Dayton Hamvention 2015 has come and gone

Another Dayton Hamvention has come and gone. While the weather was warm, there was still the usual rain. Not too bad though as it usually came later in the day on Friday and Saturday.

I did not get too many pictures this year. Just take a look at some of the previous years picture I have on the site to see what it looks like at the Hamvention. But what pictures I did get are pretty funny.

I attended this year with Rod, WI0T, and Russ, WB8ZCC, but Russ only made it on Saturday. Seems he came down with one of those 24 hour bugs on Friday. We all ran into an old friend from the UK, Rod, G3KEL. We met Rod about 10 years years ago at the FDIM get together which runs in conjunction with the Hamvention. Rod missed the last two years so it was good to see him return.

As for new products. Elecraft introduced their new K3S which has more improvements over their previous K3. Nothing really new from TenTec, Icom, Yaesu or Kenwood that has not already been introduced.

CQ Magazine actually made it there and they sure scaled down their booth to a tiny single unit. Some new subscribers asked when they would get their first issue and I heard them being told "about 6 weeks." Think those new customers might be surprised. I did enjoy watching some other current subscribers having lively discussions about delivery and refund issues.

The folks working on the FreeDV/Codec 2 were there showing a small box that will allow encode and decode of FreeDV digital voice without the need for a computer. $200 bucks but the creator did not feel the need to bring them to sell at Dayton! Seriously, that was a bad move. WI0T and I would have each bought one on the spot.

Algoram was showing off their open HT platform. Only issue there is you have to use it in conjunction with your smart phone! That alone turned me off....on to next booth for us. Give me one piece of hardware to carry, not two.

AES was absent again. So that left more business for R&L, HRO, Main Trading, and the rest of the retailers. AES just not what it used to get back in their glory days.

ARRL had a nice exhibit as usual and they always had a number of visitors.

DStar forums were always packed, but folks, quit mixing the newbee information with the information for more experienced DStar users. How many times must we have to listen to the basics presentation!

Good news is that there are now over 3,100 DStar repeaters in the world and still growing. So when people say DMR and Fusion are growing, well they have a long way to go. So if you want to talk to someone no matter where you travel, you might want to get DStar.

DStar's open platform is clearly demonstrated at Dayton. Plenty of add-ons and even non-Icom radios. You won't find things like DVAPs, Hotspots, etc. for DMR and Fusion. While DMR and Fusion may have slightly better audio due to using about twice the bandwidth, those other digital modes still do not have the flexibility of DStar.

The flea market was the usual disappointment. Mostly consists of equipment that should be in a landfill somewhere or recycled for the metal and plastic. Prices for dirty old crap were high. I mean you might as well spend a few more bucks and get new equipment with a warranty.

BTW, some of the vendors inside were selling those Beofeng dual-band handhelds for $29 with charger and battery! Who says ham radio is expensive?

Ham Radio Deluxe confirmed that JT-65 will be added soon to their DM-780 application within HRD. HRD just gets better and better. It's a bargain for what it does and the number of radios it can support. Buy it and pay the annual subscription.....it's worth it!

The big news are the flyers around the Hara Arena saying some remodeling will be taking place for 2016! Great news as Hara is really bad looking. It almost appears that maintenance is just not being done. In one area inside we noticed the roof leaking. More good news in that the air conditioning appeared to be working. So while it looks bad, at least it was reasonably comfortable inside.

All in all, we had a great time and look forward to the next Hamvention in 2016.



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Finally! DXCC 15 Meters

Finally received the last needed eQSL on LoTW for DXCC on 15 Meters. The ARRL processed it right away and I received the certificate in the mail about a week later. LoTW really makes it easy and a lot less expensive to earn operating awards.

So now I move on to the 20 meter band and also DXCC on CW only. I am about 12 QSLs away from the awards for both CW and just the 20 meter band.

Simple 100 watt transceiver and a vertical antenna is all I use.

BTW, I got a QSL for South Sudan the other day with this modest set-up.
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Just one more country!!!!

Worked some new countries this weekend on CW. Concentrated on 15M so I could maybe get DXCC 15 Meters. Well as of this morning, I got four new countries verified on LoTW which brings my total to 99! Ahhh, come on, just one more!
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CQ Magazine Replacement - RadCom

As I wait for the refund I requested on October 2, 2014 (which I am sure I will never receive from CQ Magazine), I did decide to go ahead and subscribe to RadCom and also become a member of the RSGB. My packet of information arrived today. Gosh, they send you a pin, key-chain, pen, coaster, membership certificate, catalog, welcome letter and a copy of the February edition of RadCom. Officially my membership and subscription starts March 1, so I guess I got the February issue as a bonus. Nice magazine, great articles....so it's a good replacement for CQ Magazine and a nice supplement to QST. While the membership is pricey compared to QST/ARRL and even CQ magazine, at least it will arrive on-time just like QST and not like CQ Magazine which is such a waste of money at this point. Give Radcom/RSGB at try if you are looking for a CQ Magazine replacement.
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New Digital Application - EXChat

There is a new FREE digital application out and hams will find it to be useful and fun. It’s called EXChat and uses DominoEX and the digital method of transmission.

What makes this different from other digital mode applications is that it mimics how many of us use texting and chat programs over the Internet and on our cell phones. So this application will be particularly interesting to kids as we try to attract new blood into amateur radio.

If you want to get to it and give it a try now, go to:

http://www.qsl.net/zl1bpu/MFSK/EXChat.htm

There is no install, just unzip the files into a directory (C:\EXChat for example) on your C: drive and start it up. All you then need to do is enter your call, select the sound card for outgoing and incoming audio and the comm port to use for PTT. Takes a few minutes to set up. You can very the baud rate to match conditions, but the application defaults to 11baud.

Rod, WI0T, and I have been using it to chat away on 40 meters each using 25 watts and vertical antennas. Rod is in St. Louis area and I am in the Cincinnati area. We have used 22 baud with great success which equals about 140 words per minute.

How EXChat differs is that it creates a chat environment by sending sentences and acts just like a chat or texting program. You type out a sentence, hit return and away the message goes. You can chat with a group on just one-to-one.

Give it a try with a friend or group of friends. I think you like it.

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