Post Dayton Hamvention 2009 Thoughts – Part 2

“Living in the Past” is often a derogatory term, but really has some good sides to it in many cases.

Amateur Radio is old enough to be tradition and history ladened, with the interest for each of us ranging from indifference to encompassing focus.

Dayton seems to cover this whole gamut – with fans of the very leading edge SDR SMC DRM “black boxes” to those stuck in an Edwardian world where any radio weighing less than 200 Lbs simply isn’t a “real radio!”

All of this is healthy – a respect for tomorrow’s technology and a reverence for the best of history.

There is unfortunately another, darker, side of “Living in the Past” at Dayton – being the dour, no lets be blunt festering putrid side of Dayton.

We drove Salem Avenue from near the Hara Hamvention site to downtown Dayton and were treated to at least 50% empty, and in many cases trashed, buildings, streets that were as rough as cobblestones with none of the charms and a views of humanity that didn’t inspire.

Dayton is in many ways no worse than many rotting cities, but lacks the pizzaz to at least tart up its public thoroughfares.

Several times we were approached by panhandlers, and as I described in my during show write up we had Dayton’s finest street urchins makes noises about fighting us. SImply wonderful.

There is no way I would spend the time & money to bring my XYL & family to a city as rough as this.

The Hara we’ve discussed at length. Everyplace I looked it was somewhere on the axis between filthy-to-foul, shopworn-to-sordid, fire-hazard-to-death-trap and in most cities would not be permitted for warehousing, much less a major public event.

Again as a destination the Hara simply sucks. It is a great unwashed armpit as an exhibition center, more suited to a backwater’s poultry show than a technology exhibition.

I am embarrassed for the impression today’s condition of the Hara and of Dayton that an overseas visitor must have on first site.

Many argue that it was at Dayton 25 years ago they met their wife, or have other nostalgic memories that override the festering squalor the Hara is at now.

This is the silly sort of “Living in the Past” where an old flaccid man brags about how 40 years earlier he could do pushups & do 20 miles runs in full combat gear.

Lovely memories, but the present facts are very different.

During the year I often get to attend other shows, and yes a few are even more rough than the Hamvention, but many are clean, polished, safe, secure, and absolutely the sort of place a family would be happy to go to.

If I travel across the country to see a Horse Show I want to see groomed horses in a clean arena, not stand in the muck in dirty broken down stables.

I am very much looking for suggestions on alternatives to Dayton for 2010 or even later in 2009, that would have enough curb appeal to take my XYL to, or even the whole family. Your suggestions appreciated. It would not have to be even in the USA, as we seldom go a year without getting out of country a few times.

More to come in Part 3 and further.



(Edited 22 May 09 – Grammar correction – naughty me & my spell checker had “gamut” wrong)

Tagged , , ,

5 thoughts on “Post Dayton Hamvention 2009 Thoughts – Part 2

  1. Pat - N0HR says:


    I’ve had similar thoughts… is there any way to make a major hamfest trip also be a family friendly vacation? For me, Dayton has been the biggest and the best in terms of why I go to a hamfest – great forums, great deals, and rubbing elbows with the top-notch guys in the hobby.

    I’ve been wondering about Orlando’s Hamcation, some of the big fests of the South (Dallas, Alabama), or California’s major fest as alternatives. I haven’t done the research yet – and being the middle of a major career change, it’s not the time to consider it – but I’ve had similar thoughts.


  2. Don - WS4E says:

    As I was walking around I couldn’t help think…. Why in the WORLD do we not have this thing in Louisville with its world class convention center and massive sparkling new fairgrounds.

    Its right down the river and located in nearly the center of the country right with great airline access from Louisville International Airport, and smack in the middle of some of the most popular N/S and E/W interstate highway routes… I-65 to Nashville just a couple of hours south and Indy/Chicago only a couple of hours to the north, I-71 with Cincy only an hour and half to the East, and I-64 with St. Louis only a few hours to the west.

  3. Bob K0NR says:

    Hamvention is held in Dayton because DARA puts on the event.
    There are a number of ham conventions in better venues but none (I think) as big as Hamvention. So to me the question is whether there is a tipping point where some other convention becomes the “New Dayton”. It seems unlikely that DARA would pick up and move it to some other spot.

    Oh, come to Estes Park next weekend for Hamcon Colorado. It is relatively small but a great location and lots of fun.

    73, Bob

  4. N8NSN says:

    Being born and raised in Dayton, I can completely understand what you are saying. I have watched this once great city go down the tubes in rather rapid succession. Please, understand that I have lived abroad as well. You know Steve (and others) you are absolutely correct… A different venue would be a good move for the worlds most ‘known of’ Hamvention.

    Hara Arena is not the only place in Dayton, though. I hope the directors and chairpersons for Hamvention are following this thread (DARA). I am a member of DARA and I will bring these thoughts to the attention of the committee’. The Urban J. Nutter Cented would seem a much more appropriate place to host our national and international visitors.

  5. k9zw says:

    Ervin J Nutter Center (Dayton Ohio) could be a real alternative to the seedy Hara:

    The Ervin J. Nutter Center at Wright State University is southwest Ohio’s premier sports and entertainment complex. The Nutter Center, a state-of-the-art facility, is home to NCAA Division 1 Wright State Athletics and ECHL Dayton Bombers Hockey.

    The Nutter Center’s standard of excellence and versatility has made it one of the premier stopping points for over 20 national touring concerts and performances each year including musicians from every genre and world renowned family shows. It has also become home for high profile sporting events including regional and state high school volleyball, basketball, and wrestling tournaments.

    In addition to the main arena, the Nutter Center also houses four basketball courts, a recreational running track, a fully equipped fitness center, 60,000 square feet of exhibit space, several classrooms and dressing rooms. The contemporary Berry Room holds 250 people for weddings, receptions, conferences, and seminars.

    With a maximum seating capacity of 12,000, the Nutter Center is continually ranked nationally for venues of its size.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: