|Enhanced E-911||HAM-CON Summary||HAM-CON Staff|
|Report From Orlando||Congratulations||Secretary's Minutes|
Despite last month's meeting cancelation due to a winter storm, Bob Brown
W4YFJ is once again determined to present a talk on the current Enhanced
Statewide E-911 system in Vermont. He will include some history as well as the
current operation of the system.
HAM-CON 2019 was another great success! We were blessed with good weather and a good turnout. Attendance was up over the last 2 years. We had another great program evidenced by full and overflowing forum rooms and comments like, "The best forum I've even been too". For the group of us who work hard to make this event happen, this is music to our ears.
It is no surprise that community events like hamfests are shrinking. ARRL CEO Howard Michel WB2ITX touched upon this in his March editorial in QST where he asks, "Are episodic face-to-face meetings becoming obsolete in the internet age?" This is NOT an amateur radio issue - gatherings of people interested in other types of activities are shrinking as well. Can a convention be held on-line instead of in-person? The answer is yes, but poorly. On-line, one does not get the ability engage in a give-and-take discussion about a topic. On line, one doesn't get the ability to meet and interact with many people. On-line, one doesn't get the ability to touch and feel and try out the equipment. And finally, an on-line discussion is generally devoid of visual communication - an aspect often more important than the words itself.
I know these things to be true, but society will march in the direction it chooses. But I will continue to offer these events because I think they are important, and as long as we get enough folks through the door to pay the bills, we'll keep on truckin'.
Enough of the ruminating - back to the details! In the morning, the vendor room was completely full of stuff and completely full of people perusing that stuff. As the forums kicked into high gear, the crowd moved away from the vendor room and into the forum rooms - which is exactly to plan. I was happy to see that our very first forum at 8:30 and very last forum at 12:00 played to near-full rooms. A couple of the forums were standing room only - logistically, a problem, but a feel-good problem! The Skype forum with Bob Heil was tremendous. Bob is real good at doing these, and with Ron KK1L at the helm at our end, we were treated to a perfect presentation as Bob recounted the days of being a young ham and later working with some of the biggest rock stars. The Activity room was busy as always with SSB and FT8 running on W1V, Jeff doing demonstrations, Mike tuning up radios and Chris helping to program DMR radios.
The closing ceremonies had over 100 people in attendance who delayed lunch for a chance at winning a prize. With 35 door prizes given out, a very high percentage of people walked away with something. And thanks to Elecraft for their generous donation of the KX2 and thanks to Carl for arranging it.
The VE session had a record 16 people show up and the team had to scramble to find extra seating. We ended up with 3 new licenses and 6 upgrades. But we also had 7 applicants who did not pass. With several exams scoring below 50, it is clear that some folks had little to no preparation and gave it a shot because it was free. Please don't do this! The team works very hard to process each exam (exams are scored three times) and we stay well into the afternoon working on this. Use the on-line facilities to try out the exams and come to the VE session ready to do well and pass.
A lot of people work hard to bring us a great show. Thank you to our forum speakers, Fred K1VR, Mike K1TWF, Bob K9EID, Paul, W1VLF, John VE2EQL and Bob KB1FRW. And please see the inset showing the entire staff who worked hard to make it all happen.
HAM-CON was another great show. But we are dedicated to making it better each
year. Please be sure to pass along suggestions to me so we can make it that
much better next year!
AB1DD Carl - Early show mgr, Forums mgr, Door Prizes, VE K1BIF Bob - Photographer, VE, Ant setup K1CRS Roger - Front Door Ticket Sales K1EEX Norm - Ticket checker K1EUH Frank - VE KB1FRW Bob - Volunteer Coor, W1V Station mgr, Ant setup KB1LOT Jim - Ant setup KB1MDC Alan - Early show sales, Ant setup KB1PDW Spencer - Front door ticket sales KB1THX Tim - Early show sales, Forum setup, Ant setup KB1ZEB Larry - Early show sales KC1APK David - VE KC1IFK Stew - W1V Setup, Ticket checker KE1VT Emilio - VE KI1P Chris - DMR Programming KI6ISG Beverly - Ticket checker KK1L Ron - Electronic Forums Tech Mgr N1FBZ Mike - Tech Table N1PEA Ed - VE N1RCX Eric - VE N1YD Jeff - Science Demo W1DEB Debbie - Front Door Ticket Sales W1SJ Mitch - General Chairman, Programming W4YFJ Bob - RANV Flea Table WL7CVD - RANV Flea Table
All I can say, is WOW! I had the pleasure of attending HamCation in Orlando on the 8-10 of February. HamCation is the second biggest hamfest in the US, with 20,000 attending this year.
