Anita (AB1QB) and I attended the Dayton Hamvention again this year. Anita began her Dayton experience by attending Contest University again this year. As you can see from the “I Made It” sign-in board outside the Contest University meeting rooms at Dayton, the Contest University instructors and attendees include quite a few of the top contesters in the United States and several others from around the world. Some of the most interesting sessions included one on Multi-Operator Contesting, given by W3LPL, who has one of the large multi-op contesting stations, but there were tips that anyone who wants to work a contest multi-op can use. The session “The Best Hints to Becoming a Better Contester, presented by N0AX had many great contesting tips to help improve your score.
The new N1MM+ Contest Logger generated a lot of buzz during Dayton 2014. We saw previews of the new N1MM+ Logger during dinner and forum events at the show. The new N1MM+ software features many improvements based upon input from the contesting community. For some more information on N1MM+, see the videos from the Dayton Contest Forum on the N1MM Website.
It was Anita’s birthday during Dayton 2014 and she has recently become interested in learning CW. To help her along, I decided to get her a set of Begali Stradivarius paddles and their CW Machine to help her practice CW. The CW Machine is an interesting training aid – it can generate CW from text, create practice drills for sets of letters and it can decode CW sent from a key or paddles. When used for decoding, in detects when the operator’s timing is off and will not decode the characters sent. This helps a new operator to not only learn to send the code but to develop the rhythm needed to send good quality CW with the proper timing. The CW Machine can also be used as a CW Keyer.
The ARRL had their usual large display at Dayton again this year which featured all of the ARRL Centennial Activities that the ARRL is doing. It’s always fun to look at the many ARRL publications and we could not resist picking up some new books and a few videos. One video that we particularly enjoyed was the ARRL Film Collection DVD. This is a collection of several short films that the ARRL and other have made over the years to promote HAM radio.
We are in the process of upgrading our station for LEO Satellite operation and we spent some time at AMSAT’s display to learn some more about satellite operations and get some information on the software and hardware required. The AMSAT folks are always very helpful to new satellite operators and they have excellent publications available to help folks who are getting started.
Anita and I had the opportunity to spend some time with our friend, Bob Heil (K9EID) at Dayton this year. Thanks to Bob, we had the opportunity to be on Ham Nation this year to talk about station building. Bob has shared many great experiences with HAM Radio and all of the work he’s done to move the recording industry forward. It’s a lot of fun to spend time with him and to learn from his experiences. We use his microphones and accessories throughout our station.
We spent some time at the FreeDV HF Digital Voice display. The authors of this program continue to enhance it. Recent additions include some new bandwidth options and support for more platforms. Digital Voice on the HF bands via FreeDV continues to gain momentum as more HAMs learn about FreeDV.
There is so much to see at the Dayton Hamvention that it’s impossible to describe everything here. We hope to attend the Dayton Hamvention again in 2015.
– Fred (AB1OC)