Are You Going To Dayton?

This is a question I ask of vendors I order equipment and amateur radio goodies from. You should ask the same of your vendors. If your vendors don’t support Dayton, perhaps you should consider supporting different vendors. Why, you ask? Dayton is the largest amateur radio event in the US and perhaps the western hemisphere. It’s struggled over the years.  However, the visual appearance and condition of Hara Arena tends to tarnish the state of the Dayton Hamvention, in my opinion.  I think the Hamvention is actually doing well.  Attendance was up last year.  Looking at the schedule of seminars this morning, it’s a wonderful collection of varied topics, with something for everyone.  The flea market is huge and it’s exhausting to cover the entire area in the three days.  If your vendor is devoted to amateur radio, they should come to the Dayton Hamvention.  If they can’t make a profit attending and selling products or generating sales leads, perhaps something is wrong with their products, marketing, or business model.  If a vendor devotes the time and effort to come to Dayton with products to sell, buy their warez!  The Hamvention is more than a hamfest, it’s a social event, a gathering, a celebration, and an economic ecosystem for amateur radio.  See you at Dayton!

Anthony, K3NG, is a regular contributor to

3 Responses to “Are You Going To Dayton?”

  • peter kg5wy:

    What’s wrong with the visual appearance of the arena?

  • frank ON6UU:

    Maybe rates to have a stand there are too high…??

  • Craig - N7LB:

    In an effort to pack in as many vendor booths as possible, the folks at the Hara Arena end up with aisles so packed with people they look like folks boarding a SouthWest Airlines flight. Seriously, you have to wonder how the local Fire Marshall permits those conditions.

    That being said, the outdoor flea market is so large as to easily be able to consume your entire time there.

    It’s hard to knock the job that the hams in the Dayton area do regarding this hamfest, but like every other hamfest in the world, things could always be a little better.

    Certainly a larger indoor space would help, and with more space available, possibly lower indoor booth fees to entice smaller vendors (especially ones with less yearly total sales income than what Yaesu or Kenwood spend on marketing in just one quarter).

    Anthony may want to see hundreds of additional vendors packed into Hara, but those smaller vendors have to look at their total cost vs. expected return.

    If a smaller vendor can exhibit at 10-12 (or more) regional hamfests for the price of 1 Dayton, those 25,000 visitors at Hara (many of which either never go inside or only spend a few minutes inside fighting the crowds) may actually end up costing that smaller vendor more (per sale) at Dayton than at other events.

    Those regional hamfests may end up providing far less hassle and expense for the smaller vendors, plus they get far more visibility (and time) with potential customers at the smaller regional events.

    Dayton’s a great event to be sure, but it’s really two events (one for the big guys inside, and another for the swapmeet outside). When I purchase equipment I base my decision on what’s the best bang for my wallet, and I’m sure every vendor does the same with their marketing budget and travel expenses as well.

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