Wonderful Dayton (and Hamvention)

Fifth Street Brew Pub, At. Anne’s Hill, Dayton, Ohio

When I think of Dayton, Ohio, I think of the St. Anne’s Hill neighborhood and its beautiful old restored houses, small shops and this very friendly co-op brew pub that I visited. The locals were great, and I learned about how at one time, NCR employed many in Dayton. NCR was founded in 1884 but was purchased by AT&T and moved to Atlanta in the 1990’s. I vaguely remember that they had their own UNIX System V servers – because we ported Oracle to it in the 1980’s. AT&T also purchased Teradata – which at one time was also associated with NCR, and I had one Teradata contract – almost 10 years ago – and right while Hadoop, HBase and Cassandra were hitting the streets as a viable set of Open Source Technologies. Teradata was excellent – but very expensive, and have had very serious competition from AWS Redshift and Google Bigquery. The sad part was that you could tell that they used to be in Dayton . . .

Warped Wing Brew Pub in Dayton

The feeling I got from the locals that I met in Dayton is that people still work in downtown Dayton, and there are several hip and fun places to grab a bite and beer. This was a Thursday night – and the place was lively and filled with locals who just left work. On a very sad note – Montgomery County, where Dayton is – is the crossroads of a major Opioid Crisis.

Warped Wing Brewery, Dayton, Ohio

The brewery is named after airplane designs and the Wright Brothers – who were from Dayton. Which segues to one of the greatest museum’s I have ever been to – The National Museum of the U.S Air Force.

National U.S Air Force Museum, Dayton, Ohio

I especially liked the historical hangar – there were 4 giant hangars full of the most interesting full sized and original aircraft and space capsules, etc – but so well done as far as giving you a real feeling of history.

Hamvention at The Greene County Fairgrounds in Xenia, Ohio

I really liked the fact that Hamvention was out in the country at the fairgrounds. This was my first time at Dayton Hamvention, so I completely missed the legendary (but gross) HARA Arena location. The main reason I went last year is because VK0EK received the DXpedition of the Year award, and Bob, KK6EK urged me to go. I literally booked my trip maybe a month ahead of time – I was not going to go not knowing if we would win or not.

As it turned out, yes, the Southwest Ohio DXpedition of the Year was a great honor, and I’m glad it is the driving force for getting me to make my inaugural trek to Dayton, but I made sure to take in the sights and local scene, and I really liked what I saw. I stayed at the Marriot, which was right next to the University of Dayton, and that campus looked very nice. The campus and surrounding area reminded me of my campus at the University of Pennsylvania at Lock Haven. Lock Haven at one time was the HQ for Piper Aircraft, so it also had a connection to aviation and aviation history. Both towns straddle a river, and the campuses are the red brick – colonial (sort of) style.

At the Hamvention, I got my first glimpse of several products that made me think for almost a year before I pulled the trigger:

  1. SteppIR UrbanBeam
  2. US Towers ALM-31 crank up tower
  3. ICOM SDR rig (the IC-7300 was the runaway hit, but Flex also had some very nice new looking radios – but hadn’t yet been released)

I also met Randy, KB3IFH, my QSL card printer and Tom, W5KUB – who did several of his shows on VK0EK, Tony, N3ZN – who makes my favorite CW paddles of all time, Chip, W1YW – inventor of the Fractal Antenna (recently awarded in ham circles) – but who is a fan of my assemblage art – and where we had a great chat under an UrbanBeam – and we mused about the UrbanBeam. I also met Ralph, K0IR and Hal, W8HC, and man do I feel bad for them now – but back then – most of the 3Y0Z team were there, and I met the entire team – but especially remember Ralph and Hal. I also hung out with Dave, K3EL, Bob, KK6EK, and met other VK0EK Team members for the first time – so that was excellent – especially Jeff, KE9V and Ken, NG2H.

It was a great “pilgrimage”, and while I feel its a lot like the Visalia IDXC (if you’ve been to one, you’ve been to them all), I’d say that maybe every so many years it would be fun to go to again – after new products and technologies have been introduced – or – if you are part of an event like DXpedition of the Year – or maybe the world’s largest QRP gathering “Four Days in May” . . .

In any case, I have really great Hamvention memories from last year – and now am sitting in front of gear and antennas introduced there. So it was way more than just going to receive an award. I don’t know when I will go again, but I expect I’ll go back again in the future.

I hope everyone going this year has as good a time as I did last year.

I have a good idea of who will win DXpedition of the Year, but we will know for sure in just over a week.

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