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Hamvention 2008 – Here and Gone

Well, the 2008 Hamvention and Dayton Ohio have both passed into the rear view mirror. Here’s my gray matter dump.

I had the great pleasure to meet and speak briefly with John Hendricks, KI6DS the owner of Hendricks QRP kits. John introduced and had available for sale the new PFR3 XCVR kit. This kit is a very good value for a QRP rig, having three bands(40m, 30m, 20m) and including a built in tuner for convenient field use. It appears to be a really fun and relatively simple construction project, and the kit includes all of the parts required including a very well done enclosure. The highlight was actually speaking with John, who I would dare say really enjoys meeting people. John is a teacher and basketball coach, and I expect that his students don’t yet realize how lucky they are to have a guy like that pass through their lives.

The Four Days In May QRP forums seem like something that I’d like to check out one day. We only made it over there for their ‘vendor night’ on Friday evening, but the Thursday forums sound like they would be well worth attending. Better planning on my part would be required to make that, and I’d probably like to sit through the Contest College stuff first. But if you have an interest in QRP, check them out.

In hindsight, I see I missed checking into at least one subject. Browsing through the literature from ICOM Sunday evening, it would seem that I missed a chance to see and ask questions about the new IC-7200 HF radio. I’m not generally overly fond of the ICOM line(personal preference, not quality), but this seems to be an interesting entry on the lower end of the market. If the selectivity is good(a 6kc roofing filter) it might be worth looking into. It also comes with a USB port, a trend I expect we will begin to see more of as the serial port is relegated to the dustbin of technological change. I0GEJ has a video interview with KI4NCU, Ashley and N7SS, Scott which gives more info. It is not yet for sale as far as I can determine.

I also discovered that the 80m dipole element being advertised for the SteppIr ‘DreamBeam’ and MonstIr amounts to a dipole element running along the length of the antenna’s boom. The dipole element is tuned to resonance on 80m via the trombone elements at either end(DreamBeam) or the straight end elements on the MonstIr. These ends act as variable loading in the 80m dipole mode, and I’d guess both sides of the element are shorted to the 80m dipole element only when in 80m mode. Their rep said that the new 80m element will be an option that can be added to either antenna. It is a moot point, as neither fits into either the space available or the plans at Casa Kazmo. -sigh- Such is life.

The ARRL had a large area of one of the exhibit halls, and lots of folks manning the booths. I posed a question to the “doctor”, hoping to spur them to revisit the folded dipole article in the “portable antennas” chapter of the antenna book. What I got was an answer I wasn’t looking for – a suggestion to use a tuner. I guess I’ll go with a series matching section. Maybe they took notes on the questions being asked. I’d bet they got lots of free ideas for articles that way.

There were other assorted new VHF gizmos around, but it is not an area I’m following closely. I think Bob Heil also has a couple of new microphones available. I’m sure I missed something else because I didn’t make as many passes through the Arena and flea market areas as I expected to make.

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