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Counting Down to Dayton -- Where Global Friendship Takes Center Stage


The ARRL is making all the final plans and preparations to bring its “show and tell” exposition -- known as ARRL EXPO -- to the Dayton Hamvention® next month. Hamvention, sponsored by Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA) since 1952, will be held May 20-22 at the Hara Arena Conference and Exhibition Center in Trotwood, Ohio.

“ARRL EXPO has been the centerpiece of the ARRL’s participation at Hamvention since 2005,” said ARRL Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R. Inderbitzen is also the ARRL EXPO coordinator. “This large exhibit area, located in the Ballarena Hall, will be filled with ARRL program representatives, exhibits and activities. Our goal is to provide opportunities that inspire a high level of peer-to-peer interaction among ARRL members and prospective members -- so that following Hamvention, attendees will return home with new ideas to get involved and get on the air!”

Inderbitzen said that the League has an extraordinary team of participants lined up this year’s ARRL EXPO. Visitors to the ARRL EXPO will find representatives from several IARU Member-Societies, including the Deutscher Amateur Radio Club (Germany), the Japan Amateur Radio League, the Qatar Amateur Radio Society, the Radio Association of China and Chinese Radio Amateur Club, as well as the Radio Society of Great Britain. “The impetus for hosting the international exhibits was the 2011 Hamvention theme of Global Friendship,” Inderbitzen explained. “Representatives from the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) will also be on hand to greet visitors. The IARU works with its Member-Societies throughout the world -- important work that further underscores international goodwill as a fundamental principle of the Amateur Radio Service.”

A new feature to ARRL EXPO this year -- a large QSL Card Wall -- will be located near the international exhibits. “We’re encouraging all attendees to bring a QSL card to affix to the wall,” Inderbitzen said. “If you don’t have QSL cards, please bring a postcard from your hometown. Together, we’ll have fun eye-balling QSLs from around the country -- and around the world!”

The popular kit-building booth returns to ARRL EXPO this year. The booth will be supported by a team of instructors and ARRL Lab personnel who will mentor participants through the activity. Those who sign up to participate in the kit building event can choose to build one of the two affordable kits: the Ten-Tec 1054 4-band regenerative shortwave receiver -- considered a classic “first receiver” project -- or a Morse code oscillator produced exclusively for ARRL by MFJ Enterprises. “The oscillator is a great kit for newcomers, clubs, instructors and teachers seeking a classroom kit-building experience,” Inderbitzen said. “The kit-building fun is sure to beckon do-it-yourselfers of all skill levels.”

Drop by the Emergency Communications exhibit area to learn about opportunities to volunteer and explore resources and training. Meet with program representatives for the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®) and the National Traffic System (NTS) and network with other public service volunteers.

At the ARRL Radiosport exhibit, you can immerse yourself in the world of on-air competitions and award-hunting. Representatives will share information about ARRL award programs including DXCC, ARRL-sponsored contests and Logbook of The World (LoTW). Personnel from the ARRL DXCC Desk will also be on hand to check applications for all ARRL Award Programs. All cards will be eligible for checking, including old cards, cards for deleted countries and cards for 160 meters. Applications will be limited to 120 cards (more cards will be checked as time and volunteer Card Checkers are available).

Other ARRL program representatives and volunteers will staff exhibits for the ARRL Development Office and the ARRL Foundation, the ARRL Legislative Action and Regulatory Information, TravelPlus for Repeaters software demonstration, the ARRL VEC, ARRL Education Services and the ARRL Media and Public Relations Office, as well as Amateur Radio and Scouting. And don’t forget to visit the huge ARRL store to browse and purchase popular ARRL publications, join or renew your ARRL membership (and get a free gift) and to pick up official ARRL merchandise -- including 2011 ARRL Field Day shirts and other gear. This is also the place to get your free, commemorative ARRL Dayton 2011 button.

Licensed or not, all young people are welcome to come by and join the fun at the ARRL Youth Lounge and meet and socialize with other young hams. Come to chat with other hams, grab a snack or participate in one of the many activities, such as fox-hunts, scavenger hunts, Morse code fun, a QSL card designing contest, crafts, prizes and more. The fun continues into Saturday evening with the ARRL Youth Dinner gathering at a local restaurant. Click here to find the youth calling frequencies. Stop by the ARRL Youth Lounge for all the details.

Members may also visit exhibits sponsored by ARRL benefit partners. These include US Bank where you can apply for the ARRL Visa® Card, and Hays Affinity Group to get more information about the new ARRL-sponsored insurance programs.

As part of the Hamvention’s full slate of forums, the ARRL will sponsor presentations covering a variety of topics, including talks by ARRL Lab Manager and EMI/RFI expert Ed Hare, W1RFI, a Public Relations Forum highlighting resources for radio clubs and public information officers, an update on ARRL’s efforts to promote Amateur Radio on Capitol Hill and ARRL Field Day advice and tips, as well as suggestions for radio amateurs who are interested in developing meaningful partnerships with schools and educators.

A special presentation by NASA Astronaut Douglas H. Wheelock, KF5BOC, is planned for Saturday. Wheelock, a Colonel in the US Army, will narrate a video presentation from his recent tour of duty aboard the International Space Station (ISS). While living and working in space, he operated the station’s Amateur Radio equipment, making radio contact with schools and the general ham radio community. Attendees will also have an opportunity to meet and greet Wheelock in the ARRL and AMSAT exhibit areas on Friday and Saturday (times and locations will be posted). Wheelock’s participation is jointly sponsored by ARRL and AMSAT.

Besides the full ARRL program, Hamvention attendees will enjoy the sprawling exhibit areas that cover the Hara Complex, including hundreds of manufacturer exhibits, radio club booths and flea market spaces. Dayton draws dozens of affiliated events --some beginning even before Hamvention’s three days --including interest groups with operating specialties such as contesting, low-power operating and amateur satellites. Visit for links to official Hamvention program details, a guide to ARRL activities and for more information including lodging options and travel information.

If you can’t make it to Ohio in May, another opportunity to experience ARRL EXPO follows just a few weeks later when the 2011 ARRL National Convention is hosted by Ham-Com in Plano, Texas, June 10-11. Visit for more information.