Post Dayton Hamvention 2009 Thoughts – Part 7

When a person not an Amateur sees photos of Hamfest Attendees, much less the real people, they simply have to ask themselves, about you their ham friend, “Would you go out like that?”

Dr Suess hats to leather “Big Boy” 75m net “colors” to what looks like gardening clothes to impersonations of the homeless to characters who obviously feel they are one giant humanoid “utility belt.”

Really “Would you go out like that?” Really would you?

It was interesting to attend this year with my college aged son – he was quick to point out the countercultural dress of some of the Hamvention subgroups.

Rather astutely he pointed out that these were nothing more than consensus-arrived ad hoc uniforms to allow subgroups with shared interests to acknowledge each other.

You do see this in other hobbies. The music clef lapel pin, the “C & NW Railroad” cap, a pair of EAA wings on the jacket, or as I recently noticed a key fob with a miniature Falconer’s Glove with Jesses, Hood & Bell….

Usually these “in group” symbols are ok in polite company.

Yes somehow we are an exception, as some of our Radio Amateur “in group” symbols lack the social norms. You see other lapel pins than musical ones, see other logo hats and jacket logos, and other miniature emblems, but most hobbies don’t have baby book carton character hats covered in flashing LEDs, suspenders filled with cables, antennas, radio & emergency gear four-five times what even comic book super heros were drawn with, or even leather jackets emblazoned with radio net logos proclaiming basically “If you don’t have thick enough skin for us to insult, stay away.”

Not too many hobbies make a big deal of their flea markets, where you will find millionaires groveling through assorted rubbish of questionable providence dressed as if their personal shopper had an account only at Goodwill….. and end up paying over the odds in the bargain….

One has to question if they would join this lot and the question “Would you go out like that?” Would you?

73

Steve
K9ZW

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5 thoughts on “Post Dayton Hamvention 2009 Thoughts – Part 7

  1. Mark Morgan KB9RQZ says:

    no

    but then maybe that is why i have ot ben to dayton

  2. Yes, there are extremes as you describe and I too ask my self “What are you thinking”. I’m more amazed at the size and poor health the entire population (hams included) seem to be in, or at least those represented at hamfests. What you describe and what I notice as well includes both vendors and buyers, and the vendors aren’t just selling ham equipment.

    But there are definitely a level of folks that apparently don’t have a mirror in their house!

    • k9zw says:

      Yes, there are extremes as you describe and I too ask my self “What are you thinking”. I’m more amazed at the size and poor health the entire population (hams included) seem to be in, or at least those represented at hamfests. What you describe and what I notice as well includes both vendors and buyers, and the vendors aren’t just selling ham equipment.

      But there are definitely a level of folks that apparently don’t have a mirror in their house!

      I will touch later on the question which came first – the poor health or the hobby.

      I try to be supportive of groups like HandiHams under the basis that Amateur Radio has no physical limitations if an operator has some help.

      73

      Steve
      K9ZW

  3. Doug says:

    Steve, you managed to avoid touching on a closely related manifestation which the hamfest venue with its crowded aisles and overheated buildings magnifies. The term ‘hamfest’ is no accident. Nearly without exception, the hamfest odor bears an uncanny resemblance to our namesake product’s source. I was raised in Minnesota downwind from a swine farm, and my forays into the ‘hamfest’ ‘flea market’ bring those halcyon days rushing back to me. In a word, WE STINK!

    Good grief. I suppose it could be argued that the entrance hurdle into ham radio has been lowered to the point that a few hours of memorization can result in successful licensing, and that the dumbing of amateur radio is likely to result in rather more ‘colorful’ characters than the normal human demographic. Is it that we are such a solitary hobby and that we are so involved that ordinary personal hygene isn’t required for conversation? I also tinker with model railroading and find that there are some strong similarities at their gatherings. It’s another solitary hobby, so the correlation is there to judge for yourself.

    I’m sure that all the arguments that have been put forth for the reasons that ham radio seems to be in decline are valid. Your blog is right on the money…we look bad in public. And we SMELL bad in public. Whew. Take a shower. Change into some CLEAN clothes. Brush your hair. PLEASE, PLEASE brush your teeth!

    We need to not only attract more young people, we need to attract more ATTRACTIVE people! Or at least clean ones!

    73 and keep up the good work!

    Doug
    K7IP

  4. k9zw says:

    Hi Doug K7IP

    I purposely haven’t touched on the “great unwashed” of Hamfests. People sleeping in their van on top of piles of “stuff” they brought to sell as the top of a scale of less a less tidy folk.

    Having the Hara facility dirty, toilets fouled & leaking on the floors, masses of mold in ceiling tiles, carpets that we cleaned last four or five years ago…… well the smell of decay is obvious.

    To a midwesterner accustomed to the natural smells of the countryside the air in Dayton is not all that nice either.

    Thanks for the reminder & confirmation that the twitches of my nose were from a real cause at Dayton.

    73

    Steve
    K9ZW

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