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Courtesy Icom USA – Contest University at Dayton Hamvention 2013 on YouTube 6 - June - 2013

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, Contest University, Dayton Hamvention, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
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Contest University (CU) is a great program. I attended the first several years of the program and it was invaluable.

Icom America has worked out a wonderful deal where they have produced and presented ten sessions from CU 2013.

Icom America Inc. - Contest University at Dayton Hamvention 2013

10 videos

Icom America is proud to present the full course lineup from Contest University recorded LIVE from the 2013 Dayton Hamvention.

Link to the YouTube Channel: Contest University at Dayton Hamvention 2013 – YouTube.

I found the first 20 minutes of Episode 9 of particular interest.

Thank you Icom America and the CU team for making these videos available!

73

Steve
K9ZW

Boomset Upgrade – Arlan RadioSport RS60CF Headset 27 - May - 2013

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, Dayton Hamvention, Hamvention, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled, K9ZW Uses.
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RadioSport RS60CF Headset

RadioSport RS60CF Headset

One item I noticed at the Dayton Hamvention but was unable to buy there was the Arlan Communications RadioSport RS60CF Headset and related listen only headphones.

Several manufacturers were using the listen only version to demonstrate their radios.

I’d also recently read Stu K6TU’s account of how much he liked his new RS60CF.

Alas a search of the Hara from end to end didn’t find anyone selling the RadioSport headsets.

But they are featured on line:

http://www.arlancommunications.com/products/amateurRadio/radioSport/RS60CF.asp

These are in the same price range as a moderate to good basic aviation boomset, putting a a setup in the $350 price range.

Initial impression out of the box is these are above expectations and hugely comfortable.

I’ll post a report after I get some hours in using the RS60CFs.

73

Steve
K9ZW

Dayton 2013 – Recap 21 - May - 2013

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, Dayton Hamvention, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
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Following on the sage comments of Jeff KE9V Dayton 2013 was a mixed experience.  Here are some of the things I noticed:

The Day of the SDR – everyone was showing SDR radios, many of them technically faux-SDRs with very limited control by the software.  Pulling a intermediate RF product off a tap for other processing isn’t SDR folks.  Flash Upgradable bandplan data isn’t SDR either.  Having the control and audio handled by a vendor configured I/O package isn’t SDR as well.

The Meek Shall Inherit – QRP Fantasy – the other overused term was QRP.  Even saw marketing slogans misusing QRP like “Our 100w amps will add some fire to your QRP experience” or something like that…  100w isn’t QRP, nor is 20-30w… but is is a Marketing Buzz Word and sells gear.

Log Periodics are back – with much more mention in forums/banquets and new products showing up.  Some providers are working on wide band Log Periodics designed to pair with the latest radio gear.

Long live the King – dinosaurs in a modern age – there were plenty of vendors showing very long in the tooth arguably obsolete technology hoping their well established good brand name would carry them another year.  I mean who buys station accessories anymore that lack USB or Ethernet connectivity? Expensive rotor controllers with DB-9 serial connection to allow some command line access is stuff that should have been out in the flea market, not on the show floor.

Big Vendors who didn’t show – where was AES?  Where was the owner of MFJ?  Someone said that Ham Radio Station was AWOL too?  I know I wanted to look at a specific headset and was told by the vendors that were there “to look on our website, we have it there” – what crap!!  If I had wanted to browse their website I didn’t need to come to Dayton.  Something fundemental is happening here.

End of an Era – But who are the old timers giving way to? – in an Internet World many of the well known in our hobby are Internet Personalities – and some don’t carry as well in person as they do on the world wide web.  Just like the famous “Peggy” mystery support person in the TV ads, the public really doesn’t have a connection with these web personalities.  Few of the elder icons in our industry seem to be interested in groom heir apparent team members to eventually take over as they age, retire and leave us.  Who will run Gordon West’s enterprise when he retires?  Does the ham public know that person?  Ditto for Bob Heil’s audio world, or any one of our valued icons.

Hello Zigbee, Raspberry-Pi, Arduino, and Beaglebone – the embedded processor and PC on a board seemed to be everywhere.  Lots of devices were available that you programed, plug in and run one of these project boards as the “brains” of the final system.  Even radios were using the Arduino-compatible as their marketing “buzz.”

Marketing becoming a Vaporware Game – Who shows a new transceiver so far from production that the sales guy is waiving his hand saying “eventually the RF deck will go here?” … There were many mock-ups making second or third year appearances with no real products ready.  Even many of the “hot” buzz catching products were mockups “available soon.”

Some class acts – be certain in the midst wading through the unwashed masses there are some class acts.  Several were from overseas and really had their presentation & act together. Some standouts in my eyes were in Audio Alley (W2IHY, Heil), Hilberling, the FlexRadio Systems hands-on demos, Array Solutions on-going mini-forum demonstrations) – there were quite a few more.

Composting or Recycling? – the improbability of the Flea Market – if you haven’t found the Thingerwang XT-1000/J14 Mod 7 you’ve been searching the flea market for since 1967 will you ever find it?  Who cares if you do?  And why are you living in the past?

It Stinks, it’s dirty, it’s unsafe, and that is the upside of the Hara – there is not enough parking and it’s past its prime – Dayton is not a place you’d be proud to show your XYL.  There is NO security and the carnage if even a drill were attempted to evacuate the building would likely be large.  The place just makes me feel dirty and at risk.

