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Author Topic: Why is Dayton in Dayton?  (Read 20751 times)
WV1N
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« on: May 20, 2011, 05:25:56 AM »

Dayton, the event , seems like a very desirable hamfest to attend.  New products are introduced, interesting seminars are given and buying opportunities abound.
But every year it is 800 miles from my home.  To go requires a major commitment of time and money.
So why can't this be a traveling circus so that the benefit can be enjoyed in other parts of the country?
From what I have read the facilities in Dayton are marginal.  Isn't it time for other cities to get a shot at the big one?
Bill, wv1n
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K9IUQ
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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2011, 05:31:04 AM »

From what I have read the facilities in Dayton are marginal. 

You are being kind.  Cheesy  Cheesy

Stan K9IUQ
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K3GM
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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2011, 06:57:30 AM »

Hamvention is sponsered and run by the Dayton Amateur Radio Association.  If it were underwritten by the ARRL for instance, then perhaps the Hamvention would move around the US.  But this started out in the early 50's as a local fleamarket mini -convention, and took off, and I suspect that DARA will never let go of the reins, regardless of how decrepit the Hara becomes. As a New Englander, it's a long drive for me as well, but it's (kind of) central location can pull amateurs from all of the US.  No offense to Daytoners, but area lodging, restaurants, and such are really strained to accommodate the the attendees.  If this were held in the New York City area, or across the Hudson in northern New Jersey for instance, it would be just another small convention.  Picture the Hamvention at the Meadowlands across from New York City with JFK, EWR, and LGA just literally minutes away, the huge selection of area lodging, and restaurants.  Of course, I suspect the the Meadowlands would charge a little more for their services than the Hara does.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2011, 11:36:28 AM by K3GM » Logged
WV1N
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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2011, 11:16:10 AM »

I guess this begs the question of why Dayton has become so important.  Is it just tradition or is the timing or location so important?
Although it is run by DARA, the ARRL and all of the major manufacturers certainly endorse the Hamvention as 'the big one'.  Maybe if some of the groups that use Dayton for their annual meeting were to shift venues, then other hamfests would gain stature and the joy would be more evenly spread around.
Bill, WV1N
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WALTERB
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Posts: 528




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« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2011, 12:00:23 PM »

Dayton, the event , seems like a very desirable hamfest to attend.  New products are introduced, interesting seminars are given and buying opportunities abound.
But every year it is 800 miles from my home.  To go requires a major commitment of time and money.
So why can't this be a traveling circus so that the benefit can be enjoyed in other parts of the country?
From what I have read the facilities in Dayton are marginal.  Isn't it time for other cities to get a shot at the big one?
Bill, wv1n

I feel the same way about

The Consumer Electronic's show in Las Vegas.
The Sundance film festival  in Park City Utah.
the canne film festival.

Actually I went to the Canne film festival in 1993.  I was backpacking around europe.  I got off the train walked 3 blocks and there was a large mob of people standing in front of the theater.  A limo pulled up and out popped a man and the crowd went wild.  It was a french soap opera star.  I walked back to the train station, got on the next train out of town and haven't been back.  Grin
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W8AAZ
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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2011, 03:25:13 PM »

I know the venue is lacking.  But people keep coming.  Some big club in NY could try to build up the big hamfest, or in SoCal, etc. etc.  No law was passed saying the big one must be in Dayton. Somehow just turned out that way, maybe due to population averages, or it is X distance from X number of hams or ham population density or who knows.  No one ever said they were dreaming of making the big one here. I don't think.  It just grew and developed and apparently there was no competition from anyone to pull the crowds away.  It is what it is.  I myself would not drive 500 or maybe even 150 miles to see it.  Not every year, at least.  And as for surrounds, Dayton was once a big industrial powerhouse midwestern city, and now is declining towards ghost town status, comparitively.  So the demand for accomodations year round is not so great anymore, and no one will build a motel just for hamv.  Have no idea what the future holds for this event but it has been declared dead and buried before, I think.
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W1ITT
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« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2011, 08:17:04 PM »

