With wave-after-wave of rain showers plowing through days before Winterfest 2024’s January 26-27th kickoff, we wondered if the weather would put a wet blanket on the show and tamp down attendance. Those worries were quickly dispelled as Saturday’s attendance was spectacular, the equipment deals were unbelievable and ‘horse trading’ was spirited. The St Louis Suburban Radio Club’s (SLSRC) Winterfest was again held at the Collinsville, Illinois Gateway Convention Center and by 10AM Saturday morning, the joint was jumpin’ and packed to the bursting point with people!
Friday’s W9DYV Radio Symposium went off without a hitch due to the incredible efforts and meticulous preparations by Bob Nickels, W9RAN, and the St Louis Suburban Radio Club’s Hamfest team, consisting of SLSRC’s Board of Directors and this year’s Hamfest Committee Chair -- Art Lewis, K8ALL.
Bob (RAN) and I thank the Symposium’s technical presenters: By Buelow, W0IY; Joe Eisenberg, K0NEB; David Gripe, NM0S; John Townsend, AC8FL; and Ron Rausch,K5HZ. We are most grateful for the encouragement and sponsorship of Dr. Bob Heil, K9EID. Due to Bob’s generosity and behind-the-scenes support, the Symposium continues to be a no-cost event for amateur radio enthusiasts.
This year’s Symposium attendees learned a bit about WI-FI and how it can simplify control of antenna switching along with how to make useful ‘homebrewing’ radio components from everyday items. Radio theory was not overlooked as we learned the advantages of polyphase audio phase shift networks in transmitters, some basics behind software defined radio technology, and how one can design a true HF transmitter/receiver unit with the most minimal of active components. Can you believe doing so with just one triode/pentode tube? You should have been there to hear and see that presentation by Bob, W9RAN…Amazing!
A bit of Radio History was also on hand as Sally and Ron Raines presented an interesting and oft-humorous oral history of radio station KMOX – first made operational on Christmas Day 1924 and one of the nation's first AM broadcast stations. With its clear-channel frequency, KMOX could be heard throughout the US at nighttime and whose news reporters were often first to cover the Nation’s most important and riveting events.
This year, I travelled from Covington to SLSRC’s Winterfest with two other radio pals as driving co-pilots: Lyle Wales, WZ5M, and David Assaf, W5XU. While both are seasoned eagle-eyed boneyard trolls, I had no idea what was in store for Saturday’s event! Those two valiantly sought and captured some of the best deals – they ran the tables and left me choking in the dust. How does one guy (Lyle) walk away with two 2KW amplifier projects for a mere 50 bucks each?? This while David continued to add to his abnormally vast collection of Drake radios and engineering prototypes by snagging a pristine R4C receiver, a great TR4CW transceiver, and a mint NT-1 novice transmitter.
Finally, to all those who stopped by to chat about my book Wes Schum – Amateur Radio’s Unsung Hero, I was thrilled to hear how much you enjoyed Wes’ story and inquiring if another book is in the cards. One is and with the working title, Hey, Radio Man. Should be ready in advance of Winterfest 2025.
73 Nick, K5EF