Back to Dayton
When I first went to Dayton, many years now, I was certainly amazed by the scale and scope of the event. In those heady days, I was building up my inventory of required gear, so it was always a rush to see how much I could buy in the few days I was there. Since then, I have purchased less gear but have gained more knowledge. I have gone to the forums, seminars and, for the past 4 years, I have been attending the activities at the “Four Days in May” QRP hotel. This happened largely as a way to find a decent hotel, but I have come to really enjoy the QRP event. The seminars are first rate (although some beyond my knowledge…but good to stretch your brain a bit once in a while), and the displays and vendors are unique.
In the early days, I would try to find the cheapest hotel I could…and I now know that that doesn’t get you much of a room in Dayton. Tim McGuire and I shared a room that might have cost us each $35! I don’t think they even changed the sheets but once a week! The shower was a total disaster…the entire lower third of the shower stall had eroded and fallen away, so basically, you could see the bare walls around the outside of the shower. The place was a total pit. After that, I was determined to spend a few more dollars on accommodations and less on gear and I have been very happy with the choice.
So I am heading back to Dayton again this year, leaving on Wednesday to attend the QRP event on Thursday. Typically I hit the outdoor stalls on Friday and the seminars and inside vendors on Saturday. For the past couple of years, I have had to come back Saturday night to attend family events on Sunday, and that will be the routine again this year. Over the few years I have been going to Dayton, it has changed…the outdoor stalls are not nearly as jammed with gear as they once were…although I am glad to see the trend has moved away from selling tons of used computer junk and there are many more vintage radios on display, many way beyond what I can afford, but at least there are radios.
The Arena is not holding its age well. Last year’s great sewage disaster was a total mess…some pipeline broke right in the middle of the outdoor lots and left a rather nasty, smelly affair that was difficult to avoid and harder to cross. I went back indoors to avoid the stench outside. Still, Dayton is the Mecca for anything ham radio, and even though the hobby has changed tremendously since I got back into the game, it is really terrific to see so many enthusiastic ham radio operators in attendance.
I have been radio-silent for about two months now, since I have been working almost non-stop on a couple of pressing projects, so I am totally stoked about heading to that tired little town in Ohio. For at least four days, Dayton is the center of the known universe for many of us who have come to love amateur radio.