Archive for the ‘hamfest’ Category

Yep, Winterfest Got Their Windfall!

The hamfest held each year in the St. Louis suburb of Collinsville, IL is called Winterfest. I blogged earlier about the hamfest getting a windfall this year in adding to their growing set of Forums and other programs on contesting and so forth by welcoming the Wes Schum Symposium. Here’s how the Winterfest 2020 Chair described this past January’s events:

The St. Louis & Suburban Radio Club Winterfest has added some great events from previous years. We have added floor space to include Education Alley, doubled our forums and increased our operating hours to 4pm. In addition to these changes, Winterfest has been selected as the ARRL Midwest Conference for 2020. The weekend starts on Friday January 24th with the W9DYV Radio Symposium during the day and a DX/ARRL banquet that evening. Saturday January 25th Winterfest kicks off at 8 a.m. with the opening of the sales floor, VE testing, all day topical Forums, and Contest College starting at 1 p.m. with 10 plus hours of contesting forums and discussion hosted by top area contesters. We invite all hams to come to Winterfest for a weekend of Amateur Radio fun.

Rebecca Carroll, Winterfest 2020 Committee Chair

Kyle Krieg AA0Z, President of SLSRC, and Rebecca KC9CIJ sent me the numbers from the hamfest. They were up 20 percent from the previous year! Wow! How many local or regional hamfests can report that “windfall” in attendance? I don’t have the numbers for that but I don’t think there’d me too many but it’s unfortunate that we don’t have a national set of numbers on hamfest attendance. Hmm. ARRL, if you’re listening, I hope you find those 30,000 hamfest attendance numbers…too soon, Lol?

Nick Tusa K5FF, who chairs the Wes Schum Symposium each year, sent me a list of pre-registered attendees for that specific part of Winterfest 2020. He said that there were a considerable number of walk-up registrants so his list is an under-estimate of this year’s actual attendance. I’ve prepared a map illustrating the “draw” to the Symposium this year in Collinsville (marked with a + sign). If we ignore the extreme distant pre-registrants, it appears to represent the market potential map I created in my previous blog post about where Winterfest could draw from in the coming years. It’s unfortunate that Winterfest per se does not record the call signs of those paid attendees so we could see where their market draw looks like. Perhaps next year!

Map of only Symposium Pre-Registrants

The 8th W9DYV’s Amateur Radio Symposium wrap-up with video of the presentations can be found at the Central Electronics website. They are well worth watching! They include (with embedded links to the video):

Windfall for Winterfest 2020? Yep. A 20 percent bump certainly suggests that. Our public relations contributing to that? Yes, but even though there were a lot of eyes seeing both the syndication and the front page articles, it’s a stretch to make such claims and I do not, at all. But our discussions on what Rebecca and her team had planned as well as what Nick was doing by moving the Symposium to Collinsville, IL certainly did not hurt! The fundamentals are the hard work, ingenuity, and willingness to plan for a hamfest that hams would enjoy should they decide to attend. That’s always the case. But it can help if you wave your arms—or get others to wave theirs on your behalf—and let folks know about what you’re planning. Keep an eye out for the St. Louis & Suburban Radio Club’s website for next year. I hear they’re already at work lining up a terrific banquet speaker!

Xenia Invaded by Orange Shirts! No One Harmed…

This was my first time to visit what is commonly called Dayton. Except now it’s in Xenia. And those who want to ensure that you aren’t a Real Ham if you didn’t attend Dayton wear tee shirts to that affect. So, it’s a thing. But whether you attended the “old” Hamvention or the latest edition in nearby Xenia, that’s a thing, too. And both are ok.

