So, How was Dayton?
Was wondering what the general opinion is about how Dayton was this year. Compared to other years? I've only talked to one ham that went. He was not impressed, especially with the flea market....
The parking situation leaves much to be desired. Between the flea market and the vendor's vans and trucks and the people camping out in their RV there was little or no parking to be had at Hara arena itself. The first day I paid ten dollars for the "privilege" of parking someplace out in the middle of a big grassy field located behind an automobile dealer and then had to hike on foot a quarter mile back to the arena. There was no shuttle golf carts between the grassy field and the arena entrances. The second day I parked in the old mall parking lot about 2 or 3 miles away and rode the free shuttle bus. The bus was inconvenient when people climbed on board at the arena with all the junk they had bought (antennas and other big obtrusive objects) and tried to crowd them onto a completely full and packed bus. There was lots of head ducking going on to avoid being hit with things too big to be carried on a bus! I will never go there again. I would have MUCH more fun and enjoyment out of a smaller, regional venue such as the Plano, Texas Ham-Com convention coming up in Texas on June 8th and 9th. All things considered - airfare, lodging, rental car and meals - Dayton is too far away and too expensive. You are not going to find anything different at Dayton than you would find anyplace else. I have lived and learned. KF5OPQ in Texas.
I watched the Birmingham Hamfest become irrelevant twenty years ago.
I hope Dayton isn't headed down the same path.
Lots of products inside, but the bone yard was disappointing compared to years ago.
Don't blame the organizers... they do a great job of pulling everything together.
I was there,and really enjoyed it the WXwas hot and sunny and could have asked for better WX.my flight down and back was fantastic I had windows seats don't fly with out them blue skies all over the place..
the next hamfest that I'm going to is Seaside Oregon.
Born to be Wild
I thoroughly enjoyed my first trip to Dayton... Not the first ham-fest I've ever been to, but indeed the largest by far. Considering the large volume of people in attendance, I felt the parking situation was pretty decent. They even had some golf-carts to take you from your car to the bus pickup area, and they dropped you off at the front door to the arena which saved me a lot of extra walking... I had enough time on my feet seeing everything there was to see... If you really want to park next to the arena, I would recommend either volunteering or get a handi-capped parking pass from your dr. I spent more time than I ever expected to waiting in line for the exams to upgrade my license. Friday I waited in line for two hours, but then had to bail out because I had volunteered to work a booth from 4 - 6 pm. Then on Sat I waited another 2 hours to finally take and pass my Extra test... 4 hours waiting in line I would have rather spent out in the flea market, but I met some nice people and still enjoyed myself overall. I felt sorry for the VE who was handing out the test results, he was swamped with people anxiously wanting to know if they passed or not, they needed to provide more help for him as he was overwhelmed to say the least... I plan to go back next year and volunteer in exchange for free admission and closer parking... well worth it IMHO...
This was my 1st year at Dayton. I thought the show was great, the largest I have gone to. All in all a plus, the only disappointment was the facility. It was in bad need of a major re-build, the swap meet held on the parking lot that needed repaving, new barricades etc., the hall area was really showing its age, the rest rooms weren't what I expected and the hall was very convoluted due to small display areas.
YES! This was also my 1st visit to the HAMVENTION. I don't think I would make the effort to fly there, but driving 64 mile... It was worth it. I was not impressed with the parking or swaps outside, but meeting the fellow hams I talked to, the inside vendors and the classes made it worth going 64 miles. If I was out of state, I doubt if I'd go.
This was my first Dayton. I drove with Pat KC2VXL, and his son from NYC. We camped out for the 3 days after spending the first night near Columbus. We stayed at the KOA, about 15mins away. They had bus service to and from Hara..
So the people were extremely friendly, a lot to see. The flea market area, had some interesting things but typical of hamfests, you do have some junk, but there were a lot of people selling antennas, used, towers, cables connectors, solar stuff etc..
The vendors all the major ones were there as well as the manufacturers. No "tremendously-great deals" although some manufacturers did have some significant discounts. However, coupled with the tax you pay, and you actually pay either the same or slightly more, since most will ship for free, etc..
It was fun, we met quite a few people from the NYC area and hams from all over. I would definitely go again.. The weather was beautiful, I had heard horror stories of rain and horrible weather in the past, but it was fantastic this year.
Dayton itself seems like a typical small town that is affected by the economic downturn. Got to speak to people from town, and Im sure they appreciated the added business.
so to the people who arrange Dayton, great job, for a large event, they did a fantastic job..
It was the largest hamfest I had ever attended and first time at Dayton Hamvention. Went with a good friend that has a nice Airstream that we setup in a nice campground/RV park about 25 mins away which was great. I almost wore myself out both in the huge flea-market and inside the arena with the booths and vendors. Already, making plans to return next year. The people that ran it did a great job and were so helpful. Easily getting a ride from the flea-market area up to the main entrance made me come home with more boat anchors.
The Hamvention is just about the most FUN you can have in ham radio. After all, why would I spend almost $800 in gas to drive there? 3 long days on the road each way, very exhausting, but once we are there, it is time for FUN!!! I only got to see the Flea Market for an hour each morning before I had to be in my booth working the Kit building event for ARRL. But there WERE deals to be had, and I ferreted them out! Some stuff was ridculously priced, and some stuff I had to pass on as my trunk was already full to the brim. The tearjerker was passing on a Tempo One with power supply for $60!!!! Won't come across a deal like that again!!! That is why I have to drive. Shipping all this stuff way back to San Diego would cost far more than the gas to drive there and back!
The Hara Arena really does SUCK, but we have to live with it, as they obviously have no intention about fixing it. We were lucky there wasn't another BROWN TROUT GEYSER this year! That thoroughly Tarnished the 2011 event, especially for the flea market folks at GROUND ZERO for that!
And that is typical of what you expect from Hara. I just plain SUCKS! But, since the Hamvention is about the only sizable event they ever hold there, they have no funds to do any upgrades or repairs. They just barely keep up with the demands of the CITY to meet codes. After the Hamvention, they will hava few Hockey games, a few weddings and Bar Mitzvahs, and a farmers market out in the Flea market area. Any other convention facility relies on MAJOR CONVENTIONS to keep it going. Nuttin else happening at Hara!
SO, are they ever going to MOVE? Not likely, as the price is SURE RIGHT with Hara. I am sure the Hamvention has the deal sewn up for decades to come, and hams will just have to LIVE with dreary, Pi$$ POOR condx. But then, what do we come for? NICE facility or HAM RADIO DEALS? As long as the roof doesn't leak when it rains, I am good. The Parking lot poor condx DID cause my cart to overturn and spill out my freshly acquired Heathkit HG-10 and smash it up. Had it been nicely paved, that wouldn't have happened!
Parking must really suck too, if you don't have the Handicrapped placard. I can't imagine carting a Hallicrafters SX-28 a mile back to some weedy field or on the shuttle bus to the mall. That is why it PAYS to volunteer and get ON SITE parking for the duration! Even if I fly in and get a rental car, I will ALWAYS come early and volunteer to help out all I can.
I really would have liked to tour the vendors and flea market more, so I didn't really get to see much of the Hamvention, but DUTY CALLS, and I was in the Kit Building booth 9 to 5 Friday, Sat and then 9 to 1 on Sunday, so no looking around for me.
I will be back next year. Will I drive there? Tough call. My wife said "ABSOLUTLEY POSITIVELY NOT!!!!!" as far as her going along on the drive next year. But if she flies, that might change her mind. But what if I find a BC-610 for $20; just cart it off!!! HOW am I going to get that back to San Diego???