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.
What does it take to get an Amateur Radio License?
To get on the air in Amateur Radio you need a license from the Federal Communications Commission. Why? Because we operate radio transmitters that often exceed the power of your local broadcast radio station.
The entry-level license is called “Technician.” The test is 35 multiple-choice questions from a pool of about 300. You only need to get 26 correct to pass. Most of the questions have to do with the rules and regulations of operating in the amateur radio service. There are a few simple technical questions and some basic math is required.
The easiest way to study for any of the license classes is with the Gordon West audio book course. You can use the free questions from the NCVEC or purchase his study guide.
Licenses must be earned in order: Technician -> General -> Extra, but some people pass all three in the same session. The typical VE testing fee is $15, which covers all the tests you can take in one session, except for retests. If time permits and you only failed a test by a few answers, the VE team may allow you to re-test (at their discretion) for an additional $15 testing fee.
The Desert RATS Club puts on courses a couple of times a year so contact them through the web site.
Who goes to a Hamfest and What is There to Do?
Amateur radio operators come from all backgrounds and occupations; however, there is a lot of synergy with individuals involved with public safety and health services. Many amateurs also have a broad interest in all things technology, camping, radio-controlled devices, commercial and private aviation.
Palm Springs Hamfest offers a full day of informational seminars on a variety of topics; outdoor exhibits and demonstrations; a large indoor expo with equipment for sale, demos and sometimes free health screenings; a flea market (swap meet) and much more.
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.
How much will parking cost?
Parking is free in designated areas. There is an overflow parking lot across the street. Arrangements have been made with “The Desert Sun” to allow you to park in their lot for free.
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 our next event even better. Please email us by using the Contact Us page. We really do value your comments.
Do RV’s Have to pay and how much per Night?
Please see the RV/Camping section of the website for this year’s information.
Do I have to get a license to be an amateur radio operator?
You must have the license with the appropriate privileges to TRANSMIT over Amateur Radio by yourself. You may buy an amateur radio and listen all you want without a license. You’re just not allowed to open the microphone and talk. You may talk over Amateur Radio without a license under the direct supervision of a licensed operator (this is known as “Third Party Traffic.”)
Cool …but the admission fee is going to take a chunk out of my Wallet, right?
Entry Fee to the Hamfest including the Palm Springs Air Museum and Swap Meet Area is only $10. You will be issued a wrist band at the entrance to the Hamfest. Please observe the signs that direct you to the Hamfest. The entrance to the Hamfest is NOT the same as the one to the Museum. A wrist band is required to be admitted to the Hamfest, which includes the Expo and Forums. The admission fee is not required for the VE testing session. If you plan to just come to the testing session and not to the Hamfest, be sure to enter through the Museum’s front entrance and use the stairs to the second floor. An elevator is available.
Can I take the tests at the Palm Spring Hamfest?
Yes! We offer a VE Testing session for all license classes. For details, please select VE TESTING on the menu bar.
Are Volunteers Needed?
We need lots of reliable Volunteers to make this event a reality. Even a few hours of help is a big help! Please contact the Palm Springs Hamfest Committee Chairman via the Contact Us page.