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.
Unfortunately, several setbacks in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic make necessary the difficult decision to cancel Hamvention 2021. Hundreds of volunteers have been working to do everything necessary to bring this Hamvention to the many amateur radio enthusiasts and vendors who support the Dayton Hamvention.
Vaccine distribution both in the United States and around the world is lagging behind what was planned. In addition, the emergence of a more communicable form of the COVID-19 virus increases the potential for further public health problems in the next few months. We make this difficult decision for the safety of our guests and vendors.
Those who had their tickets, inside booths or flea market spaces deferred last year will be deferred again. Those who purchased 2021 tickets, inside booths or flea market spaces will also be deferred. If you desire a refund instead please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will contact you.
Stay tuned for information about a QSO party for the 2021 Hamvention weekend. We are looking forward to the 2022 Hamvention!!!
QRP Labs has just announced the QCX+ which as the name implies is an upgraded version of the very popular QCX line of transceivers
To date almost 10,000 kits have been sold, here’s a brief overview of the the differences and new features made to this popular Transceiver.
The QCX+ is the almost same circuit as the QCX, with two very minor changes. QCX+ runs the same firmware as QCX, and has identical operational and performance characteristics. QCX/QCX+ firmware will always be compatible with both the QCX and QCX+. The evolution of QCX to QCX+ provides several improved features in physical layout, as follows:
1) Physical layout of controls and connectors
2) Optional enclosure
3) Additional and changed connectors
4) More spacious PCB, more than double the board area, with less densely packed components, and more test/modification points
5) Improved heatsinking
6) Three minor circuit changes
7) No microswitch key
Price has gone up slightly to $55, still no other QRP Transceiver on the market today comes close to the features offered by the QCX+ at this price point.
Note that I originally published this post on the SWLing Post:
If we weren’t all in the midst of a global pandemic, today I would be at the first day of the 2020 Hamvenion in Xenia, OH.
Since I would not be hosting a table for ETOW this year, I was going to Hamvention for the first time on Press credentials. While I absolutely loved hosting the ETOW table with my friends and fellow volunteers, I was certainly looking forward to being a bit of a free agent this year and visiting vendors and friends with no time pressures. This would have also given me much more time to do live postings.
For me, Hamvention is first and foremost an excuse to hang with good friends I only typically see once a year. Between Hamvention and several other associated events like the QRPARCI’s Four Days In May, I connect with hundreds of people. It can be a bit daunting–even draining to this “socially adept” introvert–but I still love it and look forward to it every year.
One of my favorite things to do at Hamvention is to see what new innovations individuals and companies have introduced. As I’ve mentioned before, I love the “mom-and-pop” innovators in our radio community and Hamvention is certainly one of those places where they showcase their goods.
Of course, I love the Hamvention flea market–easily one of the largest outdoor hamfest flea markets in the world. Although I have found some outstanding deals at the Hamvention flea market in the past–like my BC-348-Q ($40) and Panasonic RF-2200 ($70)–I’m more likely to find that obscure rig or accessory I’ve been looking for rather than a proper bargain.
This year, I would have kept my eye out for a Kenwood TR-9000 or TR-9130 VHF transceiver.
I’ve seen the TR-9000 and TR-9130 at past Hamvention flea markets–a near ideal place to locate vintage transceivers like these. (On that note, contact me if you have one you’d like to sell!) 🙂
I would have also been on the lookout for classic shortwave portables, of course, and accessories like enclosures, antennas, Powerpole connectors, coax, ladder line, and wire. Many of these I would only buy new.
2020 might not have been a great flea market year anyway. The weather forecast calls for quite a bit of rain and possibly thunder storms over the weekend. Likely, the flea market grounds would have been a bit wet and muddy thus less vendors would have shown up.
See you next year!
Calling off Hamvention made sense this year. Even if state restrictions would have allowed for a gathering of 30,000 people, I imagine turnout would have been anemic at best. The typical Hamvention attendee also happens to be the target demographic of the Coronavirus. Many would have not wanted to take the risk. I doubt there would have much of any international attendees or vendors there either.
You can bet I’ll be at Hamvention next year and you can bet I’ve already started my shopping list! If the pandemic is no longer an issue, I willing to bet Hamvention might have a record year in 2021. I look forward to finding out in person!
