Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Dayton Hamvention visit part 1

This was my eighth visit to Dayton. For the first time I flew directly to Dayton ( via Newark) rather than via Dallas and a long drive!
After a 2.5 hour delay at Heathrow I arrived at Newark to be met by a 1hour immigration queue and the surliest immigration officer I have met in over 20 years of regular visits to the USA!
I then arrive at the United Express Jet gate for Dayton to within one minute of the scheduled departure time..........only to find out, to my relief that the flight had been delayed by "59 minutes". In fact it was delayed 1.5 hours. So I arrived at Dayton an hour and a half late. Fortunately, I had been able to call WA5VJB on his cellphone and let him know about the delay. At the airport I used 146.54MHz FM to call Kent and we met up at his minivan.

Although late, Kent whisked me off a few miles to the SE VHF Group dinner at a local BBQ restaurant. It was good to see so many old friends again, from across the VHF spectrum. I didn't get any photos at this event.

After the meal we set off for our accommodation at the University of Dayton.
Photo 1 shows Kent's minivan in the car park outside the Kettering Halls of Residence at UoD. Note that the students had already completed their educational year, so the Uni was pretty quiet apart from all the radio amateurs who were staying there.

Photo 2 shows the outside of the building.

The student accommodation consisted of a dorm with two bedrooms, lounge/study, bathroom, toilet and shower. All pretty basic but low cost, so acceptable!

Thursday morning dawned foggy, but warm. I really was surprised when I ventured outside and found that it was well into the 60s F in spite of what I expected to be cold weather.

After stopping at the local United Farmers Dairy to grab a coffee and Donut it was off to the Hara Arena in Trotwood. Trotwood is on the north side of Dayton whilst the UoD is on the south side. We took the I75 north to avoid going through Dayton. I am always amused to see that we pass through the evocatively named Dayton suburb of Shiloh on our way to the arena.

At the arena we joined the queue to enter the site. Flashing our badges we were straight in and round to the pitch booked for the North Texas Microwave Society ( NTMS). Pitches 2765 to 2768. Shown here in photo 3

Fortunately the fog cleared by lunchtime and it warmed up into the 80sF. I have to admit it was getting a bit warm for me and I hadn't put my hat on so I burnt the top of my head........

Photo 4 shows the fog on Thursday morning.

I spent a lot of time helping Kent set up the stand and selling items from Kent's extensive offerings. in fact just about all of Kent's test equipment items were sold in the first hour after opening. It was probably priced too low.
We shared the pitch with Rich Osman, also from Dallas. Rich had a lot of components etc to sell.

After a good walk around the flea market that took a few hours I had covered about 10% of what was on offer and had yet to go inside the many halls.
I found it more comfortable inside, with air conditioning, during the warm afternoon.

Two views inside the halls.

Friday finished with Kent and I going to the Weak Signal Banquet, held at the Dayton Grand Hotel in downtown Dayton. There is a story about how we got there, but that is for another day!

My thanks to Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, who kindly paid my entrance fee. I owe you, Brian.

This annual banquet is one of the highlights of Dayton for me and many other visitors to the Hamvention.
After dinner the speaker was Jeff Klein, K1TEO, VHF contester extraordinaire!

Jeff explained all about his VHF site in Trumbull, Connecticut and his description of his station, operating technique etc was quite enthralling.

After Jeff's talk we had the contest trophy presentations from John, K9JK.

The next photo shows one of the plaques, this one awarded to the K9NS contest group as winners of the 2012 USA multi operator contest.

After the presentations it was time for the prize draw and with over $5000 worth of prizes on offer, this was a much anticipated part of the dinner.

I'm sorry to say I didn't win anything. I did contribute one of the prizes. Kent won a rather nice Bengali key. The top prize was a Yaesu transceiver.

As we left the Dayton Grand it was pouring with rain. This was a sign of things to come!

In part two I will cover Saturday and Sunday and the trip home. If you can stand the suspense!

73 de Sam

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