Hamvention and FDIM 2023: Wow…what a weekend!

Wow! What a show!

I got back from my 2023 Hamvention trip last night and am now trying to catch up after nearly a full week on the road.

A way too close-up of Eric and his son Miles in the background!

As in past years, I traveled to Hamvention with my buddies Eric (WD8RIF) and his son Miles (KD8KNC).

It was amazing to meet so many readers, subscribers, and POTA/SOTA friends in person!

When I wasn’t walking around the Hamvention grounds checking out the inside vendor tables and outdoor flea market, I was hanging out with friends at the Halibut Electronics/Ham Radio Workbench table.

It was great to finally meet Vince (VE6LK) and Mark (N6MTS) in person. Hopefully, next year, we can have the whole HRWB crew at the table!

The Unseen Bean table next to the Halibut table (you can *just* see Mark and Paul to the left).

Side note: It was a true surprise and joy to discover that the amazing crew of TheΒ  Unseen Bean were next door to us. I’m a bit of a coffee snob, so it was wonderful having Gerry and his amazing team so close. I bought a lot of coffee!

Of course, my favorite thing about Hamvention is the QRPARCI Four Days in May (FDIM) conference.

Eric and I didn’t arrive in enough time to enjoy the Thursday presentations, but we did make it to Vendor’s night that evening. It was busier than I ever remember.

As we walked into the conference room, there was already a massive line to purchase Hans’ new QRP Labs QMX transceiver kit.

Of course, I bought one (serial number 28, evidently)! It will take me some time to build this as I have a crazy June schedule filled with travel and camping.

We also attended FDIM Club NightΒ  and the Homebrew contest on Friday. It was so much fun.

Receiving my award from the amazing David Cripe (NM0S). Photo by Charlie (NJ7V).

I was over the moon to have been inducted into the QRP Hall of Fame at the Saturday Evening FDIM banquet. I’m not sure what I’ve done to deserve this, but I’m incredibly grateful and humbled. Many of my QRP mentors are in the QRP Hall of Fame.

Thank you to those who nominated and selected me! What an incredible honor.

The “Vincester” (VE6LK) operating POTA from the back of his rental car!

On Sunday, we skipped Hamvention altogether and joined Charlie (NJ7V) and Vince (VE6LK) for a few local park activations.

Charlie using my KX2 and PackTenna to hammer out POTA contacts while dealing with the QRM of a nearby rural highway! Impressive op, this Charlie!

Vince and Charlie joined us for two POTA activations (during horrible band conditions, I might add), then Eric, Miles and I capped off the short POTA run with one more activation after lunch.

Monday was all about taking it easy…

Eric and I took all day Monday to “decompress” at the US Air Force Museum. Although I’ve visited this museum a dozen times before, it never gets old and the displays and exhibits are ever-changing.

I think it’s one of the best aviation museums in the world.

Tuesday (yesterday) I drove back to the QTH and fit in one short activation at Yatesville Lake State Park in eastern Kentucky. I recorded this one, so there’ll eventually be a full field report and activation video!

All-in-all, I fit in five POTA activations over the Hamvention trip!

Now that I’m back at the QTH, I’m prepping for a family camping trip. This is going to be one busy summer indeed!

Again, so many thanks to all of you who introduced yourselves over Hamvention and FDIM. It was amazing to meet you all! And, again, a very special thanks to the QRP Hall of Fame committee–being inducted is the true highlight of my amateur radio journey!

Did you attend Hamvention? Or did you have other radio plans this past week? Feel free to comment!

46 thoughts on “Hamvention and FDIM 2023: Wow…what a weekend!”

  1. Thomas, congratulations on being inducted into the QRP Hall of Fame. You certainly deserve it ! I think that your videos and blog have done an amazing job of demystifying POTA/SOTA for beginners and also in getting people interested and excited about operating portable QRP CW.


    Michael VE3WMB

    P.S. I have a friend who was a die-hard SSB operator and he was motivated by your videos to relearn CW. He has gone on to successfully do some CW-only POTA activations. (Proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks πŸ˜‰ )

    1. Sadly I was not able to attend Dayton this year on account of a friend visiting my QTH and my brother’s birthday. Went ahead and bought a QMX though.
      Hopefully I’ll be able to attend next year with my buddy Zach KM4BLG to celebrate our 10 year anniversary of being a ham!

    1. It was a pleasure to meet you after your award at the banquet. Well-deserved, and thanks for the great content.

  2. Congrats, and I ended up with QMX kit #30, so I must have been just spots behind you in the line!

  3. Congrats on the award. Well deserved!!

    I was not able to make Hamvention but will be at Huntsville in August. Hope you can make it down.

    1. Thank you, Dennis. I hope I can make the Huntsville Hamfest as well. That would be major fun!

  4. Congrats again Thomas! As you can see by the “well deserved” messages, we all think you are deserving of this award.

    It was nice to finally meet you in person after our many QRP QSOs, and no better place to do that than FDIM.

    Nothing wrong with being a coffee snob. I did ask Mark if he booked the booth location deliberately to be next to the never ending supply of coffee πŸ™‚ Ever tried to roast your own coffee? That is taking coffee snobbism to the next level πŸ™‚ [ and yes, I do roast ]

    Again, well deserved!

    Karl Heinz – K5KHK

    1. It was great meeting you in person, Karl!

      My buddy Robert Gulley (a regular here) roasts his own. I do see roasting in the coming years! πŸ™‚

      Many thanks, OM!

  5. Thomas, I can think of no other more deserving inductee into the QRP Hall of Fame then you. You have almost singlehandedly revived QRP/CW with your amazing YT videos and other postings. Congratulations!

  6. Congrats on the QRP HOF award, you deserve it.

    Glad to have had a chance to chat with you as always at Hamvention

    Keep operating portable
    John VE3IPS

  7. Sorry we didn’t see you, Thomas. The wife bought some dark chocolate from the Unseen Bean crew though.

    We also had a chance encounter with KI6NAZ on the way out Sunday, so it wasn’t a complete oh-fer on meeting the HamTubers.

      1. Agreed. No idea how she managed to restrain herself from buying a few pounds of their coffee as well.

  8. Great report. Hope to attend Hamvention next year. When you have tried a few of the unseen beans let me know one that stands out.
    73 de Jon K7CO

    1. I hope you get a chance to attend Hamvention. It’s truly something else! πŸ™‚

  9. Congrats! You’re my inspiration for both working with qrp rigs and for learning Morse code. Well deserved! Please keep up all of your efforts!

  10. Congratulations Thomas! A well-deserved award for an individual who is an inspiration and encouragement to all.

  11. Wasn’t able to get to Dayton but plan on being at Huntsville in August. I had the pleasure of meeting Kwaj-Lisa a few months ago during a POTA activation here in Florida. And I’ve been happily roasting my own coffee (started w/my Dad) since 1997. So many rabbit holes…

  12. Thomas,

    Congratulations, Thomas! Your blogs and videos have inspired me to go back re-learn my CW. I got to take CW test to pass my Tech and General back in 1993 and 2003, but abandoned the skill. I travel a lot for business, your QRP op style also has inspired me to do just that. No more FM HT!! QCX Mini or QMX, instead! Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this. πŸ™‚ I think that’s brilliant that you now take a QRP Labs rig for business travel. That’s first class! πŸ™‚


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