I am loving the new QRP Ranger power pack–it is the solution I decided on after publishing this post a few weeks ago. It’s a little pricey, but it’s built like a tank, very lightweight, includes a charge controller made specifically for the LiFePo cells, and made here in the USA. It also had a very readable LED display that my buddy Eric says is, “reminiscent of the displays on the Apollo 11 module.” He’s kind of right!
It’s so nice to have both a volmeter and ammeter on the front panel.
We just finished activating the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park (I’m writing this post while Eric drives us to our next activation). I made 12 contacts running SSB at 8 watts. Eric made 16 contacts via CW at 5 watts.
We have planned two more activations this afternoon:
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument at 16:30 UTC
Dayton Aviation Herital National Historical Park at 21:00 UTC
I’ll be calling CQ on 14.290 MHz and 7.290 MHz +/-.
Please hop on the air listen and/or answer my call if you’re a ham!
Since I own the Elecraft KX3, Elecraft K2 and the Elecraft KX1, I’m excited to see that Elecraft has announced a new addition to their product line: the Elecraft KX2. Elecraft will feature the KX2 at Four Days In May (FDIM) and the Dayton Hamvention.
I am attending vendor’s night at FDIM and the full Dayton Hamvention. I will post photos of the KX2 here–follow updates by bookmarking the tag KX2.
Full details from the Elecraft press release, via Southgate ARC, below:
New KX2 radio to be announced this Thursday at the Dayton Hamvention 2016
Hello to all,
We are please to announce a new radio to complement the KX3 and the KX-Line. Here are the details.
What: Elecraft announces the KX2, Ultra-portable radio When: Thursday, May 16th, 1300Z Where: Four Days In May QRP event, part of the Dayton Hamfest activities
Elecraft is excited to announce a new radio targeting the Ultra-portable market with a Fit-In-Your-Pocket size. Please see the attached brochure for details.
Pricing – KX2: $749.00
– Options and accessories: Please see the table below for pricing. Also see the FAQ for details.
Distributors are encouraged to order both the KX2 and accessories now. The KX2 is already in production and early ordering will ensure your position for deliveries.
Note that the KX2 will be available in full, factory-built form only. There will be 2 internally-installed options available immediately. See the FAQ for more details.
Marketing Collateral Available
You will find a new section in the Elecraft Egnyte repository that contains:
– The attached brochure in editable form for you to translate and convert to local printing formats. – A KX2 Date Sheet – A KX2 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) in editable form – Hi Resolution images for use with your marketing and web site content
Special Note on the new KX2 Battery and Charger system
– Elecraft will be stocking the KXBT2 (Li-ion Battery) and the KXBC2 (Li-ion Charger) for your to order. – We have also arranged for you to purchase both items directly from our supplier, Tenergy (www.tenergy.com) – Please see the attached document, KX2 Battery info v1.0, with the details.
Along with many of the Elecraft team, I’ll be in Dayton to launch the KX2 but will be able to answer questions as needed.
Again, we are excited to offer you increased business opportunities with the KX2 launch!
I always enjoy meeting SWLing Post and QRPer.com readers who stop by our booth to introduce themselves.
Note: New Booth Location
We’ve been moved to a new table this year: SA0359 in the Silver Arena. Indeed, we may have two tables set up: one with Ears To Our World information and another with soldering irons to build HumanaLight kits.
Today at the QRP ARCI conference, Four Days in May, Ten-Tec is showing off their latest open-source transceiver: the Model 507 Patriot.
Building on the concepts behind the Model 506 Rebel, released last year, the Patriot is open-source and firmly targeted at the makers and experimenters amongst the amateur radio crowd. Like the Rebel, the Patriot is spartan by design, leaving it to the maker to develop the transceiver’s character via crowd-sourcing.
Unlike the CW-only Rebel, the Patriot has SSB and digital modes in addition to CW.
The Patriot arrives as a fairly bare-bones 20/40 meter transceiver, but with all of the essential functions pre-loaded, including:
Tuning step selection
Band selection (20 or 40 meters)
Line Level in/out
I’ve had the Patriot’s progenitor for about a week now, and have had it on the air a bit. But as this is a very early beta version, I can’t comment on much other than to say that audio reports have been quite good on SSB. I’ll dive into the digital modes after the Hamvention.
Of course, when I receive an actual production unit of the Patriot, I’ll give a more thorough overview.
