Well, another Hamvention has come & gone. And, as usual, it was a memorable event in a myriad of ways. Here are some memories:
Drove up, of course, as usual. Uneventful trip. Lugged along two cases of WRTC items for Chris, DL1MCG, who had dropped them off after flying in to Charlotte, & then heading off to Key West, then to New Orleans, then to Dayton, and finally up to Boston, before heading home. Nice presentation at the Contest Forum on their work for WRTC 2018.
Picked W2GD up at the Dayton Airport Thursday morning. Headed to lunch, then out to HARA Arena to pick up parking permit & wander the aisles, watching set up, etc. Our 2PM meeting with client KE4V regarding his LUSO Tower installation happened as planned. The LUSO gals remember me from previous jobs, which is always nice; they make you feel welcome. John’s project is obviously huge–starting with a 160M rotating dipole at 150-ft, then down to an 80/40/30M Yagi, then 20/15/10 (21 elements), & finishing with a WARC beam, all to be side-mounted on the big LUSO. We’ll likely be there about a week. Then headed over to the CW Ops dinner (missing my usual annual get-together with old Ohio pals, which I’ll be resuming next year for sure!). Amazingly, since Contest University takes place on Thursday, there is now a hospitality suite Thursday night, albeit sparsely attended, as lots of folks are simply not yet in town. Since GD had not gotten a lot of sleep, we left around midnight & headed back to the Drury.
Friday was the first “official day” of Hamvention & things were off to a fine start when we managed to squeeze the big Ram van into a parking spot at HARA. Walked the flea market a bit (mostly to visit with K8MFO & W8AV), finding some seemingly truly scarce Cinch-Jones 8-pin plugs for $5/each. Since these are apparently no longer manufactured, but are still used in Hy-Gain rotators, I like to have them in stock. Finally, it was time for the Antenna Forum, where WA3FET had been teasing us with comments on his paper, promising “new” details on that oldest ham antenna–the common dipole. Jim had indeed discovered an interesting modeling approach to their construction. The best presentation in the Forum , without question. Friday night is always the 160M group get-together, & this year’s dinner featured one of those “last man standing” events, which found W8LRL the last guy left at 345 entities on Top Band. Awe-inspiring, to say the least! Then it was time to get to the Crowne Plaza for the hospitality suite. Long ago, I began following K3ZO’s ritual–sitting in one spot & letting folks find me. It seems to work. Besides the usual hangouts with W3GH, WP3R, WA3FET & assorted folks, the radio club from KP4 (who’ll be sponsoring their national convention next January) were at our table. I know just enough Spanish to get in trouble, but managed to understand their invitation to present something on towers at the convention. So, I’ll be saving my centavos. Somehow, GD & I managed to stay awake until nearly 2AM, when we left.
Saturday dawned with finding K3RUQ & gang down in the Drury breakfast gathering, which seems to grow larger each year. We chatted about my up-coming trip to the Eastern Shore, to possibly include work at Tinsley’s, then GD & I headed back to HARA. Parking was even tighter but again managed to work into a spot. Rain (which was intermittent all day long) made wandering the arena aisles more interesting, as things simply get stuffy & sore-smelling. K7BV did his usual superb job of handing out 10K baseball hats over the weekend, beginning on Saturday. It’s amazing to listen to guys grumbling about getting a free hat (it’s a quality product, by the way, well made & nicely designed). And of course they will be for sale on eBay, likely later Saturday. The Contest Dinner happens on Saturday, & this year’s event was sold out, a first! Nearly 500 attendees. The main speaker was W2GD, & John’s presentation was very well received. A bit different, heavily laden with anecdotes & personal reminiscences. Alas, the prime rib wasn’t very prime, but that is seemingly to be expected at these events, as food preparation for 500 folks seems next-to-impossible to me. Saturday’s hospitality suite was intense; the noise level made conversations difficult, even unpleasant at times, nearly shouting to be heard. Passed out a few business cards. Spent considerable time sketching out solutions and/or idea to folks who stopped to ask questions, including Jim Dunbar, K4PV, whose 2nd tower installation we’ll likely be doing before much longer. While walking down the hall to the restroom, a youngster ran up to me & exclaimed: “Don, I just LOVE your blog; it’s my favorite ham radio blog!” This turned out to be Marty Sullaway, KC1CWF, who at 14, is pretty active & doing his own level best to promote radiosport, including a presentation at Carole Perry’s Dayton Youth program. Needless to say, I was super-pleased to see this young man has such excellent taste in ham radio writing & blog creation….
Managed to hang on until 2AM again, then simply crashed. Sunday morning, got up, showered, down the madhouse breakfast & we were ready to go to the airport for GD’s plane home. I began the trip East to stop off & visit with my Mother, down in Amish country. Then over to Maryland for work again on Monday.