The Dayton Hamvention attracts visitors from numerous countries who travel thousands of miles to gather with other amateur radio enthusiasts.
Thomas Wrede, of Germany, said he’s attended the Hamvention around 20 times. An engineer by trade, Wrede has been part of the German Amateur Radio Club for 51 years.
“I started because of interest in electronics and communications. When I started, kids didn’t have handheld (devices) they could use to Skype the world,” he said. “Now, my main interest is talking to people and building friendships, but also doing technical experiments.”
Eric and Lourdes Lowery, of Ypsilanti, Mich., have attended the Hamvention three times together. Eric said he first began experimenting with amateur radio in the early ‘80s.
“I’ve always been into radios and transmitters and I really started with CB (citizens band) radios,” he said. “It’s fun to be able to talk with people around the world straight from radio to radio rather than over a phone line.”
Sponsored by the Dayton Amateur Radio Association, Hamvention drives an estimated $33 million in economic impact in the region, according to the Greene County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Radio enthusiasts gather to mingle with likeminded folks, attend forums, view exhibitions and peruse the wares of indoor and outdoor flea market vendors, which offer a massive assortment of antique radios.