NARSA (Blackpool) Rally

WAB has just had this info in from the organisers…


We have just been informed by the Norbreck that the hotel car park is now controlled by a 3rd party company called Smart Parking. They have installed ANPR cameras on all entrances and exits. As you can see from the attached you can have 15 minutes free parking but if you want to park for, say, 6 hours, the cost is £7.

It is not all gloom and doom as all hotel guests, traders and exhibitors can park for free. We will have to supply a list of registration numbers to the hotel so that those vehicles are exempt from charges. So it is important that all LEGITIMATE club members register their vehicle (we will do this on the NARSA stand) otherwise they will have to pay or, worse still, they will receive a penalty notice in the post!

As you can imagine we are not happy with this situation but at this late stage there is little we can do!!! Note that the system only recently went live (it was not in force when we visited the hotel 3 weeks ago).




P.S. Hopefully this will mean that the car park will be empty but the streets surrounding the hotel are likely to fill up very quickly."

Thanks for the heads-up.

I’d just like to say that if this were in Scotland you could legitimately ignore all the paper you get sent as POFA 2012 does not apply. But it’s not so it does and you do!

I have space on my form for six car registration numbers, for people planning on doing a shift on the SOTA stand. I haven’t really asked around this year as we are never short of volunteers at this event.

So if you are coming, are planning to contribute a couple of hours of your time representing SOTA at the stand, and do not have a radio club to which you can add your car details, then PM me, and I’ll put you on the form.

The first five slots are already taken by M1EYP, MM0FMF, G4TJC, GM4COX and G4RQJ.

One left - priority will be given to regular stall staffers over the years.

Will be great to put some faces to call signs, looking forward to it!
Nigel and I are going to park up and walk in.

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Really pleased to meet with and talk to so many SOTA addicts at Blackpool today. It was great to see you all. Apologies to anyone that I missed.

Thanks for all the best wishes for my impending surgery on 18th May. I hope to be back on the hills as soon as possible once I am fit enough and will be doing some chasing in the meantime. Hopefully speak to you soon.

73, Gerald G4OIG


Lovely to see everyone today.

I got to Norbreck at 0340 BST this morning, having driven straight up from a late nightclub gig in Rawtenstall - and then getting roped into dropping the guitarist off in Burnley. Despite the new aggressive parking regime, I couldn’t find a spot in the main car park at the front of the hotel, so I parked behind, close to the doors through which I normally load in for the rally anyway.

Walking around the south buildings of the hotel, I got to fully experience the windows being flung open, lights on, and screams and fights of drunken women up on the 5th floor. As I was checking in at reception, also in the lobby was a family with two young children, both under 5, both drinking Red Bull. Mum and dad were on Tenants Super. They were surrounded by McDonald’s litter, presumably from their nutritious evening meal.

I made my way over sticky carpets, about a quarter of a mile around to the lift. The lift floor seemed to be operating as a mini seesaw which was a little unnerving - after I had kicked all the Burger King litter to the sides. My key card didn’t work - so I have to reverse and repeat this entire journey. Which was fine, because I’d enjoyed it so very much.

The pleasant chap on reception apologised for the lack of sea view in my room. I replied that I wasn’t bothered; all I wanted to do in a £29 hotel room was sleep and then go. The chap said “Oh, if only they were all like you. We get loads of complaints here”. Blimey, who’d have thought it? Anyway, he kindly suggested that if my key card failed a second time, I should simply call reception on the phone in my room… Genius.

Getting in bed at 4am, I recalled that I’d mentioned being around for setting up from about 8am. I decided to set my alarm for 9am, which would give me five hours’ sleep rather than four, still plenty enough time to have the stand ready for doors at 10.30am, and fingers crossed that Rob, Audrey, Jack, Andy, Geoff, Simon, Colin et al wouldn’t be unduly concerned at my later-than-advertised arrival.

Thanks to all the above, but chiefly Audrey, the stand was indeed resplendent come opening time, and a good rally was had by all. The stand was busy throughout the next 4.5 hours, with SOTA stalwarts old and new all convening for a natter.

My personal highlights were chatting with Helen M0YHB and Carolyn G6WRW about Lanzarote activating, Bob G1UUO who set up a DV hotspot allowing us to demonstrate C4FM and the SOTA-LINK WIRES-X room, all matters education with my good friend Colin M1BUU, football with Ray M1REK, SOTA Challenges with Andy MM0FMF and Simon G4TJC, and Roy G4SSH being presented with his award. Plus of course, home baking from Walney Island courtesy of Audrey.

