Tag Archives: Hamvention

Other Views of the World’s Largest Ham Radio Convention

We left NC to attend the world’s largest ham radio convention, Hamvention, in Dayton OH. Weather was very very mixed — rain, cold, frozen rain, rain, sunny. Our wardrobes were well tested in the few days of this big show. This is our third year as volunteer shuttle drivers.

driving a shuttle cart at Hamvention 2014

Many hams have big and bigger antennas, and some organizations can afford even larger ones. This one is top of the line, shown here by the well-heeled local amateur radio society. I think this big antenna tower is attached to the top of the white van.

A typical sight at Hamvention -- BIG BEAM

Not everything in Dayton was about amateur radio, though. Our friends invited us to dinner at The Engineer’s Club, a 100 year old Dayton establishment. The tech men and women of Dayton were (and are) just incredibly talented and imaginative. What a great bunch of brains! Those engineering folks did a great job accommodating fine dining and friendships too.


Full-timers can’t pack just anything in their portable home. We shed a lot of furniture and possessions when we sold our house and moved into this 188 sf home. You have priorities, you know what is worth carrying, and when to bring it out. How big is the cellar in that rig?

Party? What party?

Work awhile, play awhile, it’s even better with friends. This fun group of friends gathered in John Bryan State Park a little NE of Dayton, for an early Memorial Day picnic. We enjoyed fantastic weather for several days in this gorgeous state park. Celebrating with our friends is best!

Memorial Day Picnic, a week early

After the partying, we seriously needed exercise. John Bryan State Park is cleverly situated adjacent to Clifton Gorge, a very nifty and sometimes stunning walk in the woods. We donned our backpacks, stuffed full of junk to create training weight for our August backpacking trip, and walked the length of the trail along Clifton Gorge and back. No pictures of how we look afterward!

Narrows at the Clifton Gorge

Next up? Let’s go to greater Indianapolis IN the same weekend another 1/2 million people do, and see how we can stay out of their way.

See you there!

Jim and Debbie
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©2007-2014 Dreamstreamr


Travels without a trailer

Our eight readers know well we’ve been off the air awhile (thanks for telling us :~) So long we’ve been absent our custom font seems to have lapsed (can you tell the difference?) and our browser required updating.  We’ve continued to read and live, and travel, just stopped writing awhile.

We’re in new territory, so to speak.  Haven’t traveled in the trailer since April 11, yet visited a week each in Dayton OH, Chattanooga TN and Myrtle Beach SC and are heading to the Bahamas in a week.  Our next towing trip is not until end of June when we head to Du Quoin IL.  This time last year we had cruised by NC for a nice week-long visit with family then immediately headed to Carlsbad NM to join up with a WBCCI caravan. What a difference a year makes, eh?

This year our plan is 180 degrees apart from previous three years. We are visiting with family and friends (sleeping around, as it were) and not focused solely on traveling with our trailer. The days between the trips we’ve spent playing tennis, performing maintenance on the trailer and truck, and messing with amateur radio.  How could anyone have time left after all these?  Okay, we’re also catching up on our sleep, enjoying hanging out with family, and helping a little around the house.

I’m watching French Open semi-finals live as I write this from a Myrtle Beach fourth floor condo, watching Djokovic and Federer break each other’s service games.  Deb and her parents are hanging out on the beach a couple of hours, so I can concentrate almost fifty percent on writing.

The weather here is already hot and summer isn’t here.  We thought we’d find relief from the mid to high ninety degrees days we were enjoying in Kannapolis.  Weather forecasts called for mid 80s at the beach.  The light breezes are helpful but it is still hot here.  I’ll catch some sun right after the Djokovic vs Federer match, the sun won’t be quite as high then.

Myrtle Beach has been great, eating a great seafood dinner at Sea Captain’s House, playing mini golf, and relaxing a lot.  The Palmetto Shores condo building, has numerous indoor and outdoor swimming pools, hot tubs,  shuffle board.  What else do we need?  Oh yeah, cable television for French Open tennis viewing.  The guys are back on serve again in first set.

