As a Club, we know that this is a difficult time for many ham clubs. The costs of running a swapfest or repeater increase every year but the funds we have to work with don’t. It’s hard to keep current members, as many move to new digs (in warmer locations!) and even harder to connect with new members. As a club, TCARC shares in your pain and decided we wanted to do something about it this year, through our Swap Fest.
As a result, at our January meeting, the Club voted to provide a free table to area Ham clubs that want to attract new members to their club. The rules are simple:
- You must represent an area amateur radio club, with active members, looking to add new members.
- We will provide a free table in “Club Corner”, located close to the donuts and coffee to encourage traffic to your tables. We want new hams to be able to find lots of local options to connect, all in one place. If you wish a table elsewhere in the Fest, you may purchase one separately online.
- You may bring any number of people to staff your tables but you pay admission for each. Make it a club-supporting club social event!
- Feel free to enjoy the Fest, but plan to continuously staff your tables from 8 AM to noon. No tables with a stack of literature out and no one to represent your group, please. Our goal is to help clubs connect with new members; empty tables don’t do that.
- Set up will be between 7 and 8 AM, to allow other vendors with large amounts of stuff to get through the doors first.
- You may sell things at your table and buy from other tables like any other vendor. Please abide by the usual rules of no-pre-8-AM-sales to give the attendees (who pay to make this event possible) the same chance to make great finds as you. See #4 above.
- Your club info will be available online, as we post a “what’s at my table” entry which can be searched online. You can post any information that might help draw people to your group’s table (subject to approval).
- At present, we’ve purchased 12 tables for clubs and tables are first-come, first-served. Respond soon.
Here are answers for what we expect will be Frequently Asked Questions:
- How do we reserve a table? Simply send an email to TCARC (at) W9MQB.org with the Club name, mailing address, email, any website or social media (i.e. Facebook, etc), contact person with telephone numbers (only used if we have any unexpected problems. Remember March 2020?), and a club contact email address (which may not be where this message was sent). We’ll follow up with you using that contact information to process your request. Your table reservation information will be emailed back to you at that email address once processed.
- How do we get admission tickets? Order online at https://www.W9MQB.org/SwapFest/ or download the Fest Flyer from that page and mail it in with a check. Pre-sales tickets are offered at a 20% discount of day-of-Fest tickets.
- How many people can we bring for our table? At least one and as many as you’d like. Simply purchase tickets for the number coming.
- How many people attend the Fest? The Fest typically draws around 400 people and we expect the same this year. Most are current hams but some will have just passed their tests to become hams, so be prepared for a mix of both, in addition to interested hobbyists and the general public.
- Is a Fest Flyer available? Yes, download a flyer on the SwapFest home page at https://www.W9MQB.org/SwapFest/. If you want printed copies sent to your club, drop us an email.
- What happens if you run out of tables? This is the first year we’ve tried this. We thought about it last year but couldn’t get organized in time. This year, we’re organized earlier, so we’re starting with 12 tables for clubs. Honestly, we haven’t decided what to do if those run out so tables are first-come, first-served. If this is a popular idea this year, we may improve on this next year. We’d like to include as many area clubs as possible but the cost of these tables come out of the income that we use to fund our events year-round, so we’re starting small.
Questions? Drop an email to HamFest@W9MQB.org and we’ll do our best to help. Hope to see you on Sunday, March 17th!