Feb 18th & 19th, 2022- Yuma County Fairgrounds

Yuma Hamfest Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

Q. What is a hamfest?

First, stop thinking of pork. A ham is a very old nickname for an amateur radio operator. A hamfest 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, radios, transmitters, tools, computer parts, test equipment ... all that cool stuff that your eyes feast on at the store or garage sales.

Q. This event is also referred to as an Emergency Preparedness Show. Why?

The Yuma Hamfest is a place for amateur radio operators to swap radio and electronic equipment, take tests, attend seminars, and improve their training level. It is also a place to learn about new ideas and enhance our emergency communications skills. Since amateur radio operators take emergency communications very serious, it seemed natural to also focus on emergency or disaster preparedness in addition to amateur radio. Our 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.

Q. 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.

Q. Are dogs allowed on the grounds during the event?

Yes! Your canis lupus familiaris is allowed on the fairgrounds during the Yuma Hamfest, though not inside the buildings. We find that most dogs aren't interested in the seminars anyway. We ask, as a common courtesy, that you pick up after your pet.

Q. 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 toys. 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? Anytime there is a natural disaster, and the power, land lines and cellular service goes out in the area, the only people who are getting messages out to the rest of the world are amateur radio operators.

Q. 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. We've done things like a special events radio station, making contacts from all over the world; "near space" balloon launches; transmitter hunts; and demonstrations of talking to someone via a satellite. Saturday evening there is even a barbecue dinner right in the main Theater Building where much of the Yuma Hamfest is located.

Q. Hah! How much are you going to ding me for parking?

Nothing. Parking is free.

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

You sure are suspicious. Admission is a whole $5.00!

Q. Huh? So how do you guys make your money?

We've discovered oil on the fairgrounds, and secretly tanker it out at night.

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

There are often vendors there with everything from 72-hour disaster kits to long-term food storage products.

Q. So if I got old computer stuff I want to get rid of, this would be the place to be?

You better believe it. Got Pentiums? Have too many electronic gadgets? The Yuma Hamfest will be a unique opportunity to offer your older equipment to a large group of techies!

Q. Okay, I want to sell at your show, what stuff can I bring?

Since the majority of the attendees of the Yuma Hamfest are technical oriented, any new or used electronics you have is what you should bring. Although you could bring other things, it is not recommended. A good rule of thumb is: if you can plug it in or it runs on batteries, it can be sold.

Q. My spouse is demanding that I clean out the garage ... can you help?

Are you nuts? We won't even clean our own garages! But if you have a bunch of technical stuff piling up and you need to make room, our tailgating area (flea market) is your solution. For the price of a flea market space, you'll be able to sell your used equipment to people who are interested in what you have. You don't have to advertise in the paper or sit around trying to sell your gear to the 'baby clothes and furniture' crowd. Remember, we're techies too! Bring your stuff to the Yuma Hamfest to display to potential buyers. You'll even have fun looking at the stuff the other sellers brought. If you get in trouble because you take more stuff home than you brought, you're on your own.

Q. 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 which we're licensed to use in our homes or vehicles. We use our radios to help our communities, learn more about radio technology, and to respond during times of emergencies and disasters. We use them to transmit voice, Morse code, images, video, computer data 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 from these two links about Getting Started in Ham Radio and What is Ham Radio? 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.

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


Q. What does it take to get one?

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 an "advanced degree" in ham radio, you have to take more tests.

Q. Can I take the tests at the Yuma Hamfest?

Yes! The Volunteer Examiners will be giving amateur radio licensing and upgrade tests at the event. See the link for License Exams for more information.

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

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

Q. 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 event. 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 the Yuma Hamfest. With a major 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 apart to see what makes it work, this is the place for you.

Q. Do you guys want suggestions or feedback?

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 the Director of the Yuma Amateur Radio Hamfest Organization (YARHO). His contact information is on the Contact Us page. We really do value your comments.