By Ward Silver, N0AX
QST Contributing Editor
Three days in Santa Clara have just vanished in a blur of ham radio happiness. Pacificon attendance was up to about 2500, filling the halls for forums, lectures, browsing, and the occasional airborne affair such as astronauts, ARISS contacts, parachute mobile stations, and of course, Felix Baumgartner's skydive from 24 miles up on Sunday afternoon put the perfect ending on the weekend.
In the way of learning opportunities, the Pacificon committee arranged for ten (!) different tracks of things to do and see. Topics ranged from emergency communications to a video tour of the Arecibo radio telescope to new digital voice protocols for HF to "Ham Radio Tricycle - Mobile Style" by Rem O'Donnelley, K6BBQ. Several groups combined Pacificon with special meetings, such as SATERN and the QRP folks.
The W1AW/6 station was manned almost throughout the evening, racking up a lot of contacts from across the Pacific around to Europe and South America. (Yes, they will QSL 100% if you send a card and on Logbook of the World, too!) One of the highlights was seeing the many styles of operating, including masters at the "bug", semi-automatic manual key.
Saturday evening's banquet was a great wrap-up to a long day for all of us -- ARRL staff, Pacificon workers, and hamfest attendees alike – to sit down, take a load off those aching feet, and relax. ARRL CEO Dave Sumner, K1ZZ gave a very well-received presentation after dinner, along with Capt Morin, and a number of award presentations.
A big thank-you goes out to the hard-working Pacificon committee members and volunteers. We all very much enjoyed the show and it seemed that the local hams rose to the occasion, too. As one hamfest veteran was heard to remark, "I don't think I have ever been to such a well-dressed, classy convention."