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Huntsville 2018: another great one.

Discussion in 'Hamfest Reports' started by W4NNF, Aug 20, 2018.

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  1. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well, another Huntsville Hamfest has come and gone...

    I've been to lots of hamfests, including to Dayton in the days before the Hara Arena really got bad...but I believe I've liked Huntsville best in recent years.

    And I like it even better now. Previously, the XYL and I stayed at an off-site hotel. That was OK, but it meant I missed some forums in the late afternoon when I was getting tired and wanted to go back to the hotel. By the time I rested up a little and thought about returning to the Von Braun Center, closing time was there. Staying at the Embassy Suites, you walk across a skybridge from the hotel to the Von Braun Center where the hamfest is held. If you want, you can just park your vehicle and not go outside for the rest of the weekend.

    So, how was 2018 specifically? If there was a downside this year, it appeared more crowded than ever. Manageable, but at times, yeah, crowded. The fleamarket tables were a complete sell out. One nice thing? Plenty of younger or at least middle-aged hams of both sexes. The legendary QRZ hamfest attendee, the smelly, overall clad, fat old ham on a scooter was mysteriously absent. Oh, there were some scooters, but not really that many. Anybody riding a Little Rascal that I saw looked like they needed to--and not just because they were obese or somthing.

    As far as the major manufacturers, the Big Three (or big five if you want to include Flex and Elecraft) were there. Of the big three, Icom had the most extensive booth. There was not even a mockup of the forthcoming 9700, though.

    Didn't see anything new from Kenwood or Yaesu in their somewhat less elaborate booths, either. The only thing going on in the Kenwood booth most of the time was a demo of the SDRplay paired with a 590sg. The SDRplay was impressive enough that I walked over to the HRO booth and bought one.

    Yaesu? I scored a nice free ballcap at their booth, and spent some time looking at their radios. I'm basically an Icom man, but I do own a couple of Yaesu's VHF/UHF radios and am very happy with them.

    Flex had a nice setup--very nice. Large, with all their rigs on display including the new "M" radios. The Flex crew was also very nice and eager to answer questions.

    Elecraft also had a good setup, but the times I passed by I didn't notice any of their people in attendance to answer questions. I may have just stopped by at the wrong times. Otherwise, their rigs were on display, turned on, and looking good.

    When it came to vendors, in addition to HRO, who were selling stuff hand over fist, there was MFJ with their usual giant booth. They also appeared to be selling lots of stuff.

    The largest booth by far was Gigaparts huge setup (they are locals). I did note they seemed to have fewer products on display compared to last year. The center of the booth being taken up by PCs showing the company's website (and a page where you could enter to win an IC7610, which you can bet I did).

    All the outfits big and small you'd expect at a good hamfest were there. I spent a couple of hours in the vendor area before I even began to tackle the fleamarket. Even CQ was there. They were friendly and admitted that they had had their problems, but that things were looking up.

    Lunch was a typical hamfest hamburger. Not bad at all. The fries were actually darned good.

    Bunch of good presentations. The one that stood out for me was Bob Heil's, which was mostly, but not completely, about his new parametric equalizer. As usual, he told a lot of good stories.

    I also liked the HRD folks' presentation on their program. WA9PIE did an excellent job of summing up where Ham Radio Deluxe has been and, more importantly, where it is going and how.

    I might also mention how much fun it was sitting in the bar at Embassy Suites shooting the breeze with my fellow hams and taking advantage of the hotel's unlimited free drinks at the Manager's Reception every night (the XYL and I arrived Thursday afternoon so we could do the Rocket Center Friday).

    All in all, a great experience. Definitely the best time I've ever had at Huntsville. Thanks to the organizers and all the volunteers for making it such a wonderful experience! Huntsville may be well behind Dayton and Orlando in attendance, but it is number one with me.

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    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
    W4VPZ likes this.
  2. KC4LNX

    KC4LNX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I enjoyed it too. My 2nd year. also went to Rocket City--very interesting! well organized. Had some good ribs at a local restaurant. Lots of rain going back home thru Atlanta.
  3. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page


    As you may have heard, the power went out Saturday night (well most of it; there were some lights in the lobby and elsewhere, and the cash register in the bar worked). I was put out, but then noticed the bar was in operation and some of my buddies were yukking it up. I joined them and it only seemed like a few minutes (to us) before power was restored!
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2018

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