Sometimes things just drop in over the transom. But it’s usually when the transom-owner is effective, organized and the opportunity coming along is looking for such a place to land. In short, those who are effective tend to get unsolicited opportunities. And a true windfall does come along some time. What the recipient does with it depends on their vision. That is what’s happening at the hamfest hosted by the The St Louis and Suburban Radio Club (SLSRC) in Collinsville, IL. Called Winterfest, this annual hamfest appears to be blowing-and-going and, not surprisingly, growing. The unexpected opportunity that represents a Windfall for Winterfest 2020 is the Wes Schum W9DYV Radio Symposium is moving from it’s temporary home this past year in the outskirts of New Orleans to Winterfest in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Rebecca KC9CLI The Winterfest is located in The Gateway Center, in the shadow of the St. Louis Arch on January 24-25, 2020. No winter weather worries inside the Center! Lots of hotels at various price points nearby. And there are many other activities, such as Contest College with 10+ hours of forums, presentations, Q&A and contesting discussion, as well as the DX & ARRL Banquet and…the ARRL Midwest Conference with CEO Howard Michel and other staffers from Newington. Ward Silver NØAX is the Banquet Emcee. Speakers will include Craig Thompson K9CT on the Pitcairn VP6R DXpedition. Howard Michel will be speaking on the future of the ARRL. Flex Radio Systems will be there as a vendor with their newest SDR technology, among other popular vendors.See the Winterfest website for more details as it has the most up to date current information about the weekend’s events. Registration for the Symposium, while free, will give the hosts an idea of how to plan for seating and the like so head on over the website at: https://winterfest.slsrc.org. Here's a brief video on things planned for Winterfest 2020: A little bit of history, provided by Nick Tusa K5EF. “The Symposium was formed to honor one of amateur radio’s key advocates of the then-new technology, Single Sideband, and his company’s ground-breaking ideas that culminated in the Central Electronics 100V Transmitter. Wes Schum (W9DYV) introduced single sideband to amateur radio in a very big way, beginning in 1951 with is Model 10A sideband exciter and continuing though his company’s eventual ownership by Zenith Radio, Inc.” Nick K5EF continued, “Initially, a group of Central Electronics enthusiasts decided the time had come to try a true boatanchor field day, with Wes Schum as the guest of honor/celebrity roastee. Thus, the first Boatanchor Field Day was born in Jonesborough, Tennessee – June, 2013. Later, and with two vintage field days under our belts, the group next sought to include technical SSB workshops into a Field Day setting and with it the encouragement of homebrewing and documenting the history of the many wonderful and colorful amateur radio manufacturers of the 1950s and 60s. Wes always encouraged learning and creativity in the amateur’s workshop, thus the W9DYV Radio Symposium was born.” Now, the Symposium is taking an exciting step forward by holding its event last year in the New Orleans area and now more permanently at Winterfest 2020, to facilitate access to the forums without having attendees travel more than a day’s driving distance. It is important for the Symposium to be affiliated with a hamfest and flea market as its target audience is for those who are: (a) interested in the history of amateur radio and its innovative technology; (b) would like to get more involved in the restoration/collection of vintage equipment and to preserve our heritage; (c) are looking for encouragement to homebrew and experiment; (d) are interested in hearing ideas that can improve every ham’s HF operating experience. Besides … what ham can resist a good radio boneyard? See www.ce-multiphase.com for more photos and information on previous Symposia and the history of this important company, Central Electronics, later part of Zenith Inc. The lineup for the W9DYV Symposium at Winterfest 2020 contains a host of well known speakers. Hollow state technology is the theme but high performance SDR kicks off the Symposium. This latest innovation in amateur radio reflects the legacy of how W9DYV launched SSB back in the day. So innovation continues: A High Performance SDR Receiver for the Ham-Bob Nichols W9RAN HF Receiver Performance-Rob Sherwood NC0B Understanding of Human Speech Articulation-Dr. Bob Heil K9EID The Collins S-2 Line History and Evolution-Dave Beckler N0SAP Wes Schum (W9DYV) and Central Electronics-Nick Tusa K5EF Drake T4XC: Low Power Output and Why-David Assaf W5XU ARRL, AM and the story of the Gates BC-1T-Bob Allison WB1GCM Another “major homebrewer” presentation is pending Rebecca Carroll, Winterfest 2020 Committee Chair, said about this year’s events, “The St. Louis & Suburban Radio Club Winterfest has added some great events from previous years. We have added floor space to include Education Alley, doubled our forums and increased our operating hours to 4pm. In addition to these changes, Winterfest has been selected as the ARRL Midwest Conference for 2020. The weekend starts on Friday January 24th with the W9DYV Radio Symposium during the day and a DX/ARRL banquet that evening. Saturday January 25th Winterfest kicks off at 8 a.m. with the opening of the sales floor, VE testing, all day topical Forums, and Contest College starting at 1 p.m. with 10 plus hours of contesting forums and discussion hosted by top area contesters. We invite all hams to come to Winterfest for a weekend of Amateur Radio fun.” If you can’t make Tim Duffy’s big shindig at Xenia, the famous Contest University, the St. Louis Contest College is a great option on Saturday at Winterfest. That leaves room for the (free) Schum W9YDV Symposium on Friday and the (pay) DX/ARRL Banquet that evening. Plus, the next day (Saturday) when the sales floor opens, there’s another set of Forums for the price of entry to Winterfest. Most impressive. Kyle Krieg AA0Z SLSRC President Many hamfest Chairs just follow last year’s program. Not the SLSRC’s Committee. Rebecca stated, “We would like to develop Winterfest into another ‘destination hamfest’. Future goals include expanding to a longer hamfest, scheduling more forums, extracurricular activities and growing Education Alley while supporting new and innovative ideas. We would like to build on our previous successes but also adapt to the changing hobby. With the changes in 2020, we hope to continue the momentum and build upon that for years to come. Adding the Symposium, the DX/ARRL banquet and Contest College was a big step for Winterfest 2020 and so far it’s been a well received addition. The key players in getting Winterfest 2020 to this stage include: Kyle Krieg AA0Z, Dale Holloway K4EQ and Pam Caldwell KE0OWG. It takes a team effort.” The map above illustrates how many major cities easily within a day’s drive are in the proximity of Collinsville, IL, a suburb of St. Louis. The ham population from the perimeter cities, and their constituent less populated areas, include Chicago, Cincinnati, Louisville, Nashville, Huntsville, Memphis, Little Rock, Tulsa, Omaha, and Des Moines. Add early bird discount airfares from Dallas, Atlanta, Denver, and the like, and they will come. Because of attractive programs. And, because there’s one major hamfest for the St. Louis area, not a dozen. See some larger cities with several small hamfests that do not draw large attendance. This is a key strategic point regarding Winterfest.The vision of Winterfest, located at The Gateway Center and in the shadow of the major St. Louis attractions, of reaching the goal of a destination hamfest is quite reasonable. Look at how Hamcation in Orlando—say Mickey and the kids are in and say warm weather in February and spouses are in—has grown in the past decade. A quick tour of St. Louis attractions and food venues at, for instance, TripAdvisor.com, makes a clear point of the diversity of non-ham radio things for the family to do. But it takes the vision of leadership by hamfest Committees to understand how to leverage these assets for the benefit of the sponsoring club. Other clubs would do well to study what this one is doing. There’s more work to be done by Rebecca and her team, but this “Windfall for Winterfest 2020” is a great launching point!