Event Summary and photos by Fred Botero W2SUB
UPARC had a great presence at Hamcation Orlando 2022. Thanks go to Jeff Palmer and XYL for their hospitality allowing us to have a gathering point for eating, resting and general congregation. Jeff also was riding his bike back and forth to the gate to find people and gave out a lot of directions on where to enter and park. Super helpful! The weather cooperated nicely, warming up enough so that we didn’t need jackets.
This was my first Hamcation, very exciting to finally see in person much of what I had heard about the event. The vendor exhibits were very popular in the main building along with the indoor “Swaps” vendors and outdoor sellers scattered all over the event grounds. It was neat to speak with some of the major vendor owners themselves, many of whom we had seen on videos or spoken with on the phone. I thought then vendors did a nice job overall although we didn’t note very much new product announcements at this show. I saw all of the manufacturers I was looking for except DX Engineering, unsure if I just missed them or if they were unable to attend.
The HT chatter added to the fun radio atmosphere all day long. It took quite a bit of effort to get my Yaesu FT3D to stay in simplex mode and stop losing the tone setting but it finally worked very nicely. Next time I will use the smaller rubber duck antenna to be more comfortable on the belt clip. Bringing an HT did end up being very helpful to track others down and coordinate, highly recommended.
Of course there were a lot of non-radio related sellers there. The outdoor grounds reminded me of a combined flea market and campground in many ways. The food lines were long and prices high but I imagine this was Pandemic related as we see everywhere these days. It was fun to bump into fellow club members while walking around and comparing notes and observations on hot deals and interesting items. Our group had a lot of interest in the LiFePo4 battery booth with the foldable solar panels all combined into one system. The solar panels had a very cool weatherproof carry bag that it converted into once folded. Various battery sizes offered allowed for customized systems to one’s needs.
Overall I had a great time riding up and back with the carpool group and experiencing much of what Hamcation had to offer. I didn’t get to see the training classes so there were even more things going on than I saw, maybe next time. Thanks to all the club members who showed me around. It was fun and I will definitely go again!