Autumn Meeting

This year 2020 the AGM will held when circumstances permit

The AGM last year was held in MARKET HARBOROUGH THEATRE


Autumn meeting 2019

We met at the Harborough Theatre, a building owned and maintained by the local dramatic society. The theatre staff made us feel  very welcome, and provided us with a well equipped lounge/rehearsal room for our meeting, complete with adjacent kitchen to serve tea, coffee and cakes. The cakes had been made by Peta and proved very popular.

The actual AGM took very little time. As an unincorporated association with no charitable status, we are free to set our own rules as to how it is run, and short was definitely the preferred option.  The officers were re-elected unopposed, some suggestions for the next meeting were discussed, and that was really it.

Tony Faulkner then talked about the microphones he had helped to develop for the Rǿde company.  The new ribbon microphone was a major advance, both in quality and the expected price, which could be more than I paid for my car.  Tony had also brought some other Rǿde microphones which demonstrated the company’s desire to extend their market from the ’good value at the price’ products to those which were just good.

We then had a tour of the theatre in the company of its sound engineers, who were able to show and demonstrate the sound systems used, and the software which controls them.  This was an interesting bonus, as many of us perform these functions in our own theatres.

Lunch was a self-help affair, but there are plenty of cafés and food shops in the town, so no-one starved.

After lunch, we were shown two films made by a group of local amateur film makers.  One was the story of the discovery of a major hoard of Iron-age and Roman coins by amateur archaeologists in a local village.  This was recognised as a find of national importance, and experts from the British museum were called in to assist the local archaeological team.  The second film was the story of the building of the Foxton lock flight and the adjacent inclined plane.  Both these were designed to overcome the height difference between two previously unconnected canals, and hence allow them to compete against road and rail.  The inclined plane was abandoned, but the flight of ten locks still exists and is used by leisure traffic.

Last on the agenda was the competition, which was organised as simply as possible.  Bring it, play it, let it be judged.  There was no entry fee and no entry form.  The judging was done by the two resident theatre sound men, Peter and Bob.

There were 6 entries brought along on the day from Stewart, Richard, David and Peter.  Mike and Geoffrey couldn’t attend the meeting in person due to personal reasons but as they had paid the fee they were able to enter the contest.

The two theatre technicians Peter and Bob agreed to act as unbiased judges and were asked to select just one entry as a winner.  It wasn’t an easy task as there were 3 music and 3 speech entries.

They explained that they judged them on technical quality, originality and entertainment values.  After comparing notes they announced that they had both independently selected the entry by Peter (Paul Kirner’s Music Palace) as the winner.  


The AGM was held at Batsford Arboretum, Moreton-in-Marsh, Cotswolds

After coffee and breakfast,  the meeting commenced at 10:30 with a talk by Sue from the Arboretum staff.  Sue outlined the history and special features of the Arboretum and suggested specific points to visit.


At 11:15 Mike Wooldridge, retired BBC foreign correspondent talked about his time in various African countries and the problems associated with getting his reports back to London.  Especially interesting was his report of the release from prison of Nelson Mandela.  

Mike was an entertaining speaker and we could have listened for much longer than the allotted time.


Lunch break was at 12:45.

At 14:15, in a change of programme, PJ reported on the BAARC contest.  There had been only 12 entries from four entrants this year.  There had been only one documentary entry so that category had been abandoned.


AF had judged the entries and had suggested that one of the ‘Experimental music’ entries was appropriate for an award, but that it didn’t compare directly with the ‘Live Music’ entries.  The contest organisers agreed to award two first prizes, one to Creative and one to Live.  

The total prize money would be split between these two.


The four winning entries were played and prizes awarded to:

First prizes:  Cardiff Recording Club (Live) and Mark Rigler (Creative)      Second:  Geoffrey Smallwood          Third:  Stewart Smith





Ken Everitt Cardiff Club

Peta Simmons on behalf of Mark Rigler

Geoffrey Smallwood           

Stewart Smith


After the presentation of the prizes, the formal AGM commenced.

Following the AGM,  Mike Dickens offered his entry for the abandoned documentary class for the company to listen to.  

A very moving piece about the end of WW1 and the following celebrations.


Paul Reeve then offered two pieces by a consort of Tubas.


The meeting closed with tea and cakes and general discussion.


The Autumn AGM
was held at the British Motor Museum
Gaydon,  Warwick.

