBoxer View Post
Well went today and the weather was not too bad.John Birkett once again was there,

I'm surprised you could get a photo without any one else in it. Yesterday His stall was two people deep trying to get a look in, as were most of the other stalls. Lots of stalls mostly selling amateur equipment. Early on I saw a Cossor radio I presume it was a battery valve set or an early transistor set. The scale was in poor condition and I don't need another restoration job, even though asking price was only £8.


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Old 29th Sep 2019, 3:49 am   #9
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Default Re: Hamfest Newark

Quote:
Originally Posted by robinshack View Post
John Birkett, such a great person. First met him about 54 years ago, bunking off school when my uncle, a rep (also ex RAF radio op) who had customers to visit in Lincoln area. We spent more time with JB than the customers!
It is always a privilege to shake his hand and have a little chat, like I did yesterday. Who knows if it may be the very last time....?
Rob
I was in birkets on thursday,nice guy is john,hard work to chat with as he is deaf as a post,mind you he isnt doing bad with 92 turns on his coil! m3vuv.
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Old 29th Sep 2019, 7:49 am   #10
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Default Re: Hamfest Newark

I had 2 tables outside yesterday - have to say it was a very hard day.

Very few people milling around the bootsale area, coupled with frequent rain showers, and the very long walk for buyers that would potentially buy "heavy lumps" meant very little shifted.

Did get a brand new Martindale proving unit (for checking circuits are dead before working on them) and a couple of very nice RS Pro LED work lamps, otherwise, as noted very little vintage stuff.

Had a nice chat with Michael Giacomelli, and his Son, who appears to also be getting interested in valves, so I think we will be okay for a supplier for another generation - they had large trays of assorted run of the mill stuff at £1 each, and even these seemed to be difficult to sell, with one trader buying the lot around midday.

Its a nice venue, but I think the level of support will eventually kill the show off, certainly the bootsale area was down to small club size rally levels - a real shame
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Old 29th Sep 2019, 8:39 am   #11
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Default Re: Hamfest Newark

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I had 2 tables outside yesterday - have to say it was a very hard day.

...

Its a nice venue, but I think the level of support will eventually kill the show off, certainly the bootsale area was down to small club size rally levels - a real shame
Sounds to me then that Friday was a much better day

It was busy inside and out until a heavy rain shower brought everyone into the hall and it was elbow to elbow all around. Overall it started to thin out around 2pm

Fred
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Old 29th Sep 2019, 8:55 am   #12
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Default Re: Hamfest Newark

Hi Fred,

Yes, from what I heard Friday had much higher attendance, but the rain quickly killed off the bootsale.

Very difficult to organise a show of this magnitude and cater for all tastes - I think the bootsale costs will put a lot of people off, which is a pity, but the costs of hiring the venue have to be covered somehow, otherwise the event is no longer viable.

Would be great for our national event to get back to the sort of levels of Woburn, back when I first learned of the hobby, over 30 years ago, but given the relatively low interest these days, just wishful thinking.
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Old 29th Sep 2019, 12:49 pm   #13
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Default Re: Hamfest Newark

I went on Friday, only because John ('60 oldjohn') kindly offered me a lift.

We arrived at 10.30, joined the long queue to get in (despite it having been open for visitors from 9.30am). It was a windswept day - I spent 30 mins browsing the outside, an hour inside, then we were back to the car at 12 noon to have our lunch and head off home. I might have taken a last look at the outside pitches but they were mostly covered in plastic sheets with windswept drizzle doing its worst.

Seems to me that the 'flea market' stallholders are between a rock and a hard place.

Highly dependant on the weather, having to try to recover the high cost of the pitch and travelling costs, but can only charge what people are prepared to pay for their wares, which is next to nothing. I would perhaps have bought up to ten ABS project boxes (new), but they were half as much again as I could by them on e-bay so I didn't bother. I just bought a little vintage transistor tester for a fiver. An impulse buy - had it been any more, I wouldn't have bothered. There were lots of quite dated second-hand HF transceivers and receivers at what I felt were unrealistically high prices and with no provenance. Quite a risky buy for all but the truly technically adept.

In fairness, maybe I'm not typical of the average visitor.

I'm a 'RHINO' - 'Radio Ham In Name Only', licensed since 1974, but not on air since 2003, so not in the market for ham radio stuff.

Indoors, I was nonplussed at the 'business model' of major dealers and whether it's sustainable.

MLS, Radio World, Waters & Stanton et al were all out in force.

