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The 2009 ARRL National Convention and Dayton Hamvention: Two Weeks and Counting!

05/01/2009

On May 15-17, hams from all over the world will make their way to the Hara Arena, located in Trotwood, Ohio for the 2009 ARRL National Convention and Dayton Hamvention®. Held annually since 1952, Hamvention is one of the largest Amateur Radio gathering in the world.

Following the tradition of Dayton natives Wilber and Orville Wright, the ARRL National Convention will be a "hands-on" paradise. New, interactive exhibits at the ARRL EXPO, the centerpiece of the National Convention, will provide engaging, real-life experiences that encourage hams and non-hams alike to get more active in Amateur Radio. At the ARRL Project Building Booth, attendees can try their hand at assembling a kit as they handle electronic components and circuit boards -- even a little soldering!

"If you have never built a project before, we hope you will consider this a 'Soldering 101' basic course," said ARRL Laboratory Engineer Bob Allison, WB1GCM. Allison will lead a team of instructors who will mentor visitors throughout the activity. "We want to encourage hams who have not built something in a long time to get back in the saddle. Project building is fun, and it's a great way to build low cost gear and accessories. We want everyone to unlock their inner do-it-yourselfer." Pre-registration is required -- sign up at the ARRL EXPO.

You can also explore the many facets of ARRL Field Day at the ARRL EXPO. "Field Day is the largest operating event in the world and represents the very best of the Amateur Radio Service," said ARRL Field Day Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND. The annual event draws tens of thousands of radio amateurs to the airwaves over a single weekend. Henderson said that Field Day is part emergency preparedness exercise, part public demonstration and part radio club social event: "It's really just a lot of fun and gives us a chance to get out there and show what we can do on many fronts."

ARRL Forum Schedule

Several ARRL staff members will be on hand at Dayton, presenting forums on several exciting topics. On Friday, May 15 at 10:30 AM in Room 5, Henderson and a group of other Field Day aficionados will share some helpful hints they have garnered from decades of Field Day operations. Special Field Day 2009 posters will be available to participants (while they last), as well as some special Field Day surprises. Come learn more about some of the unique and fulfilling ways groups across the US and Canada get on the air to celebrate ARRL Field Day.

ARRL Volunteer Counsel (VC) Jim O'Connell, W9WU, along with Antenna Zoning for the Radio Amateur author Fred Hopengarten, K1VR, ARRL Technical Relations Manager Brennan Price, N4QX, and ARRL VC Paula Uscian, K9IR, will present "Ham Radio and the Law -- Getting It Up and Keeping It Up" on May 15 at 12:15 PM in Room 3. Join this discussion by Amateur Radio attorneys on legal issues of interest to hams on topics that include how to avoid restrictive covenants, how to present your case for a tower permit and how to defend against nuisance claims. Learn the latest court rulings on RFI, PRB-1 and towers, as well as updates on the ARRL's Legal Defense and Assistance Committee.

Come ask QST's very own "Doctor" your technical Amateur Radio questions in person on May 15 at 12:15 PM in Room 2. QST Technical Editor Joel Hallas, W1ZR, will provide his best answer on the spot, or get back to you shortly after the National Convention. Some questions and answers may end up in QST if they seem likely to be helpful to readers. This will be an informal sleeves-rolled-up chalk talk environment. Be sure to bring your questions!

Reaching out to the public is the life blood of Amateur Radio! From land- and property-use restrictions to recruiting, our ability to enjoy the service depends on keeping a positive image. Join ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP, on May 15 at 1:30 PM in Room 2 as he introduces ARRL's PR-101 course. This is a course to teach hams the basics of making -- and keeping -- a good relationship with your town and the media. If "every ham is a Public Information Officer," then every ham needs to know these skills.

Join the ARRL on Saturday, May 16 at 10:30 AM in Room 2 for an interactive session with ARRL national and regional leadership. ARRL is a membership organization -- we are here for you. Come share your ideas and ask questions.

If you've ever wanted to try digital contesting but wasn't sure how to get started, we definitely have a forum for you! Join ARRL Publications Manager and digital guru Steve Ford, WB8IMY and learn how to get started in digital contesting. This forum, offered on May 16 at 1:15 PM in Room 3, will show you that you don't need to be a big-gun station with a kilowatt and a tower to have hours of on-the-air fun. All you need is a radio, a computer -- and some helpful advice that you'll pick up at this forum! Join the thousands of hams who are already experiencing the joys of digital contesting.

