SKCC 5123T----- FISTS 14979----- Flying Pigs 2331----- NAQCC 3610-----QRP ARCI 14176-----Polar Bear 257

Monday, February 10, 2014

Hamcation 2014

This was the third Orlando Hamcation road trip for Marv KK4DKT and me. This year, I was DSTAR capable in the truck with an Icom 880H. We had DSTAR QSOs passing through Tallahassee and Ocala Florida. The QSO via the Ocala repeater was to a ham travelling in Louisiana. He works on a 300 foot barge three weeks at a time and carries his ham gear. We also checked out the DSTAR reflectors from the hotel room using the DSTAR dongle. I setup the KX3 and the Alexloop in the room the first night. I did not snag any contacts. I did have several from the same hotel last year.

Hotel Portable
The weather was wet Friday and Saturday. This was tough on the outdoor vendors. It was clearing up on Sunday as we left. This year two vendors I patronize came for the first time. The first was QRPWorks who makes the Ham Central Terminal (HCT). Shel KF0UR does the firmware for the HCT. He explained some features of the upgraded firmware. The second vendor was Byonics who sells many products for APRS tracking and Fox hunting. I bought the Bluetooth interface for the Tiny Tracker 4 there. It will let me use the TT4 with APRSDroid on my Android Phone. It is fun to meet the vendors in person. They both give great customer support.

QRPWorks Booth

QRPWorks staff and Eric from Elecraft

Byonics Booth
The Elecraft booth had the new 100 watt amp for the KX3. One KX3 had the 2 meter module installed and working. The KX3 two meter module will be the next release when it is ready you know.

Elecraft gear
There is not much used gear I am interested in. However, I have a weak spot for interesting keys. I bought a leg key. Everyone needs one right. The vendor also sold me a Speed-X key, my favorite kind of hand key. This Speed-X is gold plated and very clean. My last purchase was a new LCR meter. That cleaned out my wallet and the change in my pocket. 

Leg Key

Gold plated Speed-X Key

LCR Meter

Unfortunately, I did not make as much contact with QRPers as last year. Kelly K4UPG did make it briefly but we did not find each other. He had some urgent home plumbing issues this year that demanded his attention. I did see Rex W1REX. He let me hold the original W1FB Tuna Tin. It has magic mojo properties. Rex also had his version of the Rockmite kits.

It was nice to see hams from Panama City there. Jim K4LIX and Susan have a great vendor booth. I chatted with John W8JER and Micky. They introduced me to their friend Richard. I saw Jack N1HQ and Harold KF4YDO. I was was able to help Harold remove his Tar Heel to be reworked.

John W8JER, Micky and Richard
Harold KF4YDO on left
Marv and I ate exclusively at Denny's how about that. We had lots conversation. Marv did the driving so I got a chance to read the Antenna Topics book I also bought. Now we can look forward to Huntsville Hamfest in August. I hope we get to go.