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eHam Forums => Hamfests => Topic started by: K2ACB on March 01, 2014, 11:40:34 PM



Title: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: K2ACB on March 01, 2014, 11:40:34 PM
This year the ARRL will have their Centennial Convention in Hartford Connecticut from July 17th to 19th. I was at an ARRL convention once many years ago. In terms of exhibitors and the flea market it was not as big as the Dayton hamvention.

I wonder since this is the centennial year for the ARRL and since their convention will be held in their own backyard so to speak, will they be planning to make this convention the biggest and best that they ever had? Will their be more or at least the same number of  exhibitors than at Dayton or nobody knows yet? Will the flea market be the biggest they ever had? Will it be bigger than at Boxboro in Massachusetts that is now held once every two years?Boxboro is the biggest hamfest in the northeast.  Will this convention attract thousands of hams from all over the country and around the world? I presume their will be a lot of hams from the northeast. Dayton gets hams from all over the midwest as well as the south and northeast but few from the southwest and west coasts.  Hartford is only a two and a half hour ride from the New York metropolitan area and only two hours from Boston,3 hours from most of New England  and 5 hours from eastern Canada. It is a lot closer for people  in the northeast than Dayton. It also has an airport with more direct accessable flights than Dayton.

If a person or group this year had to make a decision if they could only go to Dayton or the ARRL Centennial Convention which one should they choose? The Hamfests are only two months apart.

Finally, since the ARRL will be going all out for their Centennial Convention in Hartford will this limit their activity at
Dayton this year?

I would like some input on the questions I have raised.
 73
Alan-K2ACB


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: K3GM on March 04, 2014, 07:06:00 AM
I've made my decision.  After much admitted kvetching over the dilapidated venue that ironically holds the crown jewel of amateur radio “hamfests”, I’m putting my money  (quite literally) where my mouth is and I’ve decided to attend the ARRL Centennial Convention ONLY this year. After many years of continuous attendance, I can no longer accept the deplorable conditions.  Over the years, I’ve estimated I’ve spent in excess of $30,000 at Hamvention, and that doesn’t include food and lodging while there.  Typically, my entire budget for the year is spent at Hamvention.  Last year while waiting to use disgusting Porto-Johns, my hand instinctively went to check for the wad of bills rubber banded in my front pocket.  I thought to myself, here I am dropping $3K in a place that makes me use a portable toilet to take a wiz!  This is ridiculous! ….and it will continue to be that way until the ARRL, the vendors, and the attendees take a stand and say, Enough!

I will be quick to say that The Centennial Convention is closer, much closer to my QTH, and that did have a bearing on my decision.  I could have attended both, but it’s time to personally make a stand. So I’m going to Hartford in July with the same yearly amateur radio budget.  I have big hopes on this convention, and I’m wondering if the League is testing the waters after seeing and hearing the complaints over the Dayton site.  I can tell you that the Connecticut Convention Center is new, and it’s big.  There’s a parking garage right across the street with reasonable rates.  The building is climate controlled and there is of course “real” bathrooms.  BDL is just north, and offers bus service to downtown Hartford, and it's nearly in the middle of a megapolis teeming with hams who live within a few hours drive.  Philadelphia is 3.5 hours away, NYC is a shade over 2 hours, and Boston just 90 minutes.

I don’t know what to expect being this is a first time thing.  What will the “flea market” be like, and where will it be held?  Which vendors will show up?  There are a lot of unknowns, but I’m hoping to see something much larger than the New England convention in Boxboro, MA, but in modern facilities like what you find in Friedenshafen.  Hope to see you there.  I’ll be wearing a hat covered with ARRL Hamvention buttons from years past.


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: W4KYR on March 05, 2014, 09:19:31 AM
I'd pick Dayton cause its closer.


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: W1ITT on March 05, 2014, 11:58:14 AM
To get an idea of what the Connecticut Convention Center is capable of, their website has an interactive display of the facilities under "Planners".  If the convention uses all of the combined A-B exhibit hall, that offers 140,000 square feet of space.   There's also a 40,000 square foot ballroom, as well as 14 smaller conference rooms.  It all depends how much of that Hiram and the boys have decided to rent, but there's room inside for the usual commercial exhibitors. The Hara (Dayton) site lists a number of rooms inside that add up to a similar amount of floor space.  How they'd manage the typical sprawling flea market in the midst of a city is open to speculation.  But I'll bet the plumbing is better in Connecticut.


