Dayton Dust – Hamvention Reflected

Some closing Dayton Hamvention thoughts before I move onto other topics.

The pluses of Dayton 2011 People! I had the fantastic opportunity to spend time with my friend George W9EVT traveling, visit family who made Dayton the focus of a long overdue reunion, met lots of old and new friends, spent time talking first hand with developers & vendors of products I’m interested in, learned much first hand from those presenting.

The downs of Dayton 2011 Logistics! It is a day’s run to get to a place that bluntly is substandard. Living in the present, rather than taking on the rose colored glasses of a nostalgia for Dayton’s Past, the place simply isn’t “destination quality.”

The ROI (Return on Investment) and CBA (Cost/Benefit Analysis) is still working for Dayton because of the people. Really if I wanted to see “stuff” I would be money ahead to order everything that interested me, have it shipped to me, and return what I didn’t like or want. But with a hobby that is about communication – about sharing a personal interface with others – it really is the people that holds Dayton together by overcoming the squalor.

Having done trade shows, including hobby shows, in several countries I am embarrassed that we pretend that Dayton is a “nice place” to meet & show our good side to fellow amateurs from around the world. We can blow all the smoke we want, but it is simply isn’t much of a place compared to how many of these other shows run.

On the CBA basis there are alternative – Hamcation, Ham-Com, and overseas, then a great number of regional and/or focus events. Last year I attended the W9DXCC which remains on my radar for this year.

Now there is a bit of personal focus – I am not a Flea Market person by temperament, and am busy enough that I really appreciate easy, clean, well run recreational events. I know that this is different for folk who have have the smarts & interest to sift through the bargains in the swap meet.

Dayton Past may have been better – though most of the nostalgia I hear centers on People, which remains a highlight.

Dayton Present is what it is – a bunch of great people meeting in a facility that in many other places would have long ago been condemned. Again the People make up for so much.

Dayton Tomorrow – is a for me a “Big Maybe.” I’ve skipped several years, and mostly had people reasons to return (friends and/or family). My son Tom KC9JGD wanted to go a couple years ago, and if I get a chance to spend time with George W9EVT I am always happy to be the driver. Another son Winston KC9FVR asked about this year, though his school schedule conflicted, where next year it looks like he would be free to go. I still have family in the Dayton area.

That said perhaps it is time to see if the “grass is greener on the other side of the fence” and pick one or more alternative events to attend? Maybe one overseas and combine the travel with catching up with friends & family there?

Look at that question – again it comes down to “the people” and perhaps no matter what that it is “the people” that make an event, wherever & whenever something special?



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5 thoughts on “Dayton Dust – Hamvention Reflected

  1. Bob K0NR says:

    Well said. I skipped Dayton again this year for a variety of reasons, but the venue is one of them.

    • k9zw says:

      Hi Bob K0NR

      Thank you for the kind words – I think you’d mentioned you attended/been involved in some of the regional events- any comparisons you can offer?



  2. I went to my first hamvention this year. I didn’t go to see the Hara arena. Would what I experienced have been any better if it was held in a domed stadium? Same people, same products, same forums.

    Hara is certainly not something to look at but it is just the “container” for the event which for me was Fri & Sat encompassing a total of ~15 hours of my life. Dayton isn’t anything special, but even if it was, I was driving out to the hamvention and spending all my time there. Would I bring my kids/spouse – no. If I wasn’t wrapping a family vacation around it, I wouldn’t likely bring them anywhere it was located.

    Contest University/Contest Dinner @ the Crowne Plaza was terrific for the info & people. Spending a very full day in sessions and meals, I’d want it to be very comfortable and it was.

    Parking/transportation from the nearby mall lot was inexpensive, quick and very well organized.

    I don’t think I would not head back because of the location/Hara arena. It’s a 630 mi drive since I’m on the east coast and a hotel ~$100/day (yes you can stay cheaper). It’s a full days run for me to get there and get home, but while I’m there for 3 days (Thur, Fri & Sat) the location to me was pretty irrelevant.

    • k9zw says:

      I’d not mentioned Contest University – which is an outstanding program! Glad you had a good experience with it!

      Attending the first three years of CU was a highlight of my various Dayton trips.



  3. Bob K0NR says:

    Hey, there’s a lot to like about the Hamvention…no question about it. DARA puts in a ton of work to pull it off and it is still the #1 ham convention in the world.

    Just imagine if it was in a modern convention center…

    73, Bob K0NR

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