Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Dayton retrospective

I am back home after my tour of the country. I left home here in Massachusetts last Tuesday and returned last night. In that week I had driven to Dayton, rural Illinois, Bloomington, Illinois (to take my niece back to college), and back home again. In all, I put nearly 2500 miles on the Element.
There was a wireless access point in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, and I tried to post a blog entry after Contest University. Unfortunately, the folks at Blogger (who host this blog) had made some changes to the posting software that made it impossible for me to work as I normally do editing my post offline then posting the resulting HTML. I was hoping that the problem would be fixed by the time I returned home. It was.
Here is the picture I was hoping to post last Thursday night.

This is some of the staff from Contest University. I wish I could have corralled all the instructors from this event but, truth be told, I was lucky to have gotten a group this big. You'll recognize some of the biggest names in Amateur Radio in this picture (not counting me, of course!). This picture is just one of the collection that has augmented my cool people page on my web site.
Contest University was fantastic. There were 150 pupils filling two conference rooms for most of the day. We were served an excellent breakfast and lunch as part of the deal and received a large binder containing all the slides from all the presentations. At $70 it was the deal of the show, in my opinion. I could recommend something like this for anyone interested in learning more about the hobby. Even if you absolutely hate contesting (and contesters) there was enough theory and DXing strategy presented that any HF operator would benefit from the material. Highly recommended.

Since I had only one day to peruse the show I took in most of it on a run. Upon entering Hara I made a beeline to the Buddipole booth to catch up with my fellow VP2M DXpeditioners. Chris, Budd, and Mike (and a couple of others) were in the booth surrounded by an enormous crowd. It was the first time I had seen these guys since we parted ways in Orlando after the trip. Chris and his wife are expecting their first child. He looked wrung out but happy. Budd was dashing around explaining ten things to twenty people and Mike was fulfilling orders one-after-another. Once I made it to the front of the pack, I exchanged handshakes and pleasantries with each in turn. All three were sporting a badge depicting our DXpedition logo with a small embellishment: lava running down the volcano. This was obviously the work of Paul "Lava" Van Dyke. I was informed that Paul had a badge for me as well, and he would be looking for me. (Again, at 6' 8", it was easier for him to spot me in the crowd than vice-versa!)

Just a few minutes later I did run into Paul. Sure enough, he had a beautiful badge with my name and call. Paul plans to return to Gingerbread Hill and continue his digital mode work. I hope all the RTTY and PSK31 operators around the world appreciate his efforts.

After saying goodbye to Paul I wandered over to the Elecraft booth and spoke with Wayne Burdick (N6KR). Wayne had written to me about the new K3 after finding my blog. At 8 pounds, it certainly does look to be a 100 pound DXpeditioner's dream! I told him that I knew he would be far too busy before Dayton to chat and that I would call him in the weeks after the show. I have missed the first production run for the new radio but will likely get one before the end of the year (perhaps after returning from St. Kitts).

Finally, the dinner and drinks for "bloggers and those who read us" Thursday was a fun time. I had dinner with Steve (K9ZW) and five others at the Spaghetti Factory. Hopefully, Jeff (KE9V) will be able to join us next year.

I expect to get back-on-track now that I'm home again. The week away was not a week off. I learned a great deal on the trip (and thought of a great deal more). I'll try to share all of it starting with tomorrow's post.


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