And everyone asked me about Jimmy. Standard.

The sign-ins to the visitors book were:

Pete G0WGL, Darius M0KCB, Geoff G6MZX, Keith G0OXV, Stuart G0MJG, Neil M0WBG, Helen M0YHB, Carolyn G6WRW, John G0TDM, Eileen G7GQM, Geoff GM4WHA, Alma 2E1IHS, Ian G7ADF, Roy G0SLR, Allan GW4VPX, Bob G6ODU, Bob 2E0RHM, Paul G4MD, Gerald G4OIG, Derek 2E0MIX, Alister M0BKQ, Carl 2E0HPI, Anne 2E0LMD, Peter 2E0LKC, Andy M6ANP, Edward 2E0NSR, Mark M0NOM, Emily 2E1AEQ, Ray G0DMV, Roy G1NUS, John G4YSS, Roy G4SSH, Barry M0IML, Phil G4OBK, Neil G0WPO, Chris M6KZB, Mark 2E0PIA, Dennis G1UKS, Colin M1BUU, David G0EVV, Glenn G6HFF, Val G6MML, Bill G3VZU.

Other rally highlights for me included the VHF and up Muster - meeting of Tuesday night VHF/UHF contesters, and the surprise of winning a trophy - this year for the “Best Club Magazine”.

All-in-all, a good day, though I do hope it relocates from next year. The venue is more shambolic and chaotic than ever, and the new aggressive and absurdly overpriced car parking regime could well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Thanks to all SOTA participants that spent some time at the stand, and especially those who helped with set up, break down and staffing. You are all fabulous!

If you got any photos of the stand, please add them to this thread.


I’ll second that! The rally itself was perhaps a tad disappointing but the SOTA element was magnificent! Met a real who’s who of SOTA and had a great time, thanks to all those that put on the stand and to everyone that attended.

73 de Paul G4MD :slight_smile:


Ahh Blackpool! :heart_eyes:

Your description made me smile. Sorry I couldn’t make it, would be nice to put faces to all the callsigns one day

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Yet another great day out at Blackpool Rally. Here are some photos of WAB, WOTA & SOTA ops:

Photos (in order): 0a-0b-1-2-4-5-8-9-13-14-11-12-20-22-24-25-27-26-28-32-33-34-35-36-38-42-44-47-48-70-61

Above: Rally layout-1

Above: Rally layout-2

Above: Roy G4SSH arriving

Above: Gerald G4OIG; Paul G4MD & Allan GW4VPX.

Above: Bob G6ODU

Above: Keith G1OXV and Stuart G0MJG

Above: Carl 2E0HPI

Above: Dave G4IAR & Paul. The fine bone china WAB 50th Anniversary mugs get the G4YSS seal of approval.

Above: WAB Stand-2

Above: WAB Stand-3

Above: Roy G4SSH & Phil G4OBK

Above: G4OBK - Phil’s badge. First op to activate all 214 Wainwright summits.

Above: Andy MM0FMF and Victor GI4ONL

Above: Colin M1BUU/ M0CGH

Above: Dave G0EVV

Above: Dalesmen Geoff G6MZX & Kevin M0XLT

Above: Audrey & Rob G4RQJ

Above: Audrey’s baking. Delicious!

Above: Andy MM0FMF presenting Roy G4SSH (left) with an engraved vintage Morse Key in recognition of long service as SOTA news editor

Above: Bob G1UUO & Tom M1EYP at the SOTA stand

Above: Dave GW4ZAR who takes part in the RSGB VHF Contest evenings. A member of G5D - Tall Trees Radio Club

Above: Sue G1OHH and Derek 2E0MIX

Above: Carolyn G6WRW & Helen M0YHB

Above: Barry M0IML

Above: John G0TDM; Geoff GM4WHA - G4WHA/A & Eileen G7GQM - who’s callsign was a ‘bacon saver’ for me on LD37 in 2014

Above: Geoff GM4WHA & Jack GM4COX

Above: Terry G0VWP

Above: Richard G3CWI and XYL at the Sotabeams stall

Above: Audrey with a newly acquired ‘Best Magazine (News?) (or was it website?) Shield’ awarded to SOTA.

