Dayton Xenia Hamvention 2022 – Jeff KE9V’s Final Report

A bit unusual for With Varying Frequency, we have words from a guest to share.  Jeff KE9V is a long time ham, podcaster, author and blogger.  We’ve corresponded for years.

Jeff KE9V made it to FDIM (Four Days in May – the QRP event) and Hamvention, and has agreed his observations could appear here.

I’ve minimized any edits, mostly adding Jeff’s call sign when it added clarity.

While doing a massive amount of creative work, Jeff KE9V rebuilds his web presence removing the old to make way for the new periodically.  Some of his ham radio fiction podcasts may be put up for a few days a year, but then maybe not.

Link to where his blog and other work usually appears and to his twitter feed when he is doing that

Presenting part of our dialogue, oldest to newest:

FIDM by Jeff KE9V

I’m here at the Four Days in May event and it looks like attendance is about 2/3 of usual.

Tomorrow at the fairgrounds should be interesting…

Jeff [KE9V]

Quick Update (1) by Jeff KE9V

Big news (to me) is that Kenwood isn’t here this year. Oddly enough, TenTec has a booth!

I’m going to maintain my estimate on vendors at 2/3rds of normal. Not empty but not pressed for space anywhere. Lots of open places in flea market.

Everything kinda looks just like 2019 to me!

My Reply

Kenwood being AWOL was expected, as I think they are selling off the last of their HF transceivers and other radios, and that is the end for the,

TenTec usually has a small booth. Was their current owner Mike N8WFF in the booth? For over a year they have said all their models are “out of stock” with only the updated Omni-VII+ being listed as possibly having a new production run. Rumble is discontinued components require any of the models to be redesigned before they could do a production run. TenTec discontinued Parts and Service in February, so really who would buy one?

Here is my list from your observations, the net, and other reports from the grounds: [See blog post ]



Quick Update (2) by Jeff KE9V

I don’t know “Mike” well enough to know if that’s him? I’m not sure why they showed up at all given their fairly recent announcement that they aren’t even providing service support for TT gear anymore. But they had several decade (or more) old items on the table.

I can’t confirm or deny anything about new handhelds – didn’t look at any and none jumped out at me.

As expected there have been many items that are being touted and shown – but you can’t buy them yet.

The Elecraft business model has taken hold of ham vendors… give us a fat deposit now and in 24 months you will be one of the first to receive the new widget.

FlexRadio looked … tired. Not sure how else to say it. Same exact things I saw in 2019, other than the updated software I guess and the slightly smaller booth space?

Begali was there but I didn’t see Pietro today. Maybe tomorrow? Just Bruna and her boyfriend running the booth every time I stopped by today.


I’m going to get tested as soon as I get home just to make certain this wasn’t some super spreader event!

I have left the fairgrounds now and am at the Marriott for the DX Dinner tonight. Back to Xenia in the morning for a few more laps around the same old things…

73, Jeff [KE9V]

Home by Jeff KE9V

Back home now.

Nothing more to add except I really love Hamvention and I hope it prospers and goes on forever.

Having said that, I’m not sure when or if I’ll be going back. I expected disappointment this year because I knew there was nothing “new” to look at. On that front ham radio has become pretty desolate during this new era of deprivation. But I think it’s the logistics that put me off the most. While I’m not some old guy riding an electric scooter, I am old enough that queuing in a long line to park in a large grass field and then walking half a mile to the entrance to stand in another long line to get inside — in what is almost never “good” weather, has become more chore than a nice payoff.

I enjoyed the DX Dinner so much more, the dinner conversation was sparkling and the keynote speaker was entertaining. I was in a nice hotel forum room that was climate controlled and got no mud on my shoes…

It is so much easier and convenient to order online that I can’t imagine that buying new stuff (especially big-ticket stuff) is a big draw to Hamvention anymore. The big draw is the enormous flea market – and it’s still amazingly large. But it’s in a steamy hot mud field and besides that inconvenience, I haven’t bought anything from a ham radio flea market in decades and seriously doubt I will ever again.

