It seemed like a pretty modest affair, but I thoroughly enjoyed it because it got me back in touch with my early roots in amateur radio. I attended several sessions.
The first was by K7MM, Dan Ransom: QRP Contesting University.
There were about 20 folks in the session. I was impressed with the strong interest in QRP operating. Dan did a fine job touching on many of the finer points of QRP contesting, from multiple perspectives including propagation, equipment, antennas, logging software, and operating.
He really made a strong case for why QRP can be so much fun and a good challenge. As he repeated throughout the session, “Remember, you are LOUD.” And he had us all repeating that throughout the session. I have to admit, it’s a great way to think about yourself as a QRP station. Ultimately, as Dan said, it gets down to understanding the interplay of propagation, skilled listening, using good antennas and expert operating technique.
I was intrigued by Dan’s description of what he called a “bobtail” antenna, basically a longwire with quarter wavelength “tails” dropping down at quarter wavelength intervals. The “tails” give the longwire gain off its end by acting as directors. Can’t wait to set one up!
All in all a very lively and information session. Thanks, Dan!
Next session was “When Giants Walked the Bands”, a fascinating presentation by LaMar Ray, WA7LT. The presentation was an amazing collection of photographs from the 1950s to the mid 1980s showing the growth and development of multi-multi (multi-operators / multiu-transmitters) contesting in the US. It was fabulous to see shots of vintage gear, and ham shacks. But the real stars of the show were the unbelievable antennas and towers these fellows built. Have to be seen to be believed. Great stuff!
As for the hamfest itself, here’s a look at the main floor with all the tables set up:
At one of the tables a guy a a complete HW-9 set: transceiver, antenna tuner, and
power supply. The HW-9 was the my first kit and I still regret that I lost track of
my rig over the years. But, great memories seeing this equipment.