Dayton Hamvention 2014

As difficult as it might seem, this year was my “first” trip to the Dayton Hamvention. No excuses….just sayin; but during my working life at the paint store, I seldom had a weekend “off”, and it’s a six hour (minimum) round tip from Charleston.

Our club member Eric (AC8LJ) needed to make the trip on Friday (up and back) due to work obligations, and asked me to ride along with him. It was a long day, but a very rewarding one.

What caught my eyes while there? —Being a “Morse Code” buff, the popular attractions for me were, of course, QRP radios and “keys”. My mission at the event was to see “first hand” everything to do with this part of the hobby. Needless to say, the vendors I liked were Elecraft, TenTec, and Hendricks. On the “key” side, were Vibroplex, Begali, and Kent.

Before the return trip to Charleston, I had a new “Vibroplex Straight Key” in my knapsack. 
My focus in radio is very narrow, but personally, I found the QRP and CW vendors to be the busiest people at the hamvention and, Morse Code keys are cherished items for us. There’s nothing like the opportunity to actually get the “feel” of a great “quality” key “in your hand”. 
Although I didn’t get the opportunity to chat with a few of the legends in the  Ham Radio hobby, it was wonderful to see them at this event. In this day of the internet, I enjoy watching (and listening) to several ham radio shows on the web. 
Ted Randall (WB8PUM) with “QSO Radio” was broadcasting “live” from the Hamvention, as well as Bob Heil (K9EIDfrom “Ham Nation“. Gordon West (WB6NOA) was also there with all of the great material he’s known for all over the world.

The ARRL was out in full force here with an assortment of information, testing, and forums. I particularly enjoyed talking to the “Boy Scout” group. West Virginia is home of the upcoming “World Jamboree“. Although I couldn’t work them, (after returning home) their “Special Event Station” was a popular attraction.

The Hamvention trip was a success for me. I saw what was interesting to me, although only a small segment of the hobby. A QRP CW operator can never have “too many keys”. My new Vibroplex Straight Key is my “fourth” from this company. One can never have too many keys……

John Smithson, Jr., N8ZYA, is a regular contributor to and writes from West Virginia, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

One Response to “Dayton Hamvention 2014”

  • wb5b/w1kgz:

    i was a ham for 45 years before my 1st Dayton, it’s like peanuts, it will be difficult to only go once. 73 dick wb5b

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