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: K9MHZ on March 09, 2014, 01:37:02 AM
LOL, yep probably better plumbing. I'll bet the decision will revolve around geography/proximity for most people.  The Convention sounds intriguing though, 100 years and all.  The League will probably go all out to make it a great event. Dayton is always memorable for other reasons.


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: AD7DB on March 09, 2014, 01:28:11 PM
The ARRL Centennial Convention is definitely a once in a lifetime event. How many times has there even been a centennial ham radio convention?

Dayton will go on as usual, I'm sure. And I'd like to go to it someday. But, this is the big one I'm going to this year.

Dave AD7DB


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: N3AEG on March 13, 2014, 05:39:06 AM
I'm a new Ham and I decided I wanted to see what the Dayton Hamvention was all about, so I decided to go that route instead of the ARRL convention.  For me, living in Baltimore, it's CT is actually closer.  The only down side was waiting until March to start looking for a hotel room.  I ended up finding something about 30 minutes away.  I will say I'm not keen on the idea of using porta-pottys.

The way I look at it, I'm interested to see the vendors and manufactures more than the tailgaters.

--Leo (N3AEG)


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: W4QG on March 13, 2014, 07:07:50 AM
For me. I am much more interested in the tailgating. Dayton is a known quantity.
From what I can see, there is little information at this point on what the flea market situation will be like
at the Centennial Convention. As has already been pointed out, not sure how much there could be based on
the venue. I'm sure it will be great for looking at new gear and forums etc...

To Dayton I will go.  ;D


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: K3GM on March 13, 2014, 09:29:47 AM
As someone who has been to Dayton many times and tailgates there as well, I know what to expect.  So for me, the convention will be an opportunity to try something different.  In the last 6 or 7 years, there has been a drastic reduction in the amount of tailgaters at Hamvention.  In the 90's the entire lot was filled.  Before that, there was a waiting list to get a space to sell from.  Last year, the western end the lot was empty, and I imagine if you packed everyone together so there were no empty spaces amongst the sellers, and then take out the "sellers" who have discovered that using the once packed lot is now a convenient place to park their car, you'd fill up maybe half of it.  Additionally, much of the stuff being sold I think has become irrelevant to the hobby.  I can only look at so much ancient gear and stuff that is literally left in the barrels for trash collection come Saturday afternoon.  That's another thing:  The flea market dissolves on Saturday afternoon.  Sunday is practically nothing.  The days of finding literally anything you were looking for in the way of amateur related gear are over.  Rarely do you see trailers filled with complete tower assemblies,  or spools..big spools of Heliax, and big yagi's.  Sellers realize that you can't carry that stuff on the bus back to the Salem Mall parking lot.  I don't mean to make this particular post on Dayton bashing.  But I think he Centennial Convention will offer much of what is seen at Dayton in the way of dealers, manufacturers, and the larger inside vendors.  If not, then perhaps we'll revisit Dayton again.


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: K9MHZ on March 15, 2014, 04:39:05 PM
It might be just me, but if all things are equal, I'd go to the Convention.  Dayton will continue, but the Convention is celebrating the 100-year point.  New England is beautiful in the summer, while Dayton is never beautiful. 

Whatever you choose, enjoy!


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: W4FID on March 17, 2014, 02:33:34 AM
I have been to Dayton about 25 times. It is all everyone says it is -- the good and the bad. The best of the best stuff to see in the the worst of the worst facilities. But there is one over all problem that is just plain not addressed. Accommodation. Many (most?) hams are now older. Many of us have limitations and need at least some degree of accommodation. Standing in line half an hour for a bathroom where the floor is so wet and slippery it's dangerous and there is absolutely no way to use a walker or wheelchair or mobility scooter is not OK. Using the handicapped parking spaces that Hara painted on the pavement for the fest committee carts while charging to park in a grass -- at times mud -- lot is not OK. Rent a cops with the authority to tell a blind person with a guide dog he MUST walk down the side of a busy road to a lot and is not allowed to cut across a paved parking area is not OK. Door guards who cannot tell you where the nearest porta potty is when the building plumbing fails but insist on seeing your badge because all they are responsible for is being sure everyone paid is not OK. Until the committee gets interested enough and finds a few ways to be sensitive to the needs of many hams I won't be back.

By contrast there were a few ARRL staffers at HamCation last month. They were all listening and interested in what we had to say. Not just handshake PR -- but actual connection to us. Genuine knowledge about our hobby and interest in checking their course to see if it fits the needs. They already had lots of knowledge about the plans for the July event. Receptive and available for input and knowledgeable sure works for me. Being endangered by a facility that doesn't even begin to comply with the spirit of the ADA laws let along fulfill them and at the mercy of an aloof disconnected committee doesn't.


