Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A Very Good Hamvention

I had a very good Hamvention.

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Here is a short explanation for newcomers to this blog so that my Hamvention stories make more sense.

I am well known in ham radio having written over 1,200 articles for various ham radio publications as well as having authored a half dozen books on the subject. The caveat is that my notoriety was accomplished as a male, so my male name and ham radio call sign are recognized by people who have been in ham radio for awhile. However, I have been attending Hamvention and other ham radio conferences as a female for the past nine years.

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Thursday evening, I attended my ham radio group's board of directors' meeting. Normally, we hold it in a meeting room at whatever hotel we use for our Hamvention stay. However, one of the board members lives in Dayton and invited us to his home for the meeting, so that is where we met this year.

I had met our host's wife numerous times when I attended Hamvention as a male and we got along swimmingly, but I had not seen her since I began attending as a female. I thought she would be OK with it, but you never know.

Her reaction when she saw me was better than OK. First, she complimented me profusely on my hair, then she gave me a big hug and complimented me again.

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Friday morning, my group has a forum at Hamvention and I spoke briefly to encourage folks to contribute to my group's quarterly publication which I edit. (That's me at the lectern in the first photo).

After the forum, a fellow came over to talk to me. He is a member of our organization and I have probably seen him at every Hamvention I have attended during the past 10 to 15 years.

The gent asked me, "How are you related to Stan Horzepa?"

I sure did not see that coming!

It took a little convincing before he realized what was what. He seemed to be OK with it because he was very pleasant when I ran into him again during the weekend.

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Similarly, while I was staffing our booth at the convention on Saturday, a stranger comes up to me, looked at my old pre-Stana call sign badge and said, "You're not Stan Horzepa."

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On the other hand, a lot of people are now accustomed to me as Stana nee Stan. Countless people came to our booth and spoke with me while addressing me as "Stana."

Saturday evening, I attended the Hamvention Awards Dinner. This is the same dinner I attended two years ago when I received the Hamvention Special Achievement Award. Past award winners are often invited back and that is why I was in attendance. The second photo shows me dressed to kill for the dinner. I received a handful of compliments from the women in attendance (they loved my retro dress).

There were approximately 70 attendees and besides the award winners, the other attendees were the makers and shakers of ham radio and their spouses — a very prestigious group. Everyone I encountered addressed me as "Stana" and proudly introduced me to their spouses.

They treated me as a woman and I never felt more accepted.

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A half dozen Femulate readers (you know who you are) showed up at the booth to say, "Hello." I have met all but one at past Hamventions.

One, Jenna, brought a copy of one of my books that she had in her library and I was happy to personally autograph it for her.

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I guess I make a lasting impression.

Friday evening, my group co-hosts a banquet with another group and we have been using the same banquet facilities for over ten years. The meal is a buffet and like many buffets, the food line ends with a meat table where a server wields a carving knife to provide you with a slice of prime rib, turkey, ham, etc.

As I approached the meat table, the woman staffing the table greeted me and said she always looks forward to our banquet to see what kind of "wild outfit" I will be wearing. She admitted that the polka dot jumper I was wearing Friday night was not so wild, but she was happy to see me nonetheless.

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Why was it "a very good Hamvention?"

The food was very good. The breakfasts at the hotel were very good (and I was constantly ma'am'd by the hotel staff) and the dinners were over the top.

The 725-mile roadtrip was a good one. Although I absolutely hate the drive, traffic was light, there were no highway construction delays and I encountered only one traffic delay (due to a minor accident).

The weather was lousy. It rained every day, but most of the activities I participated in are indoors, so it did not rain on my parade.

I managed to find everything on my shopping list. (I am transitioning from soldered to crimp-on coax connectors, so I was able to buy the crimp-on tools and connectors at bargain "Hamvention" prices.)

It was great to see my radio friends and acquaintances again and to meet new friends as well.

Friends and strangers treated me as a woman. I guess I will always be amazed at such treatment. I  am very aware that there is the body of a 6-foot-2, 200 pound guy under all the female finery, yet the civilians buy into my female persona. Amazing!

The only negative was that I got a call from home that something was wrong with my dog. So instead of returning to Hamvention on Sunday, I started driving home to see what was wrong. When I arrived home, my 16-year-old blind pup came to life when she heard my voice and we had an emotional reunion (my face is still wet). She seemed fine and my guess is that she was just depressed because I was gone for so long. (I missed her, too.)

And so it goes.

Wearing Zimmermann
Wearing Zimmermann

Arianda Sodi, professional femulator


  1. Great summary Stana. All your photos are beautiful. Femulating with the public is way more fun than the insulated environment of TG events. Thanks for sharing with us via your blog.

  2. Sounds like the 1400 mile drive was well worth it to get lots of compliments from the ladies. I think your green dress for the dinner is hardly retro but bang up to date. How do you manage to read without your usual spectacles? Do you wear contacts for the duration? No wonder some guys who have known you for several years are unable to recognize you. So glad to hear your dog recovered, stopped pining and was happy to assist in make-up removal!
    Keep blogging please

  3. You are simply inspiring and also have such a keen eye for lovely cloths! Its so lovely to hear about how you were accepted by all. Makes us all feel as if we truly live in an accepting and caring society. Curious as to the Yanny did you say Laurel? :-)
    Anyway...Congrats to you and thrilled the dog is okay!

    1. First I heard "Laurel" on the AM radio on my way to Ohio. Then I heard "Yanny" on the TV in my hotel room. Go figure!

  4. I am glad you did so well on the trip. Every positive encounter a civilian has with one of us helps the entire community.

    I had the opposite experience. On the TV, with my eyes closed I clearly heard 'Laurel'. An hour later in the car I heard 'Yanny' on the radio.

  5. Retro or no, that dress looks fabulous on you -- such an inspiration!