Cloudland Canyon SP

Last week we stayed with my sister and brother-in-law on Lookout Mountain TN. They showed us Cloudland Canyon SP and Lookout Mountain Flight Park. The latter is America’s #1 hang gliding center and is really interesting. 

lined up at the Flight Park

We went to Chattanooga to attend the memorial service of a friend, Nancy Williams NR4RR (SK).  The service was sweet and warm and uplifting, a nice celebration of Nancy’s life and works. We really liked the witnessing by her two sons, sharing so much of her character and how she showed her love for them and her husband of almost fifty years.

Ham-a-wagon at Hamvention

The week before we spent in Dayton OH staying with friends Charlie and Janet, along with Herb and Lois, all amateur radio friends we’ve met through our club, WBCCI Amateur Radio Club/RV Service Nets.  We all volunteered at amateur radio’s biggest event of the year, Hamvention.

Hamvention, organized each year for over fifty years by Dayton Amateur Radio Association, is the largest amateur radio convention and hamfest in the world.  Hundreds of vendors rent display and sales booths indoors and flea market sellers occupy over 2,000 spaces in the paved areas surrounding Hara Arena.

We served as shuttle cart drivers pulling two to four hour shifts each of three days.  Some folks need help getting heavy purchases to their cars.  Others might have physical challenges and require a shuttle ride from and to their parking area.  We enjoyed meeting people from all over the world, learning about their shopping list or how they will use their purchases.

Carillon Park

Charlie and Janet did a great job showing us around Dayton.  We’d been there before but lacked the insider’s knowledge and viewpoint.  They showed us around Carillon Park and The Packard Museum, shared their favorite pizza stop with us, and let us read their WSJ every morning.  Great hosts, eh?

Friends gather at El Meson restaurant Dayton OH

A real high point was our small reunion of friends at El Meson. Ham radio friends Herman and Gloria own and operate it. They are great cooks, hosts, and managers and the food and drink at El Meson are out of this world. Debbie and I shared a paella and a few margaritas after appetizers of empanadas and coconut shrimp. Check out their menu or, even better, their restaurant. WOW!

We just need to give it a tug there

One afternoon we rearranged an end of Charlie’s fine working hf Mystery antenna. We used all the requisite tools: a bow and arrow, fishing line, rope, halyard pulley, bricks for ballast, and Boy Scout knots.  Our play paid off, the antenna looked more level and worked just fine.  We had a lot of fun staying in a houseful of hams, working from Charlie’s great radio station.

Travels without our trailer have been busy, full, fun, and a little confusing. Several times we’ve thought, or said, “we have it with us, we’ll go get it.” Then we realize and laugh. All our stuff is in our house. We don’t have much with us when we don’t take the trailer on travels.

Jim and Debbie

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©2007-2011 Dreamstreamr

Dreamstreamers drop anchor

Hi there!  We’re in Kannapolis NC parked in Debbie’s parents’ yard.  Trailer is parked behind and a little below the house. This location is out of their way and a little out of sight, a good thing for our extended stay. Extended stay? The Dreamstreamers? Yep, we’re anchoring down for the spring and summer.

Our storage parking at the in-laws

Spring in NC is fantastic once you rinse the pollen from your eyelids and get over hay fever. Oh, and shovel the pollen off the truck EVERY day. Otherwise, there isn’t any prettier place as you can see from these pictures we took yesterday at my mom’s and at Debbie’s parent’s. Anything not blooming is getting ready to — the trees are gorgeous and the bushes and flowers are too.

flowers at Jim's mom's house

Beautiful flowers at Jim's mom's

We arrived in NC last week and had a wonderful homecoming. Our Chapel Hill airstream friends, Bea and Dave hosted us in their driveway a few days for frisbee, tennis, walking through the campus of our alma mater, fun dining, movies and NCAA basketball finals. then we moved a little south to Jordan Lake State Park for a well-attended airstream rally with our home unit, Carolinas Unit of NC.

Vista Point campground at Jordan Lake SP

Why are we settling down for the summer and not traveling? We had a guaranteed spot in a mid-summer caravan to Canada’s Maritime Provinces with our Airstream club. And we might well have bopped around New England afterward, following fall season changes down the continent back to NC. Sounds great, what’s wrong with all that?

We just couldn’t stand to miss all these great family events. Jim’s mom’s birthday, Deb’s niece’s wedding, Deb’s parents’ 60th wedding anniversary, our 10th wedding anniversary, and Jim’s 40th high school reunion all occur between May 14 and August 14. We canceled our caravan and travel plans and are looking forward to everything except summer weather in NC.

Summer is much more than 75 degrees many days in the greater Charlotte area. We’re not chasing 75 degrees for much of the next five months. It just makes sense to hang up the saddle and spurs and stay awhile, no matter what the weather. We like to think we’re fortunate, not stupid. We had the opportunity to make an important choice for family and will have to make the best of the weather.

What will the inveterate nomads do for five months? Other than Jim’s big maintenance plans (check out Thursday’s blog) for truck and trailer we have plenty to do. Not that we’re ever bored anyhow. Our biggest challenge persistently is how do we get to all the things we could do? Cool thing is, we have five months to fill and we’re looking forward to it.

We’ll visit with family and friends, attend a few local unit rallies, take a trip to see friends in Dayton OH (and attend Hamvention), attend WBCCI’s International Rally in DuQuoin, try to go to Helen GA in Georgia’s mountains for a few days, do a little sightseeing in mid-NC, work on our tennis game, and before we know it it’ll be time to hitch up and hit the road again.

Jim and Debbie

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©2007-2011 Dreamstreamr

Hanging out in North Carolina Piedmont

Kannapolis, named by its founders, The Cannon family, is in a great portion of North Carolina, the Piedmont or foothills. We have been visiting Debbie’s parents and enjoying wonderful spring weather while we reload for our next cross-country travels. We have shopped a little, bought new trailer tires, gotten our hair done, met with our financial advisor and attorney, and visited with family. And no, our FA had no good news for us.

Debbie and I accomplished a lot of errands and I spent a week consulting for our former employer. Saved some money for the hamfest later this week and maybe some money for golf. Times are tough. Golf is so expensive, and tennis is pretty darned cheap. I may not spend much at the hamfest and plan for more tennis than golf. I enjoy both but think tennis is better for me. You can always find a golf game. It can be so tough finding tennis partners on the road. I’ll try anyway.

Today we dropped by Lexington, NC for their famous barbecue. For those who don’t know, around here barbecue doesn’t mean chicken with some sauce on it. We’re talking about hickory-smoked chopped or slice pork. Today’s restaurant was Lexington Barbecue #1 on US29/70.

We ate here last year and since we were nearby we just had to stop again. We ordered sweet tea and a tray and a plate, and it was as good as any we’ve ever had anywhere. There are so many great barbecue joints in NC, and this one is definitely deserving of inclusion in Stern’s Road Food.

We love locating local sights and eats as we travel the continent. How do you find these local places on your own? Great eateries are in many communities and visitors might not dig these out. Road Food, the book, helps and there may also be other similar sorts of guides. One answer is to ask the locals. Judging from the looks of the place tonight, we could also ask the state troopers or sheriff’s deputies, and there are probably many similar sorts of reliable sources for best eateries.

Tomorrow morning we head for Madison, Wisconsin for the WBCCI International Rally. Our arrival date is June 19, so we only need to average approximately 50 miles per day. We won’t really drive only 50 miles per day. Tomorrow we drive 140 miles to Asheville and visit with Jim’s son, Charles. Wednesday morning we head toward Ohio where we’ll attend Hamvention, one of the largest ham radio conventions in the world.

Our stay in Kannapolis, NC has been wonderful. We visited with most of our family, accomplished a lot, and enjoyed the beautiful spring weather. It’s time to head north and find more North America again. See you down the road!