WB8NUT Blog RSS Feed
Dayton Hamvention 2016 Recap
Posted: 27 May 2016 05:18 AM PDT
This year I was able to attend the Hamvention for only one day. I was on a
business trip and did not get back until Friday night at about 11:00 PM.
But it was great to still be able to attend the Hamvention for at least one
day. So here are some of my comments about this year's Hamvention.
First, the Hara Arena is rapidly decaying. There are all sorts of rumors
about Montgomery County wanting the property to the county fairgrounds.
There are also rumors about the owners losing money, taxes owed, etc.
Clearly there is no money being put into any upkeep of the facility. The
condition of Hara this year was the worst I have even seen.
Restrooms were filthy and poorly maintained. Two of my friends used the
outside port-a-lets because they were cleaner than the bathrooms!
Attendance was down quite a bit. I am guessing it might have been as low as
16,000. From what I heard from other hams, the place is just too
unattractive and turning off many from attending.
The parking lot that host the flea market is also deteriorating. The
pavement is crumbling in many places. Very few garbage cans were placed in
the flea market. As a result, you saw piles of old electronics abandoned on
the ground. Guess the XYL told them to sell it or leave it.
We tried attending the Yaesu Fusion forum, but the room had to be in the
mid 80's so it was just too hot to sit in there. Apparently Hara's air
conditioning was not working or they could not afford to turn it on. The
rest of the forum rooms were also too warm. No forums this year.
Since Yeasu came out with a very affordable Fusion radio, the FTM-3200, I
purchased one from Ham Radio Outlet (HRO). At $169 it will give me the
opportunity to evaluate and compare the various digital voice methods
commonly being used on the VHF/UHF bands. I'll write a blog with a
comparison between DStar, DMR and Fusion soon.
Speaking of DStar, Kenwood was showing their new DStar, APRS, FM dual-band
handheld. It is supposed to be available around November of this year. This
has been rumored since November of last year so it now appears to be
reality. Now that a second major manufacturer has begun selling DStar
radios, that should put to bed all that FUD about DStar being proprietary
and only an Icom standard. The radio looked great as it uses a color
screen. The problem is the list price is supposed to be north of $600.
Needs to be in the $300 range or it is going to be out of the reach of many
The Europeans were there showing off their concept of a multi-digital mode
VHF/UHF radio that supports DStar, DMR, Fusion and FM. The radio is
tentatively priced between $800 to $1,000. Kind of high, but might be worth
it as everything will be built into one radio. If a group of hams can pull
this off, surely Icom, Kenwood and Yaesu can do it also. It's just a crying
shame that all the manufacturers could not agree on one standard instead of
creating the division by having so many different digital modes.
Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) was showing the JT-65 capability that will soon be
added to the DM-780 application within the HRD Suite of fully integrated
applications. That is the best ham radio application out there for someone
who wants software to do it all. Spoke to Rick at HRD who said they have
over 50,000 paid users! If you build and maintain it, they will come!
While on the subject of vendors, there was also a reduction in the number
of commercial vendors. For that matter, even the number of flea market
vendors seemed down but the rain might have forced many to just give up.
There were a number of niche vendors there showing off their products and
there was just too many of those new products to talk about here. More SDR
radios, more digital voice hotspots, and a host of other things being
discussed on many of the forum boards at eham, QRZ and Yahoo Groups.
All I can say is that DARA better find a new venue fast and find a way to
invigorate the Hamvention.