The Dayton Hamvention® has been a yearly event since 1952. I am looking for Dayton Hamvention® attendance information for each of the missing years. I am also looking for additional or a more accurate account of the Hamvention history. Please contact K8CX with this information.

| Hamvention History | Past chairmen | Evening Hospitality suites | Photo Galleries |

 

1952: 600
1980:
1981:
1982:
1983:
1984:
1985:
1986:
1987:
1988:
1989:
1990:
1991: 33,500 (K4KL, Ross Brown)
1992: 33,000
(K4KL, Ross Brown)
1993: 33,669 (record, ARRL Newsletter, peak before the change from April to May)
1994: 35,000 (Started in May, over estimated, Dayton Daily News statement)
1995: 33,000 (estimated, Dayton Daily News statement, drizzle & mid 40's)
1996:
1997: 28,000 (ARRL Newsletter)
1998: 28,120
(ARRL Newsletter)
1999: 28,176
(ARRL Newsletter)
2000: 28,804
(ARRL Newsletter)
2001: 26,151 (ARRL Newsletter, hard rain)
2002: 24,832
(ARRL Newsletter)
2003: 22,168
(ARRL Newsletter, nearly constant rain on Saturday)
2004: 19,869
(ARRL Newsletter, rain)
2005: 20,411
(ARRL Newsletter)
2006: 20,324 (ARRL Newsletter)
2007: 19,318
(K4KL, ARRL Newsletter)
2008: 17,250 (ARRL Newsletter, Friday rain but sunny overall) (Hamvention Reflector Stats 6-29-08)
2009: 18,877
(K4KL, ARRL Newsletter, rain late Saturday afternoon for short while)
2010: 19,750. (ARRL Newsletter, mostly sunny, pleasant weekend)
2011: 22,312 (Dayton Hamvention direct query - WA8APB) Sunny and warm all 3 days, upper 70's to lower 80's.
Read the 2011 recap.
2012: 24,483 (DARA Meeting) The weather for this year was very pleasant with temperatures in the 80's and sunny all 3 days.
Read the 2012 recap.
2013: 24,542 announced by DARA 6-06-13. The weather on May 17, 18, 19, 2013 was sunny and humid in the low 80's on friday. Saturday was rain and overcast in the morning. It cleared up around 11:00 AM and had sunny skys with highs in the 70's. Sunday also had highs in the 70's.
Read the 2013 recap.
2014: 24,873 attendence from their website. Friday was overcast with a high of 54F. Saturday got up to 58 degrees with rain, sleet, and hail. Sunday was clear at 66.
Read the 2014 recap.


Where it all started...

About 1950, John Willig, W8ACE, had asked the Dayton Amateur Radio Association to sponsor a HAM Convention but was turned down. John wanted to have a quality affair. Speakers and prizes would be a drawing point. John finally found a champion in Frank Schwab, W8YCP (W8OK), the newly elected president of the club. A meeting was held and the DARA Board allocated $100 to get started. The first organizational meeting was held in January 1952.

The Southwestern Ohio Ham-vention was born. The first committee consisted of: John Willig, W8ACE, General Chairman Al Dinsmore, W8AUN, Arrangements Bob Siff, W8QDI (K4AMG), Prizes and Exhibits Frank Schwab, W8YCP (W8OK), Publicity Bob Montgomery, W8CUJ, Finance Clem Wolford, W8ENH, Program Ellie Haburton, W8GJP (W4ZVW), Women’s Committee. The next year the name became "Dayton Hamvention®" and was registered as a trademark.

April was determined to be the best time but the Biltmore Hotel, in downtown Dayton was booked. March 22 was the chosen date, causing a short lead time. How far did $100 go? Not far! A 12" TV was raffled off to help raise funds.

The FCC agreed to give license exams and Phil Rand, W1BDM, a pioneer in TVI elimination was on the program. First prize, a Collins 75A2, was purchased locally.

Hoping for 300 visitors, the committee was amazed that over 600 showed up! There were 7 exhibitors and 6 forums. The ladies program was successful with a luncheon at the Biltmore and a trip to a local TV station.

In 1955 the Awards Program began with the "Amateur of the Year." The Flea Market has grown from 200 to 2700 spaces.

In 1964 the Hamvention® moved to Hara Arena, its current location. Free buses and handicapped parking were added in 1969. In 1973 it became a 2 day event. Sunday was added in 1974 to become a 3 day event, its current length. The program has grown to a "Souvenir Program" and in 1976 the dimensions changed from 6"x 9" to the current 8-1/2"x11".

Hamvention officials agree that 30,000 visitors is critical mass given the current facilities at Hara. Anything over 28,000 pushes it at Hara says Matthews. “It pushes our restroom facilities, it pushes our food concessions, it pushes our transportation, and it pushes our human comfort factor, which is important.” **** Putting on Hamvention costs in excess of $700,000 each year.

The growth of the Dayton Hamvention® can be attributed to caring, energetic people who enjoy being on a winning team.

by Frank Schwab, W8OK and Beverly Priest, N8VZV

After several devastating tornadoes hit the Dayton area in the early 1970’s, the Dayton Amateur Radio Association saw the need for a vehicle which could be used as an emergency communications command post should the need arise again. In 1978 DARA purchased a motor home and began converting it to house all types of radio gear. Police and fire, Red Cross, Emergency Management Authority and Amateur HF, VHF/UHF radios were installed.

