Longleat Mobile Rally 1958 - 2002

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A view of the rally in the 60's

The Bristol RSGB Group ran the rally at Longleat for 45 years. It grew to be one of the biggest rallies in the country. It offered something for all the family, coupled as it was with the attractions of Longleat house and safari park.

The hams, of course, were oblivious to the tigers, hippos etc. preferring to concentrate on the seemingly endless collections of shack filling junk and 'real bargains'. It was a great opportunity to meet old friends or make a first face to face contact with an amateur known only as a fist or voice. It is very sadly missed by many. There was something about the smell of trodden grass, the 'outdoor' feel of the marquees, and the sense of camaraderie in the hobby that cannot be replaced.

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Car window stickers 1962-65.

Here is a recollection of the early development of the rally, from the chairman, included in the programme for 1972:-

From the Bristol Group Chairman ...

The Longleat Mobile Rally is now one of the largest in the country and the Bristol Group is justifiably proud to have initiated it. Its venue is unrivalled yet informal and its standards have been consistently high over the last 15 years.

1973 Programme
1972 Programme

I recall the first meeting of the founders of the Longleat Rally including Tony Blackmore, G3FKO, Vic Newport, G3CHW (now, alas, no longer with us) and Cyril Chapman, G2HDR. The first Rally was run "on a shoe-string" - we had a sponsored raffle, two tents 10ft. square and some competitions. A highlight was Vic's Concours D'Elegance in which the mobile gear, its stability and safety were judged, rather than the splendour of the vehicle. Later years produced bigger attendances, the ubiquitous Raffle (which still grows in size), ever more volunteer helpers, hams travelling quite amazing distances and some astonishing mobile aerials. Most eye-catching was G3GYQ, Chris Spackman's double cloverleaf which subdued all who saw it. We had the greater part of the R.S.G.B. Council, including Gerry Marcuse, G2NM, at one of our earlier Rallies and have had several of the "top brass" visit us since.

I have been pleasantly surprised and encouraged by the many people who, during a QSO, have said "See you at Longleat, Ted" when informed that the QTH was Bristol. That reminds me - QSP from Keith Orchard, ZD8KO, ex-G3TTC, on Ascension: "Greetings and 73 for another great rally at Longleat this year - wish I could be there". Well, maybe Keith will get through on 15m during our DX Contest via G6YB/P.

I am sure you will enjoy the Rally again this year and hope to see you at our next - the last Sunday in June, 1973.

Ted Halliday, G3JMY.

Mobile Rigs

Bicycle Mobile
unknown/BM - Bicycle Mobile
G3UPV/M
G3UPV/MM - Motorcycle Mobile
Motorcycle Mobile
unknown/MM - Motorcycle Mobile

One of the features of Longleat were the many, various and sometimes outlandish mobile rigs. Some of these rigs were obviously a little tricky to operate while on the move. Weather-proofing and electrical safety were optional extras in most cases!