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W4AN Dayton 2000 Diary

Bill Fisher (W4AN) on May 21, 2000
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I just got back from my first trip to Dayton since 1991 or 1992. I was giving a presentation with John Dorr, K1AR, about the 1999 CQWW CW contest. Lucky for me John is the next best thing since Billy Crystal in front of a group of people. He wrote the Power Point presentation Tuesday night, forwarded me a copy for my input, and he had it back and QRV on Wednesday before the ham fest. I guess the presentation went OK... It's not like anyone is going to come up to you after and say, "Gee, Bill that presentation really sucked. I guess running a pile doesn't help with your presentation skills ehh?"

I got to Dayton on Saturday morning a few hours before the contest forum. Managed to get some reading in on the plane, which is a rare occurrence for me these days. After the contest forum, I left with pal - Bob, N5NJ to attend what was supposed to be an pow-wow. Ended up seeing only Mike W4MS now W7OT and his XYL Lisa KA9UQT, now K7UQT. Lisa has been a huge help with the links on and by the way. While we were waiting we had several encounters with hams doing the Dayton thing. I stopped a group of JA hams and asked if I could take their picture for our web site. They seemed overjoyed to have someone show interest in their attending the ham fest. I personally find Japanese people to be some of the most gracious and kind people on the planet. Although I have not been to Japan, Trey Garlough N5KO tells me that he was treated as a king during his recent visit.

Next stop was the contest dinner organized by friend Tim Duffy, K3LR. John "Billy Crystal" Dorr was the speaker and did a fabulous job keeping everyone awake. During his introduction of Scott Redd, K0DQ, he referred to naval vessels as "boats" (accent on boats). A few in the crowd quickly responded "ships", and John was quick to point out that he had made the mistake on purpose and that the crowd might be a little slow witted. It was a classic moment.

K0DQ gave what had to be the most interesting ham presentation I have ever attended. Scott has enough experience with his naval career for 3 lifetimes, and hearing some of what he had done while in the navy was worth the plane ticket and price of admission to the contest dinner. After the dinner John pointed out that I had indeed picked the right year to come to Dayton, referring to the excellent presentation.

Next came the usual scene in the hospitality suites and hallways. I'm very comfortable scaling a 150' tower even in good winds, but get me in a confined space with cigarette smoke and too many people, and you lose me fast. In spite of my aversion for crowds, I followed K1AR, K1DG, and N2NC up to the KCDX suite to take the pile-up contest. This is an interesting competition that thankfully has no apparent bearing on the ability to score highly in a DX contest from the US. If it did, I would sadly finish about as well as I did in the KCDX competition. I copied 42 calls. John copied 57. K3ZO copied 70. Wow!!! 70 calls. This guy is a mutant! Congratulations, Fred. Good thing for us young guys you don't want to do the two-radio thing. If you did, I suspect you would discover you have a natural talent for it and leave us all in the dust.

I made the schwing up to the KA9FOX bash. I think Scott and Mike's affair might be the most popular going based on the lack of elbowroom. Scott, sorry I didn't stick around, but the band was too crowded.

Since I didn't have a room, I had planned all along to stay up late chatting with the boys or just heading to the airport and crashing until the morning. What turned out to the high point of the entire weekend for me was a chance encounter with a group of the all night types in the lobby of the hotel. Combined with the earlier laughter filled encounter with N4RJ and N4NX, by morning my stomach felt like I had done an hour of sit-ups.

In attendance were N5KO, K1TO, WC4E, K4OJ, KA9FOX, N2AA, W0UA, K6NA, N5TR, N0BSH (what's Mike's new callsign?), and a few others I'm forgetting. It was most interesting as we discussed the merits of the FT1000MP and if there was a better choice for someone buying a contest radio. Trey suggested an Electcraft K2 might be the radio of choice for the serious shoveller. Personally, I've never experienced the problem that NT1N, AG9A, and others have found with the MP, but I may just be an ignorant slob that doesn't know any better.

The highlight of the evening was when Gene, N2AA, strolled by and WC4E began barking like a dog at him from above. I thought I was going to lose it and was thankful I didn't just take a drink. W0UA did a perfect impression of several contesters that also had the crowd in stitches. George just kept em coming ensuring that nobody (even K1TO) fell asleep.

Around 5:00am Dan offered to take me to the airport. I ended up flying stand-by on the 6:00am flight back to Atlanta. It was fantastic trip that I thoroughly enjoyed thanks to the greatest group of guys on the planet... CONTESTERS. Thanks to everyone who put up with my picture taking and who took the time to talk to me or come by to say hello. There were SO many people I spotted that I wanted to talk with but just didn't get the chance, hopefully another Dayton some time in the future.


Bill Fisher, W4AN

Member Comments: Add A Comment
W4AN's Dayton trip Reply
by k4za on May 24, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
Is it my imagination, or has Bill Fisher "bulked up" a bit? The pressure on the paddle ain't that heavy, is it?
I'd swear he's been working out....

Where ARE all those digital pictures, anyhow?

I'm amazed you flew up without a room (no wonder you were dozing in the lobby, book face down in your lap)
when I walked by) & went home the next day! Us older folk, alas, have to get more rest.

Enjoyed our chat! Enjoyed the Contest Forum talk even more. And I agree--Scott's after-dinner presentation was witty & well thought out, & worth the price of the dinner (which, as usual, wasn't that good).

Dayton remains the one place to have such concentrated & critical encounters with our peers.

The "new" Contesting OnLine is, indeed, super!
vy 73 de Don K4ZA

W4AN's Dayton Diary Reply
by N4ZR on May 25, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
I second the motion ... want to see some more of those digital shots -- I think you caught one of K3ZO and W3ZZ right across my bow during the forum. Enjoyed the North/South discussion a lot, and hope your new venture won't shut down the W4AN superstation!
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