Monthly Archives: May 2009

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?



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Planting Around a Tower

Planters Around Tower

Planters Around Tower

The Tower here is a TriEx LM-354 55 Ft Crank Down unit (it picks up the extra foot from the Tip-Over assembly) on an oversized base. I sized the base for the newer LM-470 (now by Tashjian Towers) to provide for an upgrade option down the road.

Though we have a large lot, there were limitations on where a tower could go, and since the tower went up I’ve often looked at the lawn around it wondering what I could do to make it more attractive.

We’ve had four 6-1/2 ft x 6-1/2 ft raised bed planters built & filled, in a harlequin-pattern around the concrete base. Because of the slope the beds are tiered.

I’m in the midst of installing a small hemmed copper angle inside the boxes. The roughly 1 inch wide copper band will cut down on slugs, snails and certain other garden pests, as they dislike the “taste” of the copper refusing to cross it.

My grounding-halo is secure underneath the new beds, and one planter had to be notched to clear underground conduits carrying feedlines, power, rotor control cables and remote switch control lines.

At the bottom of the beds scrap 3/8 inch thick geotechnical fabric was laid in where the sod had been removed, providing a root & pest resistant barrier under the 14-16 inches of new composted soil fill.

A new junction box I had made will clear, holding the lightning protection, remote switch and connectors.

Soon all around the tower we will have four nice gardens going. A bit worried that a lot will be fed to the deer, possibly requiring deer fencing to get a harvestable crop.

Planter Slug-Strip Detail

Planter Slug-Strip Detail

Pictures soon,



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Post Dayton Hamvention 2009 Thoughts – Part 6

“Parallel Universes” is a cheesy way to point out that many of us have other interests which also have major convocations.

Over the last several years I’ve attended the NRA National Show, The Shot Show, the International Saxophone Congress, the EAA Fly-In at Oshkosh and several smaller events. You may have attended a mix of events matching your interests.

In these hobby “Parallel Universes” we arrive at expectations on how we will interact with our hobbies. I don’t play at the level of the most technically junior saxophonists at the International Saxophone Congress, but no other single place could I learn as much and hear players of this level. The last session I attended was held in a major University’s Fine Arts complex, profoundly clean, well organized and in general an absolute blast.

The Shooting shows are stunning in the level of speakers, the quality of exhibitions & vendors, and the opportunity to see & handle the finest offerings in the sport shooting field.

Oshkosh is at a different level, being the largest general aviation event in the world. I don’t always agree with some of the Oshkosh politics (maybe it would be better if I never heard about them) but the show is first rate.

Another one of the “Parallel Universes” we experience is attending professional shows. Again over the years I have attended construction, footwear (at one point I ran four shoe factories), machinery shows & numerous smaller specialty shows throughout Europe and the USA.

These shows long ago have learned they either have to put out a commercially acceptable product, or they will be done for.

Some of the “Parallel Universes” speakers I’ve heard speak over the years have included Gen. Colin Powell, Rudy Giuliani, Gen Schwartskopf, Sin John Paul Harvey Jones (Chairman of IEI), Lord Young, Former Norther Ireland Prime Minister Enoch Powell, Former President Ford and many more.

Standards in these “Parallel Universes” is pretty consistent – good quality venue, lots of local amenities & services, good transport, first rate speakers, first rate educational seminars, and very high quality exhibitors.

To each of these major shows in their “Parallel Universes” there are flea-market style gatherings of a similar nature, though as far as I know non have them collocated at the same time.

“Parallel Universes” – what qualities does yours have and how does it contrast to the present Dayton Hamvention?



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Post Dayton Hamvention 2009 Thoughts – Part 5

In the midst of forums, show booths and the flea market “treasure hunt” so hams were using the Hamvention to prepare for “Having a field day at Field Day!”

At one of the dinners I sat with a group who took field day seriously, and despite the dinner’s theme being about the competitive Contesting part of our hobby, they were focused on how many more people they hoped to get involved in their Field Day operations, whether they could best their previous GOTA (Get On The Air) station count during Field Day and were planning to have a blast getting everyone on the air.

Vic K1PY and his XYL were among those at the table from the “W2RDX 3A” Field Day effort.

Such enthusiasm and Vic K1PY took the time to explain how they really didn’t have as much opportunity to operate as he would like, and how Field Day had become a major event for them.

Yes they not only have gotten a firm grip on the activation part of Field Day, but have learned how to “Have a field day” at Field Day!

It is meeting, listening & learning from folk like Vic K1PY that makes a Hamvention experience special.



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Post Dayton Hamvention 2009 Thoughts – Part 4

“Where be Tomorrow?”

Yeah, if Dayton was not to be the location of the “big one” of annual Amateur Radio convocations, where would it be?

Several things would need to come together:

  1. Location
  2. Location
  3. Location

Ok, so I borrowed the classic real estate valuation guideline, but really “location” is likely to be the primary factor.

A decent location would have:

  • Interstate access
  • Near or at airline access
  • Suitable Exhibition Hall
  • Hotels & Infrastructure Support
  • Sponsoring Group(s)

Suggestions have been trickling in, with the major Ohio towns mentioned, Indy, Kansas City, several locals in Kentucky & Tennessee, suggestions of combining the Hamvention with one of the newer regional events, and an interesting idea of having the Hamvention rotate between four cities.

Will cover more on thoughts about “Where be Tomorrow?” in my last thoughts on Dayton 2009, as their definitely is an interest to locate to a quality venue.



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In Remembrance

In Remembrance this morning, Memorial Day, let us keep every Soldier, Airman, Marine, & Sailor – every person who served our country & its Freedom and paid the ultimate price.

As a solider I was privileged to visit & on some occasions attend ceremony at several of our National Cemeteries in Europe. This is the sort of humbling experience that drives home the realization the price paid for Liberty, Freedom & Self Determination.

It is our challenge to live up to the life bought so dearly.

To each of those souls, Godspeed.

And God bless America.



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