From Daryl Stout@HURRICAN/THUNDER to All on Thu Apr 13 00:05:00 2017
At The Hamfest
After you take care of parking and admission fees, you're likely to see
the following at a hamfest. Note that the bigger the event, the more of
these there will be.
Bring cash, as most may NOT accept checks or credit/debit cards.
1) Dealers, that sell new gear, accessories, antennas, connectors,
software, manuals, etc. If you buy computer hardware or software, be
sure you scan it for viruses and spyware before using it.
2) Flea market tables, where you can usually get a good deal on used
gear, that you couldn't afford new. However, the phrases "buyer beware",
and "you get what you pay for", APPLY!! Unfortunately, some of the gear
that is "sold" ends up as a "worthless boat anchor doorstop"...as the
original owner may be wanting to "make some money off of a worthless item".
Try to avoid purchasing "antique radios"...and "learn the smell of burnt
or overheated electronics". Replacement parts for vintage gear...or where
the electronics have been burned out...will be EXTREMELY DIFFICULT, if not IMPOSSIBLE, to obtain. If the hamfest has a "Test Bench", try the gear out BEFORE you shell out the money, write a check, use your credit card,
etc...and, if the person won't let you test the gear before you purchase
it, it's best that you POLITELY DECLINE their offer, and move along to
another table. If the price sounds "too good to be true", it probably is.
3) Forums, discussing any of several aspects of the hobby. There may also
be an ARRL forum, where you can meet your State Section Manager, ARRL
Division Director, or other officials from the ARRL.
4) VE Testing, where you can take an exam for a new ham radio license, or
for a license upgrade. The license exam may be ARRL/VEC, W5YI VEC, or
another group. For an overview of what a license exam session may entail,
go to www.wx1der.com/hamradio.htm#examday
5) Concessions, where the local club is selling food and drink, so you
don't have to leave the hamfest site to grab a bite to eat, if you don't
want to. Bear in mind that the menu is usually what you'll find at a
ballgame (hamburgers, hot dogs, soft drinks, etc.). Restaurants are
usually nearby, if you prefer to eat out, as it were.
6) Prize drawings, the main draw of the hamfest. The smaller prizes can be manuals, books, repeater directories, connectors, etc. -- while the big
prizes can be HT's, mobile or HF rigs. You usually have to be present to
win, except for maybe the grand prize, which is usually awarded just
before the end of the hamfest. For the amateur radio gear prizes, you
MUST be a licensed amateur radio operator, or have just passed your
license exam at a test session earlier in the hamfest, to win these items.
7) Wouff Hong. If the event is an ARRL Division or National Convention,
lasting for more than a day, there may be the Wouff Hong ceremony. This
Secret Society, and its ceremony is a FUN part of the hobby. However, I
can NOT go into the exact details as to what goes on...you have to
experience it for yourself...but you do get a nice certificate afterwards.
The ceremony is usually held in the mid to late evening hours...midnight
is preferred, but sometimes, they'll do it a bit earlier. I went through
it at the 2007 ARRL Great Lakes Division Convention, and the 2013 ARRL
Delta Division Convention...and let's just say that "a good time is had
by all". For further details on the history of the Wouff Hong, check out
the "ham radio history" bulletin, and scroll down to near the bottom.
8) DFing (Direction Finding) and Fox Hunting. Sometimes there will be a
"fox hunt" set up where you try to hone your direction finding skills, to locate a hidden transmitter...with the winner usually receiving a nice
9) Displays of various emergency communications vehicles, etc. related to amateur radio.