Local Outdoor Tailgate Hamfest – The AB4OZ Hamfest Raleigh NC
By Martin Brossman KI4CFS, ARRL Member – Alan AB4OZ ARRL Life Member
With most Hamfests canceled due to COVID19, some Raleigh NC Amateur Radio Operators found a way to adapt with a tailgate Hamfest in an empty parking area of a shopping center.
Alan, AB4OZ, who started Ham Radio Taco Thursday in the area many years ago, had to put his event on hold when everything shut down due to COVID19. It was suggested we get together and socialize at a safe distance from each other by having a Taco Thursday with the taco truck outside in an adjacent empty parking lot. That event was a success, with all of us staying at our cars and bringing our own chairs.
That success inspired the idea of having a Tailgate Hamfest at the same place, which has now turned into a once-a-month tailgate Hamfest now called the AB4OZ Hamfest in North Raleigh NC. To make it easy for Ham Operators to know when the next one was or if it is rescheduled, Alan posts it on his QRZ page: https://www.qrz.com/db/AB4OZ QRZ works well because all Ham’s can access it and check before they come.
“I started Taco Thursday because I and a couple of guys who work on the other side of town always go to Taco Bell on Thursday for lunch. One of the guys, Glen NC4NC, retired and wanted to keep up with us, so we kept going to Taco Bell on Thursdays. That was like six years ago.
We started collecting more and more people — we were getting anywhere from six to twelve to fifteen people at Taco Thursday up at Taco Bell, so when Taco Bell closed due to COVID, Martin suggested we move it to a Net on Thursday at the same time and the Net was working well.
The one requirement was you could not talk about COVID-19 that we all saw it as a welcome relief from the news. The main conversations were about Ham Radio and our different projects including a project to help the widow of a Ham (from this group) sell off his equipment to help her gain some revenue and clear out space.
The original Taco Thursday got permission from the original Taco Bell to sit outside so we returned to our regular area and time on Thursday. Then we moved the tailgate Hamfest to Saturday morning at the new location and made that just once a month. We’ve been doing this once a month because if we do it too often we don’t get that much of a showing.
It is now once a month on Saturday so more people can come to the Hamfest at the same place on Saturday at 10 o’clock.
A participant at the event, Charles KI4DCR, said, “I think this is a great, uplifting and positive experience for all of us Hams to get out & socialize. We might not be able to have a big Hamfest but these micro Tailgate Hamfests might be the future for a good while. And hey, I’ve spent twenty bucks out here on stuff that I thought I’d have to order online, plus I’ve met a lot of good people. There’s a lot of cool stuff out here, the weather’s great, you know, there’s plenty of space for everybody to be socially distanced, I think it’s fantastic. This is my third one.”
At the time of this publication, we still plan on having the outdoor Hamfest once a month called The AB4OZ Hamfest, and to see the next date go to https://www.qrz.com/db/AB4OZ
Come join us and get some of your extra gear out of the house to sell!
A few photos of the past AB4OZ Raleigh Hamfest:
Link to all the past photos and videos of the AB4OZ Hamfest
Also, see the ARRL posting of our article about the AB4OZ Hamfest
North Carolina Radio Amateurs Adapt Tailgating Hamfest to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Martin Brossman KI4CFS
Other videos and photos that could be included
Alan AB4OZ – https://photos.app.goo.gl/t6ouT4syzT2BNg6G6
AB4OZ Hamfest – Free Tailgate Hamfest in Raleigh NC – Aug 8th, 2020 Saturday https://youtu.be/-GgUUk21HH8
AB4OZ Hamfest in Raleigh NC Oct 3, 2020 – No Charge – Free
Martin Brossman – KI4CFS – Extra
http://KI4CFS.com – https://www.qrz.com/db/ki4cfs
NC Ham Radio Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/NCHamRadioOperators
Learning Ham Radio Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/LearningHamRadio
I have gone several times and recommend it!