FDIM was a big hit. The hotel sold out, the QRP banquet sold out, the Thursday seminar was packed, and Vendor Night was a sea of humanity. QRP is alive, well, and growing. Four Days in May is obviously in good hands with the folks at QRP-ARCI who have nurtured the event into a major happening for low power enthusiasts.
I arrived at Hara Arena early Friday morning. There were a few sprinkles in the area on the drive but nothing seemed wet at the arena – until later in the afternoon when it did come down. The crowd seemed a little light but Friday attendance always lags Saturday. I managed to get a few pics of the new Elecraft K3S though, the lighting was poor and better images are available on Elecraft’s site.
Steve, K9ZW had to miss the show this year but he had mentioned his interest in seeing something new from Flex-Radio called “Maestro”. I headed to their booth thinking I could get some additional details for him. What I found was very impressive — in fact, I would say this device may be the “star” of the show this year.
“Maestro” is a hardware front-end for the 6000 series Flex equipment. With it, you get real knobs and buttons and a display for a radio that normally has none of that. Even more delightful was that “Maestro” is a wireless device that can be carried remotely from the main radio. It’s a thousand bucks and won’t be ready until the 4th quarter but seems to me to be an enormously useful and innovative extension for the premium software defined radios from Flex.
It was sad to turn the usual corner and not see the big banner from TenTec. The usual suspects from Sevierville were all there along with familiar equipment, but now under the RKR Designs banner. I understand the need for the new partnership to get their name into the collective though I can’t help but think the TenTec brand is much more valuable…
The ARRL exhibit is always impressive and this year is no different. I stopped in and picked up the 100th anniversary commemorative edition of QST magazine — free for life members — thank you ARRL!
I can’t write about everything in this short update — but I did tweet much of what I saw. Take a look at my media feed to peruse all the photos taken today. And feel free to use them any way you see fit — you have my permission.
Wednesday night, after arriving for FDIM, I enjoyed having dinner and long, casual conversation with my buddy Scott, NE1RD. He and I go way back but last saw each other face-to-face at FDIM three years ago.
On Friday, I met up with John Smithson, N8ZYA who had driven up from West Virginia. John and I have traded emails and blog posts for years so it was great to finally meet him in person. I also had the chance to meet Sean Kutzko, KX9X a Facebook friend who was working in the ARRL booth.
Radio friends are special. You can never have too many or spend too much time with them.
I’ll be back at Hara Arena early tomorrow morning. I hope you are following along on Twitter if you can’t be there.