Tag Archives: Hamfest

W9DXCC – Taking a 2021 Pass – Mask Mandates and Risks

Just cancelled out of the 2021 W9DXCC this morning.

The Illinois new Mask Mandate was the tipping point, as spending a couple days Masked-Up doesn’t appeal, but more importantly the new Mask Mandate is an indicator that the CCP-19 Virus transmission rates in Illinois are high enough to reconsider “should I be doing this?”

The W9DXCC website includes information on how to cancel https://w9dxcc.com/ and if you made hotel reservations through the W9DXCC website you need that confirmation number when you call the event hotel to cancel. Deadlines are by September 5th for the event and 24 hours before arrival for the hotel, in my case.

As my XYL was increasing on edge about her joining me at the event prior to the new Mask Mandate, cancelling resolves some simmering domestic unease.

Learned that several others I had hoped to see at the 2021 W9DXCC have also canceled – N6JSX and KE9V emailed me that they had arrived at the same conclusion, and had canceled.

Hopefully we will have better conditions for future W9DXCC events.



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Going to sit this one out – August 2021 QSO Today Virtual Hamfest

Despite lots of emails asking me to attend, I am sitting this virtual event out.  http://www.qsotodayhamexpo.com

While some of my reasons are personal, I suspect many other share the same concerns:

    • It is hard to give up the time – a virtual event that runs for an entire weekend (Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday) is unrealistic.
    • When I have multiple events at the at same time, I am going to do one with the highest ROI (or the one with the XYL’s perceived highest ROI!)
    • I am “all zoomed out” from eMeetings daily at work, and am not going to some more for “fun.”  (I am struggling with eChurch as it is.)
    • Because I am at home, rather than away at a hamfest event, I’m not going to get away with ignoring family, chores and everything else.
    • At a physical hamfest, the eats are bought where at a virtual event I have to make food, which causes missing parts of the event (we are too rural for delivery)
    • Because the content is not unique and usually is eventually put up on the web, I’d rather time-shift my participation to a time convenient.
    • With time-shifted viewing, I can repeat, slow things down, speed them up, skip stuff, and with a click turn it off, all at will.
    • Summer weekends are a scarce commodity up here in snow country, and I am going to be outside unless it is storming.

More personal reasons:

  • With the border rules relaxed we have visitors & travels over the weekend, including several airport runs needing to be made.
  • The fish are biting and friends have asked if I might want to join them fishing (if I can find time).
  • There is a local car show and usually I take something to show, which can’t happen if I am watching a computer.
  • The new motorcycle needs riding!

I am sure it will be a good event, and perhaps I can pick through the recordings later, but if not I avoided losing 2-1/2 days to a eHamfest.



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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.
Continue reading


An Online Hamfest Attendance Strategy (or not)

I have been receiving emails reminding me how to participate in the upcoming online Hamfest organized by QSO Today – link https://www.qsotodayhamexpo.com/

But more importantly I have been monitoring my local weather forecast, monitoring whether a car show I’d like to show one of our cars at will be going on, and giving a listen to the XYL & family on their weekend needs.

We’ve several days of high 70’s F (around 25c) and really nice weather forecast.

Unbeknownst to me (or unacknowledged more likely) we will be descend upon by a small test group of physically distancing members of one of her charity groups, to whom I am supposed to serve an outside breakfast before they carefully continuing a safely spaced virus-mitigating walk around our gardens and property.  That we have nearly a mile of trails means we may have visitors we can shout across the plant beds with for a few hours before that ends.  So strike part of Saturday being a good local citizen.

As my tent work pavilion arrived so I can work on the tower/feedline/service boxes without become a sacrificial deer-fly & gnat casualty through blood loss or my hitting myself with tools while defending by red blood cells from these nasty biters, do I give up a couple great days of outside weather to sit inside watching a computer screen?  I’d be silly to miss out on perfect weather to have to do the work in the rain, cold or even snow later.  Really fine summer days are limited it seems when contrasted to poor outside work days.

And what about that car show?  I really would like to drop off one of my cars, basically abandoning it for the show’s duration, and pick it back up later, but do I really want to even mingle with others (minor worry), have one of my cars pawed upon by those who can’t help touching (irritating but again minor) or lose even those couple hours to to get a car out, go register it, get picked up and later dropped off, perhaps making sure I am present when the give out judges prizes, when I have so many conflicting draws?  Kind of mixed feeling, but if I show a car strike off a couple hours early and a couple hours later on Sunday.

Or how about that Turbo V-Rod that needs a few miles put on it?

Or the clean-up work on my lawn tractor as it is being traded in next week on nice zero-turn I’ve had on order for months?

Or that I make time to swim a kilometre most days, will I miss that exercise to watch a virtual event? (Though I usually do this rather early on weekend days).

Guess what, the Virtual Ham Expo will take the short straw.  Actually the shortest of short straws.

My Virtual Ham Expo strategy is three fold:

  1. I will check when I can throughout the event for any trending news that might raise the priority of the Virtual Ham Expo enough to put off real life.
  2. Later I will also monitor what the usual groups of ham bloggers and ham news websites decide to repeat as something noteworthy to follow.
  3. I will regroup some rainy day to check out the promised Virtual Ham Expo archives.  Yes archives won’t allow for the back-and-forth interaction if I was recognized if I had a question, but they gain a lot by being something I can control when watching.

My predictive math is that where I would lose 20 hours participating and mostly be restricted to just one stream of the multiple streams being presented that down the road I will spend a small fraction of that time having equal access to all of the streams. 

Actually my effective time will be vastly multiplied compared to losing the time on the possibility something coming across is useful or even interesting.

What is your strategy for the Virtual Ham Expo?

Guess in a few words I’d say “I’ll virtually be there, just not at the exact time the Virtual Ham Expo organizers anticipated.”



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An excellent virtual event

The DX Engineering virtual Hamfest was excellent.

I caught part, as I wouldn’t willingly lose a perfect day of weather to be online. Especially when the event was recorded for future review.

The weather is something to consider for future virtual events, as where a real physical Hamfest be fits from decent weather, the opposite is the case for a virtualized event.

I will review what I missed some rainy day. 

hope we see more of these events!


Steve K9ZW

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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.

LINK:   https://www.qsotodayhamexpo.com/

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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