Category Archives: Hamvention

Loss of Balance – All Zoomed Out

Like many of us the meetings I would have attended for work and for family have largely gone virtual. Zoom, Teams, FaceTime, Teleconference, or any variety of synthetic meeting systems replaced face to face events.

Zoomed Out and Bloodshot!

Or what would have been done in person has been reduced to a text, email or just gets skipped.

You hobby is facing the perceived need to hold its usual hamfests as virtual events for a second year.

Discussing in email, telephone and on-air exchanges whether one intends to buy a ticket and attend, several of us have decided that we are “all zoomed out” intending to give the events a pass.

Often mentioned is the lack of camaraderie of virtual substitutes and the reality that you can time-shift anything you did want to watch to a personally more convenient time slot.
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An Alternative to In-person Hamfests – QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo Announces Full Lineup of Speakers

As an Alternative to In-person Hamfests, QSO Today is holding a Virtual Ham Expo. Yesterday they made a speakers list announcement:

07/06/2020 – QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo Announces Full Lineup of Speakers

The first QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo Saturday and Sunday, August 8 – 9, has confirmed what it’s calling “a packed lineup of over 70 great speakers” for the ARRL-sanctioned event. Attendance is free and registration is open.

Presentations will cover a range of topics, with two tracks focused on providing hands-on, practical advice for those just getting started in amateur radio.

Steve Johnston, WD8DAS, will demonstrate basic soldering techniques for repairing equipment and building projects.

Marcel Stieber, AI6MS, will offer an overview of common battery types, discussing the pros and cons of each — including battery chemistry, common uses and misuses, and everyday application tips.

For experienced operators, topics will cover new techniques, equipment upgrading, 3D printing, and more.

Glenn Johnson, WØGJ, will attempt to answer the question, “Is 3 dB Worth a Divorce?” and cover a wide range of antenna topics.

Jim Veatch, WA2EUJ, will explain how to build a QRP radio.

In his presentation, “The Slot Antenna — Undiscovered Country for Most Hams,” John Portune, W6NBC, will demonstrate how a satellite TV dish can be “slotted” to make an effective outdoor 2-meter or UHF antenna for use in antenna-restricted neighborhoods.

Prominent youth educator Carole Perry, WB2MGP, will moderate a lineup featuring amateur radio’s future leaders.

Audrey McElroy, KM4BUN, will speak on, “Getting Girls Involved in STEM, Specifically Amateur Radio!” while hot-air ballooning will be the focus of a talk by Jack McElroy, KM4ZIA, “Highly Flying Kids with HAB.”

QSO Today’s Eric Guth, 4Z1UG, says that one challenge to any ham radio convention, whether in person or virtual, is keeping the content of presentations from becoming overly complicated and overwhelming. “For our inaugural virtual Expo, we’ve made sure that there are great speakers for both beginners and experienced hams,” Guth said. “We’ve asked all of our speakers to be laser focused on their topics while providing hands-on, practical advice.” Each presentation will wrap up with a live question-and-answer session.

For more information or to register, visit the QSO Today Virtual Ham Expowebsite.

Attendance is free, and there are early bird prize incentives for registering by July 24.


I’m registered, though I will likely only “attend” a limited amount of the Hamfest as I am loath to lose good outdoor-time for virtual events that realistically are almost the same if viewed sometime later.  In a later viewing I can also fast-forward through, which saves me a great amount of time.



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The Dawn of a New Era? How after the ChiCom Plague we will never go back again. Part 5 – Full Ham Edition

The Dawn of a New Era?  How after the ChiCom Plague we will never go back again – Part 5 – Full Ham Edition

My last post in this series discussing the paradigm shifts in our lives brought on by the ChiCom Plague, but with a particular focus on Amateur Radio.

The paradigm shifts I covered in posts 1, 2, 3 and 4, that appear they will stay with us once the ChiCom Plague virus is thwarted are (in italic to show they were already covered):

  • Accelerated Change on multiple Axis
  • Risk Analysis of Social Contacts
  • Risk Analysis of Group Meetings (Starving the Monkeys)
  • Travel vs Teleconference
  • Supply Chain Robustness
  • Distrust of the MSM and other public voices with an agenda
  • Increase in Personal Preparedness
  • Two-is-One, One-is-None mentality as the new norm
  • Unmaintainable generics vs Sustainable Brand options
  • Exotics vs Field-Maintainable Equipment
  • The Death of JIT (Just in Time) logistics
  • Education Reform
  • The Kennedy Reality (Ask not..)

But what about ham radio? (Listed in Bold to match the other posts):

  • The Hamfest has taken a forever hit
  • Boat Anchors and Used Gear will have polarized values
  • One-Man-Band Equipment Providers will be Challenged
  • Did Big Group Field Day just die for 2020 or did it go the way of the Dodo?
  • What happens to Club Meetings?
  • Supply Chain Issues Favor Domestic Production

Delving into these issues:

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Let’s talk on the Radio, but perhaps put off Eyeball-QSOs for a bit? A ham’s Response to the Coronavirus

I had been asked if I was planning to go to Dayton 2020?

After a fairly short reflection on the topic, I think not this year.

Though I have some other concerns that influenced my decisions – work load, some family needs, and a station build that is stalled for better weather – this new Coronavirus thing tipped the scale personally.

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Hamvention 2019 – What new happened?

Between work and the endless process of settling in after moving house, I couldn’t schedule attending Hamvention 2019. So what I’ve reporting is what I’ve gathered from friends who did attend.

The conjectures and ponderings are my own though.

Outside the Flea Market is down 8.5% from the number of vendors in 2018, and down to a bit over 2/3rds of the vendors is 2016).

Inside over 200 vendors appeared, but that again is a 4% drop in commercial vendors from 2018, and a 19% drop from 2016):

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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.