UKARA meeting at British Motor Heritage museum,  Gaydon.      September 2nd  2017

Richard Simmons report: 

The museum proved to be an excellent choice for our meeting.  Reserved parking near to the conference centre entrance, a well-equipped and spacious lecture room, and access to the adjacent café were the immediate plus points.  As well as that, there was a discount on the café food for us, and free entry to the museum. 

First item on the agenda was coffee/tea, served in the lecture room, and this was followed by a talk from Tony Faulkner.   Tony made the potentially boring subject of testing consumer products come to life with details of the rigorous procedures to be followed, and the many pitfalls that stood in the path of fair and unbiased testing.  He also expressed strong opinions on the subject of  ‘DAB’ digital radio.  We have known for a long time that DAB was a compromise rushed into in the hope of releasing former analogue frequencies to be sold off.  Tony explained that the problems were mainly due to the codec used to bridge the analog and digital domains, which was now considered outdated and inaccurate, but which we were stuck with because both broadcasters and consumers had invested in the equipment.  (My personal opinion is that it is fine where we use it – in the car, kitchen and bedroom, and I suspect that the many people who happily tolerate .mp3 encoded music would not complain about DAB).

Tony’s session led to lots of questions and debate, which occupied us for well over an hour, before we reluctantly turned to the AGM.  I won’t go into the details, they are documented in the minutes, but it does seem that the future of the contest is down to us to secure, by producing and submitting entries for it.  I was one of the inactive members this year, having (like many of us) lots of other activities and problems to deal with.  I have promised to do better next time!

Peta had made a card to wish Mike Thompson well in his current round of treatment.  We all signed it and it has now been sent.

After a bit of necessary administration, lunchtime beckoned.  The café  was pleasant and served full meals if you wanted them, or sandwiches or other snacks if you just wanted to survive until reaching home.  My only criticism of the whole day was the bread in the bought-in sandwiches,  white and bland.  (Though the fillings were all right.)

Suitably fortified, we returned to the lecture room to listen to the winning entries for the competition.  The Welsh delegation kindly provided the necessary audio equipment for this.  There had been some discussion on the difficulty of judging between different classes to rank the overall winners, and indeed, faced with this task, many members didn’t bother to send their marks in at all.

Next contest will have a prize per class, and independent judges.  However we need enough entries to make it worthwhile for the judges to undertake the task.

The museum was an added (free) bonus which we sampled enthusiastically after the meeting closed.  Nowhere else has such a comprehensive range of British vehicles, from once-common family cars to exotic prototypes.

Richard Simmons.


The Autumn AGM
Venue was the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre

Programme for the day:

10:00 to 10:30 Arrival and tea/coffee

10:45 Depart on foot to The Land of Lost Content

12:45 return to the Discovery Centre for lunch at 13:00

14:00 Formal bit followed by BAARC results,
members playback and open session.

15:30 Tea/coffee

16:45 depart.


UKARA meeting September 2016

Craven Arms is a quietly pleasant place.   The Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre was set up to showcase the area’s attractions, but with a café and meeting room, it also seems to act as a community centre for people in the town.

We made use of the meeting room to hold our sessions, starting with the inevitable concern over our finances.  Relax, UKARA is still solvent, and the long issue over the separate budgets for the association, the British contest and the international, appears to have been resolved.  Although still separately traceable, there will now be a single bank account, which will make Linda’s life somewhat easier.

Having disposed of that, we all made the short walk to ‘The Land of Lost Content’ a museum of  domestic items from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries .This was the work of one person who has amassed over many years, an eclectic and varied collection of clothes, kitchen equipment, toys, electrical items and more.   Keen eyes among the visitors would have spotted a Ferrograph 4 tape recorder amidst a number of lesser examples.

Back for a very plentiful buffet lunch, then some formal business which Peta has reported on elsewhere.  Once that was done, we settled to the most pleasant part of the day, beginning by  listening to the competition winners’ recordings, and watching the prize certificates  awarded by Tony Faulkner (see BAARC tab).  After that we listened to a few members’ recordings brought along to illustrate some particular aspects of the craft.  Mike Dickens lost out here, his CD wasn’t recognised by the CD player, even though subsequently it played without problems on other machines.  So, his pieces are on UkaraLink for those who wish to listen.

Many of the attendees seemed reluctant to leave, even after the room hire period had expired.   It seems to me that this sort of meeting is the ideal place to discuss techniques, seek advice on particular problems and look at new equipment, including an impromptu linking of two Zoom H8 recorders to form an instant 16 track machine.  Impressive, but would you want to do a serious 16 track recording on such a small-screen bit of kit?

I look forward to the next meeting.

Richard Simmons