“Dayton Yesterday – Dayton Tomorrow?”
I’ve posed seven points about Dayton that I had been reflecting on.
- “Living in the Past”
- “Keeping to Comparative Standards”
- “Where be Tomorrow?”
- “Having a field day at Field Day!”
- “Parallel Universes”
- “Would you go out like that?”
- “Secret Handshakes, nah, lets go Whole Hog!”
Each of those thoughts are part of a personal evaluation on “Dayton Yesterday – Dayton Tomorrow?”
With only a few years of attending Dayton my personal “Dayton Yesterday” lacks the deep nostalgia some have – a nostalgia that transforms the present experience into something more for them personally.
True, I will remember this year for having my eldest son Tom KC9JGD attend with me. That will be part of my “Dayton Mystique” forever.
And time tends to blot out the distasteful memories like the wannabe muggers hanging around downtown, the panhandlers & beggars, the filth of the Hara and the forever under construction Dayton road system.
So what does that mean for “Dayton Tomorrow” for me personally and for the Hamvention as a whole?
Once upon a time Dayton was “The Place” for information flow and deals, but the Internet has changed that. One doesn’t HAVE to attend Dayton to be “in the know” or get good deals.
Personally I will need a catalyst to attend Dayton’s Hamvention in 2010. That could be one or several of my sons asking to go, or a group of buddies saying “come on along” or something commercial/educational that can only be done by attending Dayton.
With a personal opportunity cost of 2-1/2 days of vacation needed, the miles & hotel rooms, and the other small fees I could use the same any go on a mini-DXpedition somewhere warm, safe & pretty, or attend a different Ham Event, or go to the NRA show, or just go fishing.
I’ll start deciding next autumn, thought gazing into my personal Crystal Ball I’m guessing I will attend another major Ham Fest type event in 2010 rather than Dayton. If nothing else just to give it a try.
As for the Dayton Hamvention as a whole, the inertia of the DARC group and the event will carry Dayton’s Hamvention forward for some years to come. It would take a catastrophic event (loss of the Hara, a terror/violence event, something VERY major like that) to bring any rapid change to Dayton.
Rather my Crystal Ball sees Dayton much like a a now elderly chorus girl, successfully piling on enough makeup, getting a nip & tuck here and there, and largely through that special attitude of the “once lovely” able to pull it of for some more years.
What will change is the elevation of alternatives becoming more viable choices, while the old Hamvention fends off retirement. Just look how successfully the nearly co-located “QRP Four Days in May” and “Contest University” have become as parallel events during Dayton!
My Crystal Ball doesn’t have enough resolution to resolve which other event might eventually overtake Dayton, or whether it will be a brand new event. It does seem pretty certain that it forecasts a continuing decline to the present Hamvention in the dirty Hara.
How many years until the transition occurs with Dayton loosing its Kingpin status is best forecast as less than ten, but not in the next two or three years.
In an ideal world the next major Ham Fest I attend will be clean enough and in a nice enough place to include in a family vacation, and will have events that interest & inspire my teenage sons. I am thinking Friedrichshafen in 2010 for the Ham Radio Exhibition as I have left it too late to arrange it for 2009.
“Dayton Yesterday – Dayton Tomorrow?” Well it simply isn’t what it used to be, and doesn’t have much of a future trying to hold to the past in squalor.