Category Archives: Dayton Hamvention

Dayton/Xenia Hamvention 2022 New Products

Gathering the product news passed on to me from those at Hamvention:

New/Replacement Products

  • Icom HT and Mobile
  • Italab Amp (Silent Two)
  • [Edited 23MAY22]  Several new “small brand” radios and kits, most which work of their arrival came after the event.

“We got one also!” Products like the other guy’s

  • Solid State Amps from Icom (IC-PW2)
  • and Acom (2020S)

Firmware/Software Upgrades

  • Icom for the IC-705
  • FlexRadio for SmartSDR (was released a few weeks prior to the event)

Interesting Accessories

  • Protection/Field Kits for certain Icom and Elecraft transceivers

Preproduction/release Announcements of Hardware/Software

  • SDRplay rewrite/update/rename (SDRconnect)
  • FlexRadio SmartSDR update previews


  • Heil Ham Radio separates from Heil Sound
  • Kenwood (JVCKenwood) continues to deemphasize and closeout its Amateur Radio offerings
  • Haven’t heard anything about the promised GHz products

Weird Announcements

  • ARRL International DX Contest Log by N3FJP being announced by the usual news sources as version 1.0 where latest release is already version 5.1.2 [Edited 23MAY22 – I got this one figured out, as the v1.0 reference is for the new “Digital Contest” version.]

Show/Internet Discounts

  • Yaesu, Icom, FlexRadio, Kenwood, Alinco, Heil, Uniden, SDRplay, Ham Radio Outlet, Gigparts, DX Engineering,



Dayton Xenia Hamvention 2022 from Afar

As I am not attending this year, I have had plenty of time to do some searching for what is new in Ham Radio.

And I have a couple friends who are feeding what they hear/see back to those of use who didn’t go.

Seems the new themes are:

  • You can win a really big station by attending
  • Several postponed DXpeditions are rescheduled and back on for fundraising
  • DMR (Digital Radio Mobile) offerings (on DMR see:
  • Ruggedized HTs/Mobiles
  • and one ham reported back he was told of some commercial GHz equipment promises

Very interested in what else pops up as new.



Dayton/Xenia Hamvention 2022 – New Memories or Just an Old Memory?

It is less than two weeks to the Dayton/Xenia Hamvention 2022 event.

So far I have spoken to only a couple of hams that are planning to attend this 2022 event, from the group who I’ve either done part of past Hamventions with or would get together with them at Hamvention.

The numbers from my area going to Dayton/Xenia seem significantly down – maybe 25% of the usual group is going.  Haven’t heard of any of the younger area hams going at all.

Here are some of the reasons I have heard:

  • CCP-19 Virus (aka Covid-19) remains a biggie.
  • Costs of fuel and everything else.
  • Low Awareness of Anything New
  • Uncertainty – here less than two weeks prior the isn’t a definitive health statement making one uncertain if even the organizers harbor concerns with gathering up so many hams
  • The combined Greene County/Ohio State Sales tax burden (said to be 8.75%?!)
  • Same deals being offered on the internet as are available if you attend.
  • So many items being out of stock, so if you want to buy you are placing an order rather than walking out with the cutting edge XYZ-123 unit then and there
  • Many of the Dayton era attendees are simply “old” and not travel-able
  • Lower numbers of DXpeditions and missed years means less war stories to be be told at Hamvention
  • Hams having missed previous events are struggling to reclaim their “Dayton Time Window” from among other family plans and pressures that took over.
  • Reduced event Promotion – many hams said they didn’t get the mailings and emails that strategically used to appear to puff up the event and banquets.
  • Alternatives (Hamcation being somewhere warm in Winter was mentioned by snow country hams)
  • Less exhibitors (see

I am not going, but really not for any one single reason.

Rather in my personal take the ROI (Return on Investment) for attending Hamvention is all about people – the other hams I know and can meet there. Since so many are giving Hamvention 2022 a miss as I’m not eager to drive and attend alone.



FlexRadio Systems Announced SmartSDR 2.5 and a SmartSDR 3.0 Update at Dayton 2019

The announcement was made at the Banquet Dinner Thursday evening.

Photo of the PowerPoint slide was shared with me.

v2.5 and v3.0.x slide

As a reminder v2 licensed radios are eligible to update to v2.5 at no additional cost.

Likewise v3 licensed radios are eligible to update to the newest v3.0.x with no additional cost, and technically are eligible to use v2.5 as well.

Release date is promised for [soon after] Monday May 20th.



Reflections on Hamvention 2017 by K9ZW

Reflections on Hamvention 2017 by K9ZW

I wanted to wait a week before doing an accounting of my 2017 Hamvention experiences. Needed that long for the wasp sting I somehow got, the impact of the hot weather, the soreness from the long drive and all the mud on my car to all become just memories.

First I cannot overstate how little I miss the nasty old Hara. Though I knew where things were and like an old pair of shoes, there was a certain comfort in familiarity the place simply sucked.

Xenia Fairgrounds is a nicer than typical small town multi-purpose fairgrounds. I happen to love small town America, and personally value the “Norman Rockwell” characteristics of real America.  I’d never been to Xenia but I’ve been a hundred places like Xenia.

This year I traveled with my wife Alison KC9MPL and with friend & neighbor the venerable George Ulm W9EVT. George’s wife Susan had to cancel on short notice as their dog needed special care which was going to go better if one of them stayed back at their farm.

We stayed in a new complex in Miamisburg, Ohio, at the Hilton Garden Hotel that also hosted the FlexRadio System Banquets. The hotel was four years old and basically a better grade traveler’s hotel.  Rates were typical and the surrounding amenities were awesome.  George said he had a couple small problems with his room, but ours was flawless.  The staff was super helpful.

We arrived in time to make the FlexRadio Systems Contester/DXer Banquet on Thursday evening, where the new Flex-6400, Flex-6600, Flex-6400M and Flex-6600M were launched. Very good banquet with lots of news, and with lots of people to talk to.  I was a bit road-weary and did not do my best at talking to all the people I had wanted to meet up with.  Did have a great chat with AB5ED Abed, who is a longtime FRS software engineer.  Abed impressed me asking after my son Winston KC9FVR as they had met at a FRS banquet five years prior.

Friday morning after breakfast in the hotel we set off for Xenia, aiming for the main parking. Unfortunately we were a long time in traffic, due to what we later found out was a traffic accident.  We’d dropped Alison off at the K & G Bicycle Shop where she went off on her own to rent a bike and do the area trails.

Parking went smooth once the accident was cleared (hopefully nobody was hurt) and a fellow with a golf cart came over to help George W9EVT to the Scooter Tent. At 86 years of age George will out lift, carry and outwalk younger hams, but unfortunately not for all day anymore.  So George starts the day using the Scooter to get to the end of a row or to a building/tent and then walks the area, but by lunchtime he needs to ride the Scooter more.  The Scootermobile people are super nice and took care of George.

Now inside the gates we faced having to learn the new layout. I had of course left in the car my annotated “must see” map of exhibitors I wanted to catch up with.  Some things seem to never change when it comes to self-inflicted chaos.

Finding our way into the tents we had a really good long talk with the new owner of TenTec and Alpha Amplifiers. Owner/President Mike N8WFF is a US Navy veteran and we had a really great talk about his plans for the companies.  Talk about a rescue, as both Alpha Amplifiers and TenTec were on their way to disappear having a “can do” fellow like Mike N8WFF pick up the pieces is inspiring.  We did leave with the impression that if Mike N8WFF were to team up with a partner who was marketing & sales orientated the recovery would be quicker.  But that is arm chair quarterbacking at best. BTW the Alpha 4040 Mike says will be finished this year.  Yeah!

On the tents, they were too tight for supersized hams, scooters and people carrying ham sized gear. Hoping the spacing is improved for 2018.

The big exhibition sheds are multipurpose agricultural type metal buildings on concrete slabs. If you live in a Midwestern small town like I do, you’ve been in these sorts of buildings for everything from seeing the FFA (Future Farmers of America) Animal Judging at county fair time, to Craft Beer Brewing events to quilting shows… and everything in between. The lack of Air Conditioning was a bit ugly on Friday, with outside temperatures perhaps getting into the 90’s.  In fairness we’d had bring some outside plants in the house when we left due to frost warnings, so some of temperature complaint was my not being accustomed yet to warm weather this year.

Visited FlexRadio Systems, DX Engineering, Icom, Arlan Communications (RadioSport), RadioWavz, Array Solutions, Amsat, and dozens more that I had marked in my program as “must see.” Spent some time talking with Ranko 4o3a and other celebrity vendors.

It was hot enough that the Beer Garden was of more interest than eating. There was a Steel Drummer playing and an endless choice of foods vendors. Of course huge rain storm had to move in, so we retreated to the sheds. In the end we waited to have a late lunch in the hipster village of Yellow Springs, as Alison had put in their hiding from the rain & lightning while bicycling.  The area trails are really excellent she reports, having done about 40 miles in her casual ride.

While our exit from the fairgrounds had been smooth and quick, I hadn’t let myself get caught in the wrong lane leaving Xenia requiring a 2-3 mile backtrack as a result, nonetheless our ride back to the hotel was quick if very wet.

Friday evening we dressed up and took in the Collins Collectors Association Banquet held at the Miami Valley Country Club. The country club is about 4 miles south of the old remote parking at the former Salem Mall and is a wonderful retro-swank old style club.  At the table I was sat next to Mike March K4QU of Morse key making renown.  He does some keys in conjunction with a master engraver, and once she is done these are fantastic works of art that also rock for sending code. is his website.

Saturday saw George W9EVT and myself off to the show early, meeting with my cousin Dale N6JSX for a final morning of looking around. Heavy rains dampened out enthusiasm and we headed back to the hotel early than planned.  Alison spent the day touring with Dale’s wife Becky N9KUV.

George W9EVT bowed out for our third banquet of Hamvention 2017, the general audience targeted FlexRadio System Banquet. This was an excellent event as Mac W4AX did an outstanding presentation on use of the USB control from your Flex-6000 to automate your station – has some of his charts.  Basically a Flex-6000 has a programmable interface by USB that can control about every aspect of your station, right down to an “On the Air” sign!

We had a really good chat with fellow NEWDXA member Jerry K9USN. Again I think I missed talking to quite a few people I had intended to catch up with, but that happens when your XYL’s feelings need to be taken into consideration.

Very early Sunday we hit the road, and dove first home, then with another of my sons Victor KC9NWB drove George W9EVT the last 115 miles up to the ferry that takes him to his Island.

Was Hamvention 2017 better for all the changes? Resoundingly YES.

Was it all worked out and perfect? No but it wasn’t bad either.

The swap mart got all muddy – that isn’t bad compared to sewage volcanos bubbling up in the swap meet area like at the Hara. The exhibition sheds were hot – but they were despite claims of A/C at the Hara. The beer garden was outside compared to the ice cold bar room at the Hara, but also it was possible to get a beer instantly compared to the Hara 20 minutes in line.

Different Hamvention – some stuff better, some stuff worse, and all things Ham!

What are our 2018 plans? Undecided, but not for Hamvention reasons, but because of other travel opportunity reasons.

Glad we went, good time had by all and a tip of the hat to the DARA team for making a difficult transition work out.



Updated after Hamvention 2017 review of my FlexRadio Systems SmartSDR Product Launch Predictions!

Okay here is what I’ve gotten right/wrong in my  2017 new product predictions:

Partially correct – (Some of) SmartSDR for Windows v2.0 will be shown, and anticipate at least a few weeks delay for public beta or a limited release  (later June ) . The WAN Feature is being called SmartLink (TM) and will be shown at Hamvention.  The Multi-User/Simultaneous User GUI feature does not have an announced name and will NOT be shown at Hamvention.  A general release of SmartSDR Version 2.0 will first happen some point AFTER Hamvention – when it is ready.

Correct but too obvious to be a winning prediction – SmartSDR for iOS v2.0 will follow suite with an implementation of the Windows v2.0 product and possibly will work with both SmartSDR v1.x and v2.x servers.

Got this wrong – SmartSDR for Windows v1.1x will also get an update, mostly to make upgrade/downgrade between v1.x and v2.x products possible and so everything else on the hamshack computer doesn’t breakdown when switching between versions.

Nailed it YES – PowerGenius XL – a close to production configuration of the joint 4o3a/FlexRadio System solid state amp will be shown and a start of shipping date will be announced. I’m guessing beginning of Q3 (July) if product hasn’t already arrived & cleared customs.

Partially correct as  YES it was shown, but more it will be included for preorders and other 2017 orders – TunerGenius S XL – will be shown in preproduction form, and likely will be available at the same time as the amps. A version that can be added to pair & controlled from the PowerGeniusXL is happening is a possibility.

Sort of Right, as they are working to do this – SmartSDR/4o3a Control Pad Software – hoping to see a significantly better integrated offering intended to run on a pad (iPad or WinBook type) alongside a Maestro or PC running SmartSDR

Sort or Right, but not Shown – RotorGenius/StationGenius/AntennaGenius and other 4o3a products will likely have upgrades to work better with the SmartSDR/Flex-6000 product line. (NOTE:  Aa a reminder, all of the 4o3a gear works in a non-FRS station too.)

