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Author Topic: ARRL National Centennial Convention VS Dayton  (Read 34512 times)
K2ACB
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« 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
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K3GM
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« Reply #1 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.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2014, 07:16:29 AM by K3GM » Logged
W4KYR
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2014, 09:19:31 AM »

I'd pick Dayton cause its closer.
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W1ITT
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« Reply #3 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.
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K9MHZ
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« Reply #4 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.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 01:39:26 AM by K9MHZ » Logged
AD7DB
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« Reply #5 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
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N3AEG
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« Reply #6 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)
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W4QG
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« Reply #7 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.  Grin
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K3GM
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« Reply #8 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.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2014, 09:39:20 AM by K3GM » Logged
K9MHZ
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« Reply #9 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!
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W4FID
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« Reply #10 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.
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K9MHZ
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« Reply #11 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.

  
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 06:33:05 AM by K9MHZ » Logged
K3GM
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« Reply #12 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.
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W9FIB
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« Reply #13 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.
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W4FID
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« Reply #14 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.
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