Dayton is in Dayton because that's where the Dayton Amateur Radio Association is located.  Although it may not be obvious to those who have never been involved in the operation of a large hamfest, there is a lot of work that goes into it, and some of the work for the next event starts shortly after this one ends.   Much of the learning curve happens by apprenticeships, people learning the ropes from the guy who is succesfully doing it now.  Not all of this knowledge is easily transmissible, and it's necessary to have a cohesive group who can work towards the final goal without much ego exercise and territorial maneuvering. Having been a one-third partner in Hosstraders, New England's largest ham event for 34 years, I can appreciate what those boys are up to.
I'm not sure how one could move from area to area and group to group and maintain the efficiency of operation.  I went to Dayton about a dozen years ago and had a nice time despite the crummy infrastructure.
Anyone who thinks they can get into a better venue and do as good a job as the DARA is welcome to try it.  It's still a (fairly) free country.
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N2CJ
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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2011, 12:18:48 PM »

I just got back from my first trip to Dayton. I have been a ham for over 30 years.

I don't wish to disparage the organizers who clearly make quite an effort to put this thing on every year. The fact of the matter us that Hara is quite simply a dilapidated dump. The raw sewage in the flea market was a nice touch. Personally, having been to trade shows and conventions around the country, this facility is an embarrassment. For 20 to 25 dollars a head, plus what the exhibitors pay,  I think they could do a lot better. They could easily move Dayton to another nearby facility. Even if it's not in Dayton. After all, Woodstock was nowhere near Woodstock.
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W8JX
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« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2011, 03:38:26 PM »

I just got back from my first trip to Dayton. I have been a ham for over 30 years.

I don't wish to disparage the organizers who clearly make quite an effort to put this thing on every year. The fact of the matter us that Hara is quite simply a dilapidated dump. The raw sewage in the flea market was a nice touch. Personally, having been to trade shows and conventions around the country, this facility is an embarrassment. For 20 to 25 dollars a head, plus what the exhibitors pay,  I think they could do a lot better. They could easily move Dayton to another nearby facility. Even if it's not in Dayton. After all, Woodstock was nowhere near Woodstock.

Hara is getting quite dated and owners have not done any improvements for years. Word is they looked into moving it to Air Show buildings at airport but FAA did not want all the RF up there. I do agree that it should be moved somewhere else long ago and taking show to next level in process as Hara is holding it back but I do not see that ever happening. BTW, I live in area.   
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NB8I
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« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2011, 10:52:06 PM »

Hello:

I just got back today from my first trip to Dayton. I'm a new ham (less than a year) and really wanted to go to experience it. I got there Thurday and left on Sunday afternoon.

It was a blast.

Flea market was HUGE (took a full day 8 hours to go through it at a good pace) and got a lot of great deals. DARA obviously works very hard at putting this together. The Hara staff was pleasant and courteous.

The nice thing about this event is that almost every ham vendor is there inside to talk to, get new ideas from, and some great deals on new gear.

Hara is a bit challenged as a facility. Some notes:

a. On Saturday afternoon almost every bathroom was closed due to backups. I really mean backups..Smiley Hara arena is REALLY huge and the few restroom facilities are overwhelmed.

b. DARA 2m net control on Saturday was mentioning over the air that:

 "the rumors surrounding relocation of Hamvention are not true and that there was no intention of moving Hamvention."

c. Sunday morning, I went back to the flea market to see if there were any last min deals. The place was almost deserted. Most I guess had packed up Saturday night and left.


I plan on going next year whether or not it's at Hana. I had no trouble getting a room in April for the event at the Fairfield Inn on Miller Road. It was less than 10 min from the arena and had very nice rooms for under a 100 bucks a night.

I posted some videos online at

www.youtube.com/nb8i

of the event if you wish to see it for yourself.

Overall a very positive experience. I met hams from all over the world, found some cool stuff, and discovered things that would have taken me a long time to find if I hadn't gone.

