Held each May in Southwest Ohio, the Dayton Hamvention is considered to be the premier Amateur Radio convention in North America. Telos' Ted Alexander – a veteran of forty Hamventions – provided us with some insight into this year's show, held May 16-18 at Dayton's Hara Arena.
As is typically the case at Hamvention, a plethora of new technologies were being bandied about at this year’s show. Ted reports that some of the new technologies HAMs could learn about and experiment with included HAM radio microsatellites, complex data transmission technologies, new microwave techniques, radio wave propagation experiments from low frequency through extremely high frequency microwaves, and, through computer analysis, techniques for receiving data from signals not even audible in background noise.
Despite some cool weather for the outdoor flea market portion of the show, the typical huge crowds and scores of participants were on hand again this year. “Estimates at closing this year were for about 25,000 attendees,” says Ted. “There were over 100 dealers of all sizes, and nearly a thousand participants.”
These consistent strong attendance figures, along with improved sales and a steady increase in interest in the hobby has Amateur Radio equipment manufacturers upbeat about the state of Amateur Radio. “The economy for the last decade has been slow, but with the slight recovery, there has been a small uptick in business… There has been a slow growth in FCC licensing for several years, mostly among teens and seniors.”
As with any industry convention, it’s not uncommon for attendees to see some familiar faces from year to year. Ted says it’s the norm. “From old friends, to folk I see every year, to some of our Telos Alliance 24/7 customers.” For some, Hamvention is on their "bucket list" of things to do. For others, it’s all about the ambiance – to ‘overload’ on all things HAM radio for a weekend.
So why Dayton? What does the future hold for Hamvention in Dayton? Ted says it’s not entirely clear why Dayton has grown to be what it is, though its proximity to a large segment of the U.S. population likely plays a part. The local club that sponsors Hamvention does a great job promoting it every year, but some wonder how long the Dayton ‘tradition’ will continue. “Many HAMs predict Dayton's demise, but it hasn't happened yet!”