HEAS Future

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Andrew Robinson
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HEAS Future

Post by Andrew Robinson » Wed Jul 15, 2015 3:49 pm

Hey Richard,

Always wondered, where do you see HEAS going in the distant future? Do you feel you will always host it? Do you always want to limit it to X number of people? Do you see it continuing to grow each year to the point where you are turning people away or are you already turning away people each year? I know these are big hypothetical questions, but just curious if you see HEAS in the distant future becoming a much larger event perhaps hosted in a more public venue? Fusor.net really seems to be taking off similar to the Tesla boom long ago. Just curious on your thoughts. I could see HEAS easily becoming a world recognized event playing host to hundreds of people (maybe thousands with enough), maybe at a Richmond convention center or similar location depending on regulations. You started something special all those years ago.
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Richard Hull
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Re: HEAS Future

Post by Richard Hull » Wed Jul 15, 2015 7:39 pm

I hope that as long as I am alive it never exceeds 50 people, total. The HEAS, (2000- to date), is an off shoot of the TCBOR (Tesla Coil Builders of Richmond) 1989-2000, which was an off shoot of The RRG (Richmond Robotics Group) 1980-1989. All meetings of all the groups were local in nature and have been held at my home once a month since 1980.

The RRG

The RRG never exceeded 10 people interested in robotics and computer tech. We built robots and progammed their on-board brains which were the odd small Sinclair zx-80's, Ohio Scientific computers and ultimately even used the Intel 8000 series microcontollers with built in eprom memory (8748, 8749). As my interests changed to Tesla coils in the late 80's about 5 members of RRG gravitated with me to Tesla coil work and the TCBOR was formed. In reality it was the amateur scientist and experimenter type in RRG that followed me into the Tesla coil effort. The remnants of the RRG died within 4 months due to the whimp nature of its other remaining members being unable to maintain any cohesion at all. You can always tell the "joiners" from the "doers" and the true amateur scientist.

The TCBOR

This group never exceeded 15 highly active people. In July 1989 I had a small gathering of some Maryland and New Jersey coilers here at my lab for a total of about 20 folks with hot dogs cooked on a grill with chips and soda. It was so good and the cross pollenation so effective that I coined the term "Teslathon" and held the event every July until 1994. July in Richmond can be brutal and the crowds grew to over 35 via word of mouth and the expansion of the internet in the early 90's. My Teslathon idea spread and Ed Wingate started his long running August Teslathon in Rochester, NY around 1992. (Ed never had a Rochester club that lasted or exceeded 4 members, but like me, Ed still holds his yearly event.) In 1994 I permanently changed my TCBOR Teslathon to the first Saturday in October, a much more temperate part of the year here. We had to hire caterers for the food and charged $20.00 to attend in order to cover catering. The yearly crowds here grew to over 60+ souls. At the 1997 Teslathon, Tom Ligon showed up with his demo fusor in a plastic descicator. Tom and I met in 1996 and he allowed me to look at his proposed article for Analog Magazine about the fusor, but it was Tom's actual demo at the 1997 Teslathon that hooked me. In late 1997 I started to work with the fusor effort and still did tesla coil stuff too. Then, I found the songs.com site with its Farnsworth Chronicles page and its tiny little two posting off shoot discusion board related to the Farnworth fusor. I think I was the second or third poster. I had mastered the Tesla magnifier and two more teslathons were held under the banner of the TCBOR.

HEAS

As the new century approached I realized that the local TCBOR meetings were becoming far more diverse as chemical show-and-tells, electrostatics work, Water Arc guns, radiation, fusion, robotics and other far flung science demos were becoming the norm along with small tesla coiling. I realized all demos were advanced amateur science efforts and all involved something spectacular, (high energy). I was devoting nearly 100% of my time to the fusor. To avoid the bad vibes associated with the end of the RRG, I just renamed the local group to the High Energy Amateur Science Group. We lost only 1 or 2 members this time. In 2000 the name change was offical as the Teslathon became the HEAS conference or gathering.

With the advent of the HEAS, bad feeling existed among the internet community about my exiting active Tesla coiling. I never really understood that reaction. However, I was deeply involved with fusor discussions on songs.com and did fusion well before the turn of the century. The HEAS gathering attendees in October dropped percipitously as soured Tesla coilers dropped off the list and by 2002 we were down to 38 folks. Slowly, we re-gained attendees due to fusion efforts on the internet. By 2010 we were back up to 50 folks. As attendance rose, the catering got expensive and it was dropped after 2005 as we just closed the lab down for dinner at restaurants on Saturday evening and reopened after 6:30PM. This reduced the admission to only $10.00 to cover the cost of sodas, ice and munchies needed for the grazing multitudes. Lately, the numbers have sort of leveled off to about 48-54 people. Under no circumstance will I ever be part of or host a larger gathering during my life! I value the close knit fellowship and fleamarket found in this smaller "core nucleus".

As I have noted to all who would complain about the size or direction that I and a few close associates in amateur science have chosen..... "Great! ....Do what you will at your place or home, at your expense, under the gaze and ire of your wife." This shuts 'em up, real quick! As an old friend used to quip...."Richard you are the "spearhead" of all of this, I wouldn't undertake it on a dare!"

Ed Wingate and I, whose Teslathon I still religiously attend each August, spend a lot of time commiserating with each other over the heavy mantle we have taken upon ourselves over these many years and muse over a stopping point in our old age. Thus far it is just talk, but it is getting more serious. I just had my quarter of a century event last year and will this year begin what will surely not make the half century mark of holding these venues. Ed still comes to my event each year, as well.

Andrew, you asked and you got it all!!!!....... the history and the agony of it all. Hope you enjoyed the bombastic blast from the past.

For me NO! Nothing bigger...EVER! .... and I have yet to turn away anyone, save for a couple of bad actors in the past that violated my rules for the event the year before. It seems to always work out about right in the numbers.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Andrew Robinson
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Re: HEAS Future

Post by Andrew Robinson » Wed Jul 15, 2015 8:05 pm

Yet another "Richard typical" highly detailed response which I have come to enjoy over the past few years. I understand your desire for a small venue/group. There is definitely something to be said for a small group of close friends. Just curious what your thoughts were on the future. Cheers
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Frank Sanns
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Re: HEAS Future

Post by Frank Sanns » Mon Jul 20, 2015 2:20 am

Andrew,

While Richard hosts the big authentic one, there have been other smaller ones albeit not annual ones. We had two West Coast HEAS gatherings with some of the regular fusor people. I have also met with groups of fusor people as I travel. I have met many quietly and behind the scenes with really great groups. I encourage others to do just that. Great discussions and friendships are made. I think my first was a drive over to Columbus, OH to meet Carl Willis back around 2002 and we traded a few visits over the year. It expanded from there.

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