For thousands of amateur radio enthusiasts – and hundreds in the ham radio contest community – the prime destination this week is Dayton, Ohio, for the 2011 Dayton Hamvention.
Whether you have been to Dayton every year for the last two decades or might be showing up this year for the first time, there are plenty of contesting events to keep you busy.
As always, the Crowne Plaza hotel in downtown Dayton is the focus for most of the action, as that is the location of Contest University and the nightly Super Suite gathering.
” “You never know who is going to show up at Dayton,” says Tim Duffy K3LR, one of the organizing forces behind both Contest University and the Super Suite.
“If you’re a contester, dayton has a lot to offer.” Duffy added during a Webinar last week that was sponsored by the Potomac Valley Radio Club.
Duffy is also leading the fifth year of Contest University in Dayton, which is bringing in an array of top contesters for presentations on a variety of subjects, like the reverse beacon network talk by Pete Smith N4ZR.
“I’m doing two pieces for Contest University – one a review of the major logging programs, the other an intro to the RBN and CW Skimmer,” Smith told radio-sport.net.
“I’m also doing an update on Skimmer and the RBN for the Contest Forum. Some people will do anything for a free ticket to the Hamvention!” he joked.
The action starts on Wednesday as the Super Suite opens at the Crowne Plaza for the first of four nights, as for over 25 years, it has served as the nightly pileup for contesters from around the world.
On Thursday evening, the Society of Midwest Contesters will gather again at a Hooters restaurant off I-75 for what has become a few hours of great fun for contest veterans as well.
“As has been the case for the past 10 years, everyone is encouraged to wear your best/worst combination of neon sport jacket, Hawaiian shirt, Pajama Pants, pimp hat, glasses, screaming orange tie…etc,” sais organizer Paul Gentry K9PG.
Gerald Treas K8GT was last year’s winner of the “coveted pink jacket” – you can see him and Paul over on the right sidebar.
“We usually start gathering in the Crowne Plaza lobby around 6 or so,” Gentry wrote on the CQ-Contest reflector, if there are any hams who want a ride to the event.
Along with the visit to the Hara Arena for the actual hamvention, you are sure to find a lot of contesters at the Crowne Plaza on Friday night, when the Top Band dinner takes place – and when everyone begins spilling into the Super Suite.
At 10:30pm each night, there is free pizza that gets handed out, sponsored by some of the big contest clubs like PVRC (Friday) and YCCC (Saturday).
“When the pizza gets rolled out, it’s almost like a packet pileup in the contest,” said Ken Claerbout K4ZW.
“You better be there, because it does go fast,” added K3LR.
Saturday night brings the main event, with the contest dinner, which will be a sellout again.
The featured speaker is Scott Redd K0DQ, a retired Navy Admiral and senior counterterrorism official in the Bush Administration, who tells radio-sport.net that he’ll talk about “what it’s like to be a contester in the halls of power…with a twist.”
“What would government be like if contesters ran it,” Redd wrote in an email from 7-land, where he was giving a commencement address at Washington State University.
It’s the second time in the spotlight for Redd, who also was the featured contest dinner speaker in 2000.
His speech comes a short time after the U.S. military mission to kill Osama Bin Laden, who was a featured “multiplier” for Redd when the Admiral was the head of the National Counterterrorism Center for just over two years between 2005 and 2007.