Hamfest Report Palm Springs Hamfest
ARRL- Palm Springs Hamfest 2012 becomes Biggest Little Hamfest in the West!
Over 750 Hams from the Tri-States of Arizona, California, and Nevada and many snowbirds from all over North America flocked to sunny Palm Springs for the Desert RATS Club 3rd Annual ARRL-sanctioned Palm Springs Hamfest held on January 28 under the shade of palm trees, in a large barn and under rows of canopies! ARRL Reps Carl Gardenias, Dick Norton and Bill Prats and others from as far away as the Ivory Tower of Head Office ARRL attended. Special guests included Gordon West of W5YI fame and the Internet radio program Ham Twits with Leo LaPorte. Fred Lloyd, QRZ founder, made a cameo appearance in his gleaming ZED-SLED! ( I'm sure it took up 2 RV spaces). On January 27th Quartzfest was the gathering point for a convoy of RV's to the free dry camp on the Palm Springs Hamfest site. Wagonmaster Gordon West led the way with over 30 RV's heading to Palm Springs on Friday afternoon using a simplex frequency to keep the communications flowing along the 2 hour trip to the "Biggest Little Hamfest in the West! Over 36 commercial vendors, a large Swap Meet and companies like CQ Magazine, Yaesu and Alinco drew a big crowd to this year's event. This event had more vendors than many other Hamfests in the Western USA showing the support and stature it has gained in only it's third year. The buzz words were that this event has "Hit the Big Time" and the promoters and organizers from the Desert RATS Club had been asked to put on next years' ARRL Southwest Convention but have declined, favoring instead to promote Yuma Hamfest as the venue for next years' event.
Nostalgia was the theme for this years' event, from the RAT Pack generation of the sixties and Rat Rods, going back to the vintage cars of the 1928-1932 Model T Classic Cars on display. Old-time Hamfests revisited....Old school nostalgic fun, thoughts of the old burger joint/soda jerk stand and hangout, fueled by good ole home cooking by the XYL's of the Desert RATS Club.
The Military Radio Museum had radios going back to every war the USA has been in, including WW1 & 2, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and the most recent conflicts. It had every radio ever used by any of the Armed Forces, including the canteen radio used by Japanese prisoners of war internees that used a clothes line as an antenna. A real hit was the 6 Meter field radio with the hand crank for the kids to talk across the event grounds.
The Swap Meet was a real old fashioned tailgater with gear stacked from the ground as high as the Alpine, Hustler/HY Q, Comet and other manufacturers' antennas and fiberglass pole towers in the air! It was balanced with high tech electronics, new radios, gadgets, tools, antennas, parts, batteries, Ham fashion wear, survival equipment and goodies galore. A real shopping center of eye candy for every Ham's wish list. Even our popular Desert RATS Club 2nd hand consignment store featured gently used equipment and some plain old junk parts for building your next project.
The hands-on learning opportunities were also big attractions and included microwave communications, demonstration of a satellite handheld station by AMSATS Clint Bradford's, Fast Scan T.V. and instructions on how to built your own station. Yaesu and Alinco radios were all set to have you go on air to try them out.
Then there was the non-stop all day long Raffle. The Grand Prize of a complete Dual Bander and antenna from Yaesu went to a ten year-old Ham.How great is that for the young new Ham! And Sunday was a day to do touristy things on your bucket list. This year Gordon West led the ride up the Palm Springs Tram to the 10,000-foot high San Jacinto Mountain, site of many local repeaters. Next year we'll have more XYL & YL friendly action filled things to do.
We had so much fun we are going to do it all again next year. Book your hotel space early for the January 26th, 2013 weekend. The ARRL-Palm Springs Hamfest Good-Time-Committee invites you to attend. Come and say Hi...I'll be the guy announcing your winning raffle ticket!
73 Peter VE7REZ /w6
Organizer Palm Springs Hamfest
Desert RATS Club
Charter member of :
Ham N.E.W.S. Guild