A Hamvention Summary: ARRL Celebrates its Centennial at Dayton
Dayton Hamvention 2014 already was a Regional ARRL Centennial Event, but May 18 — Hamvention’s last day — was the 100th anniversary of the League’s founding. A birthday party and free cake helped to draw a room-filling crowd of 200 or more for the Sunday morning occasion. ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, told the gathering, “The Second Century is up to us,” and expressed the hope that in another 100 years, the Amateur Radio community would reflect on the League’s first century with respect and admiration.
“The weather was not so hot, but the atmosphere at Hamvention was as warm as ever,” Craigie observed post-Dayton. “People were in a buying mood, both at the ARRL Expo and at the Hamvention in general. I talked to several vendors who were quite pleased.”
Good Cheer Prevailed. Good Weather? Not so Much
Hara Arena was shrouded in fog as Hamvention opened on Friday, and cool, rainy weather — including some hail — prevailed initially, but by Saturday afternoon, the weather turned clear and brisk. While attendance numbers won’t be available for a few weeks, some observers said the crowd seemed to be about the same size as last year’s — which was about 24,500. Others said the crowd seemed to thin more rapidly than in past years.
“People were thrilled to be there,” said QST Managing Editor Becky Schoenfeld, W1BXY, “happy to be seeing old friends and making new ones, excited about seeing new gear, and, of course, seeing what kinds of free goodies they could pick up.”
Opening day saw a great deal of activity for exhibitors and attendees alike. Crowd estimates notwithstanding, traffic was excellent at the ARRL Expo. Centennial coins remained a popular item, and some visitors expressed their appreciation to the ARRL when they stopped by. “The coins were bestowed with a warm handshake and a message of thanks for supporting the League for the past 100 years, and into the Second Century,” Schoenfeld said. The ARRL contingent brought 10,000 of the coins to Dayton and gave all of them away. The white-coated denizens of the ARRL Lab booth, which offered free radio testing, checked out 230 devices. Volunteers at the Scouting booth in the ARRL Expo reported a steady flow of visitors.
This year, the League Store switched to checkout via iPad; people paying by credit card got to sign with their finger, which many found fun and cutting-edge. This year’s top seller was the 2014 ARRL Field Day shirt, which booth workers wore on Saturday, possibly contributing to sales. Other hot items were Travel Plus and the softcover edition of the ARRL’s 2014 Handbook. The League received more than 1000 applications for memberships and renewals at the show, including eight Life Member applications.
Equipment dealers did well by most accounts. Several major manufacturers mentioned that sales were going very well, for both in-stock items and on-order items. One smaller vendor reported that sales were four times greater than last year’s.
New products seen at Hamvention included the TEN-TEC Patriot, Model 507, a dual-band (20 and 40 meters) SSB/CW QRP transceiver that modifies easily for custom applications. It runs on a Uno32 microprocessor, and uses Arduino-compatible software. Yaesu’s new offering, the DR-1X repeater, a follow-on to the DR-1 that was beta-tested last year. FlexRadio debuted its Flex-6300, a software-defined radio for 160 through 6 meters. Other new products included the TeleSense remote site monitoring system from Sierra Radio Systems; it offers station, repeater, and site monitoring via a web or cell phone interface. Hendricks QRP Kits had its new MBDC multiband CW transceiver on display.
SRO at ARRL Forums
Two Saturday ARRL forums — “Getting Started With Antenna Modeling,” by Ward Silver, N0AX, and a second showing of “ARRL at 100: A Century of Ham Radio” — were standing room only. The Hamvention Youth Forum drew about 70 attendees of all ages and featured presentations by young hams, as well as door prizes donated by major manufacturers.
Silver returned to the speaker’s podium Saturday afternoon for “Impedance Matching 101,” which drew a capacity crowd. The popular ARRL Member Forum began with the awarding of the 2014 William R. Goldfarb Memorial scholarship to Padraig Lysandrou, KC9UUS. After that, attorney Fred Hopengarten, K1VR, spoke on “Amateur Radio and the Law,” followed by an address from President Craigie. She covered a range of topics, including the ARRL Centennial Convention, Centennial operating events, and the Second Century Campaign.
Gino Mollica, KA8YPZ, of Mansfield, Ohio, won an ARRL drawing for $200 of ARRL Publications.
Craigie said visitors were especially enthusiastic about the ARRL Centennial operating events — the W1AW/x portable operations and the associated Centennial QSO Party. “I shook hands with many hams whom I’ve worked in the QSO Party, and just this afternoon I worked hams whom I saw at Dayton,” she said on May 20.
As for Hamvention: “I’m ready to go back and do it all again next year,” she said.
On Friday afternoon, the ARRL presented the 2013 Bill Orr, W6SAI, Technical Writing Award to Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA. The ARRL Foundation selected Luetzelschwab for his article “The Sun and the Ionosphere,” which appeared in the March 2013 issue of QST. Luetzelschwab won the March QST Cover Plaque Award last year for the same article. Luetzelschwab, who frequently writes on solar and propagation phenomena and trends, is the “Propagation” columnist for NCJ — National Contest Journal. Central Division Director Dick Isely, W9GIG, presented Luetzelschwab with the award plaque.
Saturday evening, Hamvention’s sponsor, the Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA), held its annual awards dinner at Dayton’s beautiful Carillon Historical Park. This year’s four honorees were Georgia’s Gwinnett Amateur Radio Society for Club of the Year; Fldigi creator David Freese Jr, W1HKJ, winner of the Technical Excellence Award; ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, winner of the Special Achievement Award; and ARRL President Emeritus Larry E. Price, W4RA, who was honored as Amateur of the Year.
Frank Biafore, WS8B, emceed the evening’s proceedings, and DARA officers presented the awards. DARA President Reuben Meeks, W8GUC, presented the Club of the Year Award to the Gwinnett Amateur Radio Society, praising the club’s ability to work with other clubs and to keep at the forefront of technology.
DARA Secretary Nancy Krodel, KC8RMT, presented the Technical Excellence Award to Freese, who was recognized for creating and distributing the free Fldigi digital-mode software.
DARA Treasurer Michael Kalter, W8CI, presented the Special Achievement Award to Sumner for contributions to the international Amateur Radio community, made via his work with the ARRL and IARU, as well as for his leadership in the fight against Broadband Over Power Line (BPL) interference to radio amateurs.
DARA’s Hamvention General Chair, Charles Kaiser, KD8JZR, bestowed the Amateur of the Year Award on Price, who was honored for his significant impact on the development of Amateur Radio throughout the world, including his efforts in protecting existing frequency allocations, defining minimum qualifications for amateurs, and the 40 meter expansion.
This year’s award recipients were honored again on Sunday in Hara Arena, as hundreds of Hamvention attendees looked on.
For more photos, see the Dayton Hamvention 2014 photo album on the ARRL’s Facebook page.