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.
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.
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!
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.
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.