Tag Archives: hamvention

Massive photo galleries of the Dayton Hamvention

This is the first year I’ve missed the Dayton Hamvention since 2009. As I mentioned in a previous post–besides hanging with my friends–I really enjoy browsing the flea market and inside exhibits looking for deals and cool innovations.

In 2016, I took loads of photos of both the Hamvention Flea Market and Inside Exhibits. I did this partly thinking it would be our last year holding the Hamvention at Hara Arena (turns out, I was absolutely correct).  Post readers asked that in 2017, I take photos of the new venue at the Greene County Fairgrounds in Xenia, OH, so I did.

I enjoy taking and sharing these photos so much, I’ve continued to collect hundreds of photos every year since to help document how the largest ham radio gathering event changes over time.

In the flea market, I try to include price tags when possible to give our international readers an idea of how much vintage gear costs.

If you’d like to take a trip down memory lane with me, check out the linked photo galleries below:

Hamvention Photos

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015 (smaller gallery)

2014 (smaller galleries)

 


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Hamvention Special: Begali offers free shipping to US

My Begali Simplex paddles have served me so well and perform flawlessly.

If you planned to pick up a Begali key at Hamvention this year, you’re in luck.

I just found out through SWLing Post contributor, Grayhat, that in honor of Hamvention, Begali is offering free shipping to the US and 50% off shipping to the rest of the world. This promotion ends tomorrow.

Since Begali keys are heavy by design, this is a great deal on shipping!

The Begali family not only makes the best keys, but they are amazing friends to so many in the radio community.

I purchased my Begali Simplex paddles, pictured the top of this post, at the 2008 Hamvention. I absolutely love them. While they’re one of the least expensive hand-crafted precision keys in the Begali line-up, I think you would find they perform better than any other paddles on the market anywhere close to this price point. I never miss a visit to the Begali booth to try out all of Piero’s latest designs. Begali is always one of the busiest vendors at Hamvention.

Click here to check out the full line of Begali keys.

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Missing Hamvention? Yeah, me too.

My friend Piero Begali (I2RTF) winner of the 2019 Hamvention Technical Achievement Award.

If we weren’t all in the midst of a global pandemic, today I would be at the first day of the 2020 Hamvenion in Xenia, OH.

Since I would not be hosting a table for ETOW this year, I was going to Hamvention for the first time on Press credentials. While I absolutely loved hosting the ETOW table with my friends and fellow volunteers, I was certainly looking forward to being a bit of a free agent this year and visiting vendors and friends with no time pressures. This would have also given me much more time to do live postings.

For me, Hamvention is first and foremost an excuse to hang with good friends I only typically see once a year. Between Hamvention and several other associated events like the QRPARCI’s Four Days In May, I connect with hundreds of people. It can be a bit daunting–even draining to this “socially adept” introvert–but I still love it and look forward to it every year.

One of my favorite things to do at Hamvention is to see what new innovations individuals and companies have introduced. As I’ve mentioned before, I love the “mom-and-pop” innovators in our radio community and Hamvention is certainly one of those places where they showcase their goods.

Of course, I love the Hamvention flea market–easily one of the largest outdoor hamfest flea markets in the world. Although I have found some outstanding deals at the Hamvention flea market in the past–like my BC-348-Q ($40) and Panasonic RF-2200 ($70)–I’m more likely to find that obscure rig or accessory I’ve been looking for rather than a proper bargain.

This year, I would have kept my eye out for a Kenwood TR-9000 or TR-9130 VHF transceiver.

The Kenwood “Trio” TR-9130

I’ve seen the TR-9000 and TR-9130 at past Hamvention flea markets–a near ideal place to locate vintage transceivers like these. (On that note, contact me if you have one you’d like to sell!) 🙂

I would have also been on the lookout for classic shortwave portables, of course, and accessories like enclosures, antennas, Powerpole connectors, coax, ladder line, and wire. Many of these I would only buy new.

2020 might not have been a great flea market year anyway. The weather forecast calls for quite a bit of rain and possibly thunder storms over the weekend. Likely, the flea market grounds would have been a bit wet and muddy thus less vendors would have shown up.

See you next year!

Calling off Hamvention made sense this year. Even if state restrictions would have allowed for a gathering of 30,000 people, I imagine turnout would have been anemic at best. The typical Hamvention attendee also happens to be the target demographic of the Coronavirus. Many would have not wanted to take the risk. I doubt there would have much of any international attendees or vendors there either.

You can bet I’ll be at Hamvention next year and you can bet I’ve already started my shopping list! If the pandemic is no longer an issue, I willing to bet Hamvention might have a record year in 2021. I look forward to finding out in person!

Post readers: Had anyone else planned to attend Hamvention this year?

