2013 GARS Techfest

I went to the 2013 GARS Techfest in Lawrenceville, Georgia to try out a famous chili recipe by a good friend N4EWT, who put his entry in the running for the cook-off at the event.  Once I got there, I saw a lot of other cool things and really enjoyed the event.  
One of the cool things I saw was an old teletype set connected to a computer that was a two way communication port for SMS.  You could text a message to it and you could reply to that message using the keyboard.  It impressed a lot of young people there that had never seen that old technology used before. It also was nice to hear a teletype working again... something I haven't heard in years.

Another demonstration that was quite popular was the Tesla Coil demo. It made a lot of noise and the purple discharge was fun to watch. Kids were asked if they wanted to try it out by holding a wand close to it or a crescent wrench to attract the electrical discharge.

Demonstrating a Tesla Coil

Demonstrating a Tesla Coil

There were young people learning to solder by putting together small kits with electronic parts they had never seen before.  This generated a lot of interest...

Learning to Solder

Learning to Solder

What I enjoyed most about the event, besides seeing some of my friends, was the opportunity to see and hear Bob Heil (K9EID) in a Skype video call in one of the conference rooms. He talked about his early life and how he progressed from working with organs to ham radio and how he happened to help a lot of rock bands before they were famous. His stories and advice were well received and useful.  I recorded most of the talk on my iPhone. It suffers from being too far away from the speaker, so it isn't the highest quality but you're welcome to listen: 

Bob Heil on Skype.jpg