Hamvention® 2018 is May 18-20 at the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center in Xenia, Ohio. The largest annual Amateur Radio gathering in the US, this year’s event has been sanctioned as the 2018 ARRL Great Lakes Division Convention. The theme for this year’s Hamvention is “Amateur Radio…Serving the Community.” ARRL has responded in that spirit, and four ARRL-sponsored forums — to include many guest presenters — will comprise a Public Service Communications track on Friday and Saturday of Hamvention.
- “Getting Started in Public Service Communications,” an introduction to public service communication training and emergency preparedness, will take place on Friday at 9:15 AM, moderated by Ken Bailey, K1FUG, the ARRL Emergency Preparedness Assistant and Continuing Education Program Administrator. He will cover the many ways that radio amateurs serve their communities in good times and in bad.
- “Building Partnerships,” with ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, and FEMA Community Partners Specialist, External Affairs Sarah Byrne as co-presenters, will begin at 11:50 AM on Friday. Acknowledging that collaborative and mutually beneficial partnerships are key to successful disaster and emergency response, this session will explore how Amateur Radio public service groups rely on such partnerships when serving their communities. Corey and Byrne will address how to build and grow partnerships of different levels of complexity across a wide range of interests and organizations — from Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOADs), to other nonprofits and commercial entities.
- Corey also will moderate a panel discussion on Saturday at 9:15 AM. This session will offer a chance to hear from representatives of Amateur Radio’s largest organizations and partnerships that are active during times of disaster and emergency.
- “Stories from the 2017 Hurricanes” is ARRL’s final forum in the Public Service Communications track. It will take place at 1:30 PM on Saturday. Special guests will share firsthand accounts of Amateur Radio’s response to the 2017 hurricanes in Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, and across the southeastern US. Speakers will include ARRL Section Manager (SM) for Puerto Rico, Oscar Resto, KP4RF; US Virgin Islands SM Fred Kleber, K9VV, and Andy Anderson, KE0AYJ, who was among the Amateur Radio operators organized by ARRL as American Red Cross volunteers who deployed to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Anderson and fellow volunteer — and Hamvention Amateur of the Year — Val Hotzfeld, NV9L, who also deployed to Puerto Rico, will be keynote speakers at the 2018 ARRL Donor Recognition Reception on the Thursday evening before Hamvention.
People who attend three or more of the ARRL-sponsored Public Service Communications forums will earn an ARRL certificate in recognition of their commitment to ham radio public service training and development.
Hamvention has also organized activities that fold into this year’s public service theme. Preble County, Ohio, ARES Emergency Coordinator Gary Hollenbaugh, NJ8BB, has coordinated a display of mobile emergency communications vehicles and equipment at Hamvention for 10 years. “The purpose of the display is to promote emergency communications, and for groups who build and operate mobile communications facilities to display their equipment and demonstrate their capabilities,” Hollenbaugh said. “It’s also a chance for the groups to talk about how to develop emergency communications in the field and to exchange ideas with Hamvention visitors.”
The centerpiece of the ARRL’s participation at Hamvention is ARRL EXPO 2018, a spacious exhibit area that will be located in Building 2 at the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center. Corey and Bailey have organized an Amateur Radio Public Service exhibit for ARRL EXPO, which will include a small stage and seating so attendees can enjoy 15-minute public-service-themed presentations throughout the convention.
The exhibit will include a display of ARRL Ham Aid equipment. Ham Aid kits were used throughout Puerto Rico for the hurricane relief and recovery effort. Following the 2017 hurricanes, more than 600 donations to supply and re-supply the Ham Aid program were received from radio clubs, individuals, and several Amateur Radio retailers and manufacturers.
Other ARRL highlights at Hamvention 2018 include the popular ARRL Member Forum, moderated by ARRL Great Lakes Division Director Dale Williams, WA8EFK. The ARRL Member Forum — at noon on Saturday in Room 3 — is your opportunity to hear from national and local ARRL officials on key areas of member interest. All are welcome.
On Friday at 2:25 PM in Room 3, “ARRL International Grid Chase 2018 — Get in the Chase!” will offer an update on ARRL’s year-long on-the-air event aimed at working as many grid squares as possible before next year. ARRL Contest Branch Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, will provide tips on participating, uploading your contact data to ARRL’s Logbook of The World (LoTW), scoring, and awards.
The ARRL Collegiate Amateur Radio Initiative Forum will gather on Saturday, 4-5 PM, in Room 3. Moderators will be Andy Milluzzi, KK4LWR, and his brother Tony Milluzzi, KD8RTT. A growing number of campus radio clubs and student radio amateurs are sharing ideas and suggestions on the ARRL Collegiate Amateur Radio Initiative (CARI) Facebook page. They’re among those inspiring a renaissance of ham radio on campuses. CARI provides a space for students to meet and to network. The ARRL Collegiate Amateur Radio Initiative is sponsored in part by the W1YSM Snyder Family Collegiate Amateur Radio Endowment.
“Reaching the Public with Ham Radio” will be the focus on Sunday from 9:15 AM to 10:15 AM, in Room 2. Presenters will be Tommy Gober, N5DUX, an ARRL Teachers Institute on Wireless Technology instructor, and ARRL Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R. Many radio clubs organize displays and exhibits to garner interest for Amateur Radio. They recruit new hams at Maker Faires, school and Scouting events, county fairs, public events, and science and technology conventions. Clubs also set up displays for the general public during ARRL Field Day. Participants will learn and share different methods for organizing exhibits and engaging the public at non-radio events.
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