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

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