Baltimore Hamboree & Computerfest - April 6, 2013

Discussion in 'Hamfest Reports' started by N3LDS, Apr 10, 2013.

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  1. N3LDS

    N3LDS Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you do something long enough, you'll see change. Ham radio is no exception.

    I was first licensed back in the 70s and loved attending hamfests -- actually, I still do! But the scene has definitely changed in the last 40 years. The emergence and growth of computers, the Internet, eBay, etc etc has had profound impacts on our hobby and hamfests in particular. In some cases, the many alternate means of socializing plus buying/trading ham gear has driven some hamfests into the history books. Same goes for many of our smaller ham stores, but that's a subject for a different post! Still, it's so nice to see a number of hamfests that have evolved and adapted over the years, living on as mini-meccas for our hobby. The Baltimore Hamboree and Computerfest is one good example.

    For a long, long time, the Baltimore Hamboree, or what I affectionately dub, "the Timonium Hamfest," based on its location, was as close to a big ticket hamfest as I could afford to attend. Sure, I've been to Dayton, and I know first-hand how grand and glorious such a mega-event can be, but Timonium was my local equivalent. Run at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, Maryland, it filled multiple buildings and acres of parking lots for two days. You could find anything at the Timonium Fest - dealers, tailgaters, hamfest grub, testing, and friends from all over the region.

    Today, despite the waning of hamfests in general, it's all still here! Smaller -- yes, and shorter, yes -- but it's still here! I live in central MD and have seen many local ham stores and hamfests go totally out of business over the years, but the Hamboree is still here.

    I attended this year's hamfest, this past Saturday April 6, and even volunteered for several hours. The Baltimore Amateur Radio Club (BARC), sponsors this fest and has done everything humanly possible to keep the fest a fun event for us east-coasters. They work hard and passionately, and have chosen to make minor compromises rather than shut down. Kudos for that! This year, I also spent many enjoyable hours perusing the commercial and flea market booths and picked up some great new and used "stuff" at great prices, and socialized with new and old friends at the same time.

    Comments I heard about the fest from a few fellow hams had less to do with the quality of the fest and more to do with its "downsizing." The Hamboree is now a one day event, and it's all indoors, even the tailgating (a great weather-beater, in my opinion!), and it's all under one HUGE roof in the biggest building at the Fairgrounds. What's not to like? Well, there are always a few gripers everywhere, who probably also complain about their moms' home cooking, but a somewhat shorter, smaller hamfest is, in my humble opinion, WAY better than none! Attendance was really good this year, so it looks like I'm not the only one to come out and have had a good time! Bottom line -- the Timonium Hamfest is alive and well and still a major ham event here in Maryland. The BARC membership is already planning for next year's Hamboree. Keep an eye out for the announcements, and bring a friend! Maybe I'll see you there!

  2. KJ4VTH

    KJ4VTH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Larry, don't think I know you but I saw some club members from VA. It was a good day for an hour drive. I didn't buy much but I had a good time. Wish there were some tailgaters since, other than the wind, the weather was quite nice.
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