Dayton 2013 Recap


Some good planning on Sarah’s part yielded a bridal shower for her sister scheduled on the same weekend as the Hamvention.  Huge win.

  1. Speaking of huge wins, there was no sewer back up this year.
  2. Like the last time I attended in 2011, I’m pleased to see more younger (than me) hams in attendance.  A high-ranking ARRL official noted to me the “energy and enthusiasm” present in this generation of young hams that was not present 15 years ago (this year marks my 20th year as a ham, but I didn’t mention that).  Attendance was still thin compared to my first visit in the mid 1990s.
  3. Deals.  I stimulated the economy by purchasing a small CDE rotor for my VHF activities, an HP server power supply for a future solid state amplifier project (>55 amps at 50 volts), a couple of 900-MHz antennas, and some miscellaneous small parts.  I sold some junk to partially cover that expense.
  4. People.  Ran into a lot of old friends and made some new ones.  This is really why I go to Dayton, well, that and the junk.  K8MFO tells me there are Bureau cards coming.  W8AV has 930s for me to work on.  W2NAF had people for me to meet.  AD8P was able to win himself a pizza from an unnamed W5 in the “SB-200 challenge” of correctly differentiating an SB-200 from an SB-220 at a distance of 20 feet—a tribute to the W5′s failure to distinguish the two until after the sale last year.
  5. W2NAF has written an article about our trip to Adak (NA-039) that was published in the June 2013 issue of CQ.  It has a lot more background detail than what I wrote on the blog.  Check it out.  I picked up a copy of that and the May 2013 issue which has the 2012 CQ WW CW results in it.
  6. Products.  I just don’t care that much about new products.  The Ten-Tec Rebel that several people have already discussed is a cool idea.  I know that Ten-Tec took some flak for not opening up the Orion SDR core when they produced it.  But, let’s be realistic, people.  Hams would have bricked those suckers in a heartbeat.  A sandbox “open source” radio is a step in the right direction, but I question what a ham can really customize that matters without screwing it up.  Maybe I’m just not visionary enough.  Almost 10 years ago now, I interned in the R&D lab at a large consumer appliance manufacturer as an undergraduate my supervisor was always saying, “How can we make this attractive to the [hardware] hackers?”
  7. Guns.  The Hamvention web site was very specific that the Trotwood Police Department would be actively enforcing Hara Arena as a non-gun zone.  Seriously?  It’s a ham radio convention.  Bill Goodman is there at least once a month the rest of the year.  Do hams bring their go-kits to gun shows?  They must.  Inquiring minds want to know…
  8. Suites.  I did not do the contester suite thing.  Was thinking of going on Friday night but fell asleep in my in-laws’ living room.  This is a recurring problem when I visit so no one bothered to awaken me.

Was the trip worthwhile?  I think so.

Ethan Miller, K8GU, is a regular contributor to and writes from Maryland, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

9 Responses to “Dayton 2013 Recap”

  • Bill - WA8MEA:

    Well, I was not at Dayton this year because I was in Fort Wayne attending my daughter-in-law’s college gradation and my son’s graduate school graduation. Our hotel was a Holiday Inn across the street from where my daughter-in-law’s graduation ceremony was held, and many hamfests are held: The Fort Wayne Colosseum.

    Saturday and Sunday a gun show was taking place at the Colosseum. It was great to see so many Second Amendment supporters backed up on a six lane highway, waiting to park at the Colosseum parking lot! No “gun free” zone there!

    Now had I chosen to walk across the street and visit the gun show, which I really wanted to do but did not have the time, I would have taken my HT inside the facility. I don’t believe it was a “ham free zone”. (Better known as a – “First Amendment Restricted Zone”….)

    An ambulance headed over to the gun show. People in the hotel lobby were cracking jokes about a possible shooting at the gun show. I responded with a quick quip that it was probably a massive heart attack victim after seeing the high price of ammo, thanks to our government snatching it up en masse.

  • Bill - WA8MEA:

    Oh! I wanted to respond to the young people topic!

    Bill Cosby once said that the reason why grandparents and grandchildren get along so well is because they share a common enemy. This is why children often do not follow in parents footsteps….it just ain’t cool. (BTW, if you ever want to get your kid to stop doing something stupid, just do it yourself. I have listened to rap music and dyed my hair orange just to get that crap stopped in my household.)

    I have five sons, all of whom show no interest in ham radio. HOWEVER, ham radio looks really cool to grandson Caleb!

  • Matt W1MST:

    “(BTW, if you ever want to get your kid to stop doing something stupid, just do it yourself. I have listened to rap music and dyed my hair orange just to get that crap stopped in my household.)”

    That’s the best idea I’ve heard all week!

  • k8gu:

    hi Bill and thanks for the comments. I guess my mystification about the gun ban was sort of two-fold: 1. There is a gun show at Hara at least quarterly, so obviously the rules do not apply all the time. 2. And that they made such a big deal about it. Someone must have complained.

    Regarding kids, my son is just starting to want to do everything that Daddy and Mommy do. So, I have a few years before the rebellion! I would argue that there is more truly cool, innovative, and accessible going on in ham radio now than there was in the early 1990s when I got started.

  • Kyle N4NSS:

    It is sad that people don’t understand there is a problem with “Gun free Zones”, they usually are victim to gun violence instead.

  • Joe KB3PHL:

    You hit the nail right on the head about rap, just put a big C in front of it & you got CRAP!

  • Old school rap was homebrew music, and was actually pretty good from an artistic point of view. Kids didn’t have enough money to buy a lot of music, so at block parties they would take parts of existing records, repeat the bass line or some catchy riff, and rap over it. A lot of old school rap had samples from old jazz and funk albums, which came from their parents’ collections. You see a lot of samples from James Brown because of this. That DIY aspect and the link back to past music disappeared in rap around 1996 when went to hell due to rampant commercialization, in my opinion. So, I wouldn’t put all rap in one bucket.

  • Bill - WA8MEA:

    You know who actually turned rap into a pop thing??? Debra Harry of Blondie fame, with her tune “Rap-ture”….

  • I tend to view her and that song as being more underground punk, however she definitely went into new territory. I’d give credit to RunDMC and Beastie Boys. And then there’s Sugar Hill Gang which you still hear played at wedding receptions 🙂

Leave a Comment

Subscribe FREE to's
Amateur Radio Newsletter
News, Opinion, Giveaways & More!

Join over 7,000 subscribers!
We never share your e-mail address.

Also available via RSS feed, Twitter, and Facebook.

Subscribe FREE to's
Amateur Radio Newsletter

We never share your e-mail address.

Do you like to write?
Interesting project to share?
Helpful tips and ideas for other hams?

Submit an article and we will review it for publication on!

Have a ham radio product or service?
Consider advertising on our site.

Are you a reporter covering ham radio?
Find ham radio experts for your story.

How to Set Up a Ham Radio Blog
Get started in less than 15 minutes!

  • Matt W1MST, Managing Editor

Sign up for our free
Amateur Radio Newsletter

Enter your e-mail address: