Hello everybody and welcome back to my blog. Today we have a guest post from David B., WW5Y. He will be sharing with us his experience at Ham-Com this year, take it away David…
I’ve been attending Ham-Com since moving back to North Texas in 2003. I think I may have missed one in the last 12 years. I lived in Dayton, Ohio for 10 years prior and was used to going to Hamvention. The size is overwhelming. Too big really. Ham-Com is a bit of a breath of fresh air in comparison. My dad (WB0CYC/SK) who moved to Texas in 1980 and had attended Hamvention in Dayton on several occasions with me, told me that he had found the best deals at Ham Com, even though it was smaller. He also preferred Ham-Com over the Dayton Hamvention.
I was looking forward to Ham-Com this year due to the fact it was somewhat closer than it has been for the last few years. Plano wasn’t a bad location, other than it was so far away from central Johnson County. I have been volunteering the last few years at Plano, but this year I didn’t know if I was going to be able to attend. So, by the time I was able to confirm my attendance, all the volunteer positions had been filled. Nevertheless, I was still going to attend. My Dad, whom with I had been attending Ham-Com since 2003, passed away at the end of 2009. So instead of going with Dad, I have been taking one of my family members, trying to pique an interest in Amateur radio. (Sidebar: It worked! My wife and youngest daughter have both passed their Technician Class exam and are awaiting their shiny new call signs. My other two daughters plan on testing later this year.)
My youngest daughter and a ham buddy rode along on the drive up to the Irving Convention Center on Friday. When we got there, the parking garage was already filled to capacity. There were several hundred cars already parked in the outdoor lots as well. We found a grassy parking space and made our way into the center. After finding the ticket booth, we split up and began meandering through the exhibit tables and booths. I had a short shopping list this year, but always enjoy searching the flea market tables for treasures. On many occasions I have found nifty items that now enjoy a place in my ham shack. Several years ago I picked up a 2K watt generator. I have used it quite a few times since.
Every table was assigned and most were filled with stuff for sale. A few tables hadn’t been setup yet. I began in one corner and zig-zagged, making sure I hit every table. I took mental notes of items of interest and pricings so I could make comparisons if I found more than one of something. I remember thinking how nice it was to have the flea market indoors this year. And not out in the hot Texas sun. Eventually I was able to locate and purchase all the items on my shopping list – for less than I was expecting to pay. I was happy.
Some years back, I discovered that the ARRL table offers a membership renewal bonus at the show. I have been taking advantage of this since then and have been getting a free book or other item for my troubles. Can’t beat that!
All my favorite vendors were there and I made sure I picked up the latest catalog from each. I maintain a wish-list of sorts. It contains items that I would love to have but probably will never be able to afford – at least until I will the lottery. Still, it is fun to get brochures on the latest and greatest high end rigs, amps, and antennas. Never hurts to dream big. As funds become available, I have been able to pick up a few of the lower priced wish-list items from time to time. It is fun to fiddle with the radios, checking out the new features each has to offer. And of course, admiring the huge, bright, colorful displays they are putting on the newer rigs. You can even talk to the reps in the booth to learn cool stuff about equipment you already own. And hey, Gordon West is there!
In all, it was a good show. I don’t know how the attendance numbers compare to years past, but it looked like it was up to me. I’m sure I will continue to attend, even if I don’t have a shopping list that year. I may get to add a new item to my wish-list.
Thanks David for sharing your experience with us! I’m sure there are plenty of things there that I could add to my wish list as well and congratulations to your wife and daughter on getting their license. If only I could get my wife licensed…I hope everyone enjoyed this post and maybe David will be a guest poster on my blog again in the future. As always, please share my blog with yurt friends. Please like me on Facebook, and follow me on twitter, google+ and LinkedIn to get faster updates on new posts. Until next time,
73 de Curtis, K5CLM