Feast or Famine – events were either standing room only (the most popular forums needed twice the seating) or other opportunities were ghost towns ( did any guest operators make contacts at the Special Events Station?  Heck they didn’t even have a chair for a guest to operate from)

Paint Drying vs Rapture – always an interesting observation that stuff that is painful to me is held in nostalgic regard by the next ham.  Once does need to remember one size doesn’t fit all.

Fake Grandiose - right down to “Imported Beer” claims for beer from New England at the Hara Pub!  Or how about the dirty linens on the banquet table Dayton not-so-Grand, or the flea-btten Ramada telling banquet attendees “we’re short of forks” and “our computer system is down today, so we can’t check you out”, or don’t you just love the ubiquitous  car-eating potholes?

What trips my Dayton Trigger?

People.

I do get a chance to meet with and eyeball QSO (face time) with some really great folk.  First I get to spend time with my traveling partner George W9EVT, which is always a privilege.  Next I get to meet with my cousins, who have made Dayton one of our annual gatherings.  Then I get to spend time with a lot of great hams – many who I not only have a great time with on the interpersonal side, but who are kind enough to share their experiences and mentor.

Like all experiences YMMV as I react in my own way to the limitations and features of the event.

73

Steve
K9ZW

KE9V Smoke Curls – Nails Dayton 2013 on the Head 20 - May - 2013

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, Dayton Hamvention, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
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Make sure to check ouy fellow writer Jueff KE9V’s Dayton 2013 Recap at:

http://ke9v.net/blog/2013/05/dayton-in-the-rearview-mirror/

I have additional comments which are embargoed until after this evening’s W9DK Mancorad Radio Club presentation on Dayton 2013.

Jeff KE9V paints a very accurate background to my summary.

73

Steve
K9ZW

Dayton 2013 – Saturday Report 18 - May - 2013

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, Dayton Hamvention, FlexRadio Systems, Hamvention, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
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Continues to be an interesting Hamvention.

Tonight was the FlexRadio Systems Dayton Hamvention Dinner where I heard much more about the new series.

During the day I attended some of the Forums and did a bit of a Flea Market walk.

As I have promised to do a Radio Club Meeting presentation Monday night, my main Dayton recap will wait until after that presentation.

Tonight it is off to get some sleep before the seven hour drive home tomorrow.

More on my Dayton observations soon!

73

Steve
K9ZW

Dayton 2013 – Friday Report 17 - May - 2013

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, Dayton Hamvention, Flex-6000, FlexRadio Systems, Hamvention, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
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Been an interesting Hamvention so far.

There are some new products – the IC-7100 successor to the IC-7000 and the TS-990 was being shown.

Interestingly the Kenwood was somehow locked up and the floor team didn’t have a way to reboot it.

My first focus was a visit with Julius at W2IHY where I was having a very serious look at the new line of switch gear.  I’ve always admired the quality of his gear and this new range of products doesn’t disappoint.  http://w2ihy.com will fill you in on the new gear.  I already have a lot of his audio gear and will be adding some of the new line.

A visit at Hilberling found that they fully up and running for the USA market.  Never intended to be “everyman’s transceiver” they have delivered over $1million of these new “uber-radios” so far.

Long chat at FlexRadio Systems and one has to admire their willingness to trickle out radios even while the eagerness and requests to ship are so huge.  It was hard to get up close with the crowd, but i did get some time on their Flex-6700 simulators.  Tim W4TME was kind enough to give me a guided tour of the inside of the visual Flex-6700 – and I obliged by pretending I knew what all that stuff was (actually it is pretty neat and straight forward.)  FlexRadio Systems has put the Flex-5000A on end-of-life status with a when stock is sold, they are all sold noted on their website.  Flex-5000A critical components have become unavailable and it was fairly easy to see their was a product line overlap (a fully loaded Flex-5000A was within five hundred dollars of the new Flex-6500).

Very nicely the FlexRadio Systems team explained to me that when my radio is ready to ship, it will be ready.  Tomorrow is the FlexRadio Systems Dayton Hamvention Dinner where I hope to hear much more.

Over at Alpha the long awaited Alpha-4040 Tuner was being shown in working form.  The tuner looks well worth the wait.  The touchscreen display is awesome!

I was really taken with the dual port VNA (Vector Network Analyzer) at Array Solutions.  This “black box” connects to your PC to create a full test lab doing much more than I can recollect.  Jay (Array Solution’s owner) showed me how to do a TDR (Time Division Reflectometry) examination of a feedline and antenna system (including the VNA even measuring a human hand touching an antenna element), how to do a full in depth coil measurement, and a bunch of stuff I am going to have to brush up on.  This look like my next test gear addition.

The Japanese LUSO tower people took the time to explain their very cool crank-up towers.  Really amazingly serious amateur radio gear.

I was surprised at a couple vendors living the past.  Some of the big name rotor/rotor-controller folk have amazing new technology (Green Heron Engineering is a personal favorite, and they sold me one of their new station control modules) and other are promising to catch up to market norms by adding computer control to their rotor-controllers in perhaps a year….

TenTec was showing off their latest and a new Model 506 “Rebel” QRP transceiver I hadn’t seen before.  Apparently this new radio has the guts of an Arduino running the show – very cool!

More tomorrow!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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