Hamfest Suggestions

These suggestions are to help in setting up a QCWA table at your local hamfest. They are written from experience setting up tables at over 100 hamfests. They are meant as suggestions to help you, and are not hard and fast rules.

Six months or more before the hamfest:
Contact the hamfest people. If you don't know who they are, they can usually be found on the ARRL web site at http://www.arrl.org/hamfests-and-conventions-calendar In many cases this may take you to a link that has specific info on the hamfest you will attend.

Contact the person responsible for inside tables. This may be the hamfest chairman or it may be someone else. Explain to this person that you represent Chapter ___ of the Quarter Century Wireless Association, and that we are an IRS 501C(3) non-profit organization consisting of members who have been hams for at least 25 years. Usually the hamfest person will know about QCWA, but not always, especially if they are a new ham. Ask them to furnish a table for QCWA, free of charge. QCWA does not pay for hamfest tables. We are like ARRL, MARS, and other organizations, and tables are normally furnished free of charge. (The exception to this is if your chapter also intends to sell members "stuff". If that is the case, it should be done at a separate table from the one used for membership recruitment. Of course you would expect to pay for that table.)

While you are talking (or more likely e-mailing) with the hamfest person, offer to present a QCWA forum, assuming that the hamfest has forums. Most hamfests will jump at the chance to have a forum presented.

Get everything arranged well in advance. Try to get confirmation e-mails, and print them out, in case there is any question when you arrive at the hamfest.

About two weeks before the hamfest:
Come back to this web page and look at the brochures and other aids that we have available. At the time this is written, we have three publications that we recommend you download and print. They are

You will need to judge how many brochures to print. This will be based on the expected size of the hamfest. As a general statement, you will only need about half as many about the scholarship program, compared to the other two.

The first brochure is really just a single sheet printed on one side, and is self-explanatory. The last two are printed on both sides and then folded to make a four page brochure. All should be printed in color to attract more attention.

In addition to the brochures, you also want to have a supply of membership applications. You can get these at http://www.qcwa.org/recruitment-hamfests/membership-application-form-us.pdf These are printed in black and white. You need to be sure to have enough for all of the members you anticipate signing up.

I suggest you wait until a couple weeks before the hamfest to print these, as we update these from time to time and we want you to have the latest versions.

About a week before the hamfest:
Contact the person you talked with (e-mailed) earlier to be certain that everything is all set. Confirm hamfest times, set up times, and forum schedule. This is also a good time to ask if table covers are provided. Usually they are NOT for small hamfests, but often are for larger hamfests.

Make certain that you have all of your supplies ready. You should also have a sign in sheet so that QCWA members can sign in. This should include name, call, chapter number, and ESPECIALLY their e-mail address. It is very important to get their e-mail address, so we can confirm that our database is correct (e-mail addresses often change) or to get e-mail addresses that we do not have.

If table covers are not provided, you need to find one of your own. If nothing else, a twin size bed sheet in a solid color (preferably gold or blue to use the QCWA colors) will work very well. We want to look professional.

Make certain you have your chapter banner ready to go, including whatever is necessary to set it up so that it can easily be seen.

If you are going to do a forum, figure out what you will present.

We have several PowerPoint presentations available at http://www.qcwa.org/members/media/
These PowerPoint presentations have been used at other hamfests, but should be modified to fit your particular circumstances (such as altering the information to contain where and when your chapter meets). Make sure arrangements have been made for a projector, screen and laptop, including the proper cords and cables.
Of course if you have chapter applications, you want to have a supply of those as well.

If you have questions, please us.

At set up time:
Be certain to arrive at the hamfest site as early as possible. This may be the evening before, or it may be early the morning of the hamfest. Please follow the suggestions from the hamfest sponsor. Set up your table so that it is as attractive as possible. Use the table cover, banner, brochures and other things you have ready. Also, if possible, set up a laptop computer with the latest eJournal on it, so prospective members can scroll through it and see all of the nice high res pictures, etc. Please be certain you do NOT have any of the old paper Journals around as that would give the wrong impression. Make the table look attractive.

During the hamfest:
Greet members and prospective members and welcome them. Answer questions they might have. Be proactive! Make certain they sign the sign-in list. If there are questions that they ask, and you do not know the answer, tell them you will find out and get back to them. Then be certain to write it down, so it does not get lost, and follow through. Be sure you have their contact info. Ask people to join/renew. When you get members to join, please be certain that the applications are legible. This is especially important for NEW members. You may accept a check, but you should get their driver's license info on it. Of course cash is great. Have a receipt book with you. It is often good to keep a notepad handy to make notes on things that may require follow up.

When the hamfest is over:
Clean everything up and make your space look better than when you arrived. Find the hamfest sponsor/chairman and thank them for having you come, and ask for space again for next year. In many cases, the hamfest chair or inside table chairman will come around and ask you if you will be coming back next year. Of course you will, but be sure and tell them.

After you are home from the hamfest:
Look over the membership applications you received. Check your applications and be certain that the money you have matches what the applications show. Contact us via or via
We will let you know how to take care of the applications and money. This may vary, depending on how many applications you have, how many are new or renewals, etc. Also, please make a copy of the sign in sheet, and e-mail it to headquarters, so we can check e-mail addresses.

I know this all sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but it is also worthwhile. Most of our new members come from an actual contact, one on one. This is where you can really help QCWA.

Please let me know if you have questions, or if we can help in any way.

Thanks es 73,