Huntsville 2019

Discussion in 'Hamfest Reports' started by W4NNF, Aug 20, 2019.

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  1. W4NNF

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    What can you say other than "another great year"? And that it was. The trip from the south takes me through Birmingham, whose stretch of I65 is in a state of constant construction, and I
    don't much like driving the Interstates in the summertime anymore, anyway. But it sure was
    worth it for the 2019 Huntsville Hamfest. Was it ever!

    This year the XYL and I only did two days. In the past we've gone up on Thursday to do the Space and Rocket Center, but we decided to skip a year on that. Checked into Embassy Suites without incident. The hotel is NOT new, but it is fine, is reasonably priced if you can get a Hamfest or other discount rate, and the staff are friendly and helpful. And there's the free drinks in the evening.

    You may have heard there were parking problems if you were not a guest at Embassy Suites. Apparently a parking lot promised to the hamfest was being used for something else, and some hams had a hard time finding a place to park. That's another good reason to stay at the hotel. Another plus for Embassy Suites?
    You don't have to go outside all weekend unless you want to. There's a sky-bridge to the Von Braun Center.

    We spent a quiet evening hanging out in the bar and talking to many of the hams there.

    I'd meant to buy our tickets online, but forgot. That turned out OK. I went down after breakfast at about 8 and got the admissions and some prize tickets (the doors don't open until 9). When 9 came we didn't have to wait at all. I'm not sure I'd have saved any time buying online, since I'd still have had to stand in line at the Will Call window.

    It was obvious to me from the outset attendance was up this year. At times, it was like trying to navigate a Walmart at Christmastime. All the biggies were there--Icom, Yaesu, Kenwood, Flex, and Elecraft. Their booths were always crowded. Well, with the exception of Kenwood. I thought their new 890 would generate more traffic than it did. Go figure. Elecraft was showing their new K4, and that did indeed stir up a lot of interest. As did the Yaesu FTDX 101D. Icom's new one was the IC9700, but most of the attention from attendees seemed to be on the IC7610.

    What else? MFJ had their usual humongous booth. So did Gigaparts. Bob Heil, K9EID, was set up there, and it was nice to spend a few minutes chatting with him. Bob looked great and was as friendly as ever.

    The flea market was easily as good as ever. Not an empty table, and it sure is nice to be able to browse the tables inside in the air-conditioning. I had several items on my list and got 'em all. I also found an absolutely beautiful Heathkit HG10 VFO. I have one, but mine is a little rough. The one I got Saturday was either carefully preserved, lovingly restored, or, I believe, both.

    Chow was at the Von Braun snackbar. The food was amazingly good for a venue like this one and not too painfully priced. The only problem was a line that was always long.

    Summing up? I had a wonderful time. The XYL enjoyed it too. Thanks, as always many thanks to the Huntsville organizers and volunteers who did a flat-out amazing job. :)

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    KC4LNX likes this.

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