Regards
Mark
NB8I





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W3JKS
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« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2011, 06:32:58 AM »

All of which begs the question, doesn't the State of Ohio have a Health Department?  The entire venue should have been shutdown with a raw sewage problem like that.

I'm certainly not going to Dayton until they get the health issues straightened out.  My kingdom for a civil engineer!

73,
john W3JKS/AAT3BF/AAM3EDE/AAM3RE/AAA9SL
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KE7FD
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« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2011, 06:41:23 AM »

We (Pittsburgh contingent) were there for Friday and Saturday; most of us left from our motel rooms Sunday morning.  One of the reasons for not going back to HARA Sunday morning was due to the deplorable conditions which are now prevalent at HARA Arena.  Yes, the sewers backed up and many flea market vendors were "flushed" out of their spots.  DARA, are you hearing any of this?  Walking through raw sewage does not enhance our Hamvention experience.  Hamvention is one of the few mass attended events where men stand in line to get to a rest room and the lines were long.  The aisles were more crowded this year with less room available for the scooter-bound hams; we’re glad they’re there and now able to attend whereas in the past without scooters that might not have been possible.  The layout of HARA does not lend itself as well as it might with such a hodge-podge of rooms.  The central area, the arena itself was pretty tight, and the facility as a whole is run down and needs major improvements.

There are several places in the Dayton area which could probably host the event other than HARA; closed malls being a likely alternative.  I’ll stop short of saying I’ll not go back in favor of other hamfests; there’s nothing quite so large and as close as Dayton is to Pittsburgh.  Complaints about HARA are not new, but if DARA continues to ignore what I’ve been hearing on the air and in other venues, the negatives will outweigh the positives of going back.

Glen - KE7FD
« Last Edit: May 23, 2011, 06:45:29 AM by KE7FD » Logged
KD8DEY
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« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2011, 08:38:20 AM »

I hope before next year that they call "Roto-Rooter" so they don't have another "Sewer Explosion" in the middle of the Flea Market. (Don't want them to get accused by Peta of cruelty to fleas)
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WV1N
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« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2011, 08:42:05 AM »

For me the attraction of Dayton is 1. The new product announcements and 2. The seminars and meetings that are associated with the hamvention.

The various groups like ARRL, QRP Arci, the various DX and contest associations should get together and change there meetings to various other hamfests on a rotating basis.  Once this is accomplished than the manufactures will follow because they want the maximum exposure for their product announcements.

I believe this will be a more fair to the thousands of hams who cannot travel to Dayton.  I know of many national organizations that hold their annual conferences in changing venues.

At a minimum it will put Hara and the Ohio Board of Sanitation on notice to clean up their cesspool.

Bill WV1N
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K3GM
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« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2011, 09:11:56 AM »

I've gone to Dayton for many years, and each year I see a decline in the facilities, along with a decline in  fleamarket, and vendor participation.  Years ago, the entire parking lot was filled, and there was a waiting list of potential sellers.  Last year for the first time there were holes in the inside exhibits, and an effort was made late in the year to bring the larger outside vendors in to fill the glaring gaps.  

Regarding this year's sewage geyser.  This is not the first time for a sewage spill.  A number of years ago, the porta-johns overflowed causing a small river of crap and urine to ooze across the parking lot. I remember,,,,,it was a hot sunny day..........  

I don't mind the 800 mile journey from New England to Philadelphia to pick up my friends, and then drive out to Ohio.  It's part of the yearly Hamvention experience, enjoying each other's company on the trip out.  The problem has become where it's held.  The site is worn out, run down, and plain old low class.  This past weekend, it was a health hazard.  One wonders what the international visitors think in the short time they have to visit the Hara facilities, and the environs.  It's time for DARA to seek out a new venue.

It's time for the big participants, like the transceiver manufacturers, as well as the League to put pressure on DARA to find new facilities. A new location would be just the thing to inject renewed interest and enthusiasm into what was once regarded as our "national hamfest".  
« Last Edit: May 23, 2011, 10:40:47 AM by K3GM » Logged
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