I was very much looking forward to the Virtual Ham Expo this past weekend. My wife and I were going to be away at a hotel for the weekend, a mini getaway. I took my Mac laptop along for the ride as I wanted to check in on the Expo in the evenings. When I tried to log in things did not work out as planned apparently I had to generate an "E-ticket". Not a problem so I clicked on the link and then was asked for my callsign, email address and then the problem my "order number"? About a 1/2 hour later I found the order number but I could not get the form to accept my order number. Over the weekend I tried several times but could not get my number accepted.
I was reading online of other ops who were having issues as well. Below is some of the feedback that was being posted.
- Issues gaining access to Virtual Ham expo
- Issues with Airmeet video
- Lobbies and Exhibition tabs were just blank.
- Live help was just a chatbot and you were forced to email and wait for an answer.
There are many more issues that are listed in chat forums but this was a huge undertaking and with all things hiccups happen.
As I was typing this post-Eric Guth 4Z1UG sent out the below via email:
First of all, I would like to apologize for the poor experience that many of you had at the QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo. After our very successful August 2020 Expo, I had a vision of combining what I loved about the vFairs platform (which is what we used last time) with a new technology that would provide a lot more interaction between attendees, speakers, and exhibitors.
Unfortunately, we had many technical issues with the Airmeet Presentations and the integration of the vFairs and Airmeet platforms. My brilliant programmer offered his resignation and to return his salary. Ridiculous, as the failure of this project was mine alone. I am deeply sorry for letting you down.
Fortunately for all of us, we had all the video presentations pre-recorded in the event of a technical disaster. Therefore, all of the presentations that were to take place over the weekend are now in the final editing stages and will be available in the Expo Auditorium within 48 hours. These videos are in glorious 1080P, high resolution, and streaming from Vimeo (a proven and strong video platform). All of the 80+ speakers gave fantastic presentations.
Please don’t let the last couple of days get in the way of watching our amazing speakers. If you are blind or vision impaired, know that we have a solution for you at the qsotodayhamexpo.com website. Give us a day or two to make that preparation.
To get to the on-demand site, simply click on the following link: https://qsotoday.vfairs.com. Use your email address to get in (the one you used to purchase your ticket). No password is required. Go into the lobby and click on the Auditorium door, or click Auditorium on the main navigation bar at the top. If you have any problem with access, and you had a ticket, let us know immediately by sending an email to email@example.com for us to update the attendee list, keeping in mind that we are two hours ahead of UTC. Again, we will need about 48 hours to get all the videos up and ready. Note that while the vFairs platform at the above link will be open during the on-demand period through April 12, 2021, the Airmeet Lounge is now closed.
One of the things that we’ve stressed in all of our communications is that the QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo team is committed to constantly learning and improving what we do. Virtual conventions of this magnitude are new territory. We believe that there’s a place for a virtual ham Expo to serve the needs of the very large amateur radio community, especially those that don’t attend in-person national or regional events (or even local events). We are committed to making that happen. Our first Expo was a great success, our second one not so much. Setbacks happen but it’s important to keep moving forward. As such, we are committed to getting “back on that horse”, learning from our mistakes, and making sure that the next one is back on track. Please stay patient with us and we’ll prove it to you.
As always, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo will return on August 14th and 15th.
Humbly yours and 73,
Eric Guth, 4Z1UG
Eric is taking responsibility for this and I for one will cut him some slack, after all, it's a huge undertaking and expectations were high. To me, he sounds very sorry and upset about how the event turned out. We all learn from our mistakes and I for one have made lots of them.