YES but not Ready for ordersthough a headset to work for this use is ready – RadioSport iPod SmartSDR for iOS Dock – will be shown in a Mark II prototype. They showed an early prototype with a new headset design, so that may be a package at the Hamvention too.

Couldn’t Find them, but was “told it is in the works” – DogPark may have/show their SmartSDR v2.x compatible DogparkSDR upgraded version

No, got this wrong replaced by other developments – FlexRadio Systems SO2R box may reappear intended for the Flex-6500/6300 making those radios SO2R while the Flex-6700 as produced is already SO2R (actually SOnR).

Yes on new models to replace the old Flex-6300/6500, come in server and with faceplate (not removable) configurations and have more options. – EDIT:  A premature product datasheet release shows several new models of radio – Flex-6400, Flex-6400M, Flex-6600 and Flex-6600M.  The context didn’t give any insight into what these new models are and my guess is the Flex-6300 and Flex-6500 are being replaced, and that the “M” models are mobile optimized. Whether a new feature/price slot Flex-6×00 radio launches is doubtful beyond the 6400/6600 products.

Didn’t Find them, but keep hearing these are “in the works” – Several Antennas will be shown optimized for the characteristics of the Flex-6000. Most will be based on the Log-Periodic or mixed Log/Yagi designs.

No got this half wrong – Table talk only unless you are Uncle Sam as FRS does this for them but at a very non-Ham price point, but a ham version could be readied for the right price – There will be discussion of a many-SCU (Spectral Capture Unit) radio (Flex-14000 with six or eight SCUs) or a way to slave several Flex-6700’s together to bring larger scale multi-antenna diversity to the shack.

Didn’t Find Them – Possible accessories – a single unit Ethernet-fiber-Ethernet network isolation box to electrically decouple a Flex-6000 but not require the ham to roll their own isolation doesn’t sound like it is being shown yet.

Couldn’t Find them, but was “told it is in the works” – But some simpler Ethernet and SmartSDR/DDUtil aware antenna switches may be at the show.

Couldn’t Find them, but was “told it is in the works” – Possibly we may hear of a 4-square or K9AY style SmartSDR aware receiving array.  There may be software to add-on around SmartSDR to manage things like Shared-Use Flex-6000 Stations, Logging/Spots, Digital Modes, maybe even slice-sharing for RX now that the time stamping of packets has started.

Heard confirmations, but not really a firm commitment – Thinking more software will be announced over the net after FRS clarifies its forward direction and timing.

No I got this one Wrong – Maestro II as the M models have integral faceplates and production delays were technical – What I don’t think we will see is a sub $800 SmartSDR unit (a Flex-1500 direct replacement) or a Maestro-II (see comments below, I have changed my prediction to that we will see new Maestro II launched) as some folk have suggested. Unlikely that we would see a Flex-6000 with a permanently attached Maestro front-plate (like the TenTec Pegasus -> Pegasus FP -> Jupiter metamorphous years ago) though there would be no reason to not have a removable faceplate unit (like the old Kenwood 2000 did).  Not very certain that we will see a “SmartSDR for Linux” given the costs of doing that port.

One thing I really missed was the Emotive Outbursts from FlexRadio Owners who somehow (one or many of these):

  • Never Imagined New/Improved Hardware could happen.
  • Feel FRS owes them forever upgrades/support at no cost.
  • Feel FRS owed them to protect their purchase price by artificially pricing higher than mark for new radio models.
  • Somehow think that they would be better at running FRS for no obvious reason that they can share.
  • Forget they several dozen SmartSDR releases since the first version widely shared, claiming SmartSDR has been stagnant since 2013.
  • Attribute successful/better/more-advanced actions/communications/prices/features to other SDR manufacturers where they either are limited instances or simple are not reality.  
  • Don’t even own a Flex-6000 but feel they are experienced in operating one.
  • Feel their Flex-5000, Flex-3000, Flex-1500, Flex SDR-1000 were the penultimate SDR and nothing newer is any good.
  • Haven’t seen the new products in the flesh, but know all about them.
  • Say FRS taking reservations and deposits is BAD, but other manufacturers doing the same – some without even a price commitment – is somehow OK.

A lot of these folk need to get on the air more, or at least read the spec sheets…. more on this phenomena in a later post.

I’ll also have a Dayton Wrap-Up from my view point in a couple days.  Put on cover 700 miles (1100 KM) today driving home and running George W9EVT to the Washington Island ferry dock, so off to catch up on chores.