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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

At Hamvention 2014


The 2014 installment of the Hamvention was a memorable one.

I have been attending Hamvention regularly since 1978 and this year, we had some of the worst weather I have ever seen at Hamvention... even worse than when the event was held a month earlier when the potential for lousy weather was higher.

It rained, sleeted and hailed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Morning temps during those days started in the high 30's and did not get much above 50. I knew precipitation was in the forecast, but I did not expect it to be so cold and I did not dress appropriately. Luckily, I had a hoody to keep me warm when needed.

My family likes to watch my progress to and from Dayton via APRS, but I do not have a ham radio installed in my vehicle, so APRS was not an option. However, I do have an iPhone and there are some APRS apps for it. So I bought an app called OpenAPRS and it filled the bill as can be seen by my tracks as displayed on  above.

As I wrote in my previous blog post, "I always staff the TAPR booths on Hamvention Fridays and Saturdays, so if you make it to Hamvention this year, stop by... and say “Hi.” Well, at least one of you did just that: Dave = WA1OUI, who has been one of my most loyal readers and is also a long-time friend going back to the FM repeater wars of the 1970s. Dave was working in one of the ARRL booths just up the aisle and I returned the favor and stopped by his booth!

I ran into a lot of other old friends during the weekend --- not sure if they read this blog or not. Some showed up at the TAPR booth and some I bumped into on the convention floor; folks like Al = N8DHF, Bob = WB4APR, Craig = K1QX, Dave = K1ZZ, Guy = KC5GOI, Harold = WJ1B, Joe = K0NEB, Rich = W2VU, Steve = N8GNJ, Tom = K3IO and many others.

The TAPR booth was very busy all weekend, busier than its been at recent Hamventions probably because we had a lot to show this year. John = N8UR was showing his high precision timing projects, Jeremy = NH6Z and Scotty = WA2DFI were demonstrating SDR, Mike = No-Call-Yet had his HackRF attracting a lot of attention, Chris = KD2BMH was with his WhiteBox SDR handheld transceiver, and there was a big crew staffing the digital voice demo. I fielded packet radio and APRS questions and filled in at the cash register and elsewhere while others took breaks.

Touring the Hamvention floor on Saturday, I stopped by the booth of the Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers. Since I dabble in both radio and astronomy, I thought that the booth would have something that interested me and I walked away with a radio telescope kit to receive signals from Jupiter, the Sun and the galactic plane. I will have more to say about this after I build the kit and get it on the air.

I hate the drive to and from Dayton, but I am already looking forward to doing it again next year!

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