by Kyle Krieg, AAØZ
Winterfest, SLSRC’s annual hamfest is right around the corner! As the Planning Committee puts the final touches on this year’s event, I invite you to attend this year’s Winterfest, January 26th, 2019, at the Gateway Center in Collinsville, IL. Not only is it a great event, but it helps support our local vendors and promotes amateur radio in the St. Louis area. Spend the morning with us. Catch up with old friends you might not see in person but talk to on the radio. Browse the tables, pick up that extra dummy load you’ve been putting off buying, load up on barrel connectors as you will misplace that SMA to SO239 converter at some point! As you are getting ready to attend Winterfest by checking out the webpage at http://winterfest.slsrc.org, I encourage you to do something you might not think about as part of your hamfest checklist. Reach out and invite a new ham to Winterfest.
Spending a short amount of time with a new ham at a hamfest can be very rewarding. Walk around with them. Show them what they might need to start their shack. Point out a good deal. Spread your knowledge, but most importantly, share your enthusiasm with someone about the hobby that you love.
Attending a hamfest, especially as a new ham can be intimidating. Tables of radios, CW paddles, antennas, coax, the list goes on and on and might seem a little foreign. If you are a newer ham, don’t be afraid to ask questions to the vendors, they won’t bite! Look around. See what is for sale. Bring a list of ham gear to look out for and the price you’re willing to pay. Wear a name badge with your call so other hams can put a face to a call, as it’s your “brand”. Even if you don’t buy anything, attend the forums, gather ideas about equipment, say hello to someone new as you might make a new friend and elmer! Everybody in the room has the same hobby as yourself, so have fun! Winterfest is an event you shouldn’t leave and feel discouraged with.
Even if this isn’t your first hamfest, there can still be lots of unanswered questions gathering in your mind about everything from an HF radio to a VHF/UHF mobile rig for your car. As you walk around and you’re unsure about a specific topic or confused about what you should purchase, come by the SLSRC club table (located by the raffle entry barrel) and ask your question. We will help you! You don’t have to be an SLSRC member to ask a question, and the only dumb question is the question you didn’t ask! Throughout the morning there will be someone at the club table willing to answer questions and point you in the right direction, so come on by!
Elmers, reach out to that new ham that you talked to on the radio, heard on the net, or met at a club meeting. Remember, at one time you were a new amateur radio operator in the exact same position. Think back to your first hamfest experiences. Show a new ham what equipment they might need to put together a HF station and get on the air. Point out a vendor or flea market table that has good deals. Find some CW paddles and explain the difference between the paddles and the pros and cons of each. A new ham doesn’t have to purchase anything, but the elmering you can provide has unlimited value far beyond the price of admission. The best thing in amateur radio is the experience and insight you can share and give back to the hobby to both new hams and the seasoned veterans out there.
We’ll see you at Winterfest January 26th at 8 AM!