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Surfin’: Weekending at 39.8211°N, 84.2561°W


By Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU
Contributing Editor

This week, Surfin’ reviews what you need for traveling well to the Dayton Hamvention®.

I don’t travel well because I don't travel often enough to learn how to travel well (it’s a Catch-22). Because I don’t travel often enough to learn how to travel well, I make a list of things to take on my annual road trip to Hamvention. In fact, I save the list on my computer and update it every year as the times change. For example, “GPS” replaced “Google map directions” a few years ago.

Electronics tops my list. A GPS with the latest updates is a must for the 1446 mile round trip.

A 144 MHz radio for the car is nice to have because there will be so many other hams chatting en route, and the conversations between vehicles can liven up the long -- and often boring -- trip. And a handheld 144 MHz transceiver for the Hamvention allows me to keep in touch with the other Hamvention attendees. Actually, I use the same handheld transceiver in the car and at the Hamvention, with the addition of a small amplifier in the car.

I also bring a cell phone to call home or Hamvention hams without radios. A smart phone can eliminate the next item: a computer to keep up with the e-mails and update the blog.

I don’t own a smart phone, but my iPod Touch will keep me up to date with e-mails and blogging just as well. It will also eliminate the need for a digital camera. Using Skype, I can almost forget about the cell phone, too, but on such a long trip, I know I am likely to have cell phone coverage most of the time, whereas Internet access will be spotty.

The iPod Touch also eliminates some of the paper I used to bring along. Rather than printing out the maps of the Hara Arena and Hamvention flea market and the Hamvention forum schedule, I can just download and save all that information to my iPod Touch. Also, the lists I make for the Hamvention (such as stuff to buy and people and stuff to see) are now stored on my iPod Touch, instead of on slips of paper that can -- and usually do -- get lost.

Getting back to the electronics. I bring battery chargers and spare batteries, where applicable, for all the electronics; otherwise, they won’t be too useful for long. Any interconnecting cables come along for the trip, too.

Paper items the iPod will not eliminate are Hamvention tickets and money, which, trust me, will come in real handy over the long weekend.

I bring some clothes, too. The weather is whacky and anything can happen, so I come prepared for hot and cold and in-between, as well as precipitation. I also bring my call sign badges to attach to my Hamvention wardrobe.

Got to bring toiletries, but I also bring along meds. One year, I caught a cold on my way to the Hamvention and as a result, I have been packing cold and allergy meds (and vitamins) ever since.

Hope to see you at Hamvention. Until next time, keep on surfin’!

Editor’s note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, seeks the unusual in radio. To contact Stan, send e-mail or add comments to the WA1LOU blog.



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