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: K9MHZ on March 21, 2014, 06:28:15 AM
By contrast there were a few ARRL staffers at HamCation last month. They were all listening and interested in what we had to say. Not just handshake PR -- but actual connection to us. Genuine knowledge about our hobby and interest in checking their course to see if it fits the needs. They already had lots of knowledge about the plans for the July event. Receptive and available for input and knowledgeable sure works for me. Being endangered by a facility that doesn't even begin to comply with the spirit of the ADA laws let along fulfill them and at the mercy of an aloof disconnected committee doesn't.

You lost me on this part.  Are you upset with the League staffers at Dayton, or the facilities at Dayton?  You made quite a leap in logic that was hard to follow.  If you think the League staffers at Dayton are responsible in any way for a lack of access for the disabled at Hara, you're totally wrong.  How many times does this need repeating....It's NOT their gig!    

If it's the League people at Dayton with whom you have a problem, I could not disagree more.  Every single year I've made it a point to engage them on some level, and they're ALWAYS friendly, professional, and courteous.  I'm not sure how comparing a ratty facility (Dayton) with good League staffers (Hamcation) makes any sense.

  


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: K3GM on March 21, 2014, 09:09:12 AM
Indeed.  I've always found the ARRL corner of the that (I use the following term very loosely) "ballroom" (hahaha!... I have to laugh) to be an oasis in contrast to the rest of the place.  The League staff is friendly, and will bend over backwards to help you.  Last year, I asked about the annual ARRL photo competition, and was led practically by the hand through the crowd and across the room to the staffer in charge of that.  They do a great job.


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: W9FIB on March 23, 2014, 09:52:48 PM
By contrast there were a few ARRL staffers at HamCation last month. They were all listening and interested in what we had to say. Not just handshake PR -- but actual connection to us. Genuine knowledge about our hobby and interest in checking their course to see if it fits the needs. They already had lots of knowledge about the plans for the July event. Receptive and available for input and knowledgeable sure works for me. Being endangered by a facility that doesn't even begin to comply with the spirit of the ADA laws let along fulfill them and at the mercy of an aloof disconnected committee doesn't.

You lost me on this part.  Are you upset with the League staffers at Dayton, or the facilities at Dayton?  You made quite a leap in logic that was hard to follow.  If you think the League staffers at Dayton are responsible in any way for a lack of access for the disabled at Hara, you're totally wrong.  How many times does this need repeating....It's NOT their gig!    

If it's the League people at Dayton with whom you have a problem, I could not disagree more.  Every single year I've made it a point to engage them on some level, and they're ALWAYS friendly, professional, and courteous.  I'm not sure how comparing a ratty facility (Dayton) with good League staffers (Hamcation) makes any sense.

  

Had you bothered to read it carefully, his complaint is with the facilities and its employees not the ARRL.

I too have always had good conversations with ARRL officials. That is why I am a member and a voter in elections for officials. Those 2 things allow me as a member to give officials my pleasure and/or displeasure of what the officials say and do. Not just a magazine as you told me in another thread.


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: W4FID on March 24, 2014, 07:19:30 AM
My bad. The last paragraph got lost and what was posted wasn't clear.

The ARRL is the ARRL and is fine -- even great -- at both fests. And it's correct -- they don't have control (probably not even influence) over the facilities at either place. The point that was lost is at HamCation the committee is in tune with the needs and a typical example is how well the ARRL staff meshes with them and how well it suits the situation. That's the connection I didn't express too well but is a typical example of what I mean. The HamCation committee listens to and adjusts to input from both the vendors and the attendees -- by way of providing facilities and info for those of us who have some mobility limitations so we can fully participate safely and by way of being sure the vendors (ARRL and all the others) have what they need to present themselves well and serve us smoothly. At HamCation you see the committee members -- even the chairman and his wife -- every minute on the floor talking to the exhibitors and making adjustments if/as needed. So people like the ARRL, equipment manufacturers, retail companies, even individual hams can voice things they become aware of and see action. That is just not the case at Dayton.


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: KE4IED on March 24, 2014, 07:29:04 AM
I'm a "new" old ham (got technician no-code about 20 years ago, but only used an HT on 2 meters) that recently upgrade to general and bought an HF rig. I'm thinking of attending the National Convention because I think I can benefit from the training tracks, and it is a relativly close drive for me.

I'm undecided between "Contest Univesity" and "DX University". Has anyone here taken one of these programs before?


