Maine Central, Lamoille Valley

Maine Central, Lamoille Valley
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Friday, July 10, 2009

HN2009: Day 5 - 7/10

Friday in Hartford and it is time for the National Train Show (and agreeing with Tony Koester that this should be the NMRA Train Show really). The first 3 hours are just for the NMRA attendees, so we all have a chance to walk the floor before it becomes crowded with the public. After the Digitrax forum last night, I checked out (and picked up) equipment to switch over to Duplex Radio. Nice to have Digitrax right there as they were able to update the software on the throttle right there at the show. I also picked up the Erie Cafe model from Stella Models that I want to use in Whitefield as cafe along main street.

I must say that there were not as many manufacturers and dealers as I thought there might be. Still plenty to see but not as much as I thought there might be. Nice to be able to talk to some of the people behind the manufacturing of the products we use. I was able to see preproduction models for the Rapido CP caboose coming later. These will look good on the CP freights on the layout! There were also some pretty good display layouts from various groups.

After about 5 hours of checking out the floor, I was ready to sit down, So I headed upstairs to catch the afternoon clinics. I decided to find out more about JMRI and DecoderPro. I really came in cold, even though I feel pretty comfortable with computers and DCC. I really knew nothing about JMRI and using it with DCC. Well, I must say I am really looking forward to trying out JMRI when I get back home. Some software on the computer, an interface to the Digitrax command station and I will be ready to go. The best thing is programming decoders via DecoderPro. It makes it real easy to make changes and save them to a Profile. This way you can make all the settings without worrying about actual CVs and hex values. Nice. And you can save the settings so you can easily reprogram to copy the same settings to another locomotive. Also lets you do Ops Mode programming and do locomotive speed matching. Also a nice demo showing the software in action and having it run on a Mac laptop, so I know it will work OK and not require a Windows machine.

This is one of the great things about conventions - coming home with some information to make your model railroading better and more enjoyable. Another great aspect is the people you meet. All week it was great to see familiar faces as well as meeting new people. People I see regularly at Division Meets, people I only see once a year at regional conventions and also new people I have met just this week. I look forward to seeing some of these new acquaintances at future conventions.

After another walk around the show floor and a little rest in the hotel room, I headed back for the evening clinics. I dropped in on the craftsman kits clinic. Next up I figured I would drop in on the Forced Perspective clinic along with a room full of other folks. Well, it seems the presenter was missing in action, so I ended up re-presenting my clinic on designing and building the layout. I hope it was a nice fill-in for the people in the room. I definitely got good mileage out the clinics this week!

That pretty much wraps up HN2009 this year. I will be heading home on Saturday. I would have to say this convention was a real success on many levels. The committee did a great job overall, the venue was first class and John McGloin is to really be commended for putting together and running a great track of clinics.

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