One of our happy and enthusiastic podcast listeners

This year, the ICQ Podcast Team had eight of the eleven “Presenters” (British terminology) come to Hamvention and rent an AirBnB in lovely, historic Lebanon, OH. Colin M6BOY arranged for some of our listeners, including two from another podcast team, to donate toward the cost of producing nice ICQ Podcast Team Polo Shirts. They were hits in that they drew quite a bit of attention as we roved the Greene County Fair Grounds in a pack, except for Dan KN6BU who teaches his One-Day Tech Class most of the day on Saturday. The Team was very humbled by the number of listeners who approached us, several times with $20 bills extended to help with production costs. We enjoy talking about amateur radio but to get these expressions of gratitude from listeners is, well, just a humbling experience. Thank you all who took the time to stop and speak with us about the podcast.

Our AirBnB in historic Lebanon OH

The podcast Team is largely from the UK and a couple hold U.S. amateur licenses but must only use them (and the higher power they are allowed) on American soil. During our conference call to organize this first trip by the European group to the States, I offered to bring one of my portable HF rigs to the house we had secured in Lebanon for them to activate their U.S. call signs for the very first time. Martin M1MRB / W9ICQ and Chris M0TCH / N4CTH were able to do this. Martin worked Cuba but that station never got the last letter of his call. Chris worked a couple of stations but the need for a Snickers Bar side-tracked him. But Edmund M0MNG played Big Gun on the front porch as he worked many stations working Grey Line as the 40M band did it’s nightly thing. Dan KB6NU, of CW Geek fame, kept trying to figure out how to connect a keyer he bought in the bone yard to the transceiver. But, of course, I was not any help with my own rig as I haven’t yet gotten proficient in CW. This was a Yaesu FT-891, running 50 then 90 watts into a Wolf River Coils TIA vertical, powered by a Bioenno 20aH Life4Po battery. And Yuengling refreshments. Martin and I conversed well past our due date for sleep. Being about the same age, Martin and I have developed a close friendship during my first and now second stint working with the podcast. A good time was, indeed, had by all. And no one was harmed in the production of this event!

Yes, her hidden antenna worked!
Martin M1MRB using W9ICQ for the first time

The Team was working quite a number of scheduled, and a few impromptu, interviews with company officials and prominent hams by day (see here), and enjoying visiting with one another by evening. Due to Colin’s midnight editing efforts, we published three time-sensitive product announcement interviews for a special episode on Sunday. But several less time-sensitive ones will come out in the next few months too. We toured WLW, the AM powerhouse of long history near Cincinnati, and the VOA Museum for the Bethany Relay Station. Unique history. And important if you’re a ham radio operator or SWL. The fact that we were doing this tour together after a joint chili dinner with the Amateur Radio Newsline team made it extra special. We thank Neil Rapp of Ham Talk Live for arranging our tour. We compared notes on our individual amateur and broadcast radio experiences while in awe over getting a special instruction on the former 500,000 watt Bethany Relay VOA transmitter. Martin M1MRB and I even got interviewed by the visiting podcast team from Pod People. That was different but most pleasant and enjoyable for us. Good thing that’s an audio-only podcast as we realized we were standing so the NSFW stickers on the back of a pickup truck would have video-bombed our head shots.

Edmund M0MNG working 40M at-will. Dan thinking about how to hook his new keyer to the FT-891. Martin and Chris (hidden) discuss matters Hamvention

Bill N3JIX kept us entertained with his (and my) quirky humor and color-coordinated bandannas. His wit belies his deep understanding of networking radio technology as exhibited in his interview of Gerald Youngblood, President of Flex Radio Systems. Bill and I share a number of common interests outside of amateur radio, including IT which we both have a long history in as well as how libraries work. Ed DD5LP had braces to match his orange team shirt (and new red hair). Ed’s quick-on-the-draw reactions to ham radio discussions was something that I enjoyed immensely. Chris M0TCH has been to the States for work and pleasure several times. So he drove the van. And that was both a good and safe thing. Even though I’m from the States, I had driven 12 hours up and really appreciated the break from driving. Chris was already a friend through our podcast experiences but it was a real delight to spend time with him in person.

But it would be a real contest to see whose sense of humor was best. Some dry, some loud, some witty. But all great in-person QSOs from a team that meets online every two weeks to record a podcast. We missed those Team members who could not make the trip. I truly hope we can do this again whether it’s in Xenia or across the pond. If so, look for the horde of orange shirts. They don’t bite. But they do have fun when it comes to amateur radio.

Team ICQ Podcast at Hamvention for a group photo

Travel Footage: 3Y0Z Antarctic Bouvet Island DXpedition 2018 Expedition (by EY8MM)

Here is video footage of the journey to Antarctic Bouvet Island, made by the 3Y0Z amateur ham radio team. This footage caught a few moments on the deck of M/V Betanzos.

As you can see in the last moments of this footage, the weather conditions contributed to the decision to abort the DXpedition, as it was far too dangerous to continue this expedition.

As reported by ARRL:

“Our captain has decided that it is in the best interest of safety and expediency to proceed directly to Capetown, South Africa, rather than Punta Arenas, Chile. We are now heading north to avoid the possibility of encountering ice. Currently, there is no ice in sight or on radar. In due time, we will head easterly toward Capetown. Our entire team is safe. Most are resting in their bunks and in good spirits. We will keep the amateur radio community and our families informed, as we continue our journey.”

In a huge disappointment for the DX community and the members of the 3Y0Z Bouvet Island team, the DXpedition’s leaders announced at 2000 UTC today (February 3) that a decision had been made to abort the DXpedition and head back to Chile.

“During the last 72 hours, we continued to experience the high winds, low clouds, fog and rough seas that have prevented helicopter operations since our arrival at Bouvet,” said an announcement on the 3Y0Z Bouvet Island website. “No improvement was predicted in the weather forecast for the next 4 days. Then, last night, an issue developed in one of the ship’s engines. This morning, the captain of the vessel declared it unsafe to continue with our project and aborted the DXpedition. We are now on our long voyage back to Punta Arenas. As you might imagine, the team is deeply disappointed, but safe. There is already talk about rescheduling the DXpedition.”

Bouvet Island currently is the third most-wanted DXCC entity, behind Kosovo and North Korea. The 3Y0Z DXpedition, comprised of top operators with considerable DXpedition experience, has been in the planning stages for 2 years and had attracted contributions from clubs and individuals around the world.

A dependency of Norway, Bouvet is a subantarctic island in the South Atlantic. The last Bouvet activation was 3Y0E, during a scientific expedition over the winter of 2007-2008.


Video Author: Nodir Tursun Zade, EY8MM

This copy is used BY PERMISSION from EY8MM, given in writing on 23 February 2018

Let’s Call CQ – QSO Today Episode 184 with NW7US

I got a Skype call a few weeks ago from Eric, 4Z1UG–the creator and host of the QSO Today Podcast–during which he asked me about how and why I got into amateur radio.  Here’s the result.

Eric writes,

We talk a lot about the band conditions due to the Sunspot cycle. Most of it on Facebook and other places is about how “dead” the bands are at this point. We all can’t wait until the cycle starts to rise and we will be making contacts with little effort. I remember in my conversation with Chuck Adams, K7QO in Episode 58, that he really enjoys operating is “Pigrig”, one watt, CW transceiver on 20 meters. When I asked him, (I liberally paraphrase) “but Chuck, the bands are dead. How does that work for you?”. His reply was that while most hams are listening to the bands, he calls CQ until he gets a reply. Works every time.

My QSO this week is with Tomas Hood, NW7US, who has years of expertise in propagation and Solar activity. He is the propagation editor of more than a few radio magazines and websites. In our post-recording conversation we discussed this phenomenon of listening and not calling CQ. I even had this idea that maybe one of the reasons that the digital modes are so successful is because they “beacon”, as part of the whole digital experience, the same as calling CQ. This is why they make contacts. From what I see, looking at PSK Reporter, hams are making lots of contacts worldwide using the digital modes. While SSB may not be working so well, CW and the digital modes seem to work fine.

I like to work on my bench or make the podcast while listening to the bands. Jeff Damm, WA7MLH, in Episode 177, says that he will put his keyer in CQ mode while he is working on a new radio. Invariably, sometimes after many minutes, he gets a reply. Great idea Jeff!


