Here's where things got exciting....and a little wierd.
The photos don't really do justice to how large the crowds were. Remember that there were hundreds of booths, and probably 500 to 1000 flea market slots outside. So even if the crowd shots look light, you have to remember how much acreage that hamvention occupies.
The venue is called the Hara Arena. The arena expanded to include about 4 or 5 different conference areas. To put it in to perspective, the entire hamvention floor could fit in to about half of the Portland Oregon convention center. "Hara Arena" is actually a hockey rink. (We NorthWesterners have a hard time understanding why anyone would build such a building).
(Left) The formal unveiling of the Elecraft K3. This rig should be a gem. (Right) Wayne N6KR catches a quick nap between questions at the Elecraft booth.
(Left) Bob Heil, taking a breather between customers. (Right) Wes W7ZOI and Joel N1BKE at the ARRL booth.
"Oh Radioman?" This isn't as silly as was once thought. This would allow you to operate VHF and direct traffic at the same time.
(Left) Steve WB8IMY gives a presentation on the ARRL stage. This was actually pretty neat: Most of the people from the league gave 30 minute presentations throughout the day at their own booth, inviting a smaller crowd for discussion, etc. The ARRL had an entire corner of one of the wings at hamvention. This allowed them to spread out, such that all of the sub-groups of ham radio could be represented adequately.
Power dividers from Janel Labs.
There were a few (not many, but more than a few) places that had some really nice gear available. I purchased a 75W 4 GHz dummy load for $10. An initial sweep of S11 at work revealed some confusion (more tests to follow). Some of the really good gear was for sale for pennies on the dollar (but you had to know what you were looking for, and what was a fair price). It was very helpful that the flea market vendors were on a cash-only basis with their sales. This puts a cap on your ability to spend at a place like this.
Need a mil-spec camper for the back of your truck?
This is a better idea than it looks. These little boards are marketed elsewhere as "surfboards." An SMT component's leads are fanned out to larger landings, so you can get to them in an experimental / breadboard situation.
(Left) In a large crowd, sometimes you need something to stand out...to help your friends see you. What's better than a Jack-in-the-box ball? How about one with an antenna sticking out of it! (Right). Need to get your signal out, but are to embarrassed to just hold your HT up to your mouth while transmitting? Buy an antenna-extender! Just clip the antenna on to the side of your hat. You'll be 20 over S9 and you'll save yourself all of the embarrassment of talking directly in to your HT.
(Left): Can't afford one of those fancy clip-on antennas? (Right): Need more gain than a rubber duck can muster? Sam N8VES has the right idea. Just go with 3 elements and point the antenna in the direction you need to transmit! (Yes, that is a tower mounted on his hat). Thanks to Sam for the great photo.
(Left): Sturdy, rugged, reliable. NLA mounts are small & compact. (Where's the feedline? What? Is this just for show?) (Right): There were plenty of "HF Pack" guys in the crowd. The HF pack concept is to be 100% backpack portable. Quite literally, you can operate HF portable while backpacking, not just when you are done backpacking for the day. It is an interesting concept.
(Left): Another shot of the typical HF pack setup. (Right): Ken WB6MLC is a dentist from Silicon Valley. He's an avid HF QRP operator. Here, Ken is showing off his HF pack setup, including an FT-857 mounted on his chest. I've known Ken for 20 years, so it was really great to bump in to him again.
(Left): Oh wait, that woodland creature isn't what you think it is. The character is a symbol from the area, perhaps a chamber of commerce mascot. (Right): The only downside to bringing your segway is that the crowd moved so slowly that you would never get past anyone.
The Icom girls escort out the Icom droids for a little show right on the convention floor. The Icom girls were in-fact HIRED girls from a local high school. (They were extremely nice, and quite happy to put up with the madness for the weekend). (The Icom droids were hired from Las Vegas). What's next? Kanga hiring the Blue Man group in '08 ??
The Icom droids wow the camera, the crowd, and even Craig AA0ZZ. What was it they were selling again? Oh yeah....radios......
(Left) I must be dreaming here. For a minute, I thought that was Chip K7JA, speaking at the Icom booth! (Right) Another indication that we were standing on thin ice.
Time stands still for tronguy. Without him, everybody probably would have forgotten of the epic adventure that he symbolizes on a daily basis.
ka7exm at gmail dot com