I made a tough choice a few weeks ago.
Hamvention weekend is one of the big highlights of my year and–until the pandemic–I hadn’t missed a single on in more than a decade.
I was really looking forward to this year if for no other reason than to connect with friends I only see at Hamvention.
My buddy Eric (WD8RIF), his son Miles (KD8KNC), and sometimes our good friend Mike (K8RAT) attend Hamvention together. We split accommodation, car pool, and fit in park activations before, during, and after. We also fit in an annual pilgrimage to the USAF museum. It’s incredibly fun.
As fun as Hamvention is–which is insanely fun–I realized that it was going to be a pricey 3-4 night excursion when I already have some pretty epic, much-anticipated travels planned this summer with my family.
Since I had literally no items on my Hamvention shopping list (Eric didn’t either) and since I wanted to funnel all of my travel monies into the amazingness that awaits us this summer, I had a hard time justifying the costs of the trip.
So I reached out to Eric who, turns out, was feeling much the same way.
We hatched an alternate plan that ended up winning us over.
Our Plan B
We realized that 1.) we still wanted to get together over Hamvention weekend, 2.) we wanted to play a LOT of radio, and 3.) both of us wanted to do it all on a shoestring budget. Eric’s son, Miles was on board too and is going to take a couple vacation days from the Air National Guard.
Truth is, this year, what we were really looking forward to on the Hamvention trip were the park activations and camaraderie. So much so that we only planned to actually attend Hamvention one of the three days and spend the rest of the time hitting area parks and playing radio.
A RATpedition instead!
Eric, Mike, Miles, and I are members of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team (SEORATs). When we organize field events, we call them RATpeditions.
We hatched an idea for a RATpedition in West Virginia which is roughly half way between our QTHs in Ohio and North Carolina.
We’re still sorting out the details, but we plan to make it a three night trip (Thursday through Saturday nights) and potentially camp the whole time; possibly all in primitive dispersed camping sites.
We hope to fit in both park and summit activations. We should be on the air quite a bit.
Instead of hitting every possible site we can each day, we’re going to go for quality over quantity and be less rushed about the whole thing.
I’m really looking forward to checking out all of the cool sites!
I’ll plan to rotate out various radios and antennas during this trip; that always adds to the fun especially when I’m not space-constrained like I will be during my summer travels! (More on that in a future post.)
We could use your help…
Eric will post our firmed-up schedule on his QRZ.com page.
My guess is that we won’t have internet access at most of our activation sites, so we’ll be relying very heavily on the Reverse Beacon Network for spots:
We typically rely on the king RAT, Mike (K8RAT), to watch our backs, but he’s a busy guy, so any extra spotting help (if you’re not having a blast at Hamvention) would be much appreciated!
Due to the lack of coverage to self-spot, I’m not sure how much SSB I’ll be doing; when I can, I will though.
I will have my Garmin In-Reach device so can hypothetically text out spotting frequencies and site designators.
I’ll miss Hamvention though…
Even though we’ve sorted out what should be a fun Plan B, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ll certainly miss Hamvention this year. It’s always so much fun seeing friends, checking out new products, and hanging with fellow QRPers at Four Days In May.
Are you planning to attend Hamvention? If so, any goals while you’re there? What’s on your shipping list? Please comment! I’ll have to live vicariously through you.
And Hamvention 2023? I’ll definitely be there!