XENIA — Ham radio enthusiast Wendy Peitzer is no stranger to Dayton Hamvention, having attended amateur radio’s biggest event many times at the Hara complex in Dayton.
Not knowing what to expect, she and her contingent arrived at the Greene County Fairgrounds — Hamvention’s new home after being at Hara for 52 years — early May 19 to beat the opening-day crowd and check out the new digs. She wasn’t disappointed.
“(It’s) much better,” she said. “I think the facilities here are nicer. I think it’s better organized. I like the perks. They bring you up (from the parking lot) on a tractor pull.”
Peitzer, from Randolph, N.J., added that she didn’t mind the extra walking due to the expansive nature of the fairgrounds, compared to the more compact Hara complex.
“The other one, the parking lot with the flea market … it was massive,” she said.
Vendors also approve of Hamvention’s new digs.
“Besides the barns, I like it better,” said Danielle Young from Quicksilver Radio. “I just think it’s cleaner. I like the way it’s set up. You can go out to the open air. I like the parking better. The food looks nice.”
She added that tongue-in-cheek that it was nice not having ceiling tiles falling. Hara’s main arena, which was the location of many vendor stations, was infamous for having openings in the ceiling due to old tiles that would randomly fall.
If there was a downside to the new location, Detroit resident Doug Chauvin said it would be lack of familiarity with the fairgrounds.
“It’s confusing,” he said. “Because this is just the first time here, everything’s not where it was (at Hara),” he said. Otherwise, Chauvin said his experience was pretty much the same.
— During official opening ceremonies, General Chairman Ron Cramer thanked the county, City of Xenia and Xenia Township for its hospitality. He also presented plaques to the various entities commemorating the first Hamvention in the county.
— Saturday activities include the 30th Hamvention Youth Forum 9:15 a.m. to 12 p.m.; amateur radio license exams 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; the ARRL Collegiate Amateur Radio Initiative 12:30-1:30 p.m.; and Kids Training for Ham Radio 2:45-3:15 p.m.
— Sunday features include Learning Discovery and Fun 9:15-10:15 a.m.; Robotics in the Classroom 10:30-11:30 a.m.; Tower safety 10:30-11:30 a.m.; and award winners presentation 1 p.m.
Hamvention continues through Sunday, May 21.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.