ff FAQ's - Palm Springs Hamfest Official Site

Palm Springs Hamfest Frequently Asked Questions

What is a hamfest?

A Ham is a very old nickname for an Amateur Radio Operator. A Ham Fest has historically been a place where amateur radio hobbyists got together to exchange ideas and equipment. Think of it as a convention of technical-minded people. New and used equipment is available for sale: electronics, transceivers, receivers, transmitters, antenna tuners, amplifiers, tools, electronics test equipment ... all that cool stuff that your eyes feast on at a Ham Radio store ... Ham Radio Club Swap Meets or garage sales / Flea Markets selling electronic items related to the Hobby of Ham Radio. That sometimes has Seminars to inform and educate you covering topics related to the Ham Radio Hobby. A place to fraternize with other Hams that you may otherwise only talk to on the radio. Palm Springs Hamfest continues to maintain the nostalgic flavor of an old time Ham Fest while offering a look at innovative high tech products and concepts newly available to hobbyists.

You've also referred to this as an Emergency Preparedness Show....Why?

The first few years we simply called it a Hamfest. It was a place for amateur radio operators to see the newest gadgets and radios from large International Manufacturers like Yaesu , Alinco, Icom, Elecraft... buy new and used equipment, sell your radio and electronic equipment in our Club Consignment Store; view and participate in live demonstrations and to learn about various opportunities in the Hobby . It was also a place to learn about new ideas and enhance our emergency communications skills. Since amateur radio operators take emergency communications very seriously, it seemed natural to also focus on emergency or disaster preparedness as well as the amateur radio experience. Starting with the 2014 Palm Springs Hamfest, we expand the original concept of this event into something broader in scope. The intent is to continue the tradition of amateur radio and emergency communications, as well as present the idea of emergency preparedness to the general public.

So which is it? A Hamfest or an emergency planning show?

Both! If you're into amateur radio, there will be lots of items to look at, both new and used, along with seminars on interesting topics. If your interest is in learning more about how to be prepared for a natural disaster or a terrorist attack, there will be seminars, presentations and emergency preparedness products on sale at the show. If you want to learn more about how to protect your family in the event of the unexpected, this will be a major opportunity for you.

I have a cell phone. Why would I be interested in Ham Radio?

We understand; we have cell phones too. In fact, amateur radio enthusiasts are generally early adopters of anything involving new electronic technology. We love technology, and most of us simply can't own enough electronic gadgets. There is a place for both cellular technology and amateur radios. With amateur radio, we talk to people all over the world, and we don't pay a dime in airtime charges. When was the last time you chatted with a guy in Argentina or Russia on your cell phone free besides using VOIP or Skype? Anytime there is a natural disaster, and the power, land lines and cellular service. and local internet goes out in the area, the only people who are getting messages out to the rest of the world are amateur radio operators, sometimes using our own satellites and government agencies including those emergency organizations with satellite phones.

Okay, okay. But will there be other stuff there too?

Anything electronic is fair game. If it uses a radio signal, that's even better. As we said, we're electronic technology freaks. You get to park once and see a day's worth of stuff. When your feet get tired from all the walking, you can attend interesting demonstrations and seminars. Saturday evening there is even a potluck BBQ dinner in the Sports Field next to the Palm Springs Pavilion for the RV'rs, Swap Meet Sellers and Vendors camped there for the weekend.

How much will it cost for parking?

Parking is free in designated areas. The High School next door will have over flow parking and they will be taking donations to their Booster Club to park there. There is a Mall about a block away east that can be used for overflow parking.

Cool ...but the admission fee is going to take a chunk out of my Wallet, right?

Entry Fee to the Pavilion including the events there and Swap Meet Area is a minimal $5. You will be issued an Wrist Band that you can purchase at the main entrance to the Pavilion and that will allow you into all venues. No Wrist Band no entry.

Do Swap Meet Sellers need to pre-register?

Pre-Registration is not required but it is preferred, however to get a good spot or have a spot for more than one day you should register to keep that space for the weekend. The Swap Meet will be in the Sports Field next to the Pavilion so bring your own pop up shelters as it may be warm out. Entry to the Swap Meet area for Tailgaters will begin on Friday at 3:00 p.m. (not before) and must leave by Sunday Noon. There is a controlled entry point to the site to regulate all access to the area. Pre-Pay your Fee and Fill out the registration on the web site to get a prime selling space. Cost is $25 per night and day. Vendors and Hamfest Attendees must have an authorized Wrist band to enter the selling area. All swap meet / flea market vendors must bring the appropriate paperwork to be able to sell anything. Please see the Flea Market Rules page for more details.

