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Here are some thoughts and pictures from our visit to Ham-Com 2015 in Irving, TX.
Ron and I left the Kansas City, MO area on Thursday morning and it was 80+ degrees. When we got to TX it was 90+ degrees, so summer is officially here.
Driving from MO to TX without the radio on leaves for a lot of random conversation, good, but random. Ron and I discussed our thoughts and expectations for Ham-Com. We expected to have a good booth location, plenty of foot traffic, and generate a positive buzz surrounding BridgeCom Systems and our products. We packed with us three repeaters (BCR-50V, BCR-220, BCR-40U), the new BCM-220 mobile, and our MV-DMR server in a 2U chassis, plus the assorted banners and spec sheets.
We arrived in TX about 3:30p Thursday and went straight to the Irving Convention Center to unload and set up. The people of TX are very nice, lots of yes sir, no sir. We got set up pretty quickly, we like to keep the booth small with just a few products and brochures. I'm not a fan of the table across the entire front of the booth, but it seemed to work well this time giving us some shelter from the masses. However, I should have put the banners out front on the corners where people could have seen them better.
That night we had a nice meeting with a commercial customer that wants to link around 40 school buildings security communications with our MV series product and PC Client Dispatch software. Our MV series and PC Client are part of our TL-NET RoIP linking system. It should handle this opportunity with ease and be an awesome system!
Friday, Ham-Com day one. People were lined up early and the show started with a flurry of activity at 8am. It seemed like we barely had time to grab coffee and run to the bathroom all morning. We met some interesting people and made some good contacts. When asking people how you heard of BridgeCom, the overwhelming response was, "I just walked up to the booth, or I've never heard of you before." So many people were glad we were making a 220 MHz 1.25m repeater and mobile. It was almost like the little brother saying, look at me, was finally acknowledged. Lunch time slowed down a little, and we kept hearing a GONG! A little later someone said that when one company had a large sale they hit the gong, and a smaller sale was a bell. I couldn't decide if that was a good marketing tactic or annoying to those at the show. Day one ended well thanks to one customer, Jeff, who placed an online order for a BCR-220 repeater.
Ron and I grabbed some Indian food for dinner. Who knew Irving, TX is a hot bed for Indian Cuisine. Near the convention center there was 5 Indian restaurants.
Saturday, Ham-Com day two. Again it was a busy start. Right off the bat the Wiley brothers descended on our booth with questions a plenty. It was good to get them taken care of and they placed a BCR-50V repeater order online. Rockin start, yeah! Saturday was similar to Friday. The common questions; Who are you and what do you do, you make a 220 repeater and mobile, among others. The day was a little less crowded and many of the same faces. Again, too many people had not heard of BridgeCom Systems until that day. That's part of why we go to the ham radio shows, to get the BridgeCom Systems name and good word out to the masses. We had one other order that didn't happen, but it was close. We anticipate Chris getting an order placed in the near future for a BCR-220 repeater.
The last hour of Ham-Com was pretty slow. At 5pm they began the drawings for the prizes and Ron and I packed up. We hit the road about 5:15pm and made it back home about 2:30am. We had a good chance to talk about the show, things we liked and didn't like. We talked about things we would do differently next time or at other ham shows.
All in all, it was a good trip and a great Ham-Com. We are definitely planning on having a booth at the show again next year. It also reinforced that so much of the Amateur Ham radio market doesn't know who BridgeCom Systems is and what we do. I hope that between now and next year at Ham-Com we can change that.
Until next time... Tim