Get up close and personal with Richard Garriott, W5KWQ, on Saturday, May 16 at 1:30 PM in Room 1. In October 2008, Garriott -- son of Owen Garriott, W5LFL -- fulfilled a lifelong dream to experience spaceflight and traveled to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. While living on the ISS, he conducted scientific experiments and environmental research, but he also had a chance to do quite a bit of Amateur Radio operating, including sending slow-scan TV (SSTV) images. Owen Garriott, W5LFL, initiated the first ham radio contacts from space 26 years ago aboard the shuttle Columbia on STS-9. Richard Garriott will also be on hand at the ARRL EXPO throughout the weekend signing autographs and meeting amateurs.

At the EXPO -- and Beyond!

There is so much to do at the ARRL EXPO. Visit the huge ARRL bookstore to purchase popular ARRL publications, join or renew your ARRL membership and pick up official ARRL merchandise. Get a free gift when you join ARRL or renew your membership at ARRL EXPO and everyone gets a free ARRL Dayton 2009 button (while supplies last).

Whether you're 10 or 110, the EXPO has something just for you. Join young (and young-at-heart) amateurs at the ARRL Youth Lounge. Drop by the ARRL Youth Lounge to meet and socialize with other young hams. Come chat with other hams, listen to music, 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. Whether or not you're licensed, you're welcome to come by and join the fun! If you're looking for other youth during the convention, try calling them on the youth calling frequencies: 145.540 MHz (107.2 Hz CTCSS) primary and 146.430 (233.6 Hz CTCSS) secondary. Not licensed yet? Soon-to-be hams can check-in using FRS channel one.

If you enjoy waxing nostalgic over the gear of yesteryear, drop by the exhibit area to meet vintage equipment photographer Joe Veras, K9OCO. He will be autographing his book, 50 Years of Amateur Radio Innovation -- filled with photographs of classic and legendary transmitters -- that was recently published by ARRL. You can also tour a 1964 Collins Radio Company communications van -- a Ford Econoline van that traveled as a mobile demonstration center for Collins equipment. The van, decked out with vintage gear from the S-Line period, will be there for you to explore.

Bring your license and get on the air from W1AW/8 at the ARRL National Convention. Operating times and frequencies will be posted at the station. Meet W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, from the famed Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station at ARRL Headquarters.

Personnel from the ARRL DXCC Branch will be on hand to check your DX cards and applications. 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). See the DXCC Web site for the latest program information and current forms. Representatives from Logbook of the World (LoTW) will also be on hand, giving demonstrations and answering your questions.

Be sure to stop by the EXPO to meet new IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH, and Vice President Ole Garpestad, LA2RR, at the IARU booth. Special exhibits in the area will be hosted each day by the three different IARU Regions: Deutscher Amateur Radio Club (DARC) from Germany will represent Region 1, the ARRL will represent Region 2 and the Japan Amateur Radio League (JARL) will represent Region 3.

Besides the myriad of activities taking place off-site such as Contest University and the QRP event Four Days in May, there will be a Wouff Hong Ceremony on Saturday, May 16 at 10:45 PM at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Dayton. Sponsored by the NE Ohio Ham Radio Players, any licensed ARRL member can participate in this lively ARRL tradition that is steeped in mystery! Attendees will receive a special keepsake at this fun activity, appropriate for all ages.

Keeping Up in Dayton

If you can't make it to Dayton -- or even if you make the trek -- you can still catch all the latest news on the Convention's Weblog. QST Editor Steve Ford, WB8IMY, will once again be blogging about Hamvention. Proving you can indeed go home again, Steve will regale readers with the adventures of staying with his mother at his childhood home in Dayton. For the past few years, thousands of readers have been entertained as Steve has related stories about new gear making its debut at Hamvention, the weather in Dayton and the overall feel of the event -- as well as the ever-popular antics at "Casa de Mi Madre."

The ARRL will introduce a new blog at this year's National Convention: ARRL Youth Editor Duncan MacLachlan, KU0DM, will blog from a young ham's perspective. MacLachlan, who will be assisting former Youth Editor Andrea Hartlage, KG4IUM, and her father Scott, KF4PWI, in the ARRL Youth Lounge, will explore the Hamvention exhibits, forums and events, giving his first-time take on the Hamvention experience. MacLachlan's perspective is a welcome addition to the ARRL National Convention team. Explore all of Hamvention's nooks and crannies through his blog and Twitter updates.

ARRL staff are getting ready for all the excitement that a National Convention brings. Teaming up with the Dayton Hamvention is sure to bring everything to a fever pitch, so why not make plans to join in on the fun? Travel and lodging information is available on the Hamvention Web site.



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