I can't begin to imagine how much their 'panoramic' stands must have costs, with pile upon pile of expensive rigs which attempt to entice potential buyers with the promise of being able to 'penetrate the airwaves', 'command the bands', 'winkle out the DX' and 'punch through the QRM'. The stark reality if anyone falls for this hype, is that when they plug it in at home, anyone else using the same equipment, at the same time, at the same location, would achieve exactly the same outcome.

Maybe it's fun for some, but no great achievement.

I was struck by the huge capital cost to the traders, tied up in stocking this 'state of the art - soon to be obsolete' equipment, and the huge revenue costs of transporting it there, staffing and paying for the stand, and either having to staff their normal business premises or shut up shop for three days. And of course, from the total sales value attained at the 'Hamfest' has to be deducted the value of sales which would ordinarily have been achieved had they not attended, so the marginal sales income gained has to justify the marginal costs incurred from attending.

That said, the fact is that they did attend, so it has to be assumed that it was worthwhile and financially viable.

I saw lots of people walking round with bags of bits, but few carrying big boxes, though I did see someone who looked very pleased with himself, carrying a £2k scope bought from the Rigol stand.

I'll be having two tables at the Hornsea Amateur Radio Rally on 13 October in the Floral Hall to have a final clear-out - what doesn't sell goes in the skip. £7.00 per table including the 'trader' and a helper (saving £2.00 entrance each), with power laid on for testing purposes. True, adverse weather may affect attendance levels, but it won't affect the comfort of those who do attend. Just an old style rally as they were in yesteryear.
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Old 29th Sep 2019, 2:04 pm   #14
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Default Re: Hamfest Newark

I went on the Friday morning and although plenty of stalls, there were a lot selling expensive kit such as oscilloscopes and rigs. I cannot imagine that too many Rigol oscilloscopes, spectrum analysers, electronic load banks ECT. we’re sold when a decent oscilloscope could be bought from EBay for nearly 1/4 of the price

The outside bootsale stalls were better though they had a lot of ex-forces Comms equipment which probably isn’t very useful. I came away with a wind up bridge megger and plenty of components from Birketts stall. Not too many valves, all I saw were P series telly valves. I will probably go to next years event.

Christopher Capener
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Old 29th Sep 2019, 3:42 pm   #15
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Default Re: Hamfest Newark

That chap inside was just about the only one with valves, and a very few at that, and all telly ones. I was asking him about his home brew valve tester which he said he'd got from this forum, although he said he wasn't a member. He was just about to show me it working when he realised he hadn't got any power to it. After checking the plug on the back of the tester hadn't fallen out, he followed his cables back only to find that someone had pulled his plug and made off with his extension lead to power something else. I asked him if he had any EY51 EHT rectifier valves, he said he had, but hadn't brought them with him as they were for old 405 TVs and who would want them? doh!

Then there was the other chap selling soldering irons and I heard a chap asking if he had any spare bits, again, he said he had, but hadn't thought to bring them as he needed to limit what stuff he brought with him due to lack of space on his two tables in the hall which he was repeatedly telling the person asking had cost him £150.

It was certainly heaving on the Friday with a long queue that eventually got split when they allowed pay at the gate folk to go through the other gate for pre-booked ticket holders. I had to park way over on the grass, which was a long way to lug a boat anchor of a power pack which was the only actual item I bought, other than a few bits and pieces and components.

There was only one line of outside stalls again this year, unlike what I remember when there used to be several lines across the grass. There were several empty tables right at the end of the line. The Friday was certainly well attended and it was a job to get near some of the outside stalls, and inside the hall it was heaving with folk.

You could argue that Saturday would be a better day due to people being at work on a week day, so not able to go on Friday. However, not so, I looked around and all I could see was pensioners (and that includes me now), so nobody of working age - it was a case of 'spot the young person', I think that just about says it all!
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Old 29th Sep 2019, 4:44 pm   #16
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Default Re: Hamfest Newark

I had the same response about valves from the chap with the valve tester.
I get the feeling that the majority of the people who attended the hamfest do not make their own projects from components anymore but instead prefer to buy ready made and fully tested radio equipment to just take home, plug in and play. This must be why there were so few component suppliers there. It’s a sad fact that probably a lot of the people buying ready made units wouldn’t understand how say a signal would pass through a radio circuit diagram and couldn’t fault find and repair it should even a simple fault occurred.