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: N9LCD on March 25, 2014, 07:51:10 AM
Ed:

Nothing, absolutely nothing, will prepare for the SHOCK of DX'ing or contesting.

I started out in SWL'ing, monitoring the ham bands and got my no-code Tech ticket 22 years ago.  Through some well-placed connections I was permitted to be a "guest op" at HV3SJ while in Rome.

After being "briefed" by the control op, I put on the phones, keyed the mic and started calling "CQ Germany.  CQ Germany.  HV3SJ calling CQ Germany".

NOTHING prepared me for what followed.  The bedlam that followed was worst than hollering "Free booze" on frat house row!  After a couple of QSO's I had the smarts to turn-over the station to the control op.

You may learn the THEORY of DX'ing or contesting; NOTHING BUT EXPERIENCE WILL PREPARE FOR THE PRACTICE.

Jerry
N9LCD

 ::)



Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: KE4IED on March 25, 2014, 10:46:18 AM
ha ha. I agree. I'm having trouble just participating in the Centinnial QSO party, and that's not even a "contest".  :D

The contest university track seems like fun so I signed up for that. I realize I'm going to need a lot of experinece before I get any good at this though.


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: N9LCD on March 25, 2014, 07:35:52 PM
Ed:

Maybe they'll have something like a "contest simulator".  You sit a the mic or key with phones on and try a working the instructor, over a closed circuit, through simulated noise, interference and fading.

Something like practice QSO's under simulated operating conditions would be great.  Heck, I'd sign-up for something like that if I ever get a HF station set-up at home.

Jerry
N9LCD


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: K9MHZ on March 26, 2014, 01:25:17 PM
At HamCation you see the committee members -- even the chairman and his wife -- every minute on the floor talking to the exhibitors and making adjustments if/as needed. So people like the ARRL, equipment manufacturers, retail companies, even individual hams can voice things they become aware of and see action. That is just not the case at Dayton.

Yeah, that's true...DARA's chickens will come home to roost.  I think given the deplorable facility that's HARA Arena, most people are amazed that they've kept this alive for so long.  Raw sewage spewing forth is no small matter.  A person can die from that, depending on the nature of the exposure.  I just can't see why in this day that Hara/DARA is still willing to expose themselves to that potential liability....and it could go beyond just a civil matter.  Like you mentioned, the slippery wet and nasty bathroom floors are a big hazard every single year. 

Ah well, at least it will never change.
 


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: N9LCD on March 30, 2014, 07:40:57 PM
It would take a H**l of a lot to go beyond a civil matter.  You'd probably need something like a fire in the Hara with heavy casualties.  And considering the attention that fest organizers give to matters like fire/life safety, it's possible.

The more likely situation would be a class action negligence suit against DARA.  If DARA doesn't have enough insurance, the courts CAN find DARA's directors and officers personally liable UNLESS they can prove that they were UNAWARE of the unsafe conditions.  Hi!  Hi!

N9LCD



Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: K3GM on March 31, 2014, 05:12:52 AM
Online ticket sales are up and running for the Centennial Convention, and I purchased mine on Friday.  The process was very smooth. The two day ticket (Friday/Saturday) price is twenty-five dollars.  There are a large number of forums being offered during those days along with the exhibits and vendors.  You are also given the opportunity to sign up for a free bus trip to League HQ which is about 15 minutes south of Hartford.  There is also a three day ticket which include a number of events on Thursday including Contest University and meetings.  I gladly paid the additional five buck more than a Hamvention ticket to enjoy the modern, climate controlled facilities of the CT Convention Center.


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: W6EM on March 31, 2014, 10:28:39 PM
....I too have always had good conversations with ARRL officials. That is why I am a member and a voter in elections for officials. Those 2 things allow me as a member to give officials my pleasure and/or displeasure of what the officials say and do. Not just a magazine as you told me in another thread.
  Perhaps one reason for the publisher-first reputation can be found in some exempliary actions.  The Digital Baud Rate Petition, RM-11708.  And, the formerly withdrawn Regulation by Bandwidth Petition.

In neither case did ARRL ask for our input BEFORE they filed their Petitions.  Oh, sure.  Now, they ask.  After the fact.  Will they withdraw or change it based on member input after the fact?  Not likely.  When will they learn that kind of disingenuous behavior makes for very bad press.

I'm a member, and I remain so to try to change it from an organization that has collectively just about 20% of licensed amateurs as members into one that a majority of us want to be affiliated with that will do things that we want..