Many times during emergencies and disasters the normal means of communications are disrupted. DARA’s goal was to create a system that amateurs could use to solve the problems. This has been done and used several times over the last few years. The Federal government has even used the Van as a communications command post during Presidential visits to the area. The Miamisburg railroad chemical spill is a prime example of how the amateur TV system could be set up and authorities could view the spill from a safe distance. The Van was also called up for the Arcanum tornado because all police and fire communications were down. The Red Cross used Van crew members for damage assessment. The Van is available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

There are one hundred members of DARA on six crews that are on two week duty schedules. They are not obligated to attend functions but the vast majority take their interest seriously and participate regularly in Van activities. To keep in practice on radio etiquette and net control operations, the members participate regularly in public service activities such as bike-a-thons, charity walks and runs, and soccer tournaments. Safety is the main concern on all these events so reporting injuries and disabled cyclists back to base operations for emergency equipment is essential.

This is a valued service to the community and many letters and plaques recognizing the members for their tireless service have been received commending their efforts.

STATISTICS:
28 ft. 1978 Argosy Motorhome
10 KW generator for emergency power
Members 100 Crews 6/ 2wk alternating duty
1995 over 2000 volunteer hours
Van Net Sundays @ 2100 hrs. 146.94-

Past Hamvention® General Chairman:
1952-1955 John Willig, W8ACE
1956-1957 Rudy Plak, W8ZOF (W6TIK)
1958 Frank Schwab, W8YCO (W8OK)
1959-1960 Ed F. Bonnet, W8OVG
1961-1962 Joseph McNutt, W8GFN
1963-1964 Sheemon Wolfe, W8WJL
1965-1966 Edgar Smith, W8RKL
1967 Robert Wilcox, K8EJ
1968-1969 Jack Ohmart, K8CUA
1970-1971 Kenneth Mills, W8RLY
1972 George Shearer, WA8IHC (KE8WJ)
1973-1976 Ted Suarez, K8BSC
1977 Wallace Wright, WA8ZCA (AD8N)
1978 John Basilotto, WA8ZAN (KC2EH)
1979 Sandford Cohen, W8JEZ (N8HWQ)
1980-1981 Noel McKeown, WB8QQC
1982-1983 Harold Judd, WA8KNM
1984-1985 Jack Mitchell, AA8Q
1986-1987 Jim Simpson, WB8QZZ
1988-1989 Bill McNabb, WD8SAY
1990 Ed Hillman, N8ALN
1991-1992 Ross Brown, WA8DQH
1993-1994 Dave Grubb, KC8CF
1995-1996 Ken Allen, KB8KE
1997-1999 Dick Miller, N8CBU
2000-2002 Jim Graver, KB8PSO
2003 Pat Neff, N8IGS
2004-2005 Gary DesCombs, N8EMO
2006-2007 Jim Nies WX8F
2008-2009 Carl Rose K8CPR
2010 Lee Boeckerman, W8LFB
2011-2012 Michael Kalter, W8CI
2013 Charles Kaiser, KD8JZR
2014 Charles Kaiser, KD8JZR


Hospitality suites are the evening place to go in downtown Dayton. This is where all the clubs have rooms set up to visit and enjoy cold 807's (beer) and mixed drinks. Contesters, DXers, and hams from everywhere frequent these suites. Many enjoyable eyeball QSO's and stories are exchanged there. The current place to go is Crowne Plaza Hotel from Wednesday through Saturday evening. There is free pizza on all 4 nights, free wings on at least one of these nights. Visit the super suite website for more information! Also see the photos taken in these suites by K8CX and others from 1997 to present.

Contest University (CTU) is conducted on Thursday at Crowne Plaza Hotel by Tim Duffy K3LR and experienced contest instructors.

The Contest Dinner is held on Saturday night at Crowne Plaza. Tim Duffy K3LR started the Contest Dinner in 1992.

There is a DX Dinner and Top Band Dinner on Friday evening.

Submitted history on the Hospitality suites:

I first went to the Biltmore Hotel suites in 1974. I am sure they were there before that. We went from the Biltmore to the Admiral Benbow in the late 70's. Then we went to the Crowne Plaza in the mid 80's. K3LR
Does anyone have more info on this?

The Crowne Plaza was previously "Stouffers". I think K3LR's time line is about right -- it was the mid 80's when The Crowne Plaza became the "place to go". Before that our group stayed a couple of blocks away at the Hilton, which has undergone many name changes through the years -- in fact I don't even know what it's called today! The NODXA (Northern Ohio DX Assn.) hospitality suite was certainly in that hotel, and there may have been one or two others. Likewise, The Admiral Benbow hosted a suite or two. My first Dayton was 1964 -- it was exciting to meet W4QM there, as well as Don Miller. There was a QUIZ given in the DX FORUM, and I won it. Top Band legend W8GDQ checked my answer sheet. Sadly I'm still waiting for the Hamvention folks to send me my Jennings vacuum variable prize! K8MFO


Dayton Photo Gallery

| 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 | 2014 |


Info from ARRL Newsletters (as noted), Dayton Daily News (as noted)
Dayton Historical comments courtesy of K4KL
help with dates and weather info courtesy of K4KL
"How it Started" courtesy of W8OK, N8VZV
Additional infomation supplied by K3LR, K8MFO, WA8APB, K9RA


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