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Old 29th Sep 2019, 5:15 pm   #17
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Default Re: Hamfest Newark

Yes, £75 per table for 2 days is correct afaik. Having been told that by 4 traders.
In reality, prices compare extremely well (cheaper?) with the very early 90s. Picketts Lock and Donington Park shows, where it was £60 a table for the 2 days. Picketts lock was also another £20 quid for a power socket as well!
At Newark, one seller was complaining about what large discounts the big boys got. How he knew that, I don't know, but it makes sense for RSGB to do that for National traders who must spend 10s of thousands on advertising with them and are an attraction for the "black box" enthusiasts.
On another note, I had a chat at St Neots rally recently with 2 separate youngish visitors, both stated that if it were not for the flea market at Newark, they would not go. Nor would I!!
Newark would not happen without the great help from local clubs who provide volunteer labour and stewards for a donation to help their own club funds. Lincoln, Spalding and Grantham are just three clubs I am aware of. Apologies if I have missed out other clubs or organisations that assist. It is much appreciated.
A comment by Sean earlier mentioned Woburn rally of years ago. Yes, I remember it well and it was a nice day out. However, at about what was probably the last rally there, the officious attitude by an rsgb rally official toward members wanting the flea market tables in the small marquee was something to be experienced.
I remember his attitude when he forbid sellers to enter the small marquee to set up. He said to wait until just before the official opening time. This was despite the tables being all set up and ready to use. In the end, sellers just took it on themselves to just go ahead and set up, which worked. He was not amused by his loss of authority over the fleamarket sellers!
However, the (older) main rally organiser was a true gentleman and very nice to deal with. Sorry, I cannot recall his name. Norman comes to mind?
Rob
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Old 29th Sep 2019, 5:17 pm   #18
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Default Re: Hamfest Newark

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You could argue that Saturday would be a better day due to people being at work on a week day, so not able to go on Friday. However, not so, I looked around and all I could see was pensioners (and that includes me now), so nobody of working age - it was a case of 'spot the young person', I think that just about says it all!
I was 14 when I became interested in radio (1953). Back then, to a 14-yr old, all radio amateurs seemed 'old' though in reality many were ex armed services who just eight years before were fighting a war. Many were still only in their early thirties and had been radio and radar operators and technicians. A lot had gone into radio and TV servicing, and as national service didn't end until 1961, many more youngsters served two years and many of those were trained in radio and radar. Hence, there was a raft of guys who were both young and skilled, who formed the bedrock of the hobby, keen to put into use the skills they'd gained, but they're not around any more.

National Service went, and so did radio and TV servicing.

The OFCOM survey in 2005 confirmed what we already knew - the age profile of radio amateurs is heavily skewed to the over 65s and is overwhelmingly male. A decade & a half of the new licence structure and valiant attempts by dedicated amateurs and clubs to attract young people into the hobby as active amateurs has had minimal impact. It matters little how many people hold a licence - what matters is how many are active in the hobby, and are in it for the long haul. Why would my 18-yr old twin granddaughters want to be on air talking to strangers as old as their granddad with whom they have nothing in common, when they can be on social media chatting with their peer group? It isn't going to happen.

Go to a model railway, model engineering, model aircraft, model boat, woodworking show etc, and the age & gender profile will be just the same. Old buffers with time on their hands and generally, a high net disposable income, despite what's often said about pensioners being impoverished.

Whatever age we are, we tend to view 'older people' as anyone older than ourselves. The older we get, the fewer are the people who we are able to view as 'old folk'. Having become an octogenarian this year, one of the uplifting aspects of visiting radio rallies and vintage radio events is that I can always be assured that there will be a goodly selection of 'oldies' to make me feel young by comparison! There will also be those who are younger than me, but who haven't aged too well.

Let's take heart from the fact that very many people, whatever their ages, did visit the Hamfest and are enjoying the hobby in their own way or they'd have stayed away.
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Old 30th Sep 2019, 3:35 pm   #19
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Default Re: Hamfest Newark

Hi all

I went on Saturday (got there a bit early and ended up kicking my heels for half an hour while they thought about opening up!) and spent about a tenner on bits from Birketts and got some 2 Meggers from a guy at the flea market for 50p each as well as a military pulse generator (which just looked cool!) and an un-built CDP1802 microcomputer trainer for a quid (silent key stuff he said). Then from a stall a few tables away I got a big box full of Pye PCBs for a couple of quid.

Also some caps from one of the other traders and a bag of bits for a couple of quid which yielded some decent germanium trannies. Then I bought a boat anchor Advance sig gen (£10 from the indoor valve guy opposite Birkett's) which I thought would be a step up from my 'Test Gear Acton' but actually has less range and is twice as big!!

If it helps anybody to identify me (after the event!) I had a red Alfa Romeo jacket on..
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Old 30th Sep 2019, 5:22 pm   #20
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That would have been me
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