Thursday, May 17, 2012

Looking Forward to the 2012 Dayton Hamvention

It's been a little while since I've published anything to this blog, but I just wanted to talk about the Dayton Hamvention a little bit.  In less than 12 hours, I'll be heading over to Dayton, Ohio with a friend and fellow amateur radio operator to enjoy the show.  I plan on being there for most of the show on Friday and Saturday, but I won't make it over on Sunday.  The Sunday portion of the show comes to a close by 1:00pm making it not worth the 90 mile drive from Columbus.

This will be the third year that I will be using several social media tools.  I feel that the social media websites add a dimension to the show and help to increase my awareness of what's there.  Don't get me wrong:  I walk all over the Hara Arena complex, and I also walk around a fair portion of the flea market.  However, it is still possible to miss things.  Sometime in 2009, I started using the Twitter website in a general way, but it was at the 2010 Dayton Hamvention that I began to use Twitter to connect to other hams and anyone else who was interested.  I enjoyed posting pictures and tweeting the little details about various interesting items.  I remember a few people (presumably those that could not make it to the show) to check on specifications or prices.  I did so willingly, because it added to my knowledge of the particular equipment.  Last year was more of the same as I continued to use Twitter to post and to respond to requests.  This year I plan to ramp up the use of Twitter, but I also plan to use Google+ (a tool I was not using last year).  I will also use Foursquare and Facebook to a small degree.  Foursquare will be used to announce my presence at the show as that is what it is designed for, and I will use Facebook to see what some of my other amateur radio friends are saying.  As I indicated, I will ramping up my use of social media in general at the Hamvention.  This should be possible in part due to the fact that I have added a Samsung Galaxy Tab (a Verizon 3G tablet) to my arsenal.  I will be easier to type out my tweets, and it will be a spare device to my 3G cellphone.  Last year, I was struggling with the battery life on my Droid X and it was about halfway through the first day that I figured out how to temporarily turn off the data features.  Of course, while it saves the battery, it makes it more of a hassle to post things or see what is up on the web sites, since I have to turn on data each time.  This year, I should be able to keep the cellphone in its "data off" configuration, while I use the tablet for most data purposes.

Here are some of the exhibitors that I plan on checking out this year and the reason or reasons why:

  • AMSAT:  Each year they demonstrate the making of a contact through the amateur satellites.  In year's past they have used AO-51 and VO-52, but AO-51 (Echo) no longer functions, so I'm not sure what they will demo
  • AOSC:  I'll be stopping by to say hello to Tom Swisher (WA8PYR), a friend of mine 
  • ARVN:  Over the years, the Amateur Radio/Video News has shot video during the Hamvention and others events and subsequently sold the videos on DVD.  I'm planning to stop by to see what they are shooting and what they are selling
  • ARRL:  I'll mainly be stopping by the American Radio Relay League area to purchase a Field Day T-shirt, and a pin, but also to purchase a couple of desktop edition repeater directories.  I'll probably visit this area for a while and check out their various displays, including the Volunteer Examiner area.
  • Argent Data Systems and Byonics:  If I'm not mistaken, these companies sell APRS trackers and other gadgets.  I want to see what new things they have to offer
  • Begali:  I know that Begali has introduced at least two new keys/paddles in the past year.  I want to check them out
  • Buddipole:  I'm pretty well set for Buddipole equipment, but I'm still interested in how I can make 6-meter and 2-meter beams
  • DC Power LLC and Radio Works Inc:  If I am not wrong, both of these companies sell DC power accessories.  I will need to install an Icom mobile in my 2011 Ford Escape.  If a new Icom power cord is not long enough, I may need to run a longer cable and at a larger gauge
  • DX Engineering:  At some point, I may decide to set up an outdoor vertical antenna that can work 80m through 10m.  I know that they sell a number of vertical antennas
  • EZ Hang:  I believe that this is the company that sells slingshot systems for launching wire antennas into trees.  Field Day is coming up soon.
  • Feld Hell Club:  I'm still trying to figure out where they will be located, but I've exchanged tweets with someone who says they will be operating a special event station.  I've operated the Feld Hell mode a couple of times, so it should be an interesting demonstration
  • Flexradio Systems:  I'll admit that their new advertisement has enticed me.  Apparently they have a new radio to debut
  • Ham Radio Deluxe/W4PC Software:  Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) was recently sold to W4PC Software.  Since HRD is my digital-mode application of choice, I plan to stop by and possibly learn a few things.
  • Icom:  It would not surprise me if Icom had a new radio to show off, but I'm also interested in the ID-31A, and the ID-80A.  Both of the latter radios are handie-talkies that are D-Star compatible.  Besides, I'm helping my friend, Jonnie (KD8BUP), get into D-Star
  • Kenwood:  I would stop by Kenwood anyway, but they will be displaying a prototype of their new high-end TS-990S HF/6m rig, and I just have to check it out.
  • OARC:  The Ohio Area Repeater Council will probably have some new Ohio repeater directories for sale for a nominal price.  I may pick up a couple.
  • Palstar:  At some point, I will probably purchase the HF-Auto tuner to replace my Palstar AT2K tuner, so I will definitely be examining this tuner closely, but I also have a question about my existing AT2K tuner.  From some reading on the web, it appears that the AT2K uses an LED for the meter's backlight.  Perhaps that is for new models, because my backlight no longer functions and I suspect it uses an incandescent bulb.  I want to find out if there is a retrofit for my tuner.
  • QRPARCI:  I've operated QRP a few times, particular with the digital modes, so the aspect of low-power operating intrigues me.  I am a member of the QRP Amateur Radio Club International, so I'm planning to stop by and say hello, and see what they have to sell
  • RF Space:  RF-Space manufactures several software defined receivers.  I definitely want to see what they have to offer
  • RigExpert:  I have one of their antenna analyzers, but that doesn't stop me from wanted to see what else they have.
  • SuperAntenna:  I've seen YouTube videos of people using this portable antenna for operating from the field.  I want to see what these antennas are alll about
  • TAPR:  Mainly I will stop by the Tucson Amateur Packet Radio exhibit to renew my membership, but I will also be checking to see what projects are popular these days.  I'll admit that I haven't kept up with their work.
  • Telepost:  Telepost has a station monitor (think, oscilloscope) accessory that I would really love to add to my station.  I'm not sure if it is for sale yet, but I want to check it out
  • Tokyo Hi-Power:  This company manufactures a number of linear amplifiers, and I believe that they are all solid-state.  I'm interested in their VHF amplifiers 
  • Winradio:  At some point, I would like to add a computer-controlled Winradio receiver to my station to listen to shortwave broadcasts, including the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) ones
  • Yaesu:  Just like Kenwood, Yaesu is an exhibit that I would stop at anyway, but this year they have a new handie-talkie, the FT-1D.  It apparently is an analog and digital mode radio, but they haven't mentioned what digital mode or modes it uses.  Some have speculated that it uses APCO25.  And, just today I learned that Yaesu has a new HF/6m rig which carries the model number of FTdx-3000.  Apparently it is a radio for someone on a budget, but still offers high performance.  I'll have to see what that's about.
    I hope you enjoy the Dayton Hamvention as much as I do, and I've you can't attend, I hope that you enjoy the "coverage" that I provide.

    Ned, N8OIF

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