After reading about the Dayton Hamvention for over 30 years I decided this year I should see it for myself.
Well it is a big show. Very big. Have a look at the Hamvention website and you’ll find maps of the covered exhibition areas and the flea market area which is described as being 9 acres. I observed that some lanes of what is normally a car park were not fully occupied, and some discussion on the hamvention mailing list (see yahoo groups) indicated that there were many more vendors in the flea market area in past years.
There were over 200 vendors in the covered areas. The Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA) conducted exams for those who wanted to take out a ham licence, or upgrade from Technician or General to a higher grade. Candidates were lined up outside the examination areas all day, Friday and Saturday. Hundreds must have been examined.
All the equipment manufacturers you have heard of and a lot you haven’t were present with impressive displays of their wares.
New to me were the Kenwood TS590 (HF/6m 100w transceiver), the Flex 1500 (HF/6m 5w transceiver) and the Elecraft 500w power amplifier.
I also saw a rotary 80m dipole on display from Array Solutions. It looked to be about 50ft or 15m long, with loading coils and loading sections on each end of the dipole. It may have been shorter.
In the flea market there were many hundred vintage radios, ATUs, cables, antennas, connectors, you name it. My vote for the most unusual item was the F16 simulator.
I came close to buying several new items but eventually just picked up some small components I want for my new antennas, some microwave attenuators and a G4DDK preamp kit for 2.4 GHz.
I met G4DDK at stand 915 where he and Kent WA5VJB were displaying and selling various items including a range of Kent’s pcb antennas including log periodic and skeleton horns for frequencies from 400 MHz to 10 GHz.
The event wound up officially at about 1pm on Sunday. After that the exhibitor’s area was closed.
I missed out on a great deal I had been offered on an SDR-IQ receiver on Saturday afternoon. I didn’t realise how many vendors would either close early on Sunday or not turn up at all. I’ve emailed RF Space and have received a reply already, so all may not be lost.
Dayton Hamvention: well worth going and seeing it, but only if you already have a reason to go to the US. It’s a long way for 2.5 days of hamfest.
At the VHF weak signal group dinner on Friday night, I met and chatted with a number of other people about VHF activities in Australia and heard discussions on contest rules that were familiar issues. Should contest points be based on distance or on grid squares, or power, or what? In the VHF sprints they are trying a distance based formula based on 6 character grid locators. They have found that this approach has been well accepted by contest participants. It is now quite feasible to calculate distances based on 6 character locators, since computers are so common. Maybe this is what Australian VHF operators would like. The grid square bonus system is much simpler but some people think it doesn’t give recognition or incentives for longer distance contacts.