2004 2005 2006
Atlanticon Proceedings (CDs and
printed booklets) are still
available ... see ordering details
Atlanticon QRP Forum?
weekend of QRP fun, presentations and
social gathering hosted by the NJQRP Club and sponsored by the AmQRP
Club each spring for nine consecutive years from 1999 through 2007. QRPers from all over the US (and
internationally) would show up for this annual event held in Baltimore, Maryland
at the end of March during the weekend of the
popular Greater Baltimore Computerfest and Hamboree. The hotel
was very close to the state fairgrounds in Timonium and
special rates were established for QRPers planning to attend.
There No More Atlanticons?
1) Dwindling attendance
Attendance has been declining in recent years, and last year was a record low
of 85 people. Take out the spouses coming along for the fun, the club
officers who organize the whole thing, and the speakers whose travel was
subsidized for attending, and that leaves about 68 guys. Going back in
previous years we've had 92, 116, 145, 175, 193, 171, 130, and 65 for our
first year of 1999. It seems the interest, popularity and spark has dwindling
here on the east coast.
2) Dwindling enthusiasm
There has been very little lead-in or follow-up enthusiasm for the event in
recent years. Despite the normal hype cycle we all follow in
advertising/promoting our QRP events around the country, there is diminishing
excitement for Atlanticon demonstrated on the lists, in email dialog and at
other related events throughout the year.
3) The "Atlanticon Kit" model no longer works
Increasingly, we are seeing people sign up to attend the event in order to get
in advance only to get the "free kit" that had become our trademark, around
which we had built the annual event theme and Saturday evening festivities.
Many of us recall the incredible excitement and participation during one
year's event that featured PSK31 Beacons warbling throughout the hotel that
evening, or the Badgers clipped to our shirts beeping out special messages in
Morse codes that people were able to solve. However now in recent years, only
a small handful of attendees even bothered building their kits in advance,
while we see unbuilt Atlanticon Kits being auctioned off on the lists and
eBay. Clearly this approach has lost its appeal.
Perhaps skipping a year will make the heart grow
fonder. Other QRP weekends seem to be doing well, which is wonderful and we
try to attend and help out in as many of those as possible. But when even a
majority of the local hams from the home-and-surrounding QRP clubs don't make
the effort to attend Atlanticon, even for the day, this is telling us
We haven't given up on QRP forums here, by any
stretch. Those of you who know us realize that we have been, and continue to
be "in this for the long haul" and we're already working on some different
angles for spinning up local interest again. When we look at the three main
interests that people have on the popular reflectors - operating, homebrewing,
and collecting unbuilt kits - there are some interesting opportunities for us
to focus on.
Then when you throw in some ancillary dimensions
of the hobby like new technologies, new modes, new public service
opportunities, and youngsters joining the ham ranks, we can step out of the
boxes we've built ourselves into over the years are really create some
nation-wide enthusiasm. THIS is what we are looking at doing, and this is
what we think will help out our hobby in years to come.
So if you are lamenting the demise of Atlanticon, please make the effort instead to attend one of the other QRP
weekends held throughout the country ... and help us construct a newer,
fresher, more exciting and enticing east coast venue downstream.
73, George N2APB
Last Modified: February 23, 2010