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Hamvention 2019 - Friday Roundup

05/17/2019

The first day of Dayton Hamvention 2019 began with prompt crowds streaming in as soon as doors opened. ARRL Expo was one area that drew fair attention, with the addition of a booth for the new ARRL and Dayton Hamvention Mobile Event App. Available for free download, the app provides maps of the entire fairgrounds, booth layouts in every building, schedules of forums and presentations, and other functions that help attendees plan their Dayton Hamvention weekend. ARRL Convention and Event Coordinator Eric Casey, KC2ERC, who assisted in coordinating the app's functionality, stayed busy demonstrating and promoting the app to visitors. Casey said that despite the downside of occasional connectivity problems due to the crowd, the app has been received very positively, with many especially enjoying the convenience of the maps.

Early morning saw ARRL Laboratory Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, giving a forum about the inner-workings of the ARRL Lab. A lively presenter, Hare introduced Lab staff, explained what they do in the lab, and told some "stories too outrageous to put on the slides," drawing ripples of laughter across the audience as a bright start to an overcast and drizzley morning.

As the afternoon went on, the sun came out in earnest, prompting many to take rests on the numerous benches and bleachers to enjoy socializing with fellow hams in the warm weather. Before lunchtime, the official opening ceremony was held in the center of the fairgrounds, with a speech from Xenia, Ohio, Mayor Sarah Mays, who invited everyone to partake in the local community and restaurants and witness the hospitality that Hamvention attendees enjoy every year.

The Nashua Area Radio Society from New Hampshire -- the 2019 Dayton Hamvention Club of the Year -- led the "ARRL Spotlight on Radio Clubs and Mentoring" forum. Among other club members, Fred Kemmer, AB1OC, discussed the various ways NARS builds and keeps a strong and active membership through their website, licensing classes, and programs that fit into their members' schedules. Currently, the success rate for all of their licensing classes is 93%, and they maintain 70% retention of active members.

Outside of the forum, visitors to the NARS booth have been encouraged to take the "Radio Club Health Check" on the Hamvention Mobile App. The checklist prompts users to mark what their own club offers to help assess available ways to foster a "healthy" membership.

ARRL's Public Service Communications Panel Discussion drew a large crowd, including active Volunteer Emergency Coordinators and Emergency Coordinators, and many who work with ARES-served agencies across the country. Audience members expressed constructive concerns over the new ARES Plan and reinforcing Amateur Radio recognition nationwide.

Near the end of the day was the first of the weekend's two New Product Showcases, a newer exhibit at the show. One product that drew consistent and excited crowds all day was Elecraft's brand new K4 transceiver, which provides all the same features of the K3 with a new touchscreen interface. A collection of items debuted at this year's Dayon Convention will be featured in the August 2019 issue of QST.

 



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