November 15, 2009

Rochdale Rally

The Rochdale Rally is run by "Rochdale and District Amateur Radio Society" (RADARS) and it is what it says in the advertising info, a traditional radio rally. This is the third event that I have had the pleasure in attending in the last month and I was not disappointed.

The day started with occasional showers and high winds. I started the trip by picking up Mark M0DGK, Frank G8BME, and Martin M0ZIF. The trip to Rochdale was uneventful and found us arriving a little earlier than expected at around 9:15. Once the stall holders were ready the doors were opened around 10:10am and the entrance fee of £1.50 for OAP's and £2.50 for everyone else. Access to the building was good with both a ramp and steps available at the same entrance.

Catering was basic but very enjoyable with a Sausage & Bacon bun and a hot drink costing between £2.00 or £2.50 dependent on the size of the bun.

Cast your mind back to the rally's of yesteryear before computers had become common place and you could happily go hunting through junk boxes for that little treasure you needed to complete a project or see displayed before you air spaced capacitors, crystals, home brew kits ex-military radios etc. Well that's the rally in a nutshell.

Vintage Radios and Components on offer

As you will have gathered from previous postings my interest is in the old wartime and vintage radio's and I was more than pleased with the variety of stands available . Take a look below at some of the equipment on offer.

The Eddystone 930 Receiver?

There seems to be little information about on this set assuming I have named the right model.

The Eddystone S 640 Receiver sitting on the 840A

This set was in production in 1947 and as documented in the Eddystone User Groups news letter No.6 it was produced as the first postwar radio aimed specifically at Amateurs. There is plenty of information about it on the web, I've just listed a few below that may be of interest.

Eddystones user group newsletter 6 also has interesting info on the set

Various old dials and components

Tuning Capacitors

This item was for sale because the stall holder had new double glazing fitted and the window it sat in was not big enough to take the horn.

If there was one set at the rally that caught my attention it was the RCA BC348 receiver

BC 348 Receiver

The set that was going for a nice price was the " BC 348" It was probably a steal at £40 but I noticed a few problems that would need sorting. An S Meter had been added which might be considered a good mod but I like classic radio's in as near original order as possible, I was also concerned about the availability of the correct knobs etc on the front panel. However things going in its favor were: That it was being sold as a working radio and that it could now be run from a normal 240v mains socket. The set was originally designed to run from 28v dc via an on board dynomotor.

The BC 348 went into production in the 1930's and was issued in a number of variants indicated by a letter after the model number, in the case of this set it is a BC-348 O. The receiver was fitted in a number of aircraft including the B17, 19 and 29 bomber. The radio was used with the ART 13 Transmitter. If you would like to read up on the set here are a few links that are worth viewing.

Well that's about it for this little review, the guys who traveled to the rally with me went home happy and contented with their purchases and although not a large rally had an enjoyable visit.

All rally's reviewed over the last few weeks would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the organizer's and volunteers who make these events happen. I'd just like to say "thank you" and I look forward to attending the 2010 events.

Brian G0RDH

November 13, 2009

Welcome to More New Members

Kathy M3YOG

Stephanie G1LAT

Welcome to our two new YL members Kathy and Stephanie who joined our group this week.

November 07, 2009

Llandudno Rally 2009

Hello again folks,

Mark M0DGK invited me to join him for a road trip to the Llandudno Rally a good two and a half hour journey down the motorway which found us leaving a dull and overcast Morecambe Bay for the sunnier resort of Llandudno.

The trip down was interesting with changeable weather conditions. The further south we traveled the sunnier it became until we hit some a few fog banks just beyond Warrington, but this cleared nicely into a sunny day and we were greeted with some spectacular views as we neared Colwyn Bay.

John Bright Leisure Centre Llandudno

The venue for the rally was the John Bright Leisure Centre and traders and exhibitors at the rally were located in two fairly large rooms , either side of the central staircase where you paid your entrance fee. Although I did not see a lift disabled access was available.

The rooms in the venue were well thought out with plenty of room to move around without feeling crushed, and there was a nice mix between the private vendors and the commercial emporiums.

The Llandudno rally had the feel of the of the G-QRP Convention as you wandered round the stands. One stand that was nice to see was Ian G4VAP a local radio amateur from Morecambe selling component’s. Ian is well respected for his technical knowledge and love of CW.

The Cafeteria sold a varied selection of food and drink at what seems reasonable prices was my only criticism is that you had a long wait in the queue and if all you wanted was a drink this seemed a little excessive, a separate area for serving drinks would have been handy.

*The Eddystone Bug Key*

The first thing to grab my attention was an Eddystone Bug Key and had I not been there on a mission for another historic item I would have bought it on the spot knowing that this was a rare key, before leaving it I tried the movement of the key and it was a feeling of sheer pleasure, you instantly just felt so at home with it.

The Eddystone Bug Key Model S369

In a report by G3TSS found in the link below the British Model S689 was produced in 1948 and only 350 were ever made. More information can be found at

Eddystone Bug Key Model S369

A more up to date Eddystone Set

If you’re interested in Eddystone sets then visit the Eddystone Users Group site that is packed with information

KW Viceroy

The National HRO MX

My Interest in the Llandudno Rally came about as a direct result of attending the G-QRP Convention a few weeks earlier when I met up with a keen restorer Francis Norris G3WZN, if the name sounds familiar it’s because I reviewed some of the equipment he had on his stand in part two of the G-QRP convention report.

The one radio equipment of interest to me not shown in the review was "The National HRO MX", this is also the reason I reluctantly left the Eddystone Bug Key.

The National HRO MX is one of the receivers used at Bletchley Park, there is a clip of there sets in use in the excellent Channel 4 documentary "Station X". The clip shows individual desks setup as operating positions. The layout looks very much like that of a school room with rows of desks.

The National HRO MX With PSU

HRO Antenna Connection Posts

Under The Hood 4 Gang Tuners

Under The Hood 2

Under The Hood 3

Contacts on one of the four RF Coil Banks

Inside the RF Coil Bank Bay

Coil Bank Bay on the National HRO MX Receiver

The set came complete fully restored with
6 banks of plug in RF Coil Banks

The power supply for the HRO MX, is a Signal Corps U.S. Army Antenna A-58 (Phantom) PSU. a type that has links for use with the B29 Bomber. There is an excellent article written by Barry Williams on the Evolution of the National HRO and its contribution to winning WWII available at:

Before I close on the HRO story, I am more than happy to report that although I didn’t buy the bug key, its new owner spotted me buying the HRO and told me that he learned his cw many years ago on one of these keys and he had been looking for one for some time. What better home could this key have found, I am genuinely pleased the key is in the hands of an amateur who will give it a true home where it will be appreciated and used.

Vintage Military Amateur Radio Society

In closing an excellent display was put on by VMARS that took up four of more tables. I was told that all the sets were used regularly on air and it was nice to see such a nice collection.

Yaesu FL DX 400 & Sommercamp FR DX 500

Racal RA17L HF Receiver

Marconi AD-94 Aircraft Receiver

KW Vanguard


19 set MkIII

If you have an interest in Vintage Military Radio then have a look at the VMARS website that has plenty to peak your interest and a good resource centre.

Well that's about it for now

Brian G0RDH
G-QRP member 12541
RAFARS member 3961
RSARS member 3771

November 04, 2009


I spoke with Mike M0PRL yesterday on gtalk. Mike is now VP8DMH and has started to settle in at his new home; Rothera base in Antarctica. The picture shows the view from his room at the base. Hopefully we will have more information from Mike soon!  Ian J Maude, G0VGS