My Most Recent QSO's

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Dayton Hamvention 2014

As difficult as it might seem, this year was my "first" trip to the Dayton Hamvention. No excuses....just sayin; but during my working life at the paint store, I seldom had a weekend "off", and it's a six hour (minimum) round tip from Charleston.

Our club member Eric (AC8LJ) needed to make the trip on Friday (up and back) due to work obligations, and asked me to ride along with him. It was a long day, but a very rewarding one.

What caught my eyes while there? ---Being a "Morse Code" buff, the popular attractions for me were, of course, QRP radios and "keys". My mission at the event was to see "first hand" everything to do with this part of the hobby. Needless to say, the vendors I liked were Elecraft, TenTec, and Hendricks. On the "key" side, were Vibroplex, Begali, and Kent.

Before the return trip to Charleston, I had a new "Vibroplex Straight Key" in my knapsack. 

My focus in radio is very narrow, but personally, I found the QRP and CW vendors to be the busiest people at the hamvention and, Morse Code keys are cherished items for us. There's nothing like the opportunity to actually get the "feel" of a great "quality" key "in your hand". 

Although I didn't get the opportunity to chat with a few of the legends in the  Ham Radio hobby, it was wonderful to see them at this event. In this day of the internet, I enjoy watching (and listening) to several ham radio shows on the web. 

Ted Randall (WB8PUM) with "QSO Radio" was broadcasting "live" from the Hamvention, as well as Bob Heil (K9EIDfrom "Ham Nation". Gordon West (WB6NOA) was also there with all of the great material he's known for all over the world.

The ARRL was out in full force here with an assortment of information, testing, and forums. I particularly enjoyed talking to the "Boy Scout" group. West Virginia is home of the upcoming "World Jamboree". Although I couldn't work them, (after returning home) their "Special Event Station" was a popular attraction.

The Hamvention trip was a success for me. I saw what was interesting to me, although only a small segment of the hobby. A QRP CW operator can never have "too many keys". My new Vibroplex Straight Key is my "fourth" from this company. One can never have too many keys......


recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Hello John, Nice report from Dayton. I've not gone yet but I'll never say never. I'll make it down there sometime.

The Vibroplex straight key is nice one. It sounds a little funny becuase the "click" happens not on the key down stroke but when the lever is let back down to the rest position. Once it's hooked up to the rig and sending code it's not a problem. I can't here it at all. The Vibro SK was my first quality SK -I get it out every so often and give it a try. Also I like it because it follows their theme of looking like it was made from leftover bug parts. I'm like you I could never settle for one key and be happy!

73 W8MDE

Jspiker said...

Hello Mike,

This is my fourth key from Vibroplex and I love them all. I now have a spring loaded dual paddle Standard Iambiac, and Square Magnetic Racer which I use in the field, and a little Code Mite for occasional field QRP use.

You absolutely right about never having enough keys.

Jeff Davis, KE9V said...

Wish I had known you were going John. We could have met! I picked up the NT9K Pump Pro straight key. The SKCC is costing me $$$. HI HI

73 de Jeff KE9V

Jspiker said...

Hello Jeff,

Perhaps we can meet next year? I would have enjoyed seeing you. BTW/ I really liked that key too. It's a beauty!

VE9KK said...

Good morning John, great to read that you made it to Dayton! As of yet I still have that on my bucket list and one day I plan on making the trip. Very nice shots and report on your trip and it was great to see you were able to try out keys. Keys are a very personal thing and each have their own feel to them. With the price of the units these days it 's nice to know you get the one that works the best for your fist.

Jspiker said...

Hello Mike,

Good to hear I'm not the only one who hasn't made it to Dayton in years. FB on the keys. I've found a good key is priceless. Radio has come to me as the art of sending Morse Code as much as the radio and antenna. Having the right tools for the job is essential. Makes the difference between work and play.

QRP - When you care to send the very least! said...


Glad you made it! Every Ham should go to Dayton at least once in their life. Last time I was there was 1996, I think that was the last year before FDIM started. That's #1 on my wish list - to make it to FDIM. Maybe someday we can meet there, together.

73 de Larry W2LJ

Jspiker said...

Hello Larry,

It would be a real pleasure to see you. Next year I will make an effort to collect cell phone numbers from several people before the trip up and back in a day. I missed a rare opportunity to say a personal "hello" to folks.

This Winding Road said...

Hi, John! This was my first trip to Dayton and it was a blast. It would have been neat to meet up with you! Thankfully, I came home without breaking the bank but did purchase a few needed items. Great report and I plan on doing the same once I get settled back in as we just returned last night.

Jspiker said...

Hello Phil,

Hopefully, I will be able to attend again next year. Perhaps we could exchange cell phone numbers this time?

It seems simplex frequencies were next to useless around there. I can't believe the people that chose 146.52 for constant chatter. Hihi

Sorry to have missed you on Friday.