Tag Archives: Hamvention

Missing Hamvention? Yeah, me too.

My friend Piero Begali (I2RTF) winner of the 2019 Hamvention Technical Achievement Award.

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.

The Kenwood “Trio” TR-9130

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!

HARA Arena to close, Dayton Hamvention to use new venue

[Originally posted on the SWLing Post]

Hara Arena (Source: Aesopposea via WikiMedia Commons)
Hara Arena (Source: Aesopposea via WikiMedia Commons)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor Eric (WD8RIF) for passing along the following news via WDTN and DARA (the Dayton Amateur Radio Association).

(Source: WDTN)

TROTWOOD, Ohio (WDTN) – The iconic venue brought sports, concerts, entertainment and special interest shows to the Miami Valley for 60 years is closing their doors due to not being able to overcome an internal legal battle that has spanned the last two decades.

“We are painfully aware of the loss this announcement will generate, which is why we have fought so long and hard to prevent it,” says Karen Wampler, Hara’s marketing director.
The loss will come in the form of $36 million in annual economic impact; youth, men’s and professional hockey programs; and the hundreds of events that called Hara home this past year.

“We had hoped to announce a new era at Hara, but are announcing the end of one, instead.” says Wampler. [Continue reading…]

(Source: Hamvention Press Release)

The Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA) regrets to inform our many vendors, visitors and stakeholders that, unfortunately, HARA has announced the closing of their facility. We have begun execution of our contingency plan to move Hamvention® 2017 to a new home.

DARA and Hamvention® have enjoyed many successful years working together with HARA Arena and we wish the Wampler family the best.

DARA and Hamvention® have been working on a contingency plan in the event HARA would become unavailable. We have spent many hours over the last few years evaluating possible locations and have found one in the area we believe will be a great new home! Due to logistics and timing issues, we will make a formal announcement introducing our new partner. This information will be coming soon. We all believe this new venue will be a spectacular place to hold our beloved event. Please rest assured we will have the event on the same weekend and, since it will be in the region, the current accommodations and outside events already planned for Hamvention® 2017 should not be affected.

We look forward to your continued support as we move to a new future with The Dayton Hamvention®.
Ron Cramer
General Chairman
Dayton Hamvention 2017

Challenges for a new venue

Two years ago, I spoke with a DARA representative who told me about some of the contingency sites they had in mind should HARA Arena close its doors. Many of us attending the Hamvention had a strong feeling 2016 would be the last year at HARA Arena.

Though HARA was (and has been) in a poor state, the site is very large and has one very unique feature: it’s all on one level.

The outdoor exhibits (flea market) portion of the Hamvention is very popular and should hopefully be hosted on site.
The outdoor exhibits (flea market) portion of the Hamvention is very popular.

Most of the Dayton area contingency sites were on at least two levels with limited elevator facilities (a potential problem for the hundreds of attendees who use motorized carts).

I also learned that most of the Dayton area contingency sites had another problem: not enough space to have both the inside exhibits and the flea market hosted at the same venue. One contingency plan assumed the flea market might be relocated somewhere else nearby.

I hope the Site B will have the space for both the indoor and outdoor exhibits. Frankly, if these two portions of the Hamvention are separated, I suspect it will have a very negative impact on attendance numbers. Let’s hope this won’t be the case.

In terms of facilities, almost anything else will feel more modern and cleaner than HARA Arena. I just hope it can accommodate 20,000+ attendees as well.

When DARA announces the new site, I will post the information here.  Simply follow the tag: Hamvention.

Stop by our booth at the Dayton Hamvention next week!

Hamvention-2016

For the sixth year in a row at the Dayton Hamvention, fellow volunteers and I will be representing the charity Ears To Our World (ETOW).

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.

DaytonMap-ETOW-SWLingPost-e1463141626601

Here’s the full map for reference (PDF).

If you’re not familiar with Ears To Our World and our mission to empower children and teachers in the third word through radio and other technologies, check out our website.

HumanaLights!

HumanaLight-Front

Note that this year we will also give away our HumanaLight kits to those who donate $15 or more to ETOW (while supplies last). 

Look forward to meeting you in Dayton!

-Thomas (K4SWL)

John answers a few questions about the Ten-Tec Model 539 Argonaut VI

The Ten-Tec Model 539 Argonaut VI, on display at the Dayton Hamvention

John Henry, Software Engineer for Ten-Tec, wrote the following message in response to Argonaut VI comments and questions on the Model 539 group:

To help answer a few questions.

The electronics ARE based on the 599, [Ten-Tec Eagle] not exactly the same, but VERY similar.

Filters…. The 539 will have three filter slots for hardware receive filters. They will not be the same ones used in the 599, height limitation, but they will be designed in house and will match the characteristics / performance traits of the 599 closely. One will be filled with the default SSB filter, and the two others are for either CW or for AM if you so desire. Or two CW filters, up to you as a ham to see what you need and to fill them, or not. The filter slot module is based on the TX/RX board from the 599, it is not an option as some competitors are selling now. One less option to have to buy over the stock price. Then, of course, the same DSP bandwidth options controllable from 100Hz to the size of the largest hardware filter installed.

The CPU is the same CPU we use in the 599, so we are using almost the same code set as the 599, meaning we aren’t re-inventing the wheel, just massaging it to handle the different buttons/encoders/pot/voltage levels/10w vs 100w/etc. This also means that the command protocol interface is already done, same as the Eagle, well, almost. We have added a few things to the 539 so that you can define certain buttons to do what you want them to do. On the four buttons, their function is selected by the “tumbler” as I call it. the “tumbler” is a three position switch on front of the 539, that by it’s position identifies what the four buttons do. It is currently denoted with “T” for top, “M” for mid, and “B” for bottom. This may change, as we get closer to production though. So, don’t bank on it being TMB.

The DSP board is the same as we use in the 599, with “slightly” modified software due to the differences in gains and other “realities of hardware” differences.

Since it is the same CPU and the same DSP board/code base, you will have almost all of the features / functions that the Eagle already has. And, since it is based on the Eagle, the maturity is already proven. And, as a benefit, as items are resolved in either the 599 or 539, it is a quick fix for the other rig. Reuse, something we are trying to stress highly on this and future rigs. Why re-invent wheels when they run so smoothly. Of course, improve them over time as technologies get better, as we have time, as we find new parts/better parts, etc.

Why no 60 and 12?
Performance.
That’s basically it. We had a certain size in mind, and yes, we could have fit 160 through 6, however, you would have had receiver performance of a much inferior rig. One that we felt would not live up to TenTec standards. When queried, about 160, 60, and 12, MANY inputs went into the current state of the 539. 160 was added because of the amount of customer inputs, and unfortunately, 60 and 12 cannot be added due to size restrictions. Adding 60 and 12 would have meant redesigning the pre-selector with smaller parts that would have made the rig equal to most other QRP rigs in receiver performance.
If that was the wrong decision, then the market will definitely tell us via sales, but from the comments on “when it is ready, I’m ordering a 539 and a 418” “I never use 60 in QRP” “etc.” at Dayton and via hundreds of emails and conversations, etc., we feel we do have a winner on our hand with the feature set it will be built with. The market will tell of course.

There are a lot of rigs out there to choose from, and we do hope you give the 539 a chance to see if it meets your needs.

Hamvention Photos: Hendricks QRP Kits

Doug Hendricks holding a Ft. Tuthill transceiver

Another very active table at the Dayton Hamvention and Four Days in May is that of Hendricks QRP Kits.

Doug Hendricks (pictured right) and his team produce some amazing, affordable QRP kits that fill many a niche in the shack. Below, I have photos of a small selection of their offerings at the Hamvention.  Note that all of these kits are available on the Hendricks QRP Kits website.

Many of Hendrick’s kits are suitable for beginners. If you’re in doubt about your kit building skills, simply contact the folks at Hendricks and they’ll help guide you to the right kit.

The Kenwood TS-990S: Some preliminary specs and features

The TS-990s under glass at the 2012 Dayton Hamvention

At Dayton, I had a chance to ask Kenwood reps about the TS-990S.  They did have a few details, but many (such as price) are still rather vague. I made notes on these:

  • This rig will weigh in at 57 or so pounds. This is probably due to the fact that it has an internal power supply.
  • The main receiver is completely down-conversion.
  • The sub receiver is the TS-590’s receiver. They even told me that if you read the TS-590S spec, it will be identical to that of the TS-990S sub receiver. As with the TS-590, the TS-990S sub receiver is mainly down-conversion.
  • It has three, 32Bit DSP processors
  • It has five roofing filters at: 300Hz, 500Hz, 2.7 6kHz and 15kHz which  run at 8MHz. The sub-receiver runs at 11MHz.
  • Connections include:
    • Optical In/Out
    • DVI
    • and “Multiple” USB connections
  • The TS-990S will be 200 Watts
  • Shipping: They expect to ship in November 2012
  • Price: Between $5-10K US, but will not exceed $10K US. Two different Kenwood reps told me that Kenwood understands that there aren’t many hams in this economy who could spend in excess of $10K.

These specs were rattled off as if they’d been said a thousand times (and I bet they had by the time I got around to the booth).

Not a lot to go one, but I can vouch that these features and specifications came directly from Kenwood.

Video: Tuning the Ten-Tec Argonaut VI

As Ten-Tec was setting up at the Dayton Hamvention last Thursday, I was able to meet with their engineer (John Henry) briefly and had a little time to play with the new Model 539 Argonaut VI. As I tuned around the CW side of the 20 meter band, I recorded a short video. I’m sharing this with you here, but must ask your forgiveness for its quality and glitches; I want to make it clear that this material was recorded on my Android phone in some haste.

Moreover, this video does not do justice to the Argo VI’s audio, which is exceptional.  In fact, I can’t tell a difference between its audio and that of the Ten-Tec Eagle, both of which have very low noise floors and simply gorgeous audio fidelity.

Now, just a small taste of what this receiver can do…

Photos of the Kenwood TS-990

The display model of the Kenwood TS-990 is covered under plexiglass in Hara Arena. Here are a few photos I took this morning. Note that they’ve covered the back panel of the radio with black cloth.