|The GEMOTO Dayton Hamvention review for 2006
still pretty much holds true but there were some
new observations for 2007. In no particular order:
- Seemed well attended at
- Typical weather was sunny, warm & dry.
Sunday had some drizzle.
- Gasoline in Dayton was 12-cents per gallon
more expensive than in Boston.
- The military restoration "Green Radio" community was well represented
- Likewise, the boat
anchor/classic gear "BA" community displayed many
well-restored radios from Collins, Hallicrafters,
Hammarlund, Gonset, Drake, etc.
- Hilberling, a German manufacturer has entered the ham
market with an excellent all-modes, all bands,
600W radio that
is available in a multitude of front panel
colors... blue, purple, grey, etc. Price:
rumored to be $16k
- Elecraft displayed their much
awaited K3 160-6M tranceiver kit. Small
booth, big crowd. $1750 kit $1989
assembled. 50% down, delivery in July.
- The UPS Store had a terrific
unadvertised offer... they'll provide you with a
large bin to drop-of your flea market booty
throughout the day. No day-long lugging of
that AM modulation transformer. Before you leave
each day, give them your credit card and your
item is on it's way home. A great value
add and both parties win! The bundled
price includes their packaging and they do a
- The HARA Arena still needs a facelift... or
perhaps a scrub brush and some soap.
- The Hamvention golf carts had signs on them
this year. One driver offered to give me a
lift when he saw that I was heading towards the
UPS store with a heavy
110W GE tabletop base station.
- Bob DiMattia, K1IW asked a
DARA staffer where the prize drawing bucket was
located. The reply: "It's where it always is".
It was Bob's first time to Dayton.
- In spite of one less than
ideal reply, DARA did their usual great job!
The Flea Market (with a slant towards GEMOTO
- Some Flea market vendors were very much open
for business on Thursday but the Hamvention
formally opened on Friday. One commercial
gear flea market vendor said that Thursday was
his best day. He described Friday business
"as expected", and he described Saturday somewhat
slow. He did not stay for Sunday.
FYI: Much of the Thursday activity is from dealers
buying for resale but it seems that anyone can
just show up and participate.
- WA1NVC again set up his 900 MHz flea market
repeater for the GEMOTO group. The 440 MHz Hosstraders/Nearfest
simplex frequency was usually quiet.
927.5875 MHz clearly carried the day. One
reason: Very high-quality gear... cheap!
- There was a much better selection
GEMOTO-type commercial surplus gear this year.
Many others agreed.
- Roger Coulson, WA1VNC thinks that
more and more commercial users are going
narrowband or digital and are quickly dumping
analog gear (that's good for hams!)
- Motorola Spectra, MaxTrac,
GTX and similar 90's
era gear were very plentiful as Motorola has "MD'd"
them (Manufacuter Discontinued, no factory support).
Also good for hams. $100 and under was not
unusual for this very high-quality gear!
- 1980's era GE Deltas, RANGR's and Mastr-II's
seemed less prevalent this year, perhaps due to
age. We did see some M/AComm Orions for sale and
they did attract some attention
- High-end, high-power Kenwood commercial gear was in
demand and most of the interest was for UHF and
low-band gear. Kenwood has solidly
replaced GE as the #2 commercial radio vendor.
With the exception of M/A Comm, everything else is an "also-ran" as far as
prestige and peer respect even considering that
most of the modern commercial gear performs
Noteworthy flea prices actually
(adjacent ham freqs shown)
- GE MASTR-II 1/4 kW repeaters VHF & UHF
in 6-ft racks $250-$500
- GE Progress Line teal metal
speaker: $1 (the start
of a BA restoration project)
- Motorola MaxTrac 29 MHz mobile 60-watts
$65 (10-meters on 29.6 FM)
- Motorola GTX 927 MHz portable brand new
- Motorola Spectra 927 MHz mobile 12-watts $50
- Motorola Spectra 927 MHz mobile 30-watts $80
- Kenwood TK690 50 MHz, rear-mount 110W
- Any 800 MHz analog radio $0.00
(Nextel owns almost all the 800 commercial freqs, now digital iDEN)
Inside exhibits & conferences
One theme was undeniable... digital is here and
it is for real.
Software-defined radios for HF SSB/CW were not
uncommon. The new $2400 SDR radio from
FlexRadio has receiver specs that outperform even
the best of the new $10,000 contest radios.
Most vendors seem to be coming out with some kind of SDR
radio or VIOP remote controlled radio.
Vendors like ICOM (for VHF) and AOR (for HF) have their own
digital formats that are incompatible. Both
claim to be open standards. ICOM embraced the
D-Star standard that was created & published by
the Japan Amateur Radio League under a government-funded project.
D-Star is available to all other
manufacturers but none of the other majors have bitten yet. Some grass-roots organizations
similar to TAPR seem to be running with it.
AOR supports another standard that is a bit more open-source.
This is Betamax vs. VHS again. Until one universal standard is common to all hams,
we may be severely hurting ourselves... perhaps
permanently. Read on.
In the Post 9-11 world, all emergency responders
must be fully conversent with and comply with
Federal NIMS and ICS operational procedures.
This universal knowledge encompasses everyone from firefighters to
hams. Don't know what these procedures are?
You should. More importantly, the days of hams
showing up with good-will and 2-meter portables may
becoming obsolete to a point. To be sure, scheduled
Marathons and remote Sled Dog races will always need
2-meter voice communications as their primary public
service modes. However, in a major disaster EOC,
you will not see people writing down messages on
pads of paper. If they have power, email and
text will rule. Served agencies will not want
hams to be the communications intermediary.
They want hams to be the engineers who build,
support and legally control the data connectivity to
the outside world by using a Ham Radio email gateway
system such as WinLink. They will expect direct
user-to-user connectivity in a busy EOC, not
Radiograms. Granted, initial primitive
communications may be established by voice on
75-meters or 6/2-meters, but they will soon expect
their core activities to be supported on a direct
user-to-user basis as if operations were normal. In this respect, hams may
be lagging. Part of that solution is in
training. The other part is in the hands of
the manufacturers and other market forces.
Hams are now in the unusual position of needing to