No More Hara
The news just came crashing down from the ARRL that the 2016 Dayton Hamvention would be the last to be held in the Hara Arena. The home of the Dayton Hamvention since 1964 is closing. Hamvention 2017 will be held at a new, yet-to-be-disclosed location in the Dayton area.
I wish I could share with all my readers all the wonderful memories I have of Hara Arena. But unfortunately, this was something I kept putting off year after year after year. This is really unfortunate for me, as I am one who truly appreciates most of the history behind our hobby.
But oh well, right? We live….we learn…we endeavor to not repeat the errors of our ways.
Is there a silver lining in all this? As the news regarding Hara Arena began to surface on Twitter. I had to chuckle a the following tweet “Forget “no code” hams. We will soon complain about “no Hara” hams!” T-Shirts are already available to help drive this fact home.
Well…one thing is for sure. The 2017 Dayton Hamvention will most certainly be an event none of us will want to miss. While I may have missed out on being able to say I went to the Hamvention at Hara. I certainly don’t want to miss out on saying I attended the first Hamvention at the new venue.
Well I really didn’t intend to release two blog postings today. Again I wish I had lots of memories to share about Hara. But I’m sure many other amateur radio bloggers will fill in the gap soon enough.
I hope to see you in 2017 in Dayton at the Hamvention in the yet-to-be-disclosed location.
Until next time…
73 de Jerry (KDØBIK)
As a ham of 24 years, I have never been out there either. I had debated going this year, but my SO couldn’t take off. So I put it off. Oh well. Like everything else in ham radio, Hamvention is now evolving as well.
Yes, Hara was a remarkable piece of Amateur Radio history. I truly believe that without Dayton, the industry would not have grown as fast nor as solid.
Many new products were conceived, prototyped and brought to Dayton over the years. Manufacturers could reach a vast majority of customers in just three days to get instant response to guide many new products.
My first HamVention was in 1959. Invited by Bob Drake, who called and asked if I could come talk about how I had built my KW VHF SSB station. Hey, I
was a 19 year old kid from Marissa, Illinois, VHF ’ nut’ that never listened below 50 mc during that huge sun spot cycle and was one of the countries first 10 on VHF SSB with a Johnson Thunderbolt driven by my 10B kit that I had built from a kit. I built the Tony Vitale 36 mc oscillator in a box, plugged it into the crystal socket with a rewired plug in coil at 50 mc. My great mentor K0DGE, CBS engineer at KMOX guided me through this project. Bob Drake heard about it, invited me and I was off to Dayton to the Biltmore hotel in downtown Dayton. 600 people were in attendance. I was stunned by all of the great people that I had only read about and here they were in the different rooms promoting their products and new technologies. The furniture was removed from most rooms on one of the floors and the various manufacturers were in each of their respective rooms. The Drake room with Bob Drake, Carl Mosley antenna room, Hallicrafters founder Bill Halligan, E.F. Johnson, a group from Collins – and the Central Electronics room with Wes Schum, etc. I gave a presentation of what Larry had taught me and how it all worked, etc. Scared to death of course…..but It was something I have remembered for these past 57 years. Truly what the Dayton Hamvention was all about. Sharing ideas and enjoying seeing new equipment.
In 1964, DARA moved to the brand new HARA arena. My first visit to the new HARA arena was not the Hamvention but in 1974 I was on tour providing the sound systems with the Who, Humble pie, J Geils and several other groups that
appeared at Hara Arena. There was a picture – and I should have took it off the wall last May – of Pete Townshend in one of his famous ‘windmill’ gyros taken during the WHO concert we did that was hung on a wall of the bar up in front of the arena. Amateur Radio was not in my thoughts at that time as I was off the air and really focused on our concert sound business. I returned to Hara in 1979 or so selling parts from our closed out concert sound division. That visit primed me to get into the ham radio market… and you know the rest of this story. Heil Sound has been in the same spot since 1980 in what HARA named ‘Audio Alley’ . Been there every consecutive year since.
Will I miss it. Absolutely. Will I be happy to never return. Absolutely. The black mold in ceiling that would continue to fall each year, the rusted shut fire doors and the absolute horrible rest room conditions will definitely never be missed. I am happy to see the end of the building.
Chapter 3 of the Dayton Hamvention will be ‘interesting’. Biltmore hotel, Hara Arena and…..? Never ever be the same.
BOB HEIL, K9EID
Dayton & Hara – Ugh. You didn’t miss much Jerry, unless you needed a lesson on what Not to do when planning an event.
I used to attend the Dayton Hamvention when I lived in Ohio, just because it was close. Once I moved out of state, wild horses couldn’t drag me back there unless they moved out of Hara. Now that day may be coming 🙂