Cycling The Globe

A Cycle Touring Expedition Around The World

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Day 1676 – 1683: Dayton Hamvention!

Posted by Thomas Andersen Posted on May - 26 - 2015

At some point a long way down in South America it was my goal to be in Dayton, Ohio for the annual Ham Radio Convention in the middle of May. With all my long breaks in Peru, Colombia, and beyond, it became clear that this was not going to happen… at least not by bike.

If you are into amateur radio you know Paul Gentry K9PG. If not, Paul is the kind of guy who always cranks the car stereo to max volume, wears pink jackets, and parties until the end. He is also the kind of guy who makes things happen. When I told I wouldn’t be able to make it to Dayton that was exactly what he said “Don’t worry, we will make it happen”. A few facebook updates later and I had a flight ticket to Chicago in my inbox. A deep felt thank you to everyone for the support, you know who you are!

And so, one early morning I left Costs Rica and flew to the US. Paul picked me up in the airport and we drove over to Jerry WB9Z’s wonderful place on the country side where a big BBQ party was taking place. Among the guests were a group of Colombians I had met in Cartagena a month ago – the world of radio amateurs is a small one.
Apart from a short three day trip to New York in 2008 I had never been in the States before. I soon learned that everything is big here – including the antennas and the cars.

The next morning we took that Corvette for a little spin. We were driving fast enough if the speedometer had been in km, but they use miles here! It was then time to start our road trip towards Dayton, Ohio. Paul had rented a car that would eventually take us through 11 states on what would be a 2800 mile ride. Indiana was the first state border…

Of course we had to make a stop here as well.

If you think radio amateurs are boring, old people you are probably right for 90% of the cases. Luckily I was spending my time with the last 10%. You can say many things about Paul and his friends, but boring would be the absolutely last word that would come to mind; I was spending my entire time in States with a big smile on my face.

We arrived at Dayton and checked in at the Crowne Plaza – a place slightly more upscale than the the places I usually end up in; which would be in my tent or at the cheapest room I can find. The Crowne Plaza would act as the HQ as most people we knew would be staying there.

Then there was the Hooters Party…

Followed by some more party…

Apart from the parties, what Dayton really is, is a three day long amateur radio convention with some 25.000 visitors. The serious part of the action takes part in the Hara Arena just outside town. There are hundreds of booths with equipment in all forms – a place were it is easy to spend a lot of money. A good thing that I’m on a cycling trip where weight is everything – it surely limits your shopping.

After the serious stuff in the Arena, the parties would continue every night throughout the long weekend. You certainly don’t come to Dayton to sleep. Instead I was meeting friends I had not seen for a long time, and meeting an astonishing number of new people – some of which I might be staying with once I will be cycling through the States later this summer.

On Sunday the Dayton Hamvention was officially over, but my US visit was really just about to start. Next stop would be South Carolina which is an 8 hour car ride from Ohio – unless you know a guy with an airplane who invites you along…

Categories: USA
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8 Responses so far.

  1. Tyler from Chicago says:

    So you made it to Chicago after all! How much time did you get to spend in Illinois?

  2. Randy K5ZD says:

    Fantastic to see you in Dayton. Looks like Paul took great care of you.

    Now, back on the bike! 🙂

  3. What a real blast you had there! A shame that town spelt your name wrong, though! You should write a letter to the local mayor. 🙂

    The amateur radio community sounds like it’s a close-knit one.

  4. Paul K9PG says:

    This was so awesome! We have got to do it again!!! Glad you had fun My Frien….!!

  5. Tim VE6SH says:

    Great to meet you. Glad you had fun!

  6. Hi Tim! Yes, great to meet you, and wow, what a trip to Dayton it was. Amazing experience! Thanks a lot for the support! Thomas

  7. Hi Tyler! Great to get a chance to see Chicago even though I was there for less than a day. Great place. Next time I hope to have more time 🙂

  8. Get ready for Friedrichshafen 2016 my frieeenn!! 🙂