I attended the 2018 Pacific Convention for Amateur Radio (PACIFICON) in San Ramon, CA from October 19th to October 21st. This was my first amateur radio convention.
This was the first vacation that my wife and I took without our kids in 30 years. I like to say the last time we were by ourselves we were using a paper map to find our way around and now our cell phone told us where to go. 🙂
We flew into Oakland, rented a car, drove to Pleaseton and checked into a hotel. We could not get in the hotel where the convention was as it was booked. We attended the convention everyday except for Saturday. We visited the Golden Gate Bridge and the Winchester home in San Jose.
The convention had vendors I had heard of and vendors I had never heard of. You could touch and play with new radios that had not been released and older radios. I went on Friday as it was not as busy and you can talk to vendors more easily. I had a long discussion with the Buddie-Pole vendor. I have a received issue with my antenna and they were very helpful to try to solve the problem.
I got to meet Gordon West, WB6NOA, and Randy Hall, K7AGE. They are two of the guys I wanted to meet while I was there. I just looked up on Sunday and saw both of them together. I had a good conversation with Randy.
Now for the Ghost! The Winchester house was about an hour or so drive from the convention so on Sunday we drove down to do a tour.
We took the 4 mile trip walk across the Golden Gate Bridge and back. A cold and a long walk but a once-in-a-lifetime walk.
I bought only 2 items at the convention. This was a LIDO cup mount. It is great! This version I can hook a radio and a hand mike or 2 hand held radios. If I take the two mounts off I can then mount a radio face to the mount. Very well build, very versatile and useful. The other purchase was a should bag for a radio.
It is differently work the trip to visit a convention if you have the opportunity. As with ham radio, don’t just do the convention, visit the local community and enjoy what it has to offer.