May 022009

With less than two weeks left until the Dayton Hamvention, it’s time to think about what will be needed, what will be wanted, and what would be cool. Aside from last year’s insanity of doing the whole thing in one day, we’ll have the 3 full days at the swap/convention on top of having a day prior to check out the Wright Patterson Air Force Museum. I’ve not been there since I was small when my father won the major prize at Dayton, maybe returning will bring good luck!

This year I retired the tried and true, but tired, RadioShack HTX-420. It was a great first radio and will always be a great back up. I’ve acquired a nice set of accessories for it including a TinyTrak II and GPS for it. I’ve longed for the radio my father and his freinds all use, so in place of the old HT, I will be armed with my new Kenwood TH-F6A. I’ll be needing a headset for it, something of decent quality, rather than an MFJ special, hi hi.

The last thing needed this time over last year has already been given since we’ll be spending 4 days down in Dayton, rather than the one I was allowed to have (my XYL was 7 months pregnant). It sure will be nice to document our travels, our adventures, and our return, without that rush to get back in just one day. I can say the drive back last year was not fun near the end at 3am.

I’ll also be streaming live video of the trip down and up via ChaserTV for those people who just can’t get enough of someone driving through Ohio. On top of that video, I’ll be recording random videos and taking pictures, in sort of a documentary form. I’m thinking something in the way of how I came into ham radio (not that I had a choice with a father and grandfather both being hams) and where it has taken me. I’m working with someone to help on the editing and should have a source for release soon.

Aside from the usual gear, we’ll be using APRS all the way down/up so we can be followed for eyes in chairs and receive messages for when my 3G service goes out. I’ll be active in several chats, both IRC and XMPP and be fully online when coverage allows. I’ll be updating my Twitter with live photos and updates and if anything needs anything, just hit me up there and I’ll keep an eye out.

As with the past few years, I’m hunting for a cheap tablet computer. Perhaps a Fujitsu Stylistic or something similar to have float around the house for quick weather checks and email. I’d also love to tie in some home automation and remote control for the random electronics. As I previously mentioned, I’ll be looking for a good headset for my HT so I can go hands free while I’m there as well as when I’m storm chasing.

Speaking of storm chasing, it might not hurt to get two webcams for a good price. I’d still love to try out the “3D storm chasing” if it didn’t cost that much. Perhaps a window mount for my Inspeed anemometer too, or just another one all together, we’ll see how the pocket of cash holds out!

Of course, I’ll be sure to save enough to get my years worth of 2600 from the van and a few cups of the wheat beer they serve out of the trailer near the bar at the corner of the arena.

It will be fun to again see people you only see in Dayton, a chance to quick up real quick and ask about any great deals. I’ll no doubt pick up some small pieces of this or that while I’m there, just to haggle, and hey, I’m a General now so I’ll be looking at a whole new kind of amateur use.

We’ll see you down there!