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June 2018

Close the door on another successful Hamvention.  This annual trek to radio mecca has been a different experience for me on almost every one of my 15 or more visits to Dayton.  This year was no exception.  I spent more time selling some of our club’s donated equipment.  I had a ball. Selling can be fun. You must spend a couple of days doing research: How much is this item going for these days and how low could we go?  Does the item even work? What is its heritage? Then, the fun begins.  You offer a price. They counter offer. You say, “No” and they walk away. Some come and return and you start over and eventually the item is sold.  It’s a game.  But, you must do your homework.  We sold almost everything we brought.  Now to achieve this end, required spending much more time in our own location and not in the vender market or the forums.  Friday, it rained (it always rains in Dayton), but we sold a good number of items to other vendors mostly before the gates opened!

The rain slowed things down and made the place very muddy, but people persevered (we need a bigger tent!).  Greg Karlove set up our club’s pop-up shelter and brought a most of our gear in his truck. Burt Krain, Eric Grauke, Don Whiteman, Al Hovey all helped to hold down the fort while Greg and I took a break to bargain hunt.  I did find a few of the key items I sought but held off buying a HT radio.  I already have far too many anyway.  I was not impressed with the selection of HT’s out there…most do to many things and seem to have terrible ergonomics.  Too big or too small.  I wanted to get a replacement for my trusty Kenwood TH-F6A (now discontinued) but decided I would just find a replacement membrane for the keypad instead.  There were more vendors this year and more indoor selling than last year, but still the buildings could get very congested, very quickly.

For many years, I have been going to the QRP seminars and events on Thursday.  This year, they had over 300 in attendance.  People arrive very early to get seats, so it was almost full at 8 a.m. and the program didn’t start till almost 9:00.  In general, I did not find the seminars all that interesting this year, but the proceedings booklet that accompanies each speaker was filled with a great deal more information on the topics. 

The best part of Dayton was the housing adventure.  For the past couple of years, I have partnered with Bill Steffey, NY9H, a former Deerfield resident and member of the NSRC. He lives in PA land now.  He found this incredible deal with Dayton University. You can rent a quad dorm room, that sleeps up to 6 people for a flat rate (turns out to be about $100 for 4 nights per person). Unfortunately, we missed the opportunity to get the dorm this year and had to scramble. Bill and I do not like spending money on expensive hotels since you are only there for a couple hours. So, he went on line and found this incredible deal. It was near the university…basically, a single-family house that rents rooms. That is all we knew.  We arrived and were not impressed. First, the guy renting the place didn’t think two adults meant separate beds!  He came up with a mattress and I spent the first night on the floor.  Second night, he promised us the upstairs, where there was much more spacer (so he claimed).  He told us that we were the only people in the building, so we accepted his upstairs offer. When we arrived Friday night, in the first floor common rom, there were several people standing around. Our roommates, it turns out!

He told all of us that we were the only people staying…in their room (it turns out, not in the building!!). Each floor did have one bathroom to share.  When we got to the third floor, it was as he described – a huge space.  The one bedroom was also the toilet and shower. There was no door separating the bathroom from the bedroom. You fell out of bed and could just walk right into the bathroom.  I slept at the other end of the space.  This was a room built into the attic, so the roofline prevented you from standing straight around the edges. I was constantly banging my head the wall.  Look, we survived, and it cost us about $40…it was kind of a dump, but the price was right.  However, next year, we may be looking for a hotel wit a proper shower and bathroom!

The other part of the fun was working 146.520 on the way down.  Held several conversations with other hams. That made the travel fly by.

Field Day is right around the corner.  Hope to make some changes to the design of the event and want to encourage more people to participate in either the radio work or in the social activities.  I know there is a lot going on and some people have been frustrated that they cannot operate a radio.  There are plenty of opportunities to make Field day what you want to make it.  Just let us know and we will try to accommodate.  We will have the usual SSB and CW contest stations and are looking for people who work HF in the GOTA tent.  Sign up now for times…to be a GOTA operator, you should not be generally active on HF and want to use this opportunity to sharpen your skills. 

Stay radio active…see you at Field Day or one of the upcoming meetings

Rob Orr

K9RST