The LEFARS touring party (driver John G1DJI , Marc G0TOC, John G0VEH, Derek M0XDC and yours truly) left Loughton soon after 8am for the Newark Showground (formally RAF Winthorpe – more info here) and the National Hamfest. We went on the first day, it was an uneventful journey up the M11/A14/A1(M) arriving at about 10.15am (127 miles). No queues at the ticket booth (£4.50 entrance fee). A few flea market stands outside, less than last year. Also outside the GB4FUN demonstration vehicle and the Camb-hams comms van, Lincoln Short Wave Club’s station GB12NH. Also a neat transit van with large telescopic mast used for aerial photography.
No LUSO tower this time but a smaller British portable tower (24m) from Upshot had pride of place on entering the hall. Either side were the corporate stands (Icom, Yaesu and Kenwood) showing their latest wares.
There was plenty of room to move around, the main dealers being positoned around the hall. These included W&S, MLS, Moonraker and also LAM Communications from Yorkshire plus Sandpiper. The RSGB book stand was spacious and well-stocked, an opportunity to purchase the latest callbook (or check you are still licensed!!). Near the catering area, various RSGB committes had their own booths, a useful opportunity to ask questions. Also a chance to get an insurance quote! OFCOM were present and showing photographs detailing their involvment with the recent Olympics as well as providing useful advice.
It was nice to see Innov Antennas with an interesting display of unusual antennas. For those looking for components, perhaps less this time but plenty of chance to see the new radios in their pre-production forms. Two of the dealers had come from Germany (and were going on Saturday back to mainland EU and Auxerre in France for the rally on Sunday). From Icom there was the IC-7100 multimode with a touch screen interface. The Japanese model was being demonstrated; without 4m, although to be included on EU models (review here)
From Kenwood, under protective perspex was the TS-990S. No chance to try out though.
Icom however had the new IC-7600 and this was accessible.
MLS had a show offer for the Kenwood TS-590S, down to £1159.95. SDR radios were much in evidence. WinRadio demonstrated their latest model with wide frequency coverage. On offer also the Kinetic SBS-3, a multi-SDR radio specialising in aircraft location and ID etc. but also including wider range frequency coverage and decode options as well as internet control (next two photos).
Test Equipment and tools were well catered for. There was plenty of coax as well although the price varied.
Others LEFARS members spotted included Dave G4FKI, Peter G4FQF, Paul 2E0VLT and John G0XBJ. For John ‘XBJ it was a local rally living in Peterborough.
This year less computer bits but other interesting accessories including military surplus radio masts and other specialist antenna bits.
We left the Newark Showground as it started to rain at 3pm and got back to Loughton at 5.40pm. All in all an enjoyable day. My purchases were modest. A £1 roll of gaffer tape, 12 port cat5e patch panel for a fiver plus cups of coffee and an excellent lincoln sausage-filled roll (3 of them) for breakfast. Oh, and the penultimate bag of apples from the Apple man in the GB12MH tent.
John G8DZH Email firstname.lastname@example.org