RSGB Convention Report by Dave G4FKI

I visited the RSGB convention at Horwood House near Milton Keynes today (Saturday 8th October). This was my first visit, and must say I found it a enjoyable day out.

There are five lectures running at the same time, each of 45 minutes in length. [Click here for full lecture programme over the weekend].  My first one at 09:30 was “A tour of the ARRL”, by Bob NQ1R. This gave a fascinating insight into the ARRL organisation; here are a few points I picked up:-

  • The ARRLwill celebrate 100 years in 2014.
  • They employ 110 full time staff at their HQ, including a CAD team and a fully equipped Lab.
  • Around 12 staff working on DXCC and awards etc.
  • The QSL team dealt will 900,000 cards in 2010.
  • There are over 2,000 radio clubs in the USA; 44,000 users of logbook of the world (LoTW).
  • There are 7 acres of land at ARRL HQ.
  • W1AW, the ARRL station, has a large array of antenna’s, and several operating positions.
  • ARRL have over 156,000 members,  5 million dollars in dues, and 3m dollars in books sales etc. Some ARRL publications are translated into Chinese for that market.

By answering a simple question correctly, I won a ARRL handbook!

Lecture two, was “Africa in 2 suitcases” a talk about portable operation by G3RWF,who has had experience operating around Africa on and off since the sixties. An insight into the procedures to take when planning a foreign trip, operating Amateur Radio, some great pictures of temporary antennas used.

Lecture three was “RSGB towards 2020”, a presentation by the RSGB president, regarding the future plans for the Society.  A discussion took place from the floor regarding the problems of Peter Kirby. Due to ongoing investigations this could not be discussed in detail.The average age of UK amateurs is now 65, the last survey done showed it as 55,plus the membership has declined by 17 per cent in 10 years. There is need for the hobby to get publicity, as few people know what the hobby is about, and the need for younger people, as well as mention of the EGM in November.

After an enjoyable lunch a wander around the trade stands ie Martin Lynch,Kenwood , Icom, ARRL etc.

Lecture four was a talk by Cams hams on their expeditions to Scotland.

Lecture five, a great presentation by Father and son Tom and Jimmy Read, about SOTA operating around the UK. Tom has a wealth of knowledge and experience over the years, with some video footage of operation in the Isle of Man, and showing the problems encountered whilst operating.

The final one of the day I attended was “G3PYE, the story of the Cambridge repeater group”; also Cams Hams, from the start of GB3PI repeater, plus GB3PY, RTTY repeaters, through to D-Star etc.They are a active group with their own vehicle “flossie”, a large white van used not only by them, but is available for use by Raynet, other radio clubs and the local community radio group. The fully equipped van has a 20m high mast , ideal for contests etc. The Cams hams group also give a number of talks to clubs regarding ideas for encouraging amateur radio in clubs and groups, and get people having fun, and get out in the field operating. During the lecture, the Cams Hams were giving away donuts to all who wanted to partake.

Given the small cost of the admission, a fascinating event which runs from Friday night through to Sunday night.

Dave G4FKI  (Email:

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