Do RV's Have to pay and how much per Night?

Camping for RV's will be on the grassy fenced in Sports Field, it is a Dry Camp with Toilet Facilities. We have room for about 85 RV's. It is in a completely fenced in area. Pre Registration is required online. Price per night is $25. Additionally each person has to pay $5 for the weekend Wrist Band pass entry to the Pavilion and Swap Meet areas. You will be given wrist Bands at the Registration Area located at the Pavilion Entrance then proceed to the camping area as directed. The camping gate will open Friday at 3 p.m. All Campers must leave by Sunday Noon. An FM Broadcast Radio Station will be set up to provide announcements throughout the weekend.

So how do you guys afford a fancy location like the Palm Springs Pavilion?

We charge only what we think we need to break even and add a minimal amount to the Club Coffers so we can continue with this event in the following years. We do this for the Hobby and the Ham Community!

Right! So what kind of emergency preparedness equipment will be there?

There will be vendors there showing everything from 72-hour disaster kits to multiple day survival kits. As well as long term food storage possibilities.

Okay tell me again, what is a Ham?

Do you have a couple hours? To cut to the chase, we're licensed by the FCC to be able to use portions of the radio spectrum. We have our own radio transmitters and other high tech equipment which we're licensed to use in our homes, out in the field (including outer space) or vehicles. We use our radios and equipment to help our communities, learn more about amateur radio communications, radio wave technology, and to respond during times of emergencies and disasters. We use them to transmit using voice, Morse code, images, video, computer data, satellites, microwave, laser and any new technology that comes along. Some of us send signals through the Internet, talk to others using satellites, talk to the space station astronauts (many of them are hams), even communicate with other amateur radio operators by bouncing signals off the moon! There's a lot more interesting information about this on the Desert RATS Club Web Site http://desertrats.am and especially the Desert RATS Forum http://desertrats.x.am and links there about getting started in ham radio and a ham radio FAQ. It's a huge hobby ... so it really can't be explained in a few sentences. Take a closer look and I'm sure you'll find something very interesting to you personally. Come to one of our meetings every 3rd Tuesday of the month at the Palm Springs Works Conference Room - 345 South Civic Way in Palm Springs or phone our President Glenn at 760-770-6434 for more information.

Do I have to get a license to be an amateur radio operator?


What does it take to get an Amateur Radio License?

You put $500 in an envelope and slip it to one of us at ... Oops, sorry! Seriously, you have to take a test. Amateur radio enthusiasts have different levels of licenses, demonstrating different levels of technical proficiency. Attaining the first level isn't overly difficult, but if you want a General or Extra License certification in ham radio, you have to take more tests. You don't need to know Morse Code to get started with a Tech License. The Desert RATS Club puts on courses a couple of times a year so contact them through the web site.

Can I take the tests at the Palm Spring Hamfest?

Possibly get on our mailing list on this site and indicate you are interested in information on Ham Radio Licensing?

I've heard amateur radio people are nerds. True?

Some of them are, but we try to keep them well hidden from the public!

I'm not a ham, why should I be interested in attending?

First of all, if you've read this far, there's a chance you might want to become a ham. We'll have information available about our hobby at the show Desert RATS Booth or the ARRL Booth. But even if things that transmit signals around the world (and beyond) don't interest you ... there are a lot of other things that you'll find at Palm Springs Hamfest. With a focus on emergency and disaster planning, there will be seminars and products for sale that are hard to find. Also tools, test equipment, video, networking, satellite ... all types of technical stuff you know you'll find interesting. If you have ever taken something electronic apart to see what makes it work, or written some computer code to operate and then build a Robot this is the place for you.

Do you guys want suggestions or feedback?

No... we don't take criticism well! (kidding)

Yes, Please! Even if it's too late this year to act on a good suggestion, we need your feedback to make or next event even better. Please email us by using the Contact Us page. We really do value your comments.

Are Volunteers Needed?

We need lots of reliable Volunteers to make this event a reality. Even if you are not a Desert RATS or Palm Springs DX Club Member. Go to our Volunteer Sign-up page on this site and fill in the required information and we will get back to you. Even if you are a Snowbird here for the weekend.