Hamfest returning to promote safety, community

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Event begins at 8 a.m. Saturday

By Amber Coulter

The Lincoln Trail Amateur Radio Club hosts its 35th annual Hamfest on Saturday.

The milestone isn’t being celebrated with fanfare, only the selling and mingling that has brought regular vendors and customers back for years.

The event is from 8 a.m. to about 2 p.m. Saturday at the State Fire and Rescue Training Facility at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College.

The event is a sale that features new and used amateur radios, CB radios and electronic parts.

Amateur radios — or ham radios — enable long-range communication without using power sources or communication lines that can be disabled during an emergency situation.

Those radios helped facilitate communication during the 2009 ice storm.

They also allow enthusiasts to chat with fellow radio operators.

Hamfest, the major annual fundraiser for the Lincoln Trail Amateur Radio Club, draws vendors from as far as Ohio and Illinois and gives those who share the hobby the chance to mingle, club member David Gregory said.

“A lot of it is a social thing, a lot of people getting together with other hams just to see what’s going on,” he said.

This year’s event features more than 50 tables of vendors catering to enthusiasts who usually have to order parts and equipment by catalog because of a lack of nearby sellers, Gregory said.

“Some of it’s junk, and some of it is new stuff,” he said. “The amateur radio operator typically loves junk.”

The event is open to the public, drawing enthusiasts from throughout Kentucky and surrounding states. Tickets are $6 at the door.

Testing is available from American Radio Relay League volunteer testers for new and upgraded Federal Communications Commission amateur radio licenses.

Registration for testing begins at 9:30 a.m. and testing starts at 10 a.m. Test takers must bring photo identification and a copy of any previous license.

The cost is $15. Checks are not accepted.

Gregory said amateur radio operating is a fast-growing hobby with more than 260,000 people licensed in the United States.

Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or acoulter@thenewsenterprise.com.