Tag Archives: hamvention
Oh crap, that probably sounds bad. Ah well.
So my first find was a key. It's nice, heavy, and probably has a history, which I added "purchased for $35 by KE8P" to.
I found this. For $165. Like any normal ham that likes to push buttons and turn knobs, I turned it on, just to be greeted with it flashing "LOW VOLTAGE 6.5V". I figured that was a sign that it probably works.
And when I got it home, I found these in it. Ten Energizer rechargeable batteries.
So I removed the batteries and plugged in a wall wart. I was greeted with "VOLTAGE OK 15V" and something like the display in the picture above. I did check my dummy load, it claims it is around 50 ohms at 1-1.3 SWR. Guess it works!
Also included were these. They are coils to use the analyzer as a dip meter. I didn't really need these, as I built one (they're really quite simple). My built version worked quite well for the coax traps on my attic trap dipole.
So I did try it with my HF and 2m antennas...
The third purchase was a case for my SoftRock
The last thing I got was some fiberglass mast. I didn't take a picture of that.
I didn't take as many pics as last year, but I did take some...
This year is different from any of the past two years I've gone to Dayton. The first year I went to Dayton, I wanted a simple HF rig and knew my budget only supported something like a Radio Shack HTX-100. I bought two for $45. I also bought a power supply for it (an Astron RS-12).
Last year, I was looking for an LDG tuner for my IC-706. Found one for $85. I'm not even sure I bought anything else.
This year, my tastes are hopefully smaller.
- A nice straight key... for a damn good price
- The ARRL CW book that just came out... if it is a damn good price
- Some air variable caps... I could use some smaller ones as well as some matching pairs for matching antennas
- Maybe some tubes (for both a linear and potentially for a guitar amp for my brother-in-law)
- Probably some other parts
Dayton's Friday through Sunday, and this blog post wouldn't be complete without a list of what will be in my bag.
- An umbrella (maybe my raincoat)
- A small notepad and pen
- A small bag of snacks (last year, it was goldfish crackers)
- My HT and headset
- A backup battery for my phone
- A bottle of water (disposable)
- A towel (small)
Things I know I will buy:
- A beer
Things I know I will get:
- Another Dayton Pin
- A Yaesu hat (if they have them)
Things to keep in the Truck
- A bath towel... rain is expected!
- A small cooler with ice and a few bottles of water
Last year, there was a guy from Linux in the Hamshack. If he's there again, I may give them a donation since they did direct some traffic to my website (and that was totally unsolicited). I listen to their show far too seldom, and it is an interesting show.
Last year, I tried to make it a point to make it to some of the forums. This year I might, but probably not as much - I tried to attend the microcontrollers forum last year, there were no seats available in the oven... er, room... when I got there.
Rather than drone on about crap (literally), or new products, I figured I'd talk about what I did at the Hamvention.
My impression was just being shocked by the number of people in such a large space. The last hamfest I was at was in 2002, and there were fewer people there than at the Icom booth at Hamvention. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but the point is made.
I originally wanted to hit four forums. I actually hit two: propagation and techniques of the best operators. They were interesting. I got there too late for 10 reasons to QRP (I already had the most important reason, and that was because I can't afford something better!). I decided not to stay in the room for kitbuilding.
Most of my day was spent looking around the flea market. I really wanted to bring home an HF rig. After an hour or two of looking, I saw a lot of prices outside my price range, and then saw a table with a stack of two Radio Shack 10m rigs. $45 for both, one works one for parts. I couldn't resist.
With the two rigs stuffed in my backpack, I called my wife and asked her to do some research for me. I need a power supply, since I have no intention of operating HF mobile (and I don't think my truck can power an additional rig). She looked up the power specs and I set out in search of lunch and a power supply.
...well, power supply now, lunch later. Those are some long lunch lines.
So, I made my way around the rest of the flea market, finding a power supply for $30. Into the backpack. Those things are HEAVY.
By this time, I did stop for lunch and got into a conversation with a ham from Syracuse (I think) and originally from Minnesota. He told me about his antenna - a dipole attached to his deck eaves, something I will likely imitate once I build a deck.
Upon more looking around (and some of this, I don't know when I saw it), I did see a cool quad antenna made with PVC (another design I will likely imitate, since I need a decent antenna for 10m now).
I also walked off with a hamstick for 10m and a handful of connectors and antenna insulators.
When I got home, I began testing things, and even though I was in less than perfect testing conditions (if you saw the wire I was using for power, you'd understand that less than perfect part). One of the rigs worked fine. The other turns on but has no display. I haven't diagnosed it, but when I get around to it, I plan on checking it against the known mods for the HTX-100, since the speaker lines were desoldered (not cut or ripped).
So now I have the Milford Hamfest to look forward to next month.
I am about to take my very first trip to the Dayton Hamvention (which is pretty bad, considering I live around an hour south of Dayton). Since I've been off the air so long, I thought I'd take in some of the forums and maybe learn a thing or two.
The forum schedule is difficult for me to really look at and use when you look at the web version - it is a PDF sorted by day, then room, then time, so it is difficult to see when each forum is going on (and easy to think that you could go to two... until you realize both are in overlapping times).
So I went to Google Docs and converted the schedule to something that looks a little more like a television listing. You can see it here. I hope it helps others out.