The gates have closed on Dayton Hamvention 2017 in Xenia, Ohio - the FIRST such event of the post-Hara Arena era. It was big, wet, and muddy. The one thing that the DARA organizers couldn’t control was the weather and the rain made it’s presence felt every single day.

There were some major queues when all those cars hit the two-lane access road in front of the fairgrounds on Friday morning that weren’t helped by a traffic accident. I heard some say they waited in their cars for two hours to get in the gate, but we stayed at a hotel in Fairborn and made it from there to parked in the grass in 20 minutes on Friday and Saturday.

Organizers had strongly suggested that everyone park remotely and ride the free shuttle to the entrance to avoid congestion, but we had no problems parking at the fairgrounds on Friday and Saturday. The continued rain and mud caused organizers to close onsite parking on Sunday which meant everyone had to park remotely on the final day of the show.

It’s impossible to guess the attendance in a new venue as there’s no history for visual comparison but there were a LOT of people there. DARA’s pre-show estimate of 30–35 thousand total visitors might have been a lot closer than the 25 thousand I predicted.

Sean Kutzko, KX9X reported that ARRL sales on Friday were a record. And I spoke with a dozen other vendors who all said they were generally pleased with the new facilities and were moving a lot of merchandise.

DARA pulled out all the stops on the food. There was so much to choose from that it actually took some head scratching to decide whether to have a ribeye sandwich, cajun cooking, pizza, cooked cabbage, beef and noodles with mashed potatoes or any of a dozen other choices. The beer garden was a nice touch and seemed to be filled whenever I walked past it.

Because the enormous flea market was setup in the infield of the horse track, it suffered most from the rain. The walking path around the tables in the flea were a muddy mess from opening to closing of the show. That didn’t keep hordes from making a few laps, but mud-caked shoes was the added price for visiting that part of the big show.

My own opinion is that things went very well - much better than should be expected given the lousy weather. The buildings were excellent, the organization was well done, the vendors were happy, forum visitors were pleased, and no one could complain about the inadequate “hamfest” cuisine. The rain and resulting mud were simply a matter of bad luck. The previous weekend in Xenia had been 70F with clear skies and sunshine. Maybe next year…

There’s plenty of news from Dayton this week and in the remaining space of this letter I’ll provide links to the most notable announcements. Everyone it seems has embraced social media and the place was filled with folks taking photos, videos, and interviewing anyone who was willing to talk to them. There’s no shortage of this content online so you can relive the experience from every possible angle and not miss a thing.

News from Dayton

CQ Hall of Fame additions were announced. These included Bill Moore, NC1L (SK) and Jerry Rosalius, WB9Z in the DX Hall of Fame while Dave Robbins, K1TTT, and Bob Wilson, N6TV, were inducted into CQ Contest Hall of Fame.

The Southwest Ohio DX Association selected VK0EK - Heard Island DXpedition of the Year.

FlexRadio Systems unveiled the new FLEX–6600, FLEX–6600M, FLEX–6400 and FLEX–6400M. Additional details from Steve, K9ZW.

Hamvention updates from ARRL for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Rich Holoch, KY6R was in town for the festivities and shared his interesting view of Dayton - apart from Hamvention.

Scott, W4PA showed off the brand new INRAD Microphone lineup in the Vibroplex booth.

H2JA - Hams to Japan - ICOM launched a “Hams to Japan” sweepstakes just in time for Hamvention. Enter for a chance to win an Icom radio or even an unforgettable experience to attend the 2017 Tokyo HamFair.

HamRadio360 was in the house and served up their reviews from Day 1 and Day 2 at the Hamvention. These guys did an EXCELLENT job of covering a really big show.

2017 Hamvention: setup day photos, Flea Market, and Inside Exhibits all via The SWLing Post.

My own Twitter photo feed - you don’t need a Twitter account to view these.

Ten Clicks


Home from Hamvention. Tired, but still smiling from all the fun. Met lots of folks and rekindled many old acquaintances. This was my 35th visit to Hamvention over the last 40 years. A few friends and I mused that the only time we ever see each other face-to-face is each year at Dayton. It’s a tradition unlike any other for radio enthusiasts.

I came away with a brand new IC–7300 and have spent a few hours putting it through it’s paces in the shack - and I’m impressed. It was one of those deals where it was $50 off an already low price, plus a hundred dollar manufacturer rebate. And since I was carrying it home there was no shipping - and I used a credit card offering 5% cash back so it felt very “affordable”.

It’s part of the mental gymnastics we go thru to justify new gear I suppose.

With Hamvention in the rearview mirror our attention will turn to Field Day and then half of another year will be behind us. Are you on track to meet your goals for 2017?

Make it a GREAT week!

73, Jeff