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Dayton from a Distance

May 27, 2011

With a few weeks to go, it looked like I might be working in the United States just a few days before Dayton Hamvention 2011, so surely I’d be able to attend this year. No, didn’t happen. My travel plans changed and I missed it again. Maybe next year?

Not attending Dayton used to mean that you had to get the news from people who had attended, or read the next issue of your favourite radio magazine to find out what you’d missed at the Hamvention. But not attending Dayton isn’t quite the same today as it used to be.

In the lead up to the Hamvention, I watched Tom W5KUB streaming live video of his journey to Dayton and tracked his progress via aprs.fi, comparing the live video with the Google StreetView images which were automatically updating in the next window on my iMac. When he arrived, I was able to watch video from the Flea Market and chat with other viewers in real-time. Slightly voyeuristic and strangely addictive. It was also interesting to watch the interview with Astronaut Col Doug Wheelock when he visited the W5KUB flea market stall.

NODIG had allowed the Dayton D-Star gateway to be linked to the REF038C reflector, so I was able to link through my DVAP and join in the Dayton D-Star discussions with anyone else who had done the same. There were plenty of people travelling to, or already at Dayton on the reflector, but also hundreds of people around the world who were keen to find out and discuss the news as it became available.

W5KUB was not the only Dayton exhibitor to make good use of the internet to advertise their presense at the Hamvention this year. This simple post from Wayne Burdick N6KR appeared in the Elecraft K3 Yahoo! Group while he and fellow Elecraft founder Eric Swartz WA6HHQ were apparently on their way to Dayton :

KX3: Ultra-compact K3/KX1 hybrid, 160-6 m, 10/100 W, all-mode,
32-bit DSP/SDR, 1.5 lbs. See it at Dayton! -- Wayne & Eric

This was big news and quickly became the focus of attention for many ‘Dayton watchers’. It was interesting to see the rapid growth of forum replies and Twitter posts from people desperate to learn more about the new radio. There was also considerable surprise that Elecraft had managed to keep the development of this radio secret in this modern internet rumor and social-media era. Within minutes of the Hamvention opening its doors, photographs and videos were appearing on Twitter, YouTube and elsewhere on the internet showing any information which could possibly be gleaned about the new Elecraft KX3.

While all this excitement was going on at Dayton, I was traveling from Ipswich to Cambridge and then Chertsey to return some amplifiers to Linear AMP UK, which there very kindly lent to the Camb-Hams group for our DXpedition to Arran a few weeks ago. I was lucky enough to be in range of the GB7PI D-Star repeater for a large part of the journey on the A12, M11 and M25 which allowed me to carry on listening to all the Dayton news via REF038C. I stopped to drink tea and talk about Dayton (and many other good things) with the guys at Martin Lynch & Sons before driving a bit further, but ultimately giving in to temptation and stopping to check all the very latest pictures and videos via my Macbook at the first WiFi I could find on the M3. When I  eventually reached my destination, I connected up the DVAP again, demonstrated D-Star to my brother and left the radio monitoring the news on REF038C all the next day.

So, it would have been better to attend in person, but it was possible to keep up with the latest news and enjoy some elements of Dayton from a distance,. I missed out on the social and the hands-on parts of the Hamvention, but I also managed to miss some of the not-so-desirable atmosphere when the Dayton sewerage system gave out !

… and I have my name down for more information about the KX3 as soon as it’s available.

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  1. May 27, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Hello OM,

    I’m a lot closer to Ohio, but also missed 2011. Like you, I’ve put together a vicarious hamvention tour(and added your post).

    see: http://w4kaz.com/qth/?p=1848

    Probably be a couple of years before I get back, so surfing the videos and photo albums is as good as it gets right now.

    73 de w4kaz

    • May 27, 2011 at 9:48 pm

      Hi and thanks for putting all those Dayton 2011 links on your page.
      Some really great things in there !

      Steve, M1ACB

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