Achievement Unlocked

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Just sharing my thoughts as Orlando HamCation 2024 comes to a close.

Orlando HamCation opened Friday morning after a week of prep work by the various teams of volunteers helping to put it on. For me the week was especially long and hard dealing with family health issues throwing a wrench in the works, but we just have to overcome and prevail! I personally can not say enough praise and appreciation for the whole of the HamCation committee members who kept my family in their thoughts, asked how things were going and made sure I still had time to get away to take care of things while still maintaing the commitment I made to assist.

Friday I purchased extra prize tickets to get a chance at some of the hourly door prize drawings. There were a lot of nice prizes that had been donated by the various vendors in attendance. I managed to end up with two hourly prizes by the end of the day. The first was an Explorer QRZ-1 5W UHF/VHF HT donated by GigaParts, and the other was a ticket for Dayton Hamvention donated by DARA!

Now, I do not really have a need for the QRZ-1 radio as I already have my Yaesu FT-70D and ICOM ID-52A HTs that I operate UHF/VHF with, so I will most likely be donating this to be gifted to a new Technician that could make use of it to get on the air. The Hamvention ticket though is another story. As I said in my earlier post, going to Hamvention is on my TODO list so now I really don’t have an excuse. The XYL doesn’t seem to share my enthusiasum in getting the ticket as I do, so we’ll see how things look later this year in May as we’ll have been back home for about a month after our scheduled cruise.

The only downside to my Friday, if I had to call it that, was in barely missing the mark to pass my Amateur Extra class examination. Myself and another chairman went to go sit our exam and while he managed to pass, I found myself falling a little short. This was new for me as I’ve always passed any certification exam I’ve sat for in my professional career as well as when I took my Tech and General exams. I’ll freely admit this one presented me with a genuine challenge, which only made me even more determined to acheive it. I went home Friday night and studied until I feel asleep, then got up and took another practice exam before starting the day again opening up HamCation.

In between performing security dispatch duties I continued to study up until lunch. Finally after lunch I made my way over to the testing session building to take my second attempt at my goal. As I finally sat back and took a deep breath, I hit the Grade Exam button and W4RSR, one of the VEs who had been present for my first attempt and wished me luck before I started my second, walked over to finish processing my exam. I let out a big sigh of relief as it came back with a passing score! I had not managed to get a passing score on any of my practice attempts, but when it came down to one that mattered I managed to make it happen. With my Tech I had solidly consistent passing pratice exams, and with my General I was at least 50-50.

The remainder of Saturday went by in a blur as I was ecstatic about meeting my goal for the weekend and leaving as an Extra class amateur radio operator. I had started to study earlier last year, but had only picked up the pace after New Years as HamCation approached. My thanks go out to the entire VE team that volunteers to administer the exams during the weekend and before regular monthly OARC meetings.

I did run into some of the guys from SRC going around the commercial vendor hall on both Friday & Saturday along with some of my other fellow operators that I’ve enjoyed doing POTA activations with.

Sunday was a short day and brought a close to a great weekend. The weather couldn’t have been any better. I made my rounds through the commercial vendors hall and swaps getting one last chance to hang out and talk with some of the great groups that came out for the weekend. I made sure I stopped by the DARC and RSGB booths as this was both groups first years attending. As always it was a pleasure to see ECR at HamCation, though this year instead of out in the forums they had a booth in the Swaps hall. Wonderful conversations all weekend long with Jill & Scott of Tower Electronics. I spent quite a bit of time with Rick, Donna and Finley from The SignMan of Baton Rouge.

All in all, it was a great HamCation this year! Now I’m going to try and recover before having to return to my regular work week schedule, but I’ll already be planning and saving the dates for next year! Hope to see you then, until then 73.

May 30, 2024 Feb 11, 2024
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