Saturday, May 20, 2017

Dayton Hamvention 2017

     Of course, it's in Xenia now, at a lovely county fairground that is a long way down two-lane roads. 

     The venue is at least as large as Hara Arena was, with the flea market occupying the infield of a dirt racetrack and a grassy field outside it.  I managed to walk most of it Friday in a few hours.  Walking on grass is a lot kinder to my feet than walking on the Hara parking lot.

     Flea-market pickings were wildly assorted; I just missed a Globe King 400* transmitter (less cabinet), saw a twin to the audio-frequency voltmeter I bought at Peru, lots of modern and recent electronics, looked at a Collins 32V transmitter (heavy!), saw a rare National NSA speech amplifier in nice condition, and plenty more.

     I didn't take any photos -- I brought my smartphone, but not the charger, and after the long, winding drive to the fairgrounds, I knew I would need it to get back to the highway.

     Didn't buy much; a Nye "Master Key," some 4-pin breadboard sockets, a few crystals, and didn't see several vendors I had bought from in the past.  Didn't cross paths with QRP guru Ade Weiss or telegraph key/Enigma expert Tom Perera.  I did wander past the Vibroplex booth.  Never found Heil microphones, G-QRP, Fists or Begali, but there were many buildings I never got into.

     I left as rain began to fall.  Traffic was heavy, with local law enforcement at the intersections to keep the hams moving; Google decided I needed a brief tour of the region, on back roads past the Kil-Kare Speedway to U. S. 35 to and though downtown Dayton, where I saw the Gerstner Tool Chest factory (or possibly just office) along the river and passed by the local "transmitter row" on the way to Ohio 49 -- which had been my route out of Dayton to I-70 from the old Hamvention location at Hara Arena.  So the roads eventually became familiar and I stopped being quite as irked at Google: there was no good path and it had picked the least bad.  Rain was pretty heavy at times but speeds were relatively low, 60 and down; most of 35 was limited-access, multilane, and 49, while stoplighted, is never less than two lanes in each direction.

     I-70 was brisk; I'm still not used to 75+ running speeds and unless I am in a group, prefer to stay at or below the 70 mph speed limit.  Not to incriminate myself, but there was nearly-solid traffic for much of the way home.  After the long and winding road though Greater Dayton, it was almost refreshing, despite light rain and lots of tire spray.  By the time I reached the Indiana border, skied had largely cleared -- but there were dark clouds and obvious rain, away to the southwest.  It zigged, the road zagged, and the other side of Richmond, we met the rain.

     Traffic slowed a bit but I wasn't happy with the visibility and moved into the right-hand lane, where tractor-trailer rigs were even slower.  The rain kept getting harder, and I could barely see the lights and hazard flashers of a semi several carlengths ahead.  He slowed and slowed, the left lane slowed, and at the worst, both lanes were crawling along at 30 mph.  Even that felt a bit too fast for me and I resolved to take the next exit, a mile ahead.  By the time we got there, the rain had only slacked off a little; I followed several cars up the ramp and right out of the rain!  By the time we'd reached the cross street, the cloud had passed and there were no more than sprinkles.  I went across to the on-ramp and got right back onto I-70.  The remainder of my trip was uneventful except for a fifteen-minute wait at a hamburger drivethough a mile from home: I had skipped breakfast and had vanilla ice cream and water for lunch, so food was mandatory; after hours on the road, not having to cook from myself was even more so. 

     So there's my Dayton 2017.  I think the new location is going to work out, though it's likely to be muddy today and tomorrow.
* For the geekily-inclined: The RF PA and modulator of this transmitter use oddball tubes -- V-70-D and 5514, respectively -- that are difficult to obtain.  With some component changes, the more common (still in production, last I heard, though you may need to know Mandarin to read the data sheet) 812 and 811 triodes can replace them.  Designed in the heyday of the vacuum tube, the manufacturer was able to chose exactly what they wanted, and so what if the tubes weren't RCA or Eimac "classics?"  We know the answer to that question now, but who thought the transmitters would still be popular fifty years later?


homebru said...

Really do enjoy your hanvention reports.

Anonymous said...

The good thing is, out of sheer necessity, there are folks working up modern tube replacements for the long-out-of-manufactured types.

Yeah, it's not original, but it gets gear *working* again...

Jetfxr69 said...

As mentioned on the Book of Faces, I was parking cars for $5 to raise funds for scouts.

I'm happybyo hear that you think it will work out at the new location. I heard from more than a couple fila that "I've been coming for (30, 40, 50) Yeats and this is the last time! That traffic was terrible."

Some of us have already decided to try to work with the Sheriff and the Hamvention committee to brainstorm some better traffic approaches. I've known since the Fairgrounds was announced that the first year would be a challenge. Rumint had it that more tickets were sold for this event than have ever been sold (cumulative) for the County Fair...

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Good to hear that you think the venue is going to work out.

Guess that will put paid to the naysayers on eHam and elsewhere. Nah, what am I thinking? :)

RandyGC said...

Glad you made it. I couldn't out until Saturday.

I was mostly out there to check out the new venue and see some people I only get to see during Hamvention and maybe Ft. Wayne. Flea Market was pretty muddy and walking it aggravated my neuropathy, so I limited my time out there to a couple of my regulars. (Goretx boots are GOOD!). Picked up a few odds and ends, but nothing major.

Maybe next year we can do an eyeball QSO

Roberta X said...

I'm sorry we didn't cross paths! Tam forwarded your e-mail last night.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad they found a place for it, but I'll always miss Hara Arena. I grew up in Trotwood, and it was a part of my childhood'