For me, the best part of these ham radio get-togethers is meeting new and interesting people and having a chance to get to know them. Those odds are multiplied if you go to where the people are and Hamvention draws a big enough crowd that odds are good of meeting interesting people!

But it’s MUCH more comfortable to do that at events like the W9DXCC convention, etc.

I’ll be interested to hear what the final attendance numbers were for Hamvention 2022. Not sure we will get a straight report from DARA though. I once knew a preacher who had a revival at his church where the visiting pastor claimed that “100 souls got saved during the revival”. When I mentioned that there were only about 50 people in attendance he told me that the visiting minister didn’t lie about the number of soul saved, he was merely speaking “evangelistically” when he claimed a hundred…

My guess is that whatever DARA reports it to have been they will be “evangelistically” speaking…

73, Jeff [KE9V]

Others have echoed the same two-thirds impression, and really there doesn’t seem to have been much of anything with a “buzz” to it that was new, happening or even rumored.

Web purchases are the same price, so the special deals are universal.  Ditto with the waiting for actual delivery.

Yet there is a sort of feeling – almost a Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance sort of feeling – that is sensed.

Tangible but elusive, sort of feeling that you just can’t put your finger specifically upon, other than admitting it is a shared joy with your fellow hams.

It is “the people” that makes Hamvention special, and for that you have to go rub elbows with fellow hams at Hamvention.




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3 thoughts on “Dayton Xenia Hamvention 2022 – Jeff KE9V’s Final Report

  1. tregonsee says:

    My first Hamvention since 2015, and I wanted to see what the new digs are like. The number 2/3 seemed almost as universal as 42. The two group socials I attended were about 2/3 normal, as was the turnout at the groups’ booths. There were a few real improvements over Hara. There were far more choices and better choices of things to eat, and the forums were in separate buildings with much lower noise levels and permanent AV facilities. As someone who ran a large forum for several years, the improvement was noticeable. There is significantly less covered space than Hara, which was both good in that more exhibitors were closer together, and bad in that some were difficult to access due to the crowds. Parking, especially remote parking, was surprisingly efficient. My general impression is that the Fairgrounds, other than not being close to falling down, is significantly less suitable for Hamvention. However, a lot of very dedicated people worked very hard and largely succeeded in making things work.

    The biggest change is that the world has changed significantly post-COVID-19 and will not likely return fully. I picked up a few miscellaneous parts, and also a new HT with all the trimmings, and had some significant savings. However, I did the latter from the comfort of my motel room. :)

    Like others, I doubt if I will return. Partly age, partly changing interests, but mostly that the Internet has replaced such meets for both information and sales. Likewise, socializing is probably better at regional hamfests such as Huntsville, and interest group meetings such as DXing, TAPR, AMSAT, etc.


  2. Rodger says:

    My first Hamvention (ticked the bucket list box). I am mostly a bone-yard guy and the bone-yard did not disappoint. I was very impressed with how well Xenia seemed to roll out the red carpet for the event. No plastic political yard signs welcoming the Hams to the area, full fledged light pole banners like you see in small towns for Christmas were the order of the day. Moving folks from the parking lots to the entry gate and from the gate back to your car to drop off loads of junk (I mean treasures) was also well run by very polite volunteers in golf carts. Local law enforcement was at every intersection directing traffic and keeping things moving (at least on Friday) Food on site – what I had was not all that great but was carb laden so I did not have a sugar crash. Covered areas to get out of the sun is a suggestion for improvement. At least one area with pic-nick tables was seen just outside of the gate but not really convenient for those inside. Ticket price was certainly PROUD but worth it. Get there for Friday as the crowd on Saturday was unusually smaller. I’ll go back but probably in 2-3 years if it still takes place. 73 Rodger, N4NRW

  3. k9zw says:

    Worth adding to Jeff’s report that several groups have reported Covid-19 outbreaks among their attendees.

    I have seen ham’s twitter posts that 50 from their particular group fell ill or tested positive.

    Jeff has emailed that he has seen much higher numbers (1000+) but as the counting is informal there is no way to know if double counting or under counting occurred.



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