"Ides of March" Hamfest 2013
March 23 , 2013
Tennessee National Guard Armory, Union City, TN
The 6th Annual "Ides of March" Hamfest sponsored by the Reelfoot Amateur Radio Club in Union City, Tennessee was held at the Tennessee National Guard Armory in Union City, TN. The weather was predicted to bring early Spring showers, but this gratefully held off until after the event.
Setup for the event began the previous day and went very smoothly. Most of the vendors showed up at the dawn's early light. Mid-South Amateur Radio Supply with Steve KI4YOP,and Rosalinda KI4ZKW from Memphis set up a large display on several tables. We welcomed new vendor Hub City Amateur Radio Sales from Hattiesburg, MS who set up a fantastic display of their wares on the East side of the armory. Also Todd N4QWZ with Gigaparts was again present with a full line up.
Harold KJ4FTM and Master Chef Second Class Noel KJ4UNX fired up the grill for some great thick and juicy hamburgers. Also Glenn N4MJ's son, Jamey Snow provided terrific pork barbeque. Rhelda N5BSE an Ottis K5BSE manned the front microphone and assisted with raffle ticket purchases. The hamfest attendees came from near and far and the armory was distinctly more crowded than in previous years. Certainly, the "chicken coop" was getting quite full with raffle tickets.
This year as in past hamfests, we had a great line up of prizes to give away. These prizes came from vendors such as Elecraft, Ten-Tec, the Amateur Radio Relay League, Walmart of Fulton, KY and Martin, TN, MFJ Enterprises, DX Magazine, and many others. Some 45 prizes were given away which meant a name was drawn from the "chicken coop" about every 5 minutes ! The top prizes were a LDG Z11 Pro antenna tuner for 3rd prize, a Force 12 LFA-602 2 meter yagi for 2nd prize, and Grand Prize was a Yaesu FT-817nd transceiver. There was also much literature available from many of the suppliers of amateur radio equipment.
The food was as usual outstanding!! Hamburgers from Noel's grill and barbecue sandwiches were very tasty. The ladies serving up the great chow included Glenn N4MJ's XYL Linda, Todd W4TZX's XYL Trina, Steve KK4NNH's XYL Hannah, Jamie WB4YDL's XYL June, and Dolly KN4SLY. After all was said and done, there was very little food left. Lots of complements were heard about the food all throughout the event.
We were honored to have in attendance Tennessee Section Manager Keith Miller N9DGK and ARRL Director of Delta Division David Norris K5UZ and newly appointed Tennessee Section Emergency Coordinator Randy Smith KI4OAS. Together they gave a fine forum and updated a great crowd on happenings with the Delta Division and the Tennessee Section. Many updates dealt with changes coming to the web site of both the Delta Division and the ARES component. David also mentioned that the new LoTW (Logbook of the World) computer system is doing well and there are plans for incorporating many more awards - even those from abroad.
Section Emergency Coordinator Randy KI4OAS introduced new Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator for West TN, and RARC's own, Jamie WB4YDL, and new District 2 Emergency Coordinator Stan Kozlowitz AA5XO. Randy emphasized the need for assistants to be appointed at every level of ARES' chain of command to provide for redundancy and continuity of command. Also emphasized was the need for continuing education and practice drills.
Thanks so much for attending !
VE Testing Session & DX Card Checking:
This year's VE testing session was again manned by the Crockett County VE team. We had many testers this year and several managed to pass for a new license or to upgrade to a higher class of license.
Successful Candidates Testing at the VE Session :
- Dean M. Rupp KK4PJX : passed Technician Class as well as General Class
- Benjamin G. Infinger K4HZQ : upgraded to Extra Class
- Charles P. Talley KJ4KVC : upgraded to Extra Class
- Samantha Clayton KK4NNM : upgraded to General Class
- Stephan L. Clayton KK4NNH : upgraded to Extra Class
After the testing sessions were complete, members of the Reelfoot Amateur Radio Club presented ARRL Volunteer Examiner Challenge Coins to each member of the Crockett County VE testing team in recognition of their fine contribution to amateur radio and the success of the Ides of March Hamfest. Those members recognized are the following :
Congratulations One and All !
Ed Pflueger AB4IQ again came down from Paducah, KY as an official ARRL QSL card field checker for DXCC. In addition to checking QSL cards for DXCC credit, Ed gave a great forum on DXing QSL technique. Important this year was the new information on the US Postal Service's decision to cease printing International Reply Coupons (IRC's) after this year and the change in international postage rates and its new round stamp. This was well attended and all took away nuggets of information important to their own QSL'ing efforts.
Raffle Prize Winners:
|Grand Prize||Andrew Russell WB4EBK||Yaesu FT-817nd Transceiver|
|2nd Prize||Rhelda Barron N5BSE||Force 12 LFA-602 2M yagi|
|3rd Prize||Tarol Perrine N5JRD||LDG Z11 Pro antenna autotuner|
This year's hamfest saw several new vendors and especially Hub City Amateur Radio Sales. Jim AE5OG, the proprietor, had to drive a great many hours to and from Hattiesburg, MS and we greatly appreciate his effort and appearance. Estimated gate count was 360 +/- 15 attendees, making this by far the most attended Ides of March Hamfest yet. Plans are already being made for next year's Ides of March Hamfest 2014 and a great many exciting improvements.
Don't miss it !
Glenn N4MJ :
Hamfest 2013 was the best of all the hamfests we have had locally. From the perspective of the president of the club, main planner, coordinator, prize gatherer, and a bunch of other titles that go with building and promoting an event, this was undoubtedly our best. We've transitioned from barely getting along with borrowed floor mounted speakers and audio, to portable bull-horn audio systems, to our own stand mounted speakers. Yes, I know they are still inadequate but that has to do with building acoustics. Likewise, we've gone from writing prize winning numbers on white board to a projector system, and this year, to a flat-screen monitor. We’re making progress and always looking for a better way to communicate with our audience. Research and discussion for improvements are already underway for 2014.
This year was our first year to have three major vendors present. It was really super to see attendees browsing and talking and buying from the vendors. A special thanks to Mid-South Amateur Radio Service, GigaParts Hamfest Services, and Hub City Amateur Radio Sales. They surely brought items hams needed and wanted. Also, a special thanks to all club members and others who helped with the event. Everyone was positively engaged in some manner or other and, as I said at the March meeting, I was especially proud to see and hear our membership/workers interface so positively with attendees. Seems everywhere I walked, observed, and listened, our members were showing positive and helpful attitudes. I was constantly hearing them say, “yes sir, no sir, yes ma'am no ma'am, thank you and please”. In today’s world of questionable values, that shows so much respect for our fellow mankind and for each other. Those same attributes were being espoused by members of our visiting VE team, too.
Speaking of the VE team, they did a super job. Randy KI4OAS organized the team and brought enough people to have two teams - one for each session. We presented each team member with an ARRL VE Challenge coin to show our appreciation for their assistance. Thanks again VE team and here’s looking at ya for 2014.
For Bob K9IL, and Jamie WB4YDL, my thanks for all you do and have done in making the club grow and be successful. As we often kid each other, it is LOL (labor of love) on all our parts. Thanks again for all your efforts.
73 de n4mj//grs
Steve KK4NNH :
Walking into a full room was impressive. We didn't realize how many people were in there till after cleanup and we could see how big the room was.
Thanks to everyone who made this such a success....
I wasn't really going to buy anything but couldn't resist... Yaesu was calling me.
Steve and Hannah