[AMRadio] NEARfest (was Re: Radio Operators)

Rob Atkinson ranchorobbo at gmail.com
Sun May 3 21:02:55 EDT 2015

I've known for decades that we are very fortunate here around Chicago
to have at least half a dozen hamfests every year, more depending on
how far you want to travel or what you want to call a hamfest.

But I have traveled beyond this area to smaller town fests and noticed
that they are getting small.  They all are to be sure, but as Jim
wrote, the ones near cities seem to be hanging on more.  One thing I
have noticed in the past few years is that the start times, or rather
the times when people start to show up and things get rolling is
later, and the pace is more sedate as we all move more slowly.
However, at the hamfest I attended this morning in Sandwich IL, I was
pleased to notice several attendees who appeared to be in their 20s
and 30s.  Attendance is still heavily toward the AARP demographic, but
there are young people who seem to be taking an interest in radio.   I
also hope that the lower price of gas is a help for rural hamfests.
Back a few years ago when it was around $4 / gallon, I thought that
would kill rural hamfests because they rely on people being willing to
travel some distance for their survival.

I'm amazed at how the west coast (California at least) has dwindled in
hamfest size and number since it was traditionally a high ham
population area.  I've heard from friends out there that there isn't
much of a hamfest scene now and if you go to the ARRL hamfest calendar
and look for hamfests in California you won't find much.

I still prefer to do business at hamfests cash and carry whether I'm
buying or selling and I prefer to ship by the back seat or trunk of my
car for gear and fragile tubes.



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