Hamvention officially wraps up today, but it ended for me last night when I drove home from Dayton. I’d been there since Wednesday afternoon and for me, it was time to go. As usual, I had a great time, got to lay hands on a lot of new hardware, didn’t win a flipping thing, and got to spend some quality time with many good folks.
The biggest news of the show was Elecraft’s announcement of the K3S transceiver – a fairly major update to their venerable K3.
By Friday morning it seemed obvious that FlexRadio Systems was going to have the hottest new product at the show with Maestro, a nifty hardware interface for their acclaimed 6000 series SDR transceivers. Who would have thought that a FlexRadio would suddenly have an option for real “knobs” or that I’m now find myself powerfully curious about how a Flex 6500 might fit into my own shack?
Attendance at Hara Arena seemed a little light to me but it’s impossible to “guess” given the expanse of the facilities. It wasn’t nearly as crowded inside as usual and there was little problem getting up close with even the usual big crowd attracting booths. By Saturday morning, I was able to walk right up to one of the new Elecraft transceivers and spin the dials without waiting in line.
Official numbers for the event usually come out about 60 days after the doors close so we will see.
It’s been said to death but I’ll say it again. Dayton is more about the people than the gear. Over the course of one short weekend I made new friends, met up with old friends, met a few heroes, and was once again baptized in the magic that is radio.
If you don’t leave Dayton anxious to upgrade your shack, explore a new facet of the hobby, go on a DXpedition, or feel a little anxious to get home and play with whatever you bought, you need to check your pulse – you may have expired and don’t know it!
I’ve been attending Hamvention since 1977. I live just 90 miles west of there, so I guess that makes me geographically advantaged. Having opportunity to go almost every year, I’ve seen and done most of it — more than a few times over. Now that I’m getting older, it seems reasonable to begin modifying my usual routine there.
For instance, I think I’m done with the fleamarket.
I know, it’s one of the largest in the world and the main reason for many to make the pilgrimage, but I haven’t personally dragged anything home from the flea in more than a decade. It’s much smaller than it used to be. It used to take me an entire day to trek around it. Now it can be done in five hours.
Even though I no longer buy from the fleamarket, I have always enjoyed walking and gawking at piles of old stuff which is why I’ve kept doing it. But there has been a noticeable decline in quality “junk” over the last few years. It seems there are more folks reserving spaces to provide a convenient place to park or comfortable seat for the show.
Bottom line, I don’t plan to visit the fleamarket next year and with the time saved, may only go to Hara Arena on Friday.
This year was either my 13th or 14th to attend FDIM. The Thursday seminar is wonderfully informative and the event provides ample opportunity to meet the most interesting and friendly people in the hobby. And the Holiday Inn in Fairborn is one of the best conference facilities in the region.
But I’ve attended so often that the time has come to explore alternate opportunities over those days.
I think I just attended my last Four Days in May event.
I spent much of this long weekend sharing photos on Twitter. I enjoy doing it because there are so many who would like to attend but cannot, that I feel a little guilty that I can get there almost every year.
So for the last five or six years, I’ve been tweeting my adventure from the event and this year, the level of engagement has been off the charts. Twitter Analytics reports that over the last four days, my tweets have been viewed
184,000 189,000 217,000 222,000 232,000 256,000 times.
If you missed it, you can find my media stream here and skim the recent photos.
To all who follow me via Twitter, I really appreciate your engagement and the banter we exchanged. You made Hamvention a lot more enjoyable for me. For those I drove nuts with too much information, I apologize.
See you next year, at Hamvention!