Above: Simon G4TJC at the SOTA Stand

Above: Some Scarborough friends. Les, Roger G7MZE and Brian G0TOS (All one-time SARS members)

Above: Two leaflets given to me at the rally

Apologies for any errors and the omissions which I’m certain will exist. Please advise.

Here’s one!:

Above: Mike 2E0YYY at his battery stall. Sorry Mike. We were busy talking about batteries and sea path DX from NW70 that I forgot to get out the camera. This is one from 2016. I forgot G4YSS as well.

Mark G0VOF, Mike G4BLH, Dave G6LKB, Judith, Barry, Jimmy, Caroline & Martyn, the trio Nick, Dave & Pickering Pete plus several others were absent this year.

This was a real social occasion enjoyed immensely so thanks to everybody who did all the hard work at the stands, before, after and during the rally. Thanks to NARSA too. No problem with copying any photos but if anybody wants any removing please ask.

Parking on the sea front was no problem.

Good luck to Gerald in three weeks time.
73 & see you next year,
John G4YSS

(148 miles & 2hr-45 min each way from Scarborough via A64 & M-Way)


“it, would be nice to put faces to all the callsigns one day”

Thank you John, you’ve answered my wishes!:+1: the only one missing seems to be G4YSS!

Glad you all had a good day

Great pictures John thanks for posting :smile:

Here and elsewhere I have read a few people saying that the rally was a bit disappointing. It set me to wondering why that might be? What makes a good rally? Are there any left that meet the requirements? Or are we looking back at the half-remembered rallies of our youth?

Yes, definitely Richard. I remarked to Paul about the average age of those attending the rally. Where were the young ones? Where were all those component suppliers we used get our bits from? Perhaps there will come a time when rallies will be a thing of the past and everything is sold on the Internet.

Many thanks for the excellent photos John. It was a real pleasure to meet so many that I have spoken to over the years.

73, Gerald G4OIG

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Had a great day yesterday, it was lovely to meet and chat with friends old and new.

I’m usually a man of few words but I always come home from the Blackpool rally with a sore throat, I’m simply not used to chatting so much!

73, Colin


From the SOTA stand perspective, it was a good rally. We’re not really in the business of introducing SOTA any more, not like the early days anyway, though there were a small number of people asking how to get involved. The social element of meeting up and chatting with SOTA activators and chasers was very successful as ever, and in this regard, the event was as strong as it’s ever been.

To answer your question Richard, yes, the NARSA rally has deteriorated, and taken a sharp dive this year (entirely to do with the venue). The lack of W+S, and now also Radioworld does not enhance the overall event (although perhaps LAM CO have a different view). The numbers through the door are, slowly, decreasing, although it has to be said that in comparison with other rallies, numbers for this one are probably holding up quite well!

Of course, you will have a data-driven perspective on whether the rally has deteriorated - or even improved!

The venue though - aargh! Was it possible for a poor venue to get even worse? Well, it seems that yes, it was. The amount of litter on the floor in the hall, corridors and toilets even before the event opened was shocking,and the general grubbiness of walls, carpets, floors, doors etc was even more depressing than usual. And then you’ve got the parking situation which was sprung on the organisers with hardly any notice. It would appear that NARSA have stood up to this, probably, correctly, saying “that wasn’t the deal” - so exhibitors should be OK this year - though I can’t help having a nagging doubt about the quality of the administration process for this! Next year though, NARSA will have known about it, and I hear that exhibitors would have to pay for parking. So do they change the venue? I really hope so.

The introduction of parking charges certainly hasn’t done anything, yet, towards improving the condition of the car park! As soon as I drove in I was wishing I had a 4x4.

Nice pictures John! Good to meet lots of people. And receiving the award for best Web site was quite a surprise (“Which one?” we asked :smiley: )

A mistake many make I am G0EVV not G0EEV

The paying public do (mostly) have the option of parking elsewhere but if you are a trader there is no option but to park all day at the venue. Such is the depth of bad feeling about the place that I cannot imagine it surviving even another year in the same location. No doubt you will be hoping that it does not move far so that at least you can still stay-over at Norbreck Castle.

I have never been to Dayton in the US but I recall reading that the old Hara Arena (?) was a real dump of a place too.

That was my main beef…

But I guess us that buy them are an ever-dwindling minority these days :frowning:

Here’s a couple more courtesy of Heather M6HNS of Stockport Radio Society: