The annual Huntsville Hamfest this past weekend, August 21 – 22, served as host for the 2021 ARRL Southeastern Division Convention. Convention visitors were able to meet with many ARRL officials and staff, including President Rick Roderick, K5UR; Chief Executive Officer David Minster, NA2AA; Director of Membership, Marketing, and Communications Kathleen Callahan, KC1MBY, and Product Development Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R. Also on hand at the ARRL booth were many Southeastern Division officials, Section Managers, and Field Organization volunteers.
The convention, held annually at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, had to be canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “For many of us, this was our return to a large in-person convention after nearly 18 months,” Inderbitzen said. “The crowds were big, but the organizers had spread out the exhibits and widened the aisles, allowing for plenty of physical distancing. It was nice to have eyeballs on so many members and friends I’ve missed seeing.”
ARRL author Glen Popiel, KW5GP, presented a forum on the Arduino and various ham radio applications using this microprocessor prototyping platform. Popiel’s recent book, More Arduino for Ham Radio, is now available from ARRL and its dealers. Other forums included an update from principals for Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS), an ARRL Membership Town Hall, and an opportunity to hear from ARRL Alabama Section leaders regarding key areas of volunteer activity, including the Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®).
Volunteers from the North Alabama DX Club (NADXC) hosted a sold-out banquet on Saturday night that included a presentation from DXpeditioner Adrian Ciuperca, KO8SCA. He shared stories and photos from his 2019 DXpedition to Bhutan, where he operated as A50BOC, A50BPC, and A5B. Just ahead on his travel agenda, Ciuperca will be a member of DXpedition teams to Swains Island and Bouvet Island in 2022. NADXC members were also on hand throughout the convention to help check applications for DXCC and other ARRL Awards.
A Youth Lounge at the Convention included opportunities for young hams and future hams to listen and get on the air. There were also demonstrations of robotics, 3D printing, and activities that included a radio direction finding “foxhunt” and kit building.
ARRL CEO David Minister, NA2AA, and ARRL Instructional Designer Steve Goodgame, K5ATA, organized a YouTube Meet Up with many content producers for popular ham radio-themed YouTube channels — an opportunity to thank the community for its part in nurturing active radio amateurs with information and learning.
ARRL has produced a YouTube video chronicling the Convention.