Radio Amateur Club of Knoxville to host annual Hamfest – Knoxville News Sentinel

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How ham radio operators still rely on Morse code for communication. Video by Laura Peters
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Lovers and hobbyists of amateur radio will gather for the 52nd annual Knoxville Hamfest and Electronics Exhibition on Saturday. 

Sponsored by the Radio Amateur Club of Knoxville (RACK), local amateur radio operators, “hams,” electronic hobbyists and local radio clubs will visit the Kerbela Temple at 315 Mimosa Ave. from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“It’s an excellent opportunity for the various clubs from different counties, different cities to get together and (for) new amateur operators, we call them hams, it’s a good place to come and take part in the educational forums and meet other hams that can help them,” RACK Public Information Officer Lou Dreinhoefer said. 

Dreinhoefer ran the event for eight years before stepping down to his current position. The event sees hundreds of volunteers and attendees, according to Dreinhoefer. 

Radio clubs from surrounding counties each receive a free table at the event to share information about their organizations. Other individuals and groups pay for a table, but keep the money raised from their sold merchandise. 

Guests will have the opportunity to purchase amateur radio equipment, electronic parts and drones. A section of the parking lot will be dedicated to tailgating — a part of the sales that includes larger equipment, used items and parts.

Forums will range from global organization American Radio Relay League activities, digital mode communications and amateur-military radio communications. Several expositions regarding the hobby will take place throughout the day and at 1 p.m., amateur radio tests will be offered. 

“It joins the hams together. Many of us serve and are ready for emergency communications in the various communities,” Dreinhoefer said. “We work with the Emergency Management folks, the Red Cross and if they need help communicating in a disaster, we’re linked together to go do that.” 

Founded in 1954, the organization works to promote the interest of amateur radio operators in the Knoxville area. The nonprofit typically provides radio education for schools, STEM academies and Scout troops. 

A $10 admission fee will be charged for attendees 13 and older. Police officers, firefighters and Scouts in uniform and kids under age 12 get in free. 

“Those funds all go back to the community … for activities at different schools,” Dreinhoefer said. 

The money raised from Hamfest supports ham education, the organization’s repeater systems that act like cellphone towers for radios and mobile emergency communications van, public service activities, scouting support and a scholarship for hams. 

 

Read the full article at https://www.knoxnews.com/story/entertainment/2018/06/13/radio-amateur-club-knoxville-hosts-annual-hamfest-supports-community/697719002/. STRAY SIGNALS does not claim ownership of the article.

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