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: W6EM on April 03, 2014, 05:09:47 PM
...  I gladly paid the additional five buck more than a Hamvention ticket to enjoy the modern, climate controlled facilities of the CT Convention Center.
Come south of the Mason-Dixon line and take in the Huntsville Hamfest for only $8.  It's held indoors at the beautiful Von Braun Center in downtown Huntsville.  Lots of talks and seminars and a very good flea market.  All indoors in August.  The Young Ham of the Year award presentation is a highlight.

Huntsville is home to the NASA Marshal Spaceflight Center and lots of things to see and do at the Space and Rocket Center.  Plus, for those who don't want to carry around a wad of bills in their pocket, there's an indoor ATM right in the Von Braun venue.


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: K2PH on April 08, 2014, 09:24:53 AM
Every year I look at going to Dayton. After I figure in the transportation, lodging and meal costs, I just go up online and order that new piece of gear I had been looking at all year. It's cheaper and less stressful. 

This year I've decided to go to the Convention. First, it's close by. I made reservations early, staying right at the site. Sounds like a nice place, Marriott has never let me down before. Probably no porta-potties. At my age I'm not going to be going to the 150th year celebration anyway. Will be nice to meet all of the manufacturers in a civilized comfortable setting.

K2PH


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: K1CJS on April 08, 2014, 09:30:02 AM
I've made my decision.  After much admitted kvetching over the dilapidated venue that ironically holds the crown jewel of amateur radio “hamfests”, I’m putting my money  (quite literally) where my mouth is and I’ve decided to attend the ARRL Centennial Convention ONLY this year....

Pardon, but I think you'll find it rather hard to attend a Centennial Convention the years after the actual centennial!   :D


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: K3GM on April 08, 2014, 12:13:49 PM
"As opposed to attending both this year" was what I was attempting to convey.


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: K1CJS on April 08, 2014, 02:10:45 PM
Sorry I misunderstood you!  73!


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: K9MHZ on May 22, 2014, 05:46:47 AM
It would take a H**l of a lot to go beyond a civil matter.  You'd probably need something like a fire in the Hara with heavy casualties.  And considering the attention that fest organizers give to matters like fire/life safety, it's possible.

The more likely situation would be a class action negligence suit against DARA.  If DARA doesn't have enough insurance, the courts CAN find DARA's directors and officers personally liable UNLESS they can prove that they were UNAWARE of the unsafe conditions.  Hi!  Hi!

N9LCD

That's true....."knowledge of....."
I don't know that I'd be willing to stick my neck out for that dump.




Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: K3GM on May 22, 2014, 09:31:52 AM
Here's what you'll expect to see in the way of a venue.  This is a shot from a wellness convention held there. Uhhhh.....is that carpet??

(http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a96/TwoSevenRight/ct_conv_cent_zpsae5d15c5.jpg)

This shot shows 15 volleyball courts under one roof.
(http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a96/TwoSevenRight/hc-pic-volleyball-tourney-jpg-20140110_zps56530412.jpg)


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: K9MHZ on May 22, 2014, 05:51:28 PM
Here's what you'll expect to see in the way of a venue.  This is a shot from a wellness convention held there.

A wellness convention and then a ham convention......too funny.  I guess you could call that equal time, fair and balanced, etc.

BTW, that looks great.  Indy's is much the same.  We had the NFL Experience in it during the 2012 Super Bowl, and most recently the NRA Convention.  Amazing what can be done when people give a darn.
 



Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: KI6LZ on May 22, 2014, 06:01:33 PM
A job fair would also be a good event.


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: N3DF on May 27, 2014, 08:20:25 PM
As of May 27, the ARRL Centennial Convention website indicates that eight indoor flea market spaces have been reserved. 


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: K3GM on May 29, 2014, 05:40:07 AM
....and so far 88 commercial exhibitors and organizations.

A flea market space isn't a bad deal at $65.  It includes one admission badge.  Additional badges are $25.  All very similar to Hamvention prices.  The seller badges also allow access to the show before and after hours too.  Commercial booth spaces are a bargain at $225 per 10'x10' space, and include a draped table and backdrop.  Compare that to an average price of $500 for a booth at Hamvention in the lovely climate controlled confines of the beautiful Hara Arena's sweaty ball rooms.


The League convention page also mentions discounted parking rates at the 8 story garage next to the center.  I imagine one will need to get their ticket validated in the convention center's lobby.


Title: RE: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton
Post by: N3DF on May 31, 2014, 07:21:25 PM
I look forward to the League's Centennial convention.  However, it will be a small fraction of the Dayton Hamvention's size and much less flea market oriented.