Dayton 2016

Another year, another Dayton in the history books.  This was my third Hamvention trek, but this year was a bit different for me as I attended with my girlfriend.  She somehow coaxed me into it, despite my concerns she would be bored out of her mind.  However, we both had a great time.


Happy Hamventioners

I didn’t take as many pictures this year.  At times I felt I could have recycled photos from the last two years and no one would notice.  But there were some new sights to see….




Yaesu was handing out truckloads of free “Yaesu 60th Anniversary” hats and other logo-adorned swag as usual.  I was tempted to alter a hat to say “Yaesu FT-817 60th Anniversary” as the long-in-the-tooth rig continues to be offered with no modern update in sight.  Ride that pony, Yaesu.  As Jeff KE9V reported, no, the FT-891 is not an 817 replacement.  It’s not an FT-897 replacement, either, so don’t ask.  The FT-817 continues to be the Keith Richards of amateur radio rigs.



Required Equipment in Hara Arena Bathrooms

The Kenwood booth actually had visitors in contrast with last year when there were more tumbleweeds than attendees.  Their newly announced super duper digital VHF/UHF rig undoubtedly attracted inquiries, though shame on their product line management people for not having it ready to sell at Dayton.  In Kenwood’s defense, Yaesu’s new FT-891 wasn’t available for purchase, either.


When All Else Fails, Make a Daiquiri 


The crazy rig-selling train known as Elecraft continues barreling down the track.  As everyone is undoubtedly well aware now, they released the KX2 at the Hamvention.  No, this isn’t an X-rated version of the K2, or two K1s merged together, it’s a smaller KX3 without 6 meters or 2 meter add-on capability.  This rig could have been a Yaesu FT-817 killer if it had VHF and UHF capability and reasonable pricing.  2 meter capability especially would have made sense to include considering this rig has the size and essentially the form factor of an HT.  No doubt Elecraft will sell a ton of these rigs, but then again if they released a new version of the K1 packaged in a 55 gallon drum, they would sell them by the dump truck load.

I question how much longer Elecraft can keep up this sales momentum which I often feel is fueled by unreasonable customer loyalty.  (Full disclosure: I own three Elecraft rigs.)  Last year’s big announcement was the K3S, an improved K3, which teed off new K3 owners. This year’s release was a repackaged KX3.  Elecraft seems to be innovating less and recycling products more.



Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto


I’m pleased to report there was a robot competition area and a local Makerspace representative booth.  It’s good to see more Maker-oriented vendors and displays, which is really going to be the key to growing amateur radio after our older amateurs go silent key in the next decade.  Hamvention folks, please, keep increasing this type of content.



Mendelson’s Flea Market Tent Family Planning Center

The flea market appeared to be the same size, with many long standing attendees selling the same junk, I mean, classic wares.  I think there were less amplifiers for sale this year.  That’s just a gut feeling, but I seem to recall many more amps last year.  The same goes for rigs.


No Hamvention report would be complete without mentioning the condition of Hara Arena.  Yes, good old Hara Arena.  This is the final year for Hara.  Seriously.  I’m going on record and predicting it now.  Really.  This is it.  Seriously.  Last year’s announced multi-million dollar renovation plan fell through.  I can’t imagine the facility can continue operating in its ever-worsening condition as it’s become a human safety nightmare that would cause any sane insurance company underwriter to run away screaming like their hair was on fire.  Expect something to happen prior to the next Hamvention, either the occupancy permit being revoked, or the building turning into a pile a rubble on its own or by wrecking ball.  Last year.  Trust me.  That being said, I left late afternoon Saturday sadly waving bye to Hara Arena thinking this may be the last year, like I was losing a dying friend.  But the Hamvention is not Hara Arena, and Hara is not the Hamvention.

Anthony, K3NG, is a regular contributor to

11 Responses to “Dayton 2016”

  • Goody K3NG:

    You’re welcome to publish a more exciting article about your Dayton visit.

  • KG4ZAR Larry:

    Anthony you evaluation of Dayton rings true in comparison to the reports I got from several Kentucky/Indiana area hams. Most disheartening is that almost every new/young ham or first-time Dayton visitors impression of the event was less than pleasant. Most stated no interest in going a second time at that venue. It’s obvious that DARA and HARA both need serious help.

  • Rob KC5RET:

    Thanks for taking the time to visit and post your review, Anthony. I’m still going to go next year for my first time and I’ll be taking my girlfriend. I figure if she stays with me after a day at Dayton, she’ll be around until I run her off.

    As far ke4kto is concerned, I didn’t see a report from you. Guess your mom didn’t teach you the part about if you have nothing nice to say…

    Again Anthony, thanks for your report.

    73, Rob, KC5RET

  • Goody K3NG:

    Hi Rob. I would definitely encourage you and everyone to attend Dayton, regardless of the venue. It’s a great experience and we need to continue to support what is the largest gathering of radio amateurs in the world, and make it worthwhile for the vendors as well.

    And, yes, a girlfriend who goes to Dayton with you is a keeper 🙂


  • Ve3gb:

    This was my 25th Hamvention.
    Loved your photographic perspective.
    Should have include pictures of some of the things that need attention (washrooms, etc.)
    73, Gord

  • Colin GM4JPZ:

    Thanks for writing the report, Goody. Our CB friend KE4KTO needs to learn some elementary manners as well as the amateur radio way of doing things.

  • Goody K3NG:

    I should add that despite rhyming, DARA is not Hara. I have it from a reliable source that DARA is in good shape, they’re well aware of the issues with Hara, and they are working on options. We shouldn’t let the condition of Hara Arena taint DARA or the Hamvention. The Hamvention has remained at Hara all these years for financial and logistical reasons. I sense that the worsening condition of Hara and the renovation project that went into the ditch is presenting challenges that now outweigh any benefits Hara Arena historically had. We need to continue to support DARA.

  • N3LPJ:

    I agree the Hara Arena needs to be replaced and soon. My experience was all good. We went Fri. and Sat.
    The flea market was bigger than it has been in the last 4 years. Inside was about what you would expect, good. There was a lot of people both days and talking to them, everyone was enjoying themselves.
    I spent more money than I should have, almost all outside.
    My brother(KC3HEV) and I have gone the last 4 years. Two friends from our club (Tom AA3EY and Darwin WD4GXT) came along with us for the first time. Everyone wants to come back next year.
    The breakfasts and dinners we had were very good also and the beer was good too (dinner hi hi).
    It was definitely worth the 8 hours it takes to get there.
    Wherever it is next year we will go again.
    73, Lee

  • Goody K3NG:

    We had some really good meals as well. That was a good side effect of bringing my girlfriend; I was motivated to seek out good places to eat. We also hit Studio 75 Saturday evening. It’s a huge arcade, not far from the hotels in Trotwood. We rode golf charts and played laser tag. I got quite a rush from both. I have half a mind to see if I could organize a ham laser tag get-together next year at Dayton.

  • Goody K3NG:

    That should have read “go karts” not “golf carts”. You don’t get much of a rush from golf carts.

  • Basil:

    CBer John is a dick.

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