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Radio Waves: Radio Listeners Key to Economy, DXcamp Updates, Coronavirus Hospital Radio, and Hamvention QSO Party

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Dennis Dura, Martin Butera, and Dan Van Hoy for the following tips:


Nielsen: Heavy Radio Listeners Are Key To Restarting U.S. Economy. (Inside Radio)

With 39 states beginning to relax restrictions imposed to diminish the spread of the coronavirus, many Americans are ready to pick up the pieces and get back to their previous lifestyles. An online survey of 1,000 persons aged 18+, conducted from April 30-May 2, found nearly two thirds (63%) say they plan to resume normal activities next month. Conducted by Nielsen, the survey also shows heavy radio listeners are key to driving commerce and supporting the economy since they’re more likely to go out and shop once COVID-19 eases in their market.

Presenting the findings during a client webinar Friday afternoon, Tony Hereau, Nielsen VP of Cross-Platform Insights, summed up the top takeaway succinctly: “AM/FM radio is the soundtrack of America’s re-opening and reemergence.”[]

Marajo Dxcamp updates

Ivan Dias and Martin Butera inform us about their most recent update on the receptions of the last DXcamp on the Amazonian Island of Marajo, in the north of Brazil.

Interesting medium wave receptions from the following link
https://dxcamp-marajo2019.blogspot.com/p/only-log.html

Be sure to visit the official website of the Dxcamp, where you will find a lot of material about this important event
https://dxcamp-marajo2019.blogspot.com/

The Tiny Radio Stations That Lift Spirits in Hospitals (NY Times)

LONDON — Last Wednesday, Steve Coulby, a D.J. for Nottingham Hospitals Radio in England, read out a request from a patient battling Covid-19.

“Brian, you’ve given me an awesome responsibly, as you’ve asked for ‘any jazz,’” Mr. Coulby said. “I have to admit,” he added, “what I know about jazz is limited.”

Mr. Coulby then told his listeners he’d spent much of the day searching jazz tracks online, looking for one that might aid Brian’s recovery, or at least lift his mood. He decided on “Let Me Into Your Heart” by the British singer Isaac Waddington.

“I hope it’s good enough, Brian,” Mr. Coulby said, with a nervous laugh. “To be honest, it’s all you’re getting.”

Britain’s hospital radio stations are one of the less well-known features of its health system: tiny operations, staffed by volunteers, that you would never know existed unless you’d been a patient here.

Patients can normally listen to the shows, which are heavy on chart music and old hits, using headphones connected to an entertainment unit beside their beds. In some cases, the shows are even played out of speakers on the wards or in the emergency room waiting area.

The end of hospital radio has been declared many times over in Britain. Some hospital stations have struggled to raise funds, while the rise of smartphones filled with music and radio apps has meant patients have less need for them. But there are still over 200 such stations, according to the Hospital Broadcasting Association, and some claim they have found themselves more useful than ever during the pandemic, providing a human connections to patients who would otherwise be alone.[]

Hamvention QSO Party Saturday May 16! (Hamvention.org)

Let’s celebrate the many years we have all had at the Great Gathering we call Hamvention. We also want to remember Ron Moorefield W8ILC who never missed a Hamvention and contributed to our club until his recent death.Let’s light up the airwaves with our remembrances of Hamventions of the past! See you on the air! K3LR, Tim Duffy and W8CI, Michael Kalter.

Here is the deal: 12 hour event, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EDST on Saturday of Hamvention May 16, 2020.  Operate CW or SSB on 160, 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10 meters. The exchange is a signal report and first year you attended Hamvention. If you have never attended Hamvention you send 2020.

Send your score (number of QSOs) to 3830scores.com within 5 days of the event. You can print a certificate on line via www.HVQP.org. More details will appear on the Hamvention QSO Party web site being set up now.

Special bonus: W8BI, the club call of the Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA is the host of Hamvention) will be activated by designated DARA members from their home stations. You can add 10 points for each band/mode QSO with W8BI (12 available). So you can earn 120 bonus points (like having 120 additional QSOs).


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Hamvention 2020 has been cancelled

The Begali booth at the 2019 Hamvention

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Robert Gulley, who shares the following announcement from the 2020 Hamvention Chairman:

The Hamvention Executive Committee has been monitoring the COVID19 pandemic. We have worked very closely with our local and state health Departments.

It is with a very heavy heart the Hamvention Executive Committee has decided to cancel Hamvention for this year.

This decision is extremely difficult for us but with around two months until the Great Gathering we felt this action necessary.

More specific details regarding the closure will soon be posted on our website www.hamvention.org.

Thank you for your understanding in this time of International Crisis.

Jack Gerbs
General Chairman HV2020

Click here to read the announcement at the Hamvention website.

No doubt, all other Hamvention associated events like FDIM (Four Days In May), Contest University, and the 2020 DX Dinner will soon follow suit.

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Social Distancing: Nothing new to us radio geeks

by Victor Rodriguez

Photo by Victor Rodriguez

Let’s face it: COVID-19 is certainly disrupting “business as usual” across the planet. It’s hurting economies, and of greater concern, hurting people.

Besides washing our hands frequently and not touching our faces, one of the most effective means of slowing/halting the spread of the Coronavirus is by exercising social distancing.

Simply staying home, and if you must go out, keeping your distance from others, makes sense––and since contact between people is how the virus spreads, it will help slow the spread of it. Many in our radio community are older now, so we want to be sure they are not subject to the lung damage or hospitalization (or worse) that can come from contracting the highly-contagious virus, especially among those over 65 or those with other health issues.

But there’s an adjustment we have to make to do this.  All around us, large gatherings are being canceled, universities and schools and suspending in-person classes, and business are closing their doors. Many governments and companies are making their employees telecommute from home. Airlines are cancelling flights and some country-to-country travel has even been banned. This is temporary, but nonetheless these are changes to which we must adapt.

Covid-19 global cases (Source: Johns Hopkins University)

Cancellations due to the coronavirus have even hit our radio world: almost every radio convention and gathering on the horizon has been cancelled or rescheduled for a later date. I was looking forward to attending and presenting at my first Ozarkcon QRP conference in early April, but it, too, has been canceled. To help keep track of event cancellations, the ARRL has even created a dedicated page to list all of the canceled ham radio events.

One very conspicuous omission (at time of posting) is the 2020 Hamvention in Xenia, Ohio. I suspect it will eventually cancel as well along with all of the various associated meetings held in conjunction with Hamvention. Frankly, even if Hamvention does manage to weather the COVID-19-prevention closures, I would expect attendance to be dismal this year. [Update: Hamvention cancelled several hours after this post was published]

Part of the Hamvention Food Court area.

Hamvention attracts a large group of international attendees and vendors and the average age of those at Hamvention is Covid-19’s target demographic (60+). True, it’s two months out yet, but most large vendors have to make flight plans now while things are very much in flux. We’ll see how it all plays out in the coming days.

But why temporary social distancing and exercising a little preparedness triggers some individuals to go to extremes or (worse) try to profit from the panic, I’ll never know.  I have been witness to some pretty wacky behaviors recently, like the couple I saw Thursday who were buying twenty jugs of Chlorine Bleach. Since a simple 10% bleach solution is recommended for virus disinfection, unless they own an Olympic-sized swimming pool with an algae overgrowth, or are trying to disinfect an entire hospital, what could they want with so much of it?

Social DX

Meanwhile, social distancing, for us radio geeks, is less a form of restriction and isolation or  than it is an opportunity. 

Those of you who know me well know that I can be quite talkative when I’m with others, especially those who share my love of radio. Many might even assume I’m an extrovert.  But if anything, I’m perhaps a socially-comfortable introvert. And in truth, it’s easy for me to adjust to staying in.  Like so many SWLs, I enjoy the chance to escape to my radio to tune out the fuss…and tune in the world. A cheerful chat, or listen, over a distance, is my idea of a good time. This is true”social DXing,” if you ask me!

For the next few weeks, here’s what my Social DX Bucket List includes (completed items have a strike through)…

  • Clean the sticky residue off the rest of my radios
  • Explore Weather Fax a bit more
  • Activate and chase a few parks in the Parks On The Air program
  • Tinker with my uBITX V6 code
  • Learn more Linux command line
  • Chase more HF pirates (since many of them will also have more free time!)
  • Take my recently-acquired Eton E1 to the field
  • And perhaps add a few ATNOs (All-Time New Ones) to the logs
  • Deploy a loop on ground (LOG) antenna
  • Make a CW only Parks On The Air activation
  • Start piecing together a QRP EME station

Yes, I definitely welcome a little social DX!

Are you under quarantine or self-imposed social distancing to avoid COVID-19? What are your plans during this time? Please comment!


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Waffle House Tee: “Proudly Serving Ham Radio Operators”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Robert Yowell, who writes:

Thomas – while I was in Dayton last month (after Hamvention), I stopped in a Waffle House and noticed all the workers were wearing the same T-Shirt which had emblazoned on the back “Proudly Serving Ham Radio Operators”!

I asked if the shirts were for sale and was told I needed to contact the regional office in Huber Heights which handles all Dayton area Waffle Houses. It turns out that for the past decade or so, every year in June the Waffle Houses in the Dayton area would have their employees wear shirts to honor Hamvention.

I was told the designs and colors are different every year, but this is what this year’s shirt looks like. They sold it to me do $18 including shipping!

Thank you, Robert. The connection between the Waffle House and Ham Radio has been a mystery to me and you’ve solved it! Each year at Hamvention, like you, I see Waffle House shirts floating around everywhere. Thanks for sharing!

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