I was back and forth about going. The price of the airline ticket was too much. Rich KB1YTO had just moved to Inverness, and was bugging me to go to the 'fest with him. I finely found a round trip flight for under $200, so I gave in and took the trip. I arrived in Orlando about 11:00 PM on Wednesday night. The plane was 30 minutes early, but to my surprise, I found Rich and Beth sitting in the terminal right after getting off the tram from the plane. He decided to come out early, since he had never been to the rather large Orlando airport. We had about a 30 minute ride back to the Orlando Fairgrounds, where Rich had brought his camper earlier in the day. When we arrived at the gate to the camping area, it was locked. Fortunately, Rich had the combination. This was the first hint as to the area we were in!
The next morning came quickly. As I had plans to help set up the Elecraft booth, I went off on a search for the location. I eventually found it, got my vendor badge and quickly found the booth, thanks to the great staff help. Eric Swartz (founder of Elecraft) and Scott Bastian (Side KX fame) were there just starting to unpack. Eric was very happy to see me, since I've helped with the setup many times at other shows. After setting up, I went back to the camper and hung out and rested for the opening the next day.
Friday dawned warm, with a mist on the ground. The sun came up and a rainbow formed in the shadow of another camper between us and the sun. This was an omen? It was now time to go festing. If you were to look at the You Tube videos, you would see a real long line to get in. I don't know if my vendor pass helped, but we didn't stand in any line to get in. Since the temperature was forecast to be in the 80s, we decided to look at the outside tailgaters first. We walked a couple of miles up and down the rows of stuff for sale. Lots of old Collins gear, more than I have seen in one place. There were plenty of other old gear there also. We found a whole tent full of antique radios. Just about anything you could imagine. After lunch, we went inside the air conditioned buildings to have a look. Almost 100 commercial vendors were inside 4 buildings. All the major radio manufactures, MFJ, HRO, antenna makers, custom gear makers, part dealers, (John from Quicksilver Radio was there). I know some of the dealers from past events, and it was good to be able to stop and say hi. I stopped in the Heil Sound booth to say hi, and thank them for the door prize they gave us. Had a little surprise when Bob Heil asked what club in Vermont I was from, I told him, and he said he was supposed to do some presentation for our club!
When we were back at the camper, we saw Orlando police riding around. We had a great conversation with the officer. He told us all about the area around the fairgrounds. The take away was don't go out, especially at night! That's why the gates were locked. Easy to believe him. All day and night we heard loud traffic from the main road, about 1/2 mile away. There would be a very loud motorcycle followed by a very loud siren a few times during the time we were there. We got a little concerned when there was a couple of bang bang sounds followed by a helicopter with a very bright spotlight, and sirens, just a little West of us. We decided to have Dominoes deliver a pizza that night.
Saturday was another 80s day. I spent some time in the Elecraft booth while Eric was doing his presentation. The rest of the day was spent looking around more of the tailgate area. I don't think that we saw all of the fest while we were there.
Sunday was another of the same, but with a little rain in the morning. Other than a lot of campers leaving, the rain really didn't bother us. While walking around, I was surprised to see so many people that I knew. Cal from HRO was there, Steve who passes out MIT flyers, as well others from around our area.
We left on Monday and went to Rich's place in Inverness. The plan was to get
up around 3:30 AM so I could get to the airport by 5AM for my flight. Well,
it turned out that due to bad weather, the flight from JFK to Burlington was
cancelled. The airline rerouted me on different flights, and we didn't need
to get up as early. The flight home was good, no issues. It was good to get
home. Would I do it again? You bet. Great fun was had by all.
W1KMB Mark Barlow (Burlington) EXTRA KA1PYK Aaron Cummings (Williston) EXTRA KM4GNR Keith Reynolds (Winooski) EXTRA KC1JGM George May (Essex) GENERAL KC1KZK Daniel Shaw (Williston) GENERAL WS3RVO Dillon Welch (Colchester) GENERAL KC1KZX Elijah Farnsworth (Milton) TECHNICIAN KC1KZY Bruce Parizo (Underhill) TECHNICIAN KC1KZZ David Worthen (Newport) TECHNICIAN
RANV Meeting Notes 02/12/19
The regular meeting was canceled due to a snowstorm. Four members showed up at the meeting house and chatted briefly. Bob, KB1FRW and I then met Mitch W1SJ at Zachary's for dinner. We discussed club finances and plans for Ham Con. The pizza was outstanding.
The April regular meeting will consist of a tour of the Generator Maker Space. Below is a photo of me working there on a project. Further details on the tour and the project will be provided in next month's newsletter. Their website is https://generatorvt.com..