Sunday, May 19, 2013

Hamvention 2013

Had some fun at the Hamvention today. Saw a lot of APRS equipment. This was also apparently the year of solar panels.. noticed a fair few of those in the flea market. Got a terrible sunburn on the back of my neck. Also had to cut my visit a little short because of a bad migraine, guess I was overdue for one.

Noteable mentions:

  • Codec2 booth right next to a D-Star booth, nice place! Wish I had asked about the prototype HT of the future but other people were in conversations and I didn't wait around very long.
    • Was talking to someone in the flea market about an Icom 2200H and asking about D-Star (which the radio didn't have that card in it) and had someone stop by to comment on the proprietary nature of D-Star driving the extreme cost. Which I agree with and it's good to see that Codec2 is having a positive impact here by providing a more Ham friendly alternative to the closed, proprietary nature of the AMBE codec that D-Star uses. (And the weird, open/closed protocol too)
  • Yaesu FT-1DR at the Yaesu booth. I see now it has a price on Universal-Radio, $540. It's approved by the FCC with an expected release date of June 15th.
    • GPS is built in.
    • Has a Group Short Message function that I expect should be like cellphone texting
    • Neat sounding Group Monitor function - ARTs on steroids?
  • TinyTrak
  • 2 or 3 portable terminal boxes for backpacking digital modes. Can't remember the names of them now and didn't grab any papers while I was there (sorry!). One could do CW, PSK and RTTY. The ones I saw had the old usual 4 line by 20 character displays
  • Elecraft had some neat things like the K3/0 Mini.. Remote control for a K3 in what looks like the style of a KX3. (So much so that the card next to it said "Yes, this IS the new K3/0 Mini")
  • Neat demonstration at a ATV booth of the differences between analog ATV and Digital ATV (DTV). Output of a DVD player (or Bluray?) run through both types of transmitters at once into a (slightly damaged) Digital TV. Guy giving the demonstration showed both signals with attenuation to show different reception signal strengths. Digital signal stayed perfectly clear down to 80db down, but disappeared at 82 or 83db. Analog was very fuzzy when you could still receive Digital but could be received even when Digital cut out completely. Effective demonstration.
  • Uhm, there was a digital DMR booth somewhere that someone had a digital radio the size and shape of a cellphone, even looked like one a bit. Very cool! Didn't stick around to ask questions because right then there was a group picture. Meant to go back later though.
  • AMSAT and QSO radio show were both showing and talking about nano-satellites. QSO radio show was talking about a dual-band FM cube satellite that had 400mw transmit power which is enough from space, and each side will have a 1w solar panel. It had 10 pcbs stacked on the inside. Kinda neat. AMSAT had one with bits and pieces and one complete (model?). There was a board transmitting a saved voice ID on a timer.
  • Not really related to the show but I want to throw out there: The Internation Space Station recently switched to Linux from Windows.
  • Import Communications had some neat things. Wouxun radios, Baofeng radios (I bought one of those with all the goodies), and the X1M QRP SSB/CW transceiver which I was sorely tempted to buy. (But held off, I have a perfectly fine HF radio.. my problem is I need an antenna for it)
  • SDR goodies here and there.
Didn't really run into anyone I knew. Half the time I was looking at the various wares people were offering (and I'm pretty sure there was some warez too, at least two booths selling DVDs of electronic manuals that had scans of old QST magazines or Elector Electronics magazines that I'm not sure were officially licensed) and half the time I was looking at faces for some that I recognized. Allwell, this year was fun. If I can go next year, things that I want to do different are:
  • Try and get off Friday.. I've never been on a Friday
  • Hope it doesn't rain on the day I go like this year
  • Wear sunscreen, good grief.
  • Go to a forum or two?
Some things that I was looking for but didn't find:
  • Raspberry Pi - Did I miss it?
  • Arduino - should be a slam dunk, I did see someone selling a custom PIC (I think) platform for ham applications and I did see someone selling things that were compatible with the Raspberry Pi or were an Arduino shield.
  • Boatanchors - Just Kidding. It'll probably be Hamvention 2113, most hams on Earth will be using subspace or quantum tunneling or 100 Ghz nanotechnology wifi mesh, and someone will still be selling old Drake and Halicrafters radios.
I could've done without the cloud of poisonous cancer causing chemicals that I got the pleasure of breathing every time I went in or out of a door.

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