Eric, 4Z1UG

Episode 184 can be found here:

Highlights of Episode 184:

Tomas Hood, NW7US is the propagation editor of a number of shortwave and amateur radio magazines, and has a wide variety of websites, that grew out of his love for all things radio, and for listening on the bands to far off DX and commercial broadcast stations. Tomas shares his understanding of propagation and the lessons we can learn from listening, really listening to the QSOs and exchanges during contest operation.

All of the QSO Today episodes are great.  I enjoy hearing about many different hams.  Do check out all of the episodes that Eric has published.

73 de NW7US dit dit


ETH096 – School Club Roundup, Hamvention Update and More…Everything Ham Radio

Hello everybody! In this episode of the Everything Ham Radio Podcast, I am stuck by myself talk to yall. I unfortunately didn’t remember that I my next scheduled update was due until 4pm the day before. So I worked all afternoon, while at work, trying to figure out what I was going to talk about. When I got off work at midnight, I ran home and did my couple honey-dos and then went straight to recording the episode.

So what is in this episode?

First off, I made a mistake! Yea, I know, nobody is suppose to make mistakes right? Well, in my last episode I did. In last episode, my semi regular co-host Ian KM4IK and were talking about the big stink that was doing on with some things that the ARRL Board of Directors were going to be voting on. Neither one of us were really up to speed on the whole thing as much as we should be, but we did our best, and we even said that we weren’t. However, after the episode I did receive multiple emails saying that I said something wrong, so I corrected it in this episode.

With that out of the way, I went on to talk about an upcoming event called the School Club Roundup. It is this month only a few days away actually. The event run February 12-16, 2018. It is an event that is geared for school amateur radio clubs to get on the air and make some contacts. Even if you are not in a school club though you can still get on the air and make contact with the school clubs that are on the air and help them make the points.

After that, I moved on to Hamvention. Another correction from last episode. Well I say correction, this time it wasn’t me though. In last episode we talked about how a new building was going to be built and available by this Hamvention. However, this week, the Hamvention committee released that it wouldn’t be started on until later in the year due to a material shortage.

I wrap up the episode reading some emails that I have received over the past few weeks. The last episode of 2017, I told yall what my plans were for 2018 and asked what some of yalls were and also asked some questions about what were yalls opinions on how my show is. I got a few responses, wish I would’ve had more though.

Until Next Time Yall…

73 de Curtis, K5CLM

Kickin It With the HR360 Workbench Crew – ETH077

ETH077 - HR360 Workbench Crew

If any of yall listen to the Hamradio 360: Workbench podcast then you will know the names George and Jeremy. They are the host of that podcast and some good friends of mine. Several episodes ago they talked about some miniature data radios and some uses for them. I had some questions about it so I thought what better than to do that to come on and talk about them on an episode so that yall can hear them too.

I got all my questions answered, Thanks George!

We went on to talk about their podcast and things that they had been doing and even an upcoming show topic and then wrapped it up with their thoughts on how Hamvention was this year and what they thought about the new venue.

I think we had a great conversation and I hope yall do to.

Check out the show notes for information about the episode, links to all the items that we talked about and other information. You can also listen to the episode directly on the website or on your favorite podcast listening app.

Hamvention Is Here – ETH069

With Hamvention already on top of us, I figured I’d throw my two cents worth into the mix with everybody else’s. In this episode of the Everything Ham Radio Podcast, we talk about some of the interesting things that are going to be going on at this years Hamvention at it’s new location in Xenia, OH.

DARA teamed up with The Miami Valley Mesh Alliance (MVMA) to setup a Mesh network on channel -2 at 10 MHz bandwidth.  The SSID is AREDN-10-v3.

We talk about all of my fellow podcasters/youtubers that are there and what they have going on and where they are at.

Lastly, we discussed some of the interesting forum topics that are going on during the weekend. To listen to the episode as well as check out all the links and further information on the topic, check out the show notes at:

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