Even before Hamvention® 2017 had wound down at its new Xenia, Ohio, location, plans were on the drawing board to enhance next year’s show. Hamvention 2017 “went reasonably well,” spokesperson Mike Kalter, W8CI, allowed, but he acknowledged that there are still a “lot of things to work on” for 2018. Kalter, who lives in Xenia, made the remarks in a video interview with DX Engineering’s Tim Duffy, K3LR, in the wake of the May 19-21 show, which is sponsored by the Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA).
Kalter told Duffy that the staff of the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center on its own initiative met with him, Hamvention General Chair Ron Cramer, KD8ENJ, and others to say they were already formulating plans for improvements. The food and forum venues at the new location got high marks, Kalter told Duffy, but the flea market suffered badly from the effects of heavy rainfall.
“It rained hard, and it rained a lot,” Kalter recounted, adding that the flea market area was not as well drained as organizers had expected. “What exactly we’re going to do at this point, I don’t know,” he conceded. “We felt bad about that.”
The exhibitor tents were another issue, with crowded quarters, wind-blown rain getting into booth spaces, and a lack of lighting. Kalter told Duffy that DARA didn’t get the tents it wanted, and that more and better tents are high on the list for next year. DARA also has asked the Greene County Commission to purchase another building for the site, and the Commission will be installing air handlers in buildings for 2018.
On-site parking improvements also are in the works, after a massive traffic jam on opening day. “Traffic on Friday morning was pretty rough, for those that got caught in that, but we worked with the officials…and they fixed it overnight,” Kalter said.
“We know that we are stewards of a very important event [for Amateur Radio],” Kalter told Duffy. Hamvention “is not just DARA’s show,” and exhibitors and organizers alike are buying into the concept of “our Hamvention” and contributing to an effort to improve the event. Kalter called Hamvention “a pillar” that helps to keep Amateur Radio alive and “growing and functioning at a much higher level” than anywhere else.
“We’re out in front of it,” Kalter assured, “and I want to thank all of our volunteers,” referring to the 657 individuals who made Hamvention 2017 happen. “Most of what I heard was very positive.”
In a separate interview with HamRadioNow‘s Gary Pearce, KN4AQ, Kalter said that while he could offer no firm numbers, attendance was “the biggest I’ve seen at any Hamvention I’ve ever been to. It was absolutely wall to wall, from one end to the other.”