In a nutshell? I like this direction for Ten-Tec and am happy to see that they are growing a new line from the seed planted by the Rebel. By producing basic, open-source, and relatively affordable radios, Ten-Tec may actually be blazing a path to transceivers with benchmark performance and crowd-sourced firmware. I have no idea if Ten-Tec is contemplating this, but I’m sure many manufacturers are–it’s a great direction for any company. Meanwhile, stay tuned for more on the Patriot!
What I love about the Hamvention is that it is a one-stop-shop for innovations appearing in our radio world.
Here are a few of the companies I’ll be following at the Hamvention this year:
Ten-Tec announced yesterday that it will merge with Alpha Amplifiers under the flag of RF Concepts. I plan to stop by Ten-Tec’s booth Friday and learn more about the merger. Personally, I believe the merger with Alpha Amplifiers is a good move. Both of these companies are known for great customer service and quality US-based design and manufacturing.
I know Ten-Tec is introducing a new open-source product to their line, the Patriot, because I’ve been beta testing one (check QRPer.com for details later this week).
Icom will showcase their new ID-5100 D-star, dual band, mobile with built-in GPS. While I’m more of an HF guy, this radio does intrigue me. You see, for almost one year now, I’ve been very pleased with my Icom ID-51A, dual-band, D-Star handie talkie (HT).
I find D-Star to be a very flexible digital mode and I’m amazed with how many interesting mom-and-pop companies have produced products for the D-Star mode. I’m surprised neither Yaesu nor Kenwood has adopted the D-Star standard (it’s not proprietary to Icom–indeed, read about the CS7000 below).
The new ID-5100 is a mobile version of my ID-51a. What I love about this radio is that it can store repeater frequencies and dynamically load them based on your geographic location. Perhaps my largest gripe with mobile VHF/UHF rigs is their inability to adapt to the repeater “landscape” when you travel. The ID-5100 may change this and push other manufacturers in the same direction.
In less than a year, Connect Systems has become a household name among ham radio enthusiasts who love VHF/UHF and digital modes.
This Connect Systems is developing an HT–the CS7000–which will be the first non-Icom radio to have the D-Star digital mode. Whatsmore, in addition to D-Star, the CS7000 will also pack DMR.
I don’t think Connect Systems will have a working prototype at the Hamvention (I could be wrong), but there is a possibility that they will be taking early orders.
I’ve been intrigued by the Elad line of Software Defined Recievers. This year, they will attend the Dayton Hamvention. I look forward to checking out the new FDM-DUO tabletop SDR. I plan to review some of the Elad product line in the near future.
Last year, Palstar showcased a prototype QRP transceiver with touch screen interface. To my knowledge, this would be Palstar’s first transceiver (though they’re well known for antenna tuners and their shortwave radio receiver, the R30A).
Last year, I was told that the new Palstar transceiver would be available this year and would retail between $1,600 – 2,000 US (a rather steep price for a transceiver with 20 watts output). One of the transceiver’s designers assured me that the receiver would “be worth the price.”
I’ll stop by Bonito’s booth to check out their new AntennaJet ASM300. I’m curious how it works and what the Hamvention price will be.
Though pricing is a little steep, I might bring one home as I often would like to share one antenna with two receivers simultaneously.
The only new product I know of from Elecraft is the PX3 Panadapter for their Kx3 transceiver. Reviews of the larger P3 Panadapter for the Elecraft K3 are excellent, so I imagine this will be a great product. I hope to check out the PX3 at the Elecraft booth–I believe they’ll have a prototype on display.
For the past three years, the market for software defined radios has been growing rapidly. I’ll be on the lookout for anything new–especially improvements on current 3rd generation SDRs.
Did I miss something?
Please comment if there’s something you’d like me to check out at the Hamvention–I’ll try to include it!
Again, if you’re attending the Hamvention, please stop by and introduce yourself at our booth: 411 in the Ball Arena (BA411).
I was more than surprised to find Palstar showcasing a transceiver at the 2013 Hamvention. Palstar is well-known for their tuners and their receiver, the R30A, but they have never sold a transceiver to my knowledge.
As you can see from the photos, the Palstar TR-30 has a simple faceplate with a touch screen display. It is all aluminum, thus is very light. TR-30 is rated for 20 watts PEP and has an 11 pole filter on board.
I hope to review one once it is in production. Palstar expects the TR-30 to be available August 2013.
When I asked about the price, the told me a range of $1,500-2,000 US. (Gulp!)