From ARRL de WD1CKS@VERT/WLARB to QST on Mon May 22 15:13:45 2023
by Mark H. Derks, KC1RVQ, ARRL Acquisitions Editor
Sunday at Dayton Hamvention¨ proved to be a whirlwind affair, even if the crowds had thinned considerably from Friday and Saturday's surge. In the ARRL Expo space, a few more books sold out, along with some of the popular sizes for 2023 ARRL Field Day t-shirts. Among the staff and volunteers present, there was a sense that the event had proved a success even as it was winding down.
Of interest in the 9:15 AM forum slot was the introduction of FreeDV. While FreeDV has been around since 2021, it has been growing in popularity with digital amateur radio enthusiasts as a digital mode that allows for voice contacts and more extended conversations. The session provided an opportunity to spread the word about this emerging digital voice mode. Mooner Salem, K6AQ, described the variety of modes available within the software, each suited to different band conditions. When there is good propagation, the 2020 mode provides improved digital voice, but as conditions degrade, it may be necessary to shift to one of the lower quality options. He also promoted the FreeDV Activity Day, which occurs during the third weekend of each month and has expanded from a single day to a weekend-long activity. He was quick to point out it's not a contest, just a get together -- a way to motivate regular FreeDV use.
Volunteers Heed the Call
Any report on Hamvention would be remiss if it didn't take a moment to acknowledge the scale of the help and the depth of the commitment that the many, many ARRL member-volunteers demonstrated. Recall that photograph of the big ARRL Expo team? Of those, just twenty were ARRL employees. The remaining sixty-five or so -- from Division Directors and Section Managers, to everyday members -- demonstrated their profound commitment to bettering ham radio and ARRL. Volunteers checked thousands of QSL cards and fielded numerous questions about Logbook of The World. They labored long hours at the checkout table, entering items and cashiering. They helped fellow hams solve problems with software compatibility, projects, and antenna advice. They helped test radios for spurious emissions. They engaged young hams and young prospective hams. They shared paths for getting involved in the Field Organization, how to create more vibrant radio clubs, how to renew your license, and what must have felt like a million different things. And if they couldn't solve the problem themselves, they pulled that old ham trick of talking to other hams to chase down an answer. They followed the advice of CEO David Minster, NA2AA, who regularly charges each of us to "be the connector" that grows amateur radio and ARRL. It cannot go without saying that the ARRL Expo and each of ARRL's numerous presentations would not have succeeded without their dedication, knowledge, and effort.
Despite some heat, aching feet, hotel beds, cheap coffee, and changeable weather, ARRL volunteers at Hamvention came together to demonstrate what